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Comment: Re:1860 (Score 1) 240

by pieterh (#47653307) Attached to: Patents That Kill

The Economist was, ironically, founded as a "free market" newspaper, in a period when that meant specifically, the fight against the patent system. I.e. that was its first purpose, to argue against the re-establishment of the patent system in Britain.

Comment: Tizen was just a strategic threat (Score 3, Interesting) 112

by pieterh (#47553815) Attached to: Samsung Delays Tizen Phone Launch

Samsung never intended to release a Tizen phone. They were the ones who leaked the design and photos. The whole point of Tizen was to get a stick against Google, after they bought Motorola. Samsung are/were paranoid that Google would give Motorola preferential treatment, and that Android was becoming a toxic platform for them. Tizen was their insurance. Google got the message and Samsung killed most of their Tizen team and went back to focusing on Android.

Comment: Re:Well, it worked for so many others (Score 1) 397

by pieterh (#45783743) Attached to: Netflix: Non-'A' Players Unworthy of Jobs

Incidentally, it's trivial to know which players to keep. You hire freely, openly. You allow people to self-organize around problems. You reduce the latency of all communications from business through the whole company to development and back. And then you rank people simply by their ability to solve relevant problems, to gain users internally. In a software business, you allow anyone to start a project and you rank people on their value in the supply chain.

I've written loads about this. http://hintjens.com/blog:73#toc1 would be an example. Build asynchronous lock-free self-organizing structures, and you can add and remove people trivially.

Comment: Well, it worked for so many others (Score 5, Insightful) 397

by pieterh (#45781183) Attached to: Netflix: Non-'A' Players Unworthy of Jobs

Netflix isn't the first business to put all the weight on the players while ignoring the game. It doesn't matter how many A players you hire if your organization has deep structural problems. Microsoft would be a prime example.

In contrast, you can build extremely effective organizations out of ordinary people, if you allow them to organize freely around problems, compete honestly, delegate at will, and so on.

Comment: Re:Anonymos IS the Government (Score 1) 156

by pieterh (#45443393) Attached to: FBI Reports US Agencies Hacked By Anonymous

No way, it's impossible that sociopathic power-hungry politicians, bankers, military men, and intelligence officers who treat human lives as disposable would stoop to such things. That would be unAmerican. And beside, CNN and MSBNC would tell us if it happened, right? "Controlled opposition"... laughable! Next you're going to tell me the FBI infiltrated Anonymous chat channels and encouraged young guys to hack into their own systems!

Comment: Re:Huh, that's surprising (Score 3, Insightful) 156

by pieterh (#45443073) Attached to: FBI Reports US Agencies Hacked By Anonymous

There's a dark irony in so-called skeptics pushing their own conspiracy theories (mysterious gangs hate our way of life) to muffle out the obvious truth that it's (always) all about the money.

It's not only probable, it's by far the simplest explanation, that the military-security complex needs to create threats to justify its existence, so a handsome slice of its budget consistently goes back into black operations against the very people it's meant to be protecting. If you argue that only crooks would do this, then my question is, what evidence do you have that the FBI, CIA, NSA, GCHQ et al are not run by simple crooks?

As for being pessimistic, it's a normal feeling but not useful. Read my book (free, see below) for a background into how this state of affairs came to be, and how to fix things.

Comment: Re:Huh, that's surprising (Score 5, Insightful) 156

by pieterh (#45442891) Attached to: FBI Reports US Agencies Hacked By Anonymous

The War on the Internet is as much about creating an environment of fear that will justify increased spending, as it is cracking down on the young smart kids who are the real threat to the corporate para-State.

So it's fairly likely that the FBI/NSA and their legal or criminal subcontractors are heavily involved in any dramatic security-related event. The fact that government websites are targeted makes no difference. Simple little false flags that keep the pressure up on legislators.

It's easy to mock all this but the threat to our digital lifestyle is real and serious. We're a few years away from a fully regulated Internet where if you don't conform -- by running approved hardware, approved software, approved monitoring -- you simply won't get access, period. Clipper chip, remember that?

And the only way to convince the mass of "who cares?" public are a series of dramatic, dangerous, unacceptable attacks on websites, infrastructure, transport, etc.

Comment: Arming up on the Internet (Score 1) 18

by pieterh (#45410353) Attached to: The Operations of a Cyber Arms Dealer

IMO it's part of an undeclared war on the Internet, funded by the intelligence-security complex, who need to reign in and control the Internet. The usual structure is official organizations (NSA, GCQ) funding subcontractors (like Stratfor) who fund off-the-books teams to build up armed capacity, attack targets to create a climate of fear, and to blackmail third parties into cooperation. Your tax dollars hard at work, keeping the Children Safe from cyberterrorists, hackers, and criminals, aka an independent Internet.

+ - Building a new spy-proof Internet - the Edge Net->

Submitted by pieterh
pieterh (196118) writes "The Edge Net lives safely at the edge of the Internet, on our smart phones. It uses mobile WiFi hotspots to create "cells" for exchanging news and content. Cells talk to cells, asynchronously, covering neighborhoods, and cities. The Edge Net doesn't exist yet. This project is about building it. The fundraiser project raised $1,700 in its first day."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Monopolies suit the surveillance state (Score 3, Interesting) 569

by pieterh (#45263083) Attached to: Why Is Broadband More Expensive In the US Than Elsewhere?

Once Upon a Time in America

Cheap communications has changed our society more than any other of our inventions and it has removed more tyrants from power than any weapon. Let’s take another step into the history books, back to May 1st, in 1844. Alfred Vail, working with Samuel Morse, was setting up the first telegraph line, and on that day sent the world’s first ever electronic message down the 24 miles of cable that were working, from Annapolis Junction to Washington D.C., to report the results of the Whig Party presidential nominations (Henry Clay won that nomination, and lost the subsequent election).

Just a decade later in 1855, the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company and the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company merged to create Western Union. One assumes new-york-and-mississippi-valley-and-western-union-printing-telegraph-company.com was already taken by domain name squatters.

By 1900, Western Union operated a million miles of telegraph lines, and by 1945 it had an effective monopoly over the US market. As the New Yorker wrote, monopolies make spying easier. It is an easy and obvious trade: the government allows, by inaction or by intervention, a powerful telecommunications company to become dominant in a market through mergers and acquisitions. In return that company provides the government with surveillance.

The New Yorker explains how Western Union used its monopoly to serve those in power:

What we now call electronic privacy first became an issue in the eighteen-seventies, after Western Union, the earliest and, in some ways, the most terrifying of the communications monopolies, achieved dominion over the telegraph system. Western Union was accused of intercepting and reading its customers’ telegraphs for both political and financial purposes (what’s now considered insider trading).

Western Union was a known ally of the Republican Party, but the Democrats of the day had no choice but to use its wires, which put them at a disadvantage; for example, Republicans won the contested election of 1876 thanks in part to an intercepted telegraph. The extent of Western Union’s actions might never be entirely known, since in response to a congressional inquiry the company destroyed most of its relevant records.

It is quite visible how cost gravity drove communications down from an experiment for the wealthy to a mass market product so cheap even Western Union couldn’t make profits from it. By 1980 its telegraph business was dying, and the old Western Union business was finally closed in 2006, after 151 years of operation. The name was, as we know, reused for a financial services company which today enjoys a government-sanctioned monopoly.

Curiously, Western Union’s long telegraph monopoly seems to have had only a small impact on the size of communications networks. If cost gravity was operating fully, at 29% a year, and telegraph costs were in free-fall, there would have been 37M miles of telegraph by 1900. Instead, assuming Western Union had half the market, there were 2M miles. That is a factor of 16 over 55 years, which is not much, and a part of that can be accounted for by quality improvements.

I’m also not sure what to do with the random figure of 113 million kilometers of fiber optic cable produced in 2010. A cable is a bundle of fibers, and the traffic rates are rather higher than Western Union’s old stock. Has cost gravity been working?

One smoking gun pointing to a century and half of cost gravity being hijacked by telecoms monopolies back through AT&T and Western Union is the cost of the modern equivalent of a telegraph, the text message. Let’s say the cost is one cent per message today. The purchasing price of $1 was 30 times greater in 1850 than it is today. If we apply cost gravity backwards, doubling that cost every two years, it would have cost over two million trillion dollars in 1850, allowing for that 30 times fall in the dollar.

Clearly cost gravity stops working when monopolists run the table. Not only do we pay taxes to be spied on, we are also grossly overcharged for using the tapped lines.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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