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Comment: Re:Monopolistic thuggish behavior (Score 1) 199

For me it goes like this:

Electric company - thug
Water company - thug
Gas company - ok
Cable company - thug
Wireless company - thug
Phone company - thug (stopped using 8 years ago because they wouldn't repair their lines)
Trash company - ok

So there are 7 private companies I deal with for important services. FIVE of them are monopolistic thugs that do things like sending bills without reading the meters and fail to keep their infrastructure in reasonable repair (try having to boil water for two weeks because the water company didn't repair their treatment facility after a storm damaged it years ago and see what your opinion on this is).

These state sanctioned monopolies are the children of Satan. Or maybe Eris. They get into the regulators knickers and generally then do anything they please.

Comcast is now bidding to own the interwebs. Tell whoever you can that this would be a disaster for America.

Comment: Re:How long until every stream links to Amazon? (Score 1) 57

by _xeno_ (#47758921) Attached to: Amazon To Buy Twitch For $970 Million

The lag time is determined by the streamer, many choose to make it just a few seconds but some do choose longer times, which definitely does inhibit their ability to interact with their audience via chat.

Apparently (and I don't know that this is true as I don't use Twitch that often) you can't reduce it to a reasonable time any more. (Maybe it's changed?) All I know is that people I know who do stream games where they want to have audience participation (things like having the stream direct the choices they make in an RPG) have switched to using HitBox due to the amount of lag between when they do something and when the viewers see it.

Comment: My friend was immune (Score 4, Funny) 221

by EmperorOfCanada (#47757925) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers
A frustrating friend of mine who periodically calls me for computer help but will argue with any help I offer got nailed by one of these guys. Except that he argued with them the whole time and wouldn't follow their instructions. The only thing that ended up being changed was that he deleted his browser icon from his desktop.

Comment: Re:Some versions of it are marxist. (Score 2) 433

The problem with your analysis is that the laissez-faire folks would see points all of your stipulations as Marxist.

1. In unfettered capitalism monopolies are fine. While you don't want regulated markets. construction of monopolies through price manipulation etc. is fine. This is how we ended up with stuff like Standard Oil. Look what happened with the breakup of AT&T - gradually the companies formed by the split re-merged. Only regulation has prevented formation of a monopoly.

2, 3 and 4 are obviously restriction on free commerce and therefore Marxist.

Comment: Re:Urgh (Score 2) 433

Marxism is probably preferable to the feudal society these guys are promoting.

That's an interesting comparison. Ignoring the question of whether "these guys" are promoting feudalism, I find it interesting to think about which actually is better, Marxism or feudalism, as an economic system.

From an ideological perspective, Marxism is better, in theory at least, because placing all ownership of property in the hands of a few lords is blatantly unfair. From a practical perspective, though, I'm not sure there's a difference, because every attempt to implement Marxism on any scale larger than a small commune ends up putting control of all property in the hands of a few committee members. I don't think there is any real difference between ownership and control that looks just like ownership but isn't.

In both cases, what you have is central planning, normally organized on multiple tiers to address the fact that no one person or committee can understand and manage it all. However, feudal systems tend to create stronger demarcations between the tiers, and very strong separation of control between the fiefs. This allows for the development of a market economy between fiefs, plus whatever internal markets the feudal lords choose to allow. And those who allow greater economic freedom will find their fiefs generating greater wealth, and feudalism is, er, not much constrained by ideological considerations.

I suppose a Marxist nation that organized itself as a collection of small communes who engaged in market transactions between one another could do that as well, but I think the ideology tends to squash that idea, because if communal ownership works at the small scale, why not expand it?

All in all, though neither is a very effective economic structure, I suspect that feudalism would be better than Marxism given comparable levels of technology and education. Marx obviously thought his system would be an improvement, since his whole focus was transitioning from feudalism to the "improved" world of communal ownership. But I think history has proved that he was simply wrong.

Comment: How long until every stream links to Amazon? (Score 5, Informative) 57

by _xeno_ (#47755915) Attached to: Amazon To Buy Twitch For $970 Million

For those not familiar with Twitch, every stream contains a "Now Playing: (Game)" thing with it, and you can select which game you're playing from a pre-defined list of games.

Bets on how long until that become a link straight to Amazon to buy said game, and how long until streamers become Amazon affiliates and start getting money for driving people to buy their games off Amazon?

Because that's the only angle I can see Amazon having here: trying to get gamers to grab games off Amazon. (And they do sell digital game downloads, so they do compete with things like Steam.)

Maybe Amazon can fix some of Twitch's more recent problems like the horrendous stream lag that makes it impossible for streamers to communicate with the stream chat since the stream now has something like 30 seconds of latency between streamer and audience. Then there's Twitch's new weird anti-piracy thing where they mute audio if they detect that the audio contains a copyrighted song (hint: for video games, that's always) and whatever other issues people are complaining about Twitch these days since I never bother to use it.

Comment: Re:I forced myself to watch it (Score 1) 296

by swillden (#47753859) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

I know that someone was beheaded. It is clear that this is an horrible and cruel act, that nobody and nobody's family should experience. What information does it add to watch the video? You can convey the relevant information in text.

No, you can't. The fact you think so is the entire problem.

I think so, too, and I don't think it's a problem. Rather than just telling people they're talking out of their ass, why don't you explain what value is gained by watching it? Obviously there's no factual information in the video that can't be expressed in a few sentences of text, so the only think I can suppose is that you're of the opinion that the greater emotional impact of seeing it has value.

What, precisely, is that value? For me, personally, I can't imagine what it would be. I don't think anything could make me more strongly opposed to the act of beheading an innocent journalist. Seeing it would make that opposition more visceral -- perhaps in an almost literal sense -- but it wouldn't increase my opposition. It wouldn't lower my opinion of the terrorists, either, since it's not possible to hold a lower opinion of them than I do.

So what is the value of seeing it?

Comment: Assume it isn't secure (Score 3, Insightful) 115

by EmperorOfCanada (#47751291) Attached to: Securing the US Electrical Grid
The worst thing they can do is to secure it and then depend upon the security working. Thus the system should be designed so that if it is hacked every other Monday that it can survive. There have been a number of recent (last 20 years) events that have shown that single points of failure can have devastating effects. So make sure that if terrible things happen that a lesser grid can be maintained manually.

A great example of this would be a local grocery store chain's SAP system failed shortly before Christmas(some years ago). They were so dependant upon it that their ability to order stuff and manage inventory was pretty much non existent. So the store ended up looking like some kind of soviet grocery store where the only goods on the shelves were pretty much those that are managed by the distributors themselves; things like milk.

This grocery store hopefully has learned from this and now has some kind of manual backup plan where a store manager can actually phone in his orders and crudely manage the store's needs in the case of another serious computer outage.

The same with the grid. Ideally they set some sort of minimal functionality emergency plan whereby humans can crudely manage the system as opposed to a system that either works perfectly by computer or doesn't work at all.

But I worry far less about hackers and far more about system design failures and Carrington events.

Comment: I live in a near zero earthquake area (Score 4, Funny) 190

by EmperorOfCanada (#47743355) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Prepared Are You For an Earthquake?
Where I live (Nova Scotia) basically doesn't have earthquakes. So the risk here would be Tsunami from a distant earthquake. Interestingly enough if there were a Tsunami the configuration of the seafloor would cause it to be massive and wipe everything out for 10 or more miles inland.

I am not sure how many bottles of water I would need for that scenario.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.