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Comment: Or Google could be made into a public utility... (Score 1, Troll) 216

by Paul Fernhout (#48479721) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

Just saying, there are other options; whether we pursue them is a different story. Google's non-search activities (like Google Apps, Chromium, other Google Lab stuff) generally only make significant financial sense to the company in the context of their search business, so breaking up Google means those spinoff businesses would probably immediately go bankrupt.

What was really wrong with an AT&T that funded Bell Labs and created UNIX with government-mandated 5% or so of revenue to be spent on (free and open source) R&D like was the case with AT&T? As someone once said, Bell Labs was funded by people dropping dimes into boxes across the country. Telephone costs have changed in the USA since the breakup, *but* it is not really clear how much of that had to do with the "baby bells" and competition and how much had to do with Moore's law an an exponential reduction in computing costs per MIP that made packet switching (even in the home) so much cheaper.

"The End of AT&T: Ma Bell may be gone, but its innovations are everywhere"
"It's 1974. Platform shoes are the height of urban fashion. Disco is just getting into full stride. The Watergate scandal has paralyzed the U.S. government. The new Porsche 911 Turbo helps car lovers at the Paris motor show briefly forget the recent Arab oil embargo. And the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. is far and away the largest corporation in the world.
    AT&T's US $26 billion in revenues--the equivalent of $82 billion today--represents 1.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. The next-largest enterprise, sprawling General Motors Corp., is a third its size, dwarfed by AT&T's $75 billion in assets, more than 100 million customers, and nearly a million employees.
    AT&T was a corporate Goliath that seemed as immutable as Gibraltar. And yet now, only 30 years later, the colossus is no more. Of the many events that contributed to the company's long decline, a crucial one took place in the autumn of that year. On 20 November 1974, the U.S. Department of Justice filed the antitrust suit that would end a decade later with the breakup of AT&T and its network, the Bell System, into seven regional carriers, the Baby Bells. AT&T retained its long-distance service, along with Bell Telephone Laboratories Inc., its legendary research arm, and the Western Electric Co., its manufacturing subsidiary. From that point on, the company had plenty of ups and downs. It started new businesses, spun off divisions, and acquired and sold companies. But in the end it succumbed. Now AT&T is gone. ...
    Should we mourn the loss? The easy answer is no. Telephone providers abound nowadays. AT&T's services continue to exist and could be easily replaced if they didn't.
    But that easy answer ignores AT&T's unparalleled history of research and innovation. During the company's heyday, from 1925 to the mid-1980s, Bell Labs brought us inventions and discoveries that changed the way we live and broadened our understanding of the universe. How many companies can make such a claim?
    The oft-repeated list of Bell Labs innovations features many of the milestone developments of the 20th century, including the transistor, the laser, the solar cell, fiber optics, and satellite communications. Few doubt that AT&T's R&D machine was among the greatest ever. But few realize that its innovations, paradoxically, contributed to the downfall of its parent. And now, through a series of events during the past three decades, this remarkable R&D engine has run out of steam. ...
    The funding came in large part from what was essentially a built-in "R&D tax" on telephone service. Every time we picked up the phone to place a long-distance call half a century ago, a few pennies of every dollar--a dollar worth far more than it is today--went to Bell Labs and Western Electric, much of it for long-term R&D on telecommunications improvements.
    In 1974, for example, Bell Labs spent over $500 million on nonmilitary R&D, or about 2 percent of AT&T's gross revenues. Western Electric spent even more on its internal engineering and development operations. Thus, more than 4 cents of every dollar received by AT&T that year went to R&D at Bell Labs and Western Electric.
    And it was worth every penny. This was mission-oriented R&D in an industrial context, with an eye toward practical applications and their eventual impact on the bottom line. ..."

In this content, "search" (and a related constellation of applications) has become a public utility. So, just treat it like one. Facebook likewise could be treated that way. As could Microsoft.

In general, these sorts of market failures (given the rich market leaders tend to get richer and more market leading) show a fundamental problem with free market ideology in practice in the 21st century. It does not matter in the social/political consequences if Google might someday be replace in our attention by some next huge monopoly market spanning entity. The point is that this keeps happening with significant effects on out social and political fabric, and the company names just change.

In any case, if Moore's law continues for another couple decades, today's Google server farm's computational capability might fit on a laptop of the 2040s, which could also store all the surface internet content of today. At that point, with all the possible human cultural content you might want stored and searchable just inches from your brain, what would Google's business model be? So, in that sense, this political power issue may be self-limiting, although we will see new issues, as "the right to be forgotten" will take on new complexities on the order of asking the populace to forget about what it previously learned about someone...

Comment: Not just Google (Score 2) 216

by c (#48476899) Attached to: Google Should Be Broken Up, Say European MPs

They voted to "separate search engines from other commercial services".

They just voted to break up Google, Microsoft, maybe Yahoo, Baidu, and as a consequence have ensured that no large corporation would bother getting into the search engine market.

At least, that would be the case if it actually had any teeth. I can't imagine it sticking...

+ - Google should be broken up, say European MPs

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The European Parliament has voted in favour of breaking Google up, as a solution to complaints that it favours is own services in search results. Politicians have no power to enforce a break-up, but the landmark vote sends a clear message to European regulators to get tough on the net giant. US politicians and trade bodies have voiced their dismay at the vote. The ultimate decision will rest with EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. She has inherited the anti-competitive case lodged by Google's rivals in 2010. Google has around 90% market share for search in Europe. The Commission has never before ordered the break-up of any company, and many believe it is unlikely to do so now. But politicians are desperate to find a solution to the long-running anti-competitive dispute with Google."

+ - Is Ruby on Rails Losing Steam?->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "In a post last week, Quartz ranked the most valuable programming skills, based on job listing data from Burning Glass and the Brookings Institution. Ruby on Rails came out on top, with an average salary of $109,460. And that may have been true in the first quarter of 2013 when the data was collected, but 'before you run out and buy Ruby on Rails for Dummies, you might want to consider some other data which indicate that Rails (and Ruby) usage is not trending upwards,' writes ITworld's Phil Johnson. Johnson looked at recent trends in the usage of Ruby (as a proxy for Rails usage) across MS Gooroo, the TIOBE index, the PYPL index, Redmonk's language rankings, and GitHut and found that 'demand by U.S. employers for engineers with Rails skills has been on the decline, at least for the last year.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - Carly Fiorina considering run for US President (Seriously!)->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Fired HP CEO ( and failed Republican Senate candidate (( Carly Fiorina "is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week." ("
Link to Original Source

Comment: Build or support alternatives where you are... (Score 1) 71

by Paul Fernhout (#48466113) Attached to: DHS Set To Destroy "Einstein" Surveillance Records

Whatever makes sense with your skills, resources, and connections... These alternatives are there to provide the seeds for a next generation. They can be things like non-profits, for-profits, hobbies, community organizations, libraries, social networks, barter exchanges, citizens groups focused on one important local issue like a better library or better infrastructure of some sort, a movement for a basic income, LETS systems, or whatever. A healthy society has a good mix of subsistence, gift, exchange, and planned transactions. If you think the system is out of balance, then create or support counterbalancing forces (in a legal, healthy, and optimistic way). Tiny non-profits across the USA are suffering from lack of leadership and members as TV and the internet and dual-income families soak up all the otherwise spare volunteer time. The "old" USA from a century or so ago had those strong traditions of a mix of all those things, and such a mix is at the root of "Democracy" IMHO.

I used to think Debian provided one example of alternative governance, although lately mostly bad news on that front regarding the systemd issue. Hopefully it will move past that and become stronger through some self-reflection.

Search on "Michael Rupert Evolution" on his "From the Wilderness" site for some related interesting reading where he tried to move to another country and it didn't work out (an extreme case, and I dismiss his worries about "Peak Oil" as overblown, but he had some insights there about building where you are now and are connected).

+ - Firefox Will Soon Offer One-Click Buttons for Your Search Engines

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today unveiled some of the new search features coming to Firefox. The company says the new additions are "coming soon to a Firefox near you" but didn’t give a more specific timeline. The news comes less than a week after Mozilla struck a deal with Yahoo to replace Google as the default search engine in its browser for U.S. users. At the time, the company said a new search experience was coming in December, so we’re betting the search revamp will come with the release of Firefox 34, which is currently in beta. In the future release, when you type a search term into the Firefox search box, you will get a list of reorganized search suggestions from the default search provider. Better yet, a new array of buttons below these suggestions will let you pick which search engine you want to send the query to."

+ - How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "For too long, it looked like SSD capacity would always lag well behind hard disk drives, which were pushing into the 6TB and 8TB territory while SSDs were primarily 256GB to 512GB. That seems to be ending. In September, Samsung announced a 3.2TB SSD drive. And during an investor webcast last week, Intel announced it will begin offering 3D NAND drives in the second half of next year as part of its joint flash venture with Micron. Meanwhile, hard drive technology has hit the wall in many ways. They can't really spin the drives faster than 7,200 RPM without increasing heat and the rate of failure. All hard drives have now is the capacity argument; speed is all gone. Oh, and price. We'll have to wait and see on that."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:a perfectly stupid idea. (Score 1) 630

by c (#48461021) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

You don't want 2/3 of the people who have the best understanding of the facility to be taken out in the first few minutes of an accident.

Understand who I'm talking about here; the bean counters who play around with the numbers and externalize risks in order to maximize profits at the expense of the safety of thousands of people, the economy and the environment, and who usually escape massive disasters caused by their poor planning with barely a slap on the wrist.

If they fuck it up badly enough that the plant even has the possibility of that kind of catastrophic failure, then yes, I do want them taken out, and I don't anticipate it making the slightest difference to managing the accident response.

Comment: Re:Deliberate (Score 1) 630

by c (#48460125) Attached to: Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change

5. Parts should be manufactured in factories using standard methods and specifications. Parts should be interchangeable from site to site. Minimize customizations as much as possible.

6. Anyone with responsibility for the safety, maintenance and/or operating budgets of a nuclear plant must reside, with their spouse and dependants, on or near the grounds of said nuclear plant for at least 9 months of the year.

Comment: Re:He definitely did know and understand the risk. (Score 4, Funny) 143

by c (#48460033) Attached to: Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"

This is nothing but yet another one of his charades and PR stunts. He is not fighting for you or your right to keep a "backup copy". Trying to get everyone on the net riled up is just yet another PR stunt. Kim always has been and always will be caring for only one person: himself. And he will not hesitate to lie and step on former friends and partners alike. Never just trusting anything he says should be the default.

... and yet, somehow, he still comes across as less sleazy than the people going after him.

+ - Researchers Find The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist->

Submitted by Beeftopia
Beeftopia (1846720) writes "From the article: "For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers, and the shortage was solved. In contrast, Salzman concluded in a paper released last year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, real IT wages are about the same as they were in 1999. Further, he and his co-authors found, only half of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) college graduates each year get hired into STEM jobs. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) would like to have more, cheaper workers,” says Salzman’s co-author Daniel Kuehn, now a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.”"
Link to Original Source

+ - Sony Comes To A Screeching Halt Targeted By Massive Ransomware Hack->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "It appears that Sony has become the victim of a massive ransomware hack which has resulted in the company basically shutting down. An unnamed source has noted this, claiming that the company shut down after its computers in New York and around the nation were infiltrated. The source is an ex-employee of Sony Pictures who has a friend that still works for the company. According to the source's friend, allegedly, every computer in Sony's New York Office, and every Sony Pictures office across the nation, bears an image from the hacker with the headline "Hacked By #GOP" which is then followed by a warning. The hacker, or group, claims to have obtained corporate secrets and has threatened to reveal those secrets at 11:00 PM GMT tonight if Sony doesn't meet their demands. What those demands are and what is #GOP has yet to be determined."
Link to Original Source

+ - Attack Of The One-Letter Programming Languages

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-and-check roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. 'A long time ago — long before Netflix, Hulu, and HBO battled for the living room — people went to the movie theaters for their weekly dose of video streaming. There were usually only two movies, and you couldn't choose the order. (The horror!) The double feature began with the big stars — the Javas and JavaScripts of the acting world — but then it got interesting. The second feature, the so-called B movie, was where the new ideas, odder actors, and weirder scripts found their home. Some proved rich enough with exactly the right kind of out-there thinking to garner significant cult followings — even break through to the mainstream. The programming languages with one-letter names are one such corner of the Internet. They're all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. ... Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed.'"

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound