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Comment Re:the lard of hosts for fat ads (Score 1) 327

Prior to the rise of advertising, almost all sites were 'independent'. They'll be around for a long time after the end of Internet advertising, because they're run for love, not money.

And none of those sites carried breaking news or the AP wire, at least not legally. Or had sports scores (ditto). Or showed streaming video other than self-produced content in 240 x 160 "QuickTime postage stamp theater" format. Or paid anyone to write content for them. Or provided social media capabilities (vital to the ubiquity of the Internet, whether you personally like/use them or not). Or did much of fucking anything other than be personal projects or part-time blogs that ran until the proprietor got a job/spouse/kid and realized it was an unsustainable time (and bandwidth cost) investment. All that would be left is e-commerce sites; personal sites where the creator can handle technical duties and pay the cost of hosting (remember, no ad-supported WordPress!); 100% sponsored sites (which would thereby lose all credibility of independent thought); big corporations that could afford making "loss leader" websites or sustain the costs of being subscription-only (also as bad); a tiny number of donation-only sites like Wikipedia with enough notoriety to sustain themselves; and some government pages funded by your tax dollars.

I loved the era when you had to install WinSock or MacTCP to use your college's Internet connection. Browse the Wayback Machine from 1996 and you'll get warm fuzzy feelings, but remember that this was when the Internet was a nerd phenomenon like Usenet, not a global force for easy information dissemination and democratization of media. To return to it would be the death knell of the Internet in all functional ways.

Advertising may be annoying. But it is what fueled the growth of the Internet into what it is today, and I personally don't see celebrating the death of sites like Ars Technica, Longform, Foxtrot Alpha, Jalopnik, The Onion, Kotaku, TheForce.Net, Grantland, Slate,, or pretty much any other site on the web that I currently enjoy for free. Insert whatever other site here that you enjoy reading and you do not currently directly pay for.Your mileage may vary, but I don't think "the rest of the world will celebrate" as you seem to believe.

Comment Re:The useless and redundant (Score 1) 55

Back in the real world, the reason there are so few phone companies is because the government gives them a monopoly on use of radio frequencies.

Umm, no. The reason that there are so few mobile phone carriers is that it is really f***ing expensive to put up 40,000 or so nationwide towers and all the network infrastructure and BSS/OSS needed to support them. Never mind care, devices, sales channels, marketing and all the rest. Cellular services simply don't work well with unlicensed spectrum (capacity planning is a NIGHTMARE if you don't know who you're sharing spectrum with and what their loads are), so you also need to have the money to buy spectrum licenses. (That's right, none of the carriers were "given" a monopoly on their spectrum, they had to buy it. For a lot of money.)

This is what business school professors call "high barriers to market entry." If you don't have giant piles of money in quantities starting with the letter "B," you naturally can't play. Sure, there are lots of MVNOs which can be stood up comparatively cheaply (as in the tens of millions of dollars startup cost), but those aren't new carriers, they are just resellers of one of the "big four." If you want to be a local wireless company where you don't need many towers etc. then you can do that - there are dozens of those in the US, primarily serving rural areas where the "big guys" don't see a good enough return on investment - but they have no pretensions of being competitors on a national scope.

It's like asking "why aren't there more car companies?" It's not because of regulation (though I am not personally a big fan of government regulation of wireless), it's because it costs a metric f***ton of money to become a company that builds its own cars.

Comment Re:Sprint quality is so good (Score 1) 55

That's adaptive multi-rate wideband, which goes by the commercial name of "HD Voice."

Yes and no. You're correct about the above, which is the codec being used, but the larger point is that when you're calling between iPhone 6 or higher (or Samsung Galaxy 5+, etc.) users on the same network, you're using VoLTE. It's not about Sprint per se; if you are on a VoLTE-capable phone with any US major carrier, and you call someone else on that carrier with a VoLTE-capable phone, you will get that same enhanced audio quality.

From analog phones through GSM 3G, everything was built around circuit switched voice, with the same audio quality that was the standard since digital switches were introduced onto the landline phone network. LTE is packet-based from the ground up, and everything else is just an application on top, including voice. And VoLTE is the LTE voice application standard, which uses different LTE EPS Bearers and provides a higher voice quality. (True fact: if you have a LTE phone but it's not designed for VoLTE, when you place a call your phone will drop back to the 3G network in order to make a regular circuit switched voice call.) VoLTE inter-carrier support is limited so calls between carriers, even on VoLTE phones, will go through a PSTN bridge at some point where you lose the enhanced quality. But generally speaking any intra-carrier call between VoLTE-capable phones (if both users are on the carrier's LTE footprint) will provide that same high-quality audio.

Comment Re:Google is mining my user data? (Score 5, Insightful) 101

I know your post is funny, but let's not overlook the opportunity to critique what is possibly the worst Slashdot article ever.

Apple, Microsoft Tout Their Privacy Policies To Get Positive PR

As opposed to all those times when companies tout thing to get negative PR?

Apple hasn't changed its privacy policy in more than a year

Okay, looking for the news here.

but that didn't stop the company from putting up a glossy website explaining it in layman's terms

Well, this is bad because... you know, because, something?

Microsoft too has been touting its respect for its users's privacy.

Link? Article? Something?

This doesn't represent any high-minded altruism on those companies' parts, of course

Of course. Because, you know, [CITATION NEEDED]

it's part of their battle against Google, their archrival that offers almost all of its services for free and makes its money mining user data.

Dear Slashdot/Dice/whoever is actually running the show, can someone actually articulate where there is actually anything to talk about here? Maybe other than stoking a clickbait + flame bait war over who loves TEH GOOOGLES vs. the homosexuals who likes TEH APPLES and the obvious shills who are the only ones who claim to like TEH MICROSOFTS omg zerg rush?

Seriously, Slashdot, WTF? What. The. Fuck? An article about how one company hasn't changed its privacy policy, and how another has... not done anything? What The. Fuck?

Look, I haven't left this site yet because I haven't found a better alternative. But you're making it harder and harder every day to justify staying here with shit like this.

Comment Re:Estimates (Score 2) 299

what's really needed is for the sales people to not sell something they don't know what they're selling, because then you end up with a project that's starting and has a deadline before anyone knows wtf it's supposed to even do.

Then how would anyone every buy or sell any professional services work, or custom system development? If you are building a new ERP system for a client, you can't tell them "Well, we'll build it for you and then tell you how much it will cost after we're done." Maybe you can get away with a "cost plus" approach in the government (and we've all seen how well that works in terms of conserving taxpayer dollars), but in the real world a customer needs to budget for development well before it's delivered.

Or take another example: commercial airliners have a multi-year sales and development cycle; should Boeing salespeople not solicit any orders on a new plane until it's rolled off the assembly line (and how would they even know how many to build)? The fact is that in most industries you need to have customers pre-sold on any new product (software or physical) in order to 1.) know how much of it to make, 2.) to know what features are vital, and 3.) to have a reasonable payback period on your investment.

The fact is that there will always be things being sold or committed very early in the development process. The only way to keep things from going sideways is to have good salespeople managed by good managers and working with good engineers who all collectively communicate frequently to keep expectations manageable. And that requires good people, which is hard. There is no magic bullet to get this right or else everyone would be doing it.

Comment Re:Analog DRM, no way (Score 1) 92

In case you're wondering, it was simply that only the rental store could rewind rental tapes (cartridges). Not so much rights management as blanket functionality removal.

Yes, but it can also been seen as a rather clever technical solution to the question of "how do you get people to only watch a movie once if that is what they paid for?" Of course the smarter approach would have been that adopted by the later VHS rental industry - just pay for how long you keep it, not how many times you watched it. But these guys were writing the rules as they went along in an entirely new market, and it's at least a concept that was worth exploring given the technology at hand (and potential hostility of the movie industry).

The article notes that it was only the rental cartridges which couldn't be rewound by the home units, so it's not like that was entirely missing functionality. I still think it's a smart and simple technical approach to a business question given the limited technology at hand.

Comment Re:Why human in the loop? (Score 1) 104

It would seem being an air traffic controller would be an easily automated task.

So it would seem. But there are a lot of them today, and axing human workers in favor of computers - even if the computers can do the job better - is always contentious.

This appears to be one of those issues where the Slashdot "horde" is of two minds: 1.) Technology is awesome and more reliable! and 2.) Down with automation when it replaces human jobs (or down with even replacing national human jobs with international ones)! From what I understand, given the more generally socialist and "universal welfare" stance of Scandinavian countries (with their low immigration rates and [in some cases] petrochemical trust funds), it would seem like even more of a battle to replace human workers.

As they say, "where you stand depends on where you sit," and I will be curious to see where the Slashbot majority falls on this particular question of automated coolness vs. white collar (not tech per se but definitely middle class) local jobs. Are those (at least in the US, unionized) jobs more important than potentially better results for all travelers through improved technology?

Comment Re:Critical Cable? (Score 1) 145

There shouldn't be critical cables. There should be redundant paths to make the network tolerant to any individual cut.

There should also be a magic money tree to pay for all the digging and trenching, and the expensive rights of way to make sure that the East Dead Cowskull, Texas, Central Office has redundant fiber in the middle of the Panhandle.

Oh wait, there is a magic money tree! It's your phone or Internet bill! Because if any of the major fiber/ISP/cable/whatevers built 100% physically diverse networks, that's where the money would come from. Unless it came from taxpayers, which is even worse.

Comment Re:Can't trust them to make a AppleTV (Score 1) 174

That it can not store local movies as well is annoying. How many of us have kids who watch the same thing over and over and we watch our caps die a quick death?

You are familiar with iTunes Home Sharing, right? You download the movie/show/whatever once to a PC that's on the same WiFi network as the Apple TV, start Home Sharing, and away you go - get the content over your WLAN with no need to use up your Internet caps. No storage on the Apple TV itself (other than for buffering) required.

Comment Re:Pretty reasonable (Score 1) 235

Copyright infringement is not really, not morally a crime

Disagree. Like many other crimes, it's easy to rationalize when you think of it as a crime against a faceless conglomerate or something. And, let's face it, I have downloaded stuff for free before that I shouldn't, you probably have too, so we like to wave our hands and say it's not really a crime or morally wrong, because we abstract things so the "victim" is someone we have no sympathy for.

But that's not really true, is it? Let's say for example that the copyright infringement was giving away free copies of a very useful $4.99 app that an independent developer worked very hard on. Or maybe it was giving away free copies of a $3.99 Amazon Kindle Single by a first time author or a Comixology independent comic. If you were the party that made these things and then had other people redistributing them for free... you would be pissed, right?

The fact of the matter is that when Person/Company/Whatever X says "I made this thing, I would like you to pay for it in order to use it," then morally our only choice is to say "yes, I agree to your terms in order to get this thing you created" or to say "no thanks, your thing is not worth the price you are asking." Taking and using the thing but not paying the price asked is not a morally valid choice.

Look, we all know some content creators are greedy, unfair, predatory or worse. And if it's technically easy to pirate their works, a lot of us will. But let's not try to fool ourselves that this is a victimless crime, or to think that our moral evaluation of the part on the other end of the (non-)transaction makes any difference. Downloading for free stuff that the rightful owner wants you to pay for is not morally ambiguous. It's wrong. Many of us (including me!) sometimes do it. But let's not kid ourselves about the morality of what we're doing.

Comment Re:Why not ... (Score 1) 306

Exactly. This is the data apple has, it's the data being requested, the fact that neither apple nor the FBI can do anything useful with it should be of no legal concern to apple.

It's not what is being requested, though. The FBI is seeking something akin to the CALEA wiretap requirements that phone companies must comply with, where the carrier is responsible for turning over the plaintext or unencrypted audio, not a raw data dump.

CALEA is odd and outdated, in that it only applies to voice communications. (That includes VoIP services provided by wireless or landline phone companies.) There is no direct CALEA equivalent for data, though, in that if all you have is the encrypted stuff, then that's what you turn over in response to a subpoena. The FBI is trying to get around this issue by enforcing a CALEA equivalent on Apple, even though it's not a law - hence the disagreement and why Apple isn't being forced to re-architect iMessage so they can hand over the plaintext.

Comment Re:emperor sans clothing (Score 1) 440

I don't think it's fair to call Steve Jobs a fruit. His sexual preference should not be an issue. Now, if you're referring to Apple customers... you still get points off for the homophobic slur, but gain points for accuracy.

Ha ha the people that buys the iPhones, they are teh GAYZ! I get the joke and it is teh funneys!

Some people like different things than you and are willing to pay for them. Not all of them are idiots, hipsters or TEH GAYZ. Apple makes terrible stuff for enterprise, but for the home? I really, really like the OS X UI. I like the way iTunes integrates with AppleTV, I like the way OS X backs up seamlessly to Time Capsule wireless base stations. I like the way iOS hands off phone calls to my Mac, I like the way the iOS and Mac app stores curate out malware. I like the way iMessages show up on all my devices, I like the way Siri works. I like that my Mac personal computers last longer than the Windows computers I get for work (your mileage may vary).

I like buying Apple stuff and think I get value for my money. You can call me stupid or TEH GAYZZZ if you want. Or you can just accept that other people like different stuff than you do and be a grownup about it.

Comment Re: Good for him. (Score 1) 440

Just to make sure I understand Slashbot logic correctly:

  • When Google (Android, search) has huge marketshare, it's clear evidence of a superior product
  • When Oracle, Microsoft or Apple has big marketshare, it's clear evidence of people being stupid


  • When Google makes huge profits, it's clear evidence of a superior product set
  • When Apple makes huge profits, it's clear evidence of people being stupid

Throwing out a crazy left-field idea here, but is there any remote chance that some people - or perhaps a lot of people - just find value in different things than the typical Slashbotter does? Just maybe there is some reason other than massive cranial deficiencies that the Linux desktop, Roku, Ogg Vorbis, Ubuntu Phone, Symbian, Libre Office and 3D Printers have not yet taken over the world?

Comment Don't overthink it (Score 5, Insightful) 174

I bought a fancy new DSLR camera five years ago when my first child was born. During the first 12 months of the child's life, I'd say I generated close to 15 GB of photos of her - every first burp, every time she went for a walk, etc. was absolutely precious.

Flash forward a couple years and the DSLR sits on a shelf because I realized that 1.) all the photos I took of her seemed incredibly important at the time but are never looked at any more, 2.) I don't really need 16 megapixels of every moment of her life, and 3.) what's most important to me is always having the camera with me for the truly cute and memorable times I do want to take pictures of her or her little sister.

So all the photos of my older daughter since age 1 1/2 or so and all the photos since her little sister was born have been taken with a cellphone camera. It's good enough for anything but a portrait/Christmas card staged photo, and it's with me all the time. The only time I wish I still carried the DSLR all the time is when the kids are doing something split-second and the cellphone camera doesn't shoot quickly enough to capture it. Your mileage may vary, but just don't be surprised if whatever awesome setup you invest in becomes less and less used over time...

Comment Re:Ouch? (Score 1) 301

It's like, if you rob a bank for real it's bank robbery, if you plan to do it it's conspiracy and you've still broken the law.

That depends. Did you actually plan to go through with the bank robbery? Or from the outset did you know you were just fantasizing about being Bonnie and Clyde, and you were just pretending to plan a bank robbery because it gave you a thrill to act like your nebbishy couch-potato self really ever would?

I'm sure there are people who believe that even playfully flirting with someone else while you are in a committed relationship is infidelity. Most people - or at least those who have been married a long time - would probably see that as harmless as long as you never had any intent to go through with it.

To your point, I would agree that joining Ashley Madison goes well beyond the harmless flirting stage, and you can't tell from the outside whether someone did it for kicks or as a serious precursor to infidelity. But it is entirely possible that at least some subset of users did it without any intention of being physically unfaithful.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"