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Comment: Re:Google's acquisition of Android Inc. Q.E.D. (Score 1) 86

by schnell (#48668279) Attached to: Comcast-TWC Merger Review On Hold

Partly right, partly wrong.

AT&T has publicly announced that it would like to abandon the old copper POTS network by 2020. And, yes, that means not upgrading something that they are trying to get rid of. The company's stated goal is to have fiber in the vast majority of areas by then to replace the copper, although I think at least in most cases the copper will still be the actual physical connection at your home or building's NID.

But the reason is almost certainly not to push cellular broadband on a wide scale. Cellular uses up a finite resource of very expensive wireless spectrum. It's much better to transport fixed phone and data over fiber, and save that spectrum and capacity for mobile users. The main reason to get rid of the all-copper (TDM) infrastructure I believe, is that if you are limited to DS-3 backhaul into an area, at best it only lets you sell phone or DSL service, whereas a fiber-driven infrastructure (all the way to the curb, or at least fiber to the neighborhood and copper for the very last leg of the trip) lets you sell cable TV services, high-speed Internet, etc. That's what FiOS and Uverse are.

From what I understand, the idea is only to push cellular broadband as a replacement for USF obligations where it is cost prohibitive to run fiber (think rural areas). That at least would make much more sense than trying to get everyone to go wireless when you have a perfectly good wireline connection to use.

Comment: Re:Story is BS. Make it Right cards aren't that bi (Score 1) 130

by schnell (#48662311) Attached to: Comcast's Lobbyists Hand Out VIP Cards To Skip the Customer Service Wait

Or, more to the point, why doesn't everyone get this level of service?

Not to defend Comcast here, because they do have shitty customer service generally. But the state of customer service is what it is because people generally aren't willing to pay for more. Better service = hiring more reps and/or building better customer service tools = more costs which will be passed on to the customer. Sure, they could be Good Guys and decide to spend more on customer care and not increase your bill to do it - but honestly what consumer services company out there ever does that?

You can get better customer service... you just have to pay for it. Try signing up for a business class service, and you'll see a world of difference. But, again, you have to be willing to pay for it. It's just like with airlines - everyone complains about the crappy seats and paying for soda. But you can get nice seats and free booze on the plane... but you have to pay for a first class ticket. The vast majority of us (myself included) say we want better service but we refuse to put our money where our mouths are and pay for it.

Comment: Re:Marketing? (Score 5, Insightful) 239

by schnell (#48649025) Attached to: Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

We're talking about the company that put a rootkit on its music CDs.

I can't believe I'm defending these guys, but...

The rootkit fiasco was Sony BMG Entertainment, not Sony Pictures. Yes, they are both parts of Sony corporation but they are separate business units with separate reporting structures inside a megagiant international conglomerate. Blaming SPE for Sony BMG actions is like blaming the Department of Agriculture for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping because they are both part of the US government.

Comment: Re:Pulled Fox News ... (Score 5, Insightful) 274

by schnell (#48648565) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

looks like someone is hurt

Who's hurt? I have no problem with Fox News per se and I have no problem with people who agree with Fox News. If that's what you like, that's fine, especially if you understand Fox News to be an editorial product. But it is clearly disingenuous at best when it claims to be "fair and balanced," and some people either trust Fox more than they should, or are not possessed of enough critical thinking skills to see if for what it is, which is bad for society.

fox news is number one in viewers and ratings for every 1 cnn hln etc viewer there is 100 to 10,000 watching fox news . if it was fud then other news networks would eat them alive

I think you are equating being "popular" with being "good," and that is a pretty serious mistake. I think it's also a mistake to recognize that it may well be popular entirely because it's FUD. Many, many people - conservative Fox viewers, liberal MSNBC viewers, whatever - want someone to pick all their news for them in advance so that they don't have to encounter any news in the world that doesn't agree with their beliefs. That's their right but I think we would be less of a toxically polarized society if we listened to more two-sided views, or at least acknowledged the biases that were driving us to want to only consume a politically slanted news message.

Comment: Re:Pulled Fox News ... (Score 5, Insightful) 274

by schnell (#48647283) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

Do differing viewpoints upset you?

There is nothing wrong with Fox News as a source for people who go looking to hear the news from a particular viewpoint. The problem with Fox News is that they pretend - smirkingly because they're smart enough to know the truth - that they are "fair and balanced." And some (many, actually) people who are naive or intellectually uncurious actually believe this is an even-handed depiction of reality instead of an editorialized view. This leads these people to think that everything in the world that is wrong is due to muslims, liberals or Obama (who is both). And that in turn leads to extremism and fosters ever more deep and toxic political divides.

I have no problem at all with differing viewpoints. I only have a problem with those - and this includes "news" sources across the spectrum from the New York Post to Adbusters - that are willing to actively mislead the reader in order to advance their particular editorial slant and agenda. While it may be fun as entertainment for the knowing, it is deadly poison for the health of the community as a whole for those who really believe it. Think about someone who has a 100 IQ... and then realize that half the country is dumber than that.

Comment: Re:Antipodal eruptions (Score 4, Funny) 78

by schnell (#48644391) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

I'd be more inclined to believe we don't have our dating methods perfected quite yet.

Wait: you talking about archaeologists or slashdot members here?

Either you are a creationist who believes humans and non-Avian dinosaurs coexisted or don't know the difference between an archaeologist and a paleontologist.

No, see, he was making a joke. "Dating" is a homonym, it can mean the act of establishing how old a thing is or it can mean the act of romantic courtship. And he's making a joke about how people on Slashdot might not be good at interacting with (typical) females since they tend to be so literal and have a hard time doing things like interpreting social meaning or context or...

You know what? Fuck it, you're right. He's a creationist.

+ - Marissa Mayer's reinvention of Yahoo! stumbles

Submitted by schnell
schnell (163007) writes "The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?"

Comment: Re:Thus, they fully admit (Score 2) 20

by schnell (#48623003) Attached to: Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

Google Strikes Deal With Verizon To Reduce Patent Troll Suits

What I don't understand is that this is supposed to be a patent cross-licensing deal between Google and Verizon, which has nothing to do with anyone else. Per the headline, does that mean that Google is a patent troll? Or is that Verizon? Or both?

I don't understand. Unless of course it's just terrible editing on Slashdot with a clickbait headline that is unrelated to the story at hand. That I would understand.

Comment: Re:Verizon admits it's a "weakness" (Score 1) 170

by schnell (#48614185) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

I doubt it will be very long before third parties apart from government figure out how to access their backdoor.

No, because the "backdoor" is getting a judge to sign a warrant for the police to wiretap you, and the police submitting that request to Verizon through official channels so that Verizon uses the keys that they have to decrypt the communication and give it to the police.

How is a third party going to use that?

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 4, Informative) 170

by schnell (#48614151) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

An unconstitutional law is actually not a law at all.

What's unconstitutional about CALEA? It requires police to show probable cause and have a judge sign off on a request, just as if it were a warrant for arrest or any other search and seizure of personal records. Whether it does so in practice is a different question, but in theory the law itself is at least designed to be fully compatible with the Fourth Amendment.

NSA warrantless wiretapping? Almost certainly unconstitutional, by any reading other than Dick Cheney's. CALEA? Probably not so much.

And BTW an unconstitutional law is still a law. Not sure where you learned your legal theory. A law that's unconstitutional should in theory be overturned by the courts so that it's not a law anymore - that's how "checks and balances" work - but until such time, it is most definitely a law and entirely enforceable!

Comment: Re:Depends... (Score 4, Informative) 170

by schnell (#48613635) Attached to: Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

Nobody is being "backdoored" here except as required by law. The linked story summary is a troll for mentioning the NSA - it has nothing to do with them, but either the writer doesn't know what they're talking about or they just figured that would get more clicks.

Telecom providers are required to make sure that any voice service they sell is compliant with CALEA. There is no direct CALEA equivalent today for data services, interestingly - this is how far behind the times the Feds can be. And yes everything in LTE is data but for the purposes of the law, anything where you are talking - for example VoIP - is considered a voice service.

CALEA basically means that if you (the telecom) get a wiretap order - signed by a judge - from a law enforcement agency, you need to wiretap and record that user's calls for the specified time period, decrypt them if necessary, and then turn them over to the law enforcement agency. Verizon had to make this service CALEA compliant, or they couldn't have offered it. And remember that CALEA is not about mass wireless surveillance a la NSA but is actually about targeted recordings of specific individuals where there is probable cause enough to get a judge to sign off on the wiretap order. Very different things. You can dislike CALEA but you can't blame Verizon for putting in some magical backdoor - that has absolutely zero to do with the NSA - which they are required by law to have.

However for the privacy-minded it should be noted that the way things work, CALEA only applies to telecom providers. If you bought the same software from a non-telecom source (e.g. the software OEM themselves) and put it on your phone, then CALEA won't help law enforcement because Verizon wouldn't have the key to decrypt your calls with and could only turn over the encrypted stream. So if you are worried about being wiretapped by the police, don't buy your encryption service from your phone company.

Comment: Re:There's only one image organizing program (Score 1) 259

by schnell (#48598229) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Software For Image Organization?

I'm genuinely curious - what does Lightroom do that iPhoto on OS X doesn't? I have extensive (non-professional) photo archives in iTunes for the easy import, automatic facial recognition, ease of posting to social media etc. but if Lightroom does really awesome stuff I would certainly consider switching.

Comment: Re:transfer the ID information to the police (Score 1) 207

by schnell (#48579461) Attached to: In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

It seems reasonable that we could just eliminate having to carry around physical IDs altogether (at least as a requirement of the law) and have the police taking pictures and/or typing in a name to verify someone's identity.

Neat idea but it misses a lot of practical problems.

Many police cars are equipped with cameras that can read via OCR your license plate (called "Automated License Plate Recognition" or ALPR) and check against a database to see if your car has been reported stolen, is reported in an Amber Alert, etc.

However, the person driving the car is a totally different issue. Let's assume that there's no requirement that you have a personal driver's license.

The officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she says, "name please?" You say "Oliver Klozoff." Without that government-issued ID you can make up any darn name you want to. That officer has no way to get you to produce your real name, even if it is Osama bin Laden and you're driving around the country touring Whataburger locations. Oliver Klozoff isn't an owner of that car? Well, your friend lent it to you for the afternoon, what's wrong with that? So without the fact that driving without a physical license is a crime, the cop has no way to figure out if you are a wanted person or not. Not a great thing for catching wanted people (see Timothy McVeigh and his traffic stop arrest after the Oklahoma City bombing for example).

On the flip side of civil liberties - the officer pulls you over for speeding and he/she takes your picture and runs it against a visual database stored by the DMV. Unfortunately, because it's nighttime and lit only by the officer's flashlight, and you grew a beard since you had your driver's license photo taken and put on some weight, you are no longer recognized as a valid driver in your state. Why not arrest you just to be sure?

You get the idea. Think of a driver's license like a form of two-factor authentication. It's not the physical card itself which is important so much as that it is a token which only you are supposed to have, which links you back to a known set of credentials at the state level which can be attached to a permission to drive, a known wants/warrants record, or so on and so forth. Just like how your physical passport isn't what is important when you enter the country - it's just a good way to get started when they scan it into a database where the real information is stored that can figure out who you are.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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