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Comment: Re:Thing is, we know what we have to do (Score 1) 126

by JWW (#47766569) Attached to: Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

When you put it that way it sounds much more sensible, and tint as simple.

I do not disagree that technological advances will save us. I do disagree that carbon taxes and regulations will.

When these things you advocate outperform the old fossil fuel based variants, they will take over completely. Oh and those subsidies won't eventually matter. The new industries will get some of their own, and, this it the key part, if they outcompte fossil fuels on efficiency, there will be no way, subsidy or not, fossil fuels will win.

This just takes patience. Time will march on and in 30 years there will be no more gas automobiles. That process will not be simple, though. It will be a complicated evolution of both the technologies and the marketplaces they operate in.

Comment: Re:Impacts (Score 1) 249

by nine-times (#47766117) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report

Well, we could still work to try to lessen/minimize the damage and instability.

Like, if you had gangrene on your arm, and the doctor announces, "I'm sorry, but we can't save the arm, the damage is irreversible," you wouldn't go, "Ah, well. It's impossible to save the arm. Time to wait it out and adapt."

At least, I'd hope you wouldn't. That's when you have an operation, try to save as much of your arm as you can. And then you think about what caused the gangrene in the first place, and try to not do that ever again.

Comment: Re:Flip the switch (Score 1) 179

by swb (#47764655) Attached to: Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

I was riding the bus home from the University about 20 years ago and this guy in front of me was going on and on to this girl sitting next to him, sprouting some Philosophy 101 nonsense about how "How do I know you're real, and not just a figment of my imagination?"

After about 15 minutes of this I couldn't take it anymore and I looked at the girl and said "Go ahead and punch this guy in the nose, and then ask him whether he still wonders whether you're a figment of your imagination."

Comment: Welcome to the free market (Score 1) 299

by jd (#47762443) Attached to: Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Where providers are free to gouge and customers are free to... well... complain on Slashdot, but that's about it.

It's only actually free when there's freedom. Freedom to choose between genuinely different providers is a start. If they go to the same tier 2 provider, then the that will define the prices and services, so isn't a choice at all. If they ARE the tier 2, then they're the ultimate source of services and pricetag for all the tier 3s out there.

But there has to be more, since bandwidth throttling dictates bandwidth availability downstream. You can't sell what isn't there - unless you're Time-Warner or Comcast, of course. Try that with a physical product ("It'll cost you $elebenty, payable now, no refund, and if it doesn't do what we claim, that's not a lemon, that's the fault of some unidentified someone doing something somewhere somehow and we'd rather screw you than bother them"). So, freedom to know what you're actually buying and freedom to use statuary rights to obtain that product or a refund.

This is actually one reason I'm a little unhappy with free software. It has been telling vendors that it's ok to not provide what is offered. Not so much by actually doing that - free software has been, in general, superb about being up-front about what it can and cannot do, known defects and limitations, etc. More by saying in the license that the producer is entitled to lie through his teeth without consequence. A quick look at Oracle's conduct shows that vendors have paid very close attention to that clause.

Free Software relies on there being a viable alternative, that users can go elsewhere if dissatisfied. The resilience to fixing bugs in GCC and GLibC, in present and prior administrations, demonstrate that when viable alternatives are scant, such software is too complex to fork or replace unless it gets really, really bad. Which it has occasionally done.

When it comes to cable companies, it's infinitely worse. You're not in a position to run fibre from your home to an alternative tier 2 in another State. Partly because of expense, partly because laws governing interstate activities make it impossible for private individuals, and partly because the cable companies would raise all hell, three quarters of bloody murder and a dash of pint of high water to stop you. Which would not be hard for them, all they need to do is to persuade the tier 2 provider to not sell the capacity. If that failed, they could keep you tied up in knots with the FCC over whether you were an unlicensed telecom operator or not. Mind you, some of you might like knots. I dunno. If all else failed, they could SWAT the people running the cable, get you listed for suspected terrorist ties, or just repeatedly run a backhoe through your cable until you got the message.

You have no choice. You have no freedom. The cable operators have been redefining "monopoly" and "telecommunications" to whatever serves their purpose, not yours, and on multiple occasions. They have been free to do so because everyone likes simplified services and nobody in the States is going to vehemently oppose the "market at work". Even when it clearly doesn't. Not until it is far, far too late to stop things happening.

And we're way past it being too far. It was too far when telecos started replacing copper for fibre at select spots. Supposedly to improve service (which never improved). The reality was that DSL companies competing with the teleco all went out of business where this happened. No great surprise, you can't run DSL over fibre and everyone knew it. It was too late when telephonic "service of last resort" stopped being mandatory in many States. It was too late when ADSL was all private users could buy, SDSL was only sold to select businesses.

It was too late when rival multistate networks got bought up by the Big Telecos with not a murmur from anyone.

It was not because these were fatal in themselves, it's because people had become too stupid and too utterly dependent on being spoonfed by corporate giants (who are far less efficient than any big government ever thought of being, except at defrauding customers). The time for people to learn to think had passed. There wasn't anything left to think about. There were no examples to learn from. All that was left was a self-inflicted oblivion.

It's as if a hundred billion endpoints all screamed out and then fell silent.

And no Consumer Jedi to notice or care.

Comment: Depends on a lot of things (Score 2) 299

The main question is how many channels are allocated for DOCSIS. Each channel gets you about 38mbps of bandwidth, though more can be had on newer standards with 4096QAM (if the SNR is good enough to support it). So if there's 4 downstream channels then a max of about 152mbps total down (upstream is separate).

How many channels can they add? Not sure with current DOCSIS specs, but the wire limits are either 600mhz for old systems, or 1ghz for most new ones. So you cold probably get in the range of 166 total channels or 6gbps or so. Of course in reality, some of those channels have to go to TV and so on.

Now DOCSIS 3.1 is adding new methods for operation and supposedly will pull 10gbps down. Not sure how much of that is tested and how much of that is pipe dream but it is what the spec claims.

Comment: What's the max bandwidth of coax cable? (Score 2) 299

by swb (#47761579) Attached to: Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

And in most areas, how "full" is the coax line between my house and the fiber node? Ie, how much of the usable coax bandwidth has been allocated to cable channels, on-demand viewing, phone service, alarm monitoring, and Internet access?

Has switching from NTSC analog to all those HD channels (even though they are compressed, etc) been a net gain in usable bandwidth on the coax or just a wash?

I always just wonder if Comcast isn't just trying to keep that coax cable capable of handing TV and Internet by various means of suppressing bandwidth consumption on Internet usage.

The suck for Comcast is when that coax cable "runs out" of bandwidth and there's no room to cram yet another HD sports channel on. A project to migrate from coax to fiber would be a total nightmare for them.

I'm not trying to defend or justify anything they do, I'm sure it's at least half oriented towards nickle and diming and profiting off of manufactured scarcity but coax cable shared by many dwellings seems like a major bottleneck that will eventually have to be addressed and it will not be cheap.

Comment: Re:You had a VM w/ VLAN; TechCentral took a big ri (Score 1) 234

by swb (#47761513) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

Yeah, I never got to the installation phase of anything because as you say I began to worry about what MIGHT get installed as this VM can get to my production network. They are on separate subnets but not for security reasons; I run this VM for connecting to client systems when they want VPN software installed, which is why it has its own unique public IP. A dumb subnet scanner wouldn't hurt, but something smart might.

I am tempted to spin up a special VM on a totally isolated VLAN with connectivity to anything but a dedicated firewall which would pick up a NAT address from the cable modem (and thus not compromise any of my statics, I think it gets NAT'd to my static range gateway address). I'd probably skip the snapshot and just set the disk to independent/non persistent so changes would be long-term impossible between boots.

It's still not perfect, there are potential security risks in the hypervisor, but a patched ESXi 5.5 doesn't scare me like an OS hosted hypervisor would.

What they did was crazy -- access to a live PC on their internal network? What do you bet there were cached admin credentials on it from cloning or initial setup, too.

Comment: Re:Thing is, we know what we have to do (Score 1) 126

by JWW (#47761229) Attached to: Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

Your "simple" plan cuts transportation by a huge margin, say hello to large price increases for anything transported further than a trivial distance. The food you eat is not just transported, but planted, and harvested using the energy whose price you massively increased. Increase food prices even more. Your plan for coal breaks the power grid. Brownouts, blackouts and mandatory rationing will be necessary. Oh and the impact on food refrigeration will help increase food costs even more again.

Your "simple" solution would cause massive chaos, social unrest, riots and death. I suppose if thats your simple goal, then you're fine.

Comment: Surprised at how abusive they can get (Score 4, Interesting) 234

by swb (#47758931) Attached to: TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

I took a call from one of these guys.

I happened to have a VM I use for testing up and running and I snapshotted it and figured I'd follow along with him just to see what he wanted done. This VM is on its own VLAN and behind its own firewall and public IP, but I kind of got cold feet about creds that could be on the machine or connectivity to my production LAN so I stopped before anything got installed (and I reverted to the snapshot, too).

Anyway, after I quit playing along I started to gently question who he said he was and the guy became really abusive and threatening, like he was going to save up for a plane ticket to fly to the US and beat me up or something if I didn't keep going. I was really kind of surprised at how far he took it.

At that point I figured dishing it out was fine, so I went full-on nasty with him and again I was surprised at his willingness to keep it up, especially considering I was pretty harsh.

Comment: Re:Doesn't need much to make it right (Score 1) 241

by nine-times (#47757999) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

The real issue is that half of the OS uses the desktop UI, and the other half uses the "metro" UI.

And this problem, unfortunately, extends to the settings. Which settings are in the Control Panel, and which are in "PC Settings"? Who knows? Do the settings in the metro-based "PC Settings" only apply to the metro environment? Nope. There's not a clear distinction.

The built-in metro apps are inferior and redundant to the desktop counterparts.

I think part of the problem there is they were thinking, "Well we have all of these aging applications like Paint and Windows Photo Viewer. Instead of fixing them or making newer versions, let's just replace them with Metro apps!" So you have the metro apps which are simplified. They're simplified both because the metro UI requires simplification, and because they're new applications that haven't undergone years of development.

But they didn't seem to consider that, as a user, this leaves you with a dilemma between two unappealing options: Either use the old, dated "Windows Classic" applications that have sucked since they were written 20 years ago, or go with the new underdeveloped "Metro" applications that create a jarring experience every time you open them.

Can you remember which things are under "Accessories" versus the ones under "System Tools?"

Generally yes. "System Tools" is under "Accessories" and has like Windows Backup, Disk Cleanup, Disk Defragmenter, Task Scheduler. "Accessories" also included communication tools (Remote Desktop, HyperTerminal) and other things like Window Explorer, Notepad, Calculator, IE, etc. Of course, Microsoft made a regular habit of shuffling those things around a bit with every release, but it was relatively stable for 15 years.

In Windows 8? That stuff probably isn't on your start screen, so you'll have to search for it, or else switch the view to show all the applications. The list of applications is unfortunately flat, so you can't rely on the same kind of spacial orientation that nested folders provided in the star menu.

But they just haven't figured out how to offer full-screen apps with all the power of the desktop.

And they won't be able to. On the desktop, you can already maximize windows if you want a "full screen app", but most of the time, it's extremely useful to have non-maximized windows arranged freely on the screen.

Comment: Re:Why (Score 1) 241

by nine-times (#47757771) Attached to: New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Google has enabled applications that are cached and run locally, without need of an internet connection, and basically appear to be local apps. Their strategy seems to be to use this method to enable cross-platform application development on any platform capable of running the Chrome browser.

Because honestly, what difference does it make if the browser was created using HTML, CSS, and Javascript? If it runs locally and looks like a local application, you might not even notice the difference.

Comment: Why hasn't it happened already? (Score 4, Insightful) 228

by swb (#47756275) Attached to: California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

iPhones have had the ability to be remote wiped for a long time. Yet I have not heard of a pandemic of hacker-led mass bricking of iPhones. Dirty hipsters and their iPhones have been at the center of a lot of protests yet we haven't heard of mass iPhone shutdowns by the police in response to demonstrations.

I think government/law enforcement already have the powers they physically need to fuck with cell phones. Between Stingray devices and the ability to present national security letters to carriers or service providers, if they wanted to they could get IMEIs blacklisted or get someone like Apple to brick a specific phone.

I think this just finally cuts off the ability of the cell carriers to encourage and profit from theft by activating stolen phones. Maybe if we treated AT&T stores like pawn shops and told them it was loss of their licenses and jail time for trafficking in stolen property if they activated stolen phones the kill switches wouldn't be necessary, but because corporate profits and lobbying we don't.

Too much is not enough.