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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket 324

Posted by timothy
from the everyone-should-get-the-same-amount-of-water-and-electricty dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Back in February, after a lengthy dispute, Netflix agreed to pay Comcast for network access after being dogged by complaints of slow speeds from Comcast subscribers. Two months later, it appears that Comcast has delivered on its promises, jumping up six places in Netflix's ISP speed rankings. The question of whether this is good news for anyone but Comcast is still open."

$250K Reward Offered In California Power Grid Attack 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the power-up-the-manhunt dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Associated Press reports that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has put up a $250,000 reward for 'information leading to an arrest and conviction in a startling attack mounted nearly a year ago on telephone lines and the power grid in Silicon Valley.' Besides cutting power lines, the attackers also cut AT&T fiber-optic phone lines, thereby denying some people access to 911, and fired shots into a PB&E substation, knocking out 17 transformers in Silicon Valley and causing $15 million in damage. As of this post, the perpetrators are still unidentified and continue to elude the FBI. Meanwhile, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday was brought before the Senate Energy Committee to explain why the FERC disseminated via insecure media a sensitive document describing where all the nation's power grids are particularly sensitive to a physical attack. FERC responded with assurances that databases are currently being scrubbed and procedures being implemented to safeguard critical data."

A Bid To Take 3D Printing Mainstream 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the grandma's-printed-cookies dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Can 3D printing go truly mainstream? Startup M3D is betting on it, having launched a Kickstarter campaign to create what it terms the first truly consumer 3D printer, built around proprietary auto-leveling and auto-calibration technology that (it claims) will allow the device to run in an efficient, easy-to-use way for quite some time. According to The Verge, the device is space-efficient, quiet, and sips power: 'One of the main obstacles between 3D printers and consumers has been clunky, unintuitive software. Here too, M3D promises improvements, having designed an app that's 'as interactive and enjoyable as a game' with a minimalist and touch-friendly interface.' Do you think 3D printing can capture a massive audience, or will it remain niche for the foreseeable future?"
The Internet

Why There Are So Few ISP Start-Ups In the U.S. 223

Posted by timothy
from the cover-charge-is-so-high dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Despite whispers of growing dissatisfaction among consumers, there are still very few ISP start-ups popping up in communities all over the U.S. There are two main reasons for this: up-front costs and legal obstacles. The first reason discourages anyone who doesn't have Google's investors or the local government financially supporting them from even getting a toe in the business. 'Financial analysts last year estimated that Google had to spend $84 million to build a fiber network that passed 149,000 homes in Kansas City, with the cost per home at $500 to $674.' The second reason will keep any new start-up defending itself in court against frivolous lawsuits incumbent ISP providers have been known to file to bleed the newcomers dry in legal fees. There are also ISP lobbyists working to pass laws that prevent local governments from either entering the ISP market themselves or partnering with private companies to provide ISP alternatives. Given these set-backs and growing dissatisfaction with the status quo, one has to wonder how long before the U.S. recognizes the internet as a utility and passes laws and regulations accordingly."

Comment: Re:fuck me (Score 1) 125

by timmyf2371 (#46576663) Attached to: Google Glass Signs Deal With Ray Ban's Parent Company

Depends how you define free.

When I'm stuck on a complex Excel or Access issue (typically involving a complex formula or macro), most of the time there is a forum thread where someone has solved the problem already and I can learn from this and integrate it into my formula or code.

The same cannot be said of Google Docs and as my time is not free, the cost of MS Office suddenly looks a lot more appealing.

Comment: Re:Stealing? (Score 1) 197

by timmyf2371 (#46536993) Attached to: Ex-Microsoft Employee Arrested For Leaking Windows 8

The employer then essentially provides a spec (which is often just a extremely vague set of requirements) and a monthly salary. We can therefore say that most of the software is created by the creative talent and skill (the raw material and machines in your analogy) of the developers. Does the work created by the software dev still completely belong to the employer for a few thousand dollars because of a few words written in the employment contract? I think not! Most of software is written by developers with little contribution from the employer and therefore should be licensed to the employer the same way a song is licensed by the musicians to record labels, how writers license their books to publishers etc.

Isn't the developer in this case more like the builder/engineer who takes an architect's vision and merely implements it?

In most large organisations the developers are not the UI designers and although their code may well be creative, they are not the ones behind the creative work as a whole.

Comment: Re:Why is the lens still plastic? (Score 1) 70

by timmyf2371 (#46520383) Attached to: Camera Module Problems May Delay Samsung's Galaxy S5

Most people I know don't usually upgrade their phone because of the camera; they do it in spite of the camera.

Now, you might see some people in the market for a new phone decide on a specific model because it has a good camera, but these are people already looking to replace their phone for other reasons.

Comment: Re:Rewards the hacker (Score 2) 104

by timmyf2371 (#46432521) Attached to: BPAS Appeals £200,000 Fine Over Hacked Website

In this situation, the organisation was not merely unlucky. The data was not stored securely at all and this was made worse by the fact that they had not carried out a proper assessment of the data storage techniques. The DPA is very strict and rightly so - it is our personal information which is at risk here.

All too often there are stories of charitable organisations cutting corners and thinking they can get away with it. This fine is a message that organisations, regardless of purpose, will be treated equally in the eyes of the law.

What I find incredibly offensive is that the charity's CEO didn't even apologise to the 10,000 innocent victims whose data was lost as a result of his organisation's failings. Instead he is trying to shift the attention onto the ICO and try to portray themselves as victims.

Comment: Re:I have your conversion right here... (Score 1) 860

by timmyf2371 (#46410727) Attached to: Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

Both of your examples include lovely tower cases, which you and I may well be perfectly happy with.

The target audience for the Mac Mini is probably looking for something a bit more refined and in keeping with the Mac Mini case. This adds additional cost, not only from the case but also from the additional cost of smaller components (e.g. small form factor motherboard, 2.5" HDD).

Comment: Re: what price increases? (Score 1) 424

by timmyf2371 (#46260709) Attached to: Time Warner Deal Is How Comcast Will Fight Cord Cutters

What was the Blu Ray scam? I'm not aware of this.

I've lived through the VHS, DVD and Blu Ray eras and each technology has significantly higher quality than the last. These days I tend to download my movies for free instead of buying the Blu Ray and when I do I always look for the highest quality 1080p version because it is so much higher quality than even upscaled DVD versions.

Comment: Re:bad engineering? (Score 1) 526

by timmyf2371 (#46204553) Attached to: Customer: Dell Denies Speaker Repair Under Warranty, Blames VLC

In short, VLC is not the problem here. It is the idiot user expecting to be able to turn everything up to 11 and not damage something on a shitty Dell laptop.

If I buy an electronic item and use it in accordance with the instructions, then I expect it to work in line with my expectations.

Does this make me an idiot user?

Comment: Re:Well.... (Score 1) 249

by timmyf2371 (#46136213) Attached to: Windows 8.1 Passes Windows Vista In Market Share

When I built my new PC I had the choice of which Windows version to install on it. I've used Windows 7 in the past and have Windows 8 on my work laptop.

So I went with 8.1 through choice. I *like* the Start screen, it's much more visual than previous incarnations of the start menu. Can't say I'm too bothered with the live tiles on a desktop machine, and still don't get the point of the charms bar. As an overall OS however, when taking into account the Start screen and the Explorer ribbon UI, I would choose it every time over previous versions of Windows.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner