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Comment: Chimps (and humans) are Apes, not Monkeys (Score 1) 164

by billstewart (#48682017) Attached to: N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Ooook! Don't say the M-word near the Librarian!

You're thinking of the "Bush or Chimp" website. We're not monkeys!

And as the other poster said, at least in America, calling black people "monkeys" is specifically racist; calling white people that is just a non-racial insult.

Comment: Why Kozmo sort of succeeded (Score 1) 34

Ok, the company as a whole tanked rapidly, as one might expect, but according to friends who lived in its territory at the time, one reason the service was so popular was that one of the things it delivered was weed. The company itself didn't sell it, but the drivers did that themselves, so they were happy and the customers were happy, and there were an awful lot of deliveries that had only one random item on the books (plus weed.)

Comment: Skype Call Setup and Media Path Protocols (Score 1) 71

by billstewart (#48673601) Attached to: Ars Reviews Skype Translator

Skype used a server-based system to set up calls, going through supernodes if possible (so it was semi-P2P), which handled subscriber lookup functions and also NAT transparency (which was the big thing that Skype did better than standard VOIP protocols such as H.323 and SIP.)

For the actual media path, if it could go directly, it would, but otherwise it would carry the call through supernodes (again, the NAT traversal problem.)

These days it seems to be mostly central servers, partly as a result of Microsoft buying them and partly because there was a lot of corporate pushback against supernodes using your corporation's bandwidth to complete somebody else's call.

Comment: Original implementations for obvious things are ok (Score 2) 187

by billstewart (#48657151) Attached to: Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

If you believe in a patent system at all (which is a separate argument), an original implementation for a relatively obvious concept can still be patentable. Most patents I've seen start out by claiming something fairly obvious (a wheel) and have several progressively less obvious claims before getting to the core invention (a specific axle mounting design, etc.) and then maybe some variations. Most articles about patent abuse focus on the more obvious claims being obvious; that's separate from whether the more abusive actual cases are somebody getting a patent for the less obvious parts and then suing people for violating the much more obvious claims.

Since Uber's lost about 10 previous attempts, they may very well be trying to patent something obvious (charging more when it's busy), or may be trying to patent more specific things about their implementation (but maybe still obvious to the patent examiners, who've actually taken taxis before, even if they haven't written compilers or optimized databases.)

Comment: Re:a progressive new group (Score 0) 323

by jafac (#48653057) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

Oh look, here come the same "social engineers" that brought us soaring male suicide rates and burgeoning single motherhood with it's associated social outcomes,

The only problem with this statement, is while these theories on raising children are a relatively new thing (last 100 years or so) - it can not be demonstrated that any kids are ACTUALLY being raised this way. Maybe a few, here and there, but by and large, most parents still raise their kids using traditional violence-based methods.

So to blame these new science-backed techniques for the "decline of modern civilization" is just a bunch of bullshit; to justify frustrated parents whose first tool in their parenting toolbox is the paddle.

Comment: Cable to Cuba (Score 2) 114

by billstewart (#48649629) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

The politics that mattered weren't the ones with Chavez, it was the US pressure on anybody else. Cuba's a really convenient place to run cable, and there's some cable there, but the amount of actual service that it was carrying was very tightly restricted because of the US embargoes. The telcos would have been happy to run a lot more of it, but weren't allowed to.

Comment: Modern Cellular is the way to go (Score 2) 114

by billstewart (#48649621) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

It's not completely wireless; to get any reasonable bandwidth out to the users, you need fiber to the towers, not just T1 or radio uplinks, but that's not too hard to do. (As another poster says, the telco's run by the government, so they shouldn't have a problem getting permits, just the usual issues with new construction in old cities.)

No reason to use old phones - the newer standards are much more efficient at spectrum usage.

And there's been fiber to the island for a long time; the problem has been that the US embargoes on trade with Cuba severely limited the services the telcos could provide. To the extent that that was caused by Treasury regulations (which Obama can change for two years) rather than law (which requires the Republicans in Congress to cooperate), they can get some of that service running quickly.

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

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