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Comment Re:The summary is insanely stupid (Score 1) 222

Several orders of magnitude better. For a server-based approach to work, you'd have, in the best case (read "not periodic HTTP polling"), tens of milliseconds to deliver the data to the server, tens of milliseconds to deliver the data back, plus hundreds of milliseconds (or more) for the server to look through all the cars in a list of geographically nearby vehicles to see if they're close enough to warrant sending the data to them. It would likely take only single-digit milliseconds for direct car-to-car communication. Even if it had to be relayed through multiple cars, it would still be an order of magnitude faster.

Comment Re:The summary is insanely stupid (Score 1) 222

If you don't understand the internet then just please say so. If a vehicle is making an internet connection to something AT THE OTHER END (and there is always "the other end") and the other end is not getting the packets from the vehicle in a timely manner, then it cannot RESPOND in a timely manner. A "paid fastlane" isn't just for the "vehicle end" of the data, it applies to the full path from vehicle to ANYWHERE.

No, a paid fast lane is a fast path from the vehicle to the Internet backbone. From there, it would get the same priority as any other traffic.

Also, a paid fast lane is a fast path from vehicles of a specific company to the Internet backbone. Nothing in net neutrality laws would prevent companies from building a fast path from all vehicles to the backbone, if it were necessary for some specific critical purpose. The laws just say that A. the ISPs can't charge the car companies for giving priority to cars, and B. the ISPs can't give priority to traffic from Ford over traffic from Chevy in exchange for money. All traffic of a given type (e.g. vehicle navigation data, if you want to use that rather silly, highly latency-tolerant example) must get the same priority.

Comment Re:The summary is insanely stupid (Score 1) 222

I made a five and a half hour car trip a couple of weeks ago. It would have been four hours long except I didn't have the real-time data that told me that the road I was taking was completely blocked by a crash a half hour earlier. I had to find an alternate route that took much longer. Had I gotten the real-time data about the crash I could have gone a different alternate that wouldn't have cost an hour and a half.

You keep using the word "real-time". I do not think it means what you think it does.

Real-time refers to something in which microseconds matter, not milliseconds, not seconds, not minutes, not hours. Your traffic data getting there ten seconds later won't affect you at all unless you just happen to be right before the last exit before the wreck when it first gets detected, in which case the additional data would pose at least as high a risk of you causing an accident trying to cut over at the last minute as it would of getting you to avoid the accident.

Besides, the first cars that come upon an accident usually don't have to slow down much anyway. It's the cars that are minutes away that need to start taking actions to avoid the accident. Delays of milliseconds don't matter in traffic data. Delays of minutes usually don't matter, at least in the aggregate. So traffic data is not an example of something that requires real-time communication by any stretch of the imagination. It requires, at most, a background-notification-caliber polling model, if that. Most navigation systems just use a radio receiver and get broadcasts from the transit agencies based on fixed RADAR stations. And that's good enough granularity to get the job done.

Comment Re:The summary is insanely stupid (Score 1) 222

When you say it can operate without external data, that is exactly what you mean. You said, quote, "Autonomous cars don't need data channels of any sort. They're autonomous." That's a data vacuum, and it is a patently absurd claim to make. That's also a clear admission that you really don't know what "autonomous" means, since "don't need data" is not part of that definition. Every AV needs data to make decisions, and the better the data it can get the better decisions it will make. Like the example I already gave, where an AV that can get real-time data about a road closure could have chosen a different main route to conduct that four hour trip instead of getting to the crash site, deciding it can't get through, and then reverting to the back roads and taking an extra hour and a half.

It is not patently absurd. It is accurate. The vehicle must be able to drive safely without external data, or it is not autonomous. The fact that it can do a better job of getting you there in a timely manner doesn't mean that it needs a high-priority channel.

More significantly, in most major cities, traffic data is broadcast on sidebands of various radio stations, and can be received by any device for which the user has paid the fairly cheap lifetime subscription fee. Because traffic data is available from permanent RADAR stations along the highway, the receipt of that information can be strictly one-directional, and is thus well suited to a broadcast system. This is not to say that you can't do it over the Internet, just that it isn't strictly necessary to do so. Thus, making a high-priority bidirectional channel available for getting information that can be just as easily obtained by adding a $25 traffic data receiver would be patently absurd.

And even if you want to go full-on-Waze-style, with real-time data gathering to pinpoint slow spots and try to route people around on side streets (which may or may not actually reduce your drive time, depending on lots of other factors that are hard to predict, such as traffic light timing), there's no reason to believe that self-driving cars would benefit from that data arriving faster, with lower latency, because overall traffic patterns don't change enough from one second to the next for latency to matter anyway—even if it the latency is on the order of tens of seconds, much less when it is on the order of single-digit seconds.

Traffic mapping is simply not a real-time task and never will be. Nothing associated with self-driving cars benefits from real-time performance except what is happening entirely inside the car—processing data from sensors—and perhaps communication with nearby cars in some situations (which must necessarily be direct, not just because of latency, but also because of the high complexity of figuring out what cars are near you on the server side and routing data appropriately, and also because of the high probability that your cars will get their data from different companies whose data centers are on opposite sides of the country from each other).

No, the sorts of tasks that benefit from prioritization are things like live audio and video streaming. And these things are readily identifiable by port numbers, QoS flags, etc. without any need to use paid prioritization to give higher priority for traffic to/from a single company. Remember, this is not about prioritization, but rather paid prioritization, whose sole purpose, by its very definition, is to give an advantage to traffic from specific companies that pay over others that don't.

That last bit is what Comcast is trying to make people forget. Paid prioritization is, by definition, anti-competitive.

Comment Re:Why Not???? (Score 1) 222

I now have much less than 1/3 sec to get that information back. Whatever it is (object, pothole, water, etc) I need to know in under 1/10 or a second or better so the car can start slowing down or maneuvering to avoid.

Too bad the real-world latency for LTE, even if your traffic got maximum priority, would still be almost a third of a second just for the two cellular round-trips, which means you're still going to hit the pothole even if the server takes zero time to propagate the data from the server that car A is using to the server that car B is using (in a different data center) and even if your car just happens to poll its server at exactly the right millisecond, which it won't because it will poll only once every few minutes.

Realistically, self-driving cars can't assume data will be more current than O(minutes), and must be able to tolerate data that is O(hours) old. For handling sudden changes in road conditions, they have to rely on their own in-car sensors (and, where available, communication from nearby cars) to do the best they can. Anything else is just asking to be disappointed (or worse, dead). No fast lane to some server somewhere on the Internet can realistically solve any problems associated with self-driving car tech. Those other pieces of information might help it make smarter decisions farther ahead, resulting in better traffic flow, but if they're required for safety, then the self-driving tech is nowhere near ready to ship, because it means that safety depends on another, more capable vehicle having recently driven the road within a few minutes prior.

Comment Re:IP does not support instantaneous transmission (Score 1) 222

For an internet provider they are pretty unclear of how IP protocols work.
a) there is no such thing as instantaneous
b) there is no such thing as error free transmission.
c) any given packet can take a different route
d) packets can arrive out of order
e) packets can be dropped
If they want guaranteed bandwidth they are using the wrong network.

Good points. I would say, they certainly know how IP protocols work. They're betting on the unwashed public (including congress, with the possible exception of Ron Wyden) not knowing how IP protocols work.

Comment not just waste of money (Score 1) 316

It's not just waste of money. Let's assume that pharmacies and hospitals dispose of their out-of-date drugs in a responsible fashion. (Really?? Yeah, ok, just for the sake of argument. Bear with me here.)

What are Ma and Pa Kettle going to do when their antidepressants and heart medication and statins and pain medication pass their sell-by date? There's supposed to be some way to responsibly dispose of these medications, and I'm sure that lots of people in the well-educated crowd here know what it is, or at least know why it's important and would be responsible enough to do some googling.

But regular people, who don't know or care about the consequences, -- they're going to throw them in the trash, or flush them.

So pragmatically, we're not just wasting money, we're also increasing the amount of drugs that could reach the water table.

Yes yes, I know, it's probable that "drugs in our drinking water" is being over reported (fear porn). But still, as a society, are we being responsible here?

Comment Re:steganography? (Score 1) 90

You are absolutely right. That's an excellent point. So perhaps what's needed are some easy to use tools that allow average people to use sophisticated techniques.

Then, and therein lies the fun, whoever builds and distributes that tool is an enemy of the state.

When the law is "whatever I say", there's no loophole.

I think one could argue that using any method to circumvent censorship by the glorious people's republic of China, including perhaps even rotating the image, could make one an enemy of the state. Why not go for the gusto?

Comment Re:steganography? (Score 3, Interesting) 90

Well, ok, your questions sound rhetorical, so this will probably be unwelcome, but I think the difference is intent.

In the US it's done for a variety of reasons -- intellectual property, porn, unlawful content, politically incorrect (ahem-facebook), and in China it's specifically targeted at political dissidents. Here we can say Apple (or Microsoft if that makes you more comfortable) is being a dick, I'll use some other service. Over there it's more problematic, because (a) it's the government doing it (yeah, I know, bear with me) *and* (b) it's specifically targeted at anti-government speech. Which we would call, over here, free speech.

So over here someone can post a photo holding the bloody decapitated head of the president... no wait, that's a bad example... no, on further thought, it's a valid example. She was able to post the image without having it deleted by the government. Other bad things happened, but government deletion in transit wasn't one of them.

So, I'd argue, not hypocritical at all. Freedom and privacy are complex issues, and I don't think there's anyone within the sound of my voice that believes we in the US have complete freedom. Whether we should or not would be a lively discussion. But I think we can agree that people in china have much less freedom.

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