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Comment Re:Hmm... I can do this for a fraction of the cost (Score 1) 56

Even if you can't justify a full rocking-it-old-school-with-our-own-private-leased-lines-from-everywhere-to-everywhere, you'd still hope that(given the truly deplorable state of the various devices in important places), you could spring for a logically isolated network running on top of your cheap internet connection.

VPNs and such add additional complexity, and aren't invulnerable by any means; but there is a middle ground between 'physically private network' and 'on the internet', which at least allows you to reduce the number of externally visible devices(and make it so that the externally visible devices are dedicated network security gear, ideally built by people who know about network security, rather than dedicated industrial control devices built by people who know about industrial controls and...less... about security).

Comment Re:Typical Libertarian (Score 4, Interesting) 611

What I like is that they are fighting over something that is purely a creation of ICANN: there is nothing magic about DNS that makes domain names globally authoritative(and, unlike with fiat currency, it isn't even legally troublesome to make your own, if you can get anybody to accept them), ICANN just runs the nameservers that people give a damn about.

If they wanted to take this out to the marketplace and settle it like men, they could just each provide an IP and let their respective supporters modify their hosts files or local DNS records according to their preferences, as consumers, about which offered a superior product and/or service.

It's like watching two gold-bugs fighting over a $100 'federal reserve note'...

Comment Re:With friends like that (Score 5, Interesting) 611

With friends like that who needs enemies.

This is nothing but a $250,000 shakedown by his alleged "supporters".

"Back in 2007 we put our lives on hold for you, Ron, and we invested close to 10,000 hours of tears, sweat and hard work into this site at great personal sacrifice."(emphasis mine).

They are actually quite honest: they invested in him(after all, altruism would have been unethical), and now they want their ROI. This isn't a 'friendship' thing, this is a 'VCs fighting with their start-up's CEO over stock options' thing.

Comment Re:The One True RICH Ron Paul (Score 5, Funny) 611

Being a libertarian is like being a Highlander. There Can Be Only One.

In the case of a trademark dispute, the disputants are brought to the 'marketplace of ideas' where they compete until only one is left alive, at which point he absorbs the market share of the others.

It's pretty fucking epic, actually.

Comment Re:Democrats Want to Defy Birth Trends (Score 1) 231

Everyone(except the courageous souls at VHEMT) wants to defy birth trends:

Across more or less the whole of the first world, birth rates are at or below replacement levels. Even in some of the less fucked 'developing' nations it turns out that 'not breeding like animals until you die' is a fairly popular lifestyle choice among people who have sufficient autonomy and access to medical resources to be able to make it. Shocking, I know.

However, the world isn't exactly overflowing with economic plans for downsizing gracefully. Whether it's an ad-hoc social arrangement(children caring for elderly parents because it's their Filial Duty) or a state administered program(Medicare), most plans for keeping old people from being ground up for soylent green involve having young workers around, ideally in larger numbers than the old people.

Since domestic birth rates make that...problematic... this leads to a certain amount of pressure to keep the working population up by other means.

If we want to go with your (arguably somewhat crass and reductionistic) characterization, it goes like this:

1. Democrats favor immigration because immigrants skew more democratic than wrinkly reactionary old people do.

2. Retiring boomers don't have a whole lot of choice; because their parents fucked like bunnies; but they didn't, so if they want to keep the death panels away, they either need to really squeeze their children, or find a substitute for the ones that they didn't have. They don't have to like it(and many don't); but them's the breaks.

Comment Re:undocumented immigrants? (Score 4, Funny) 231

I have some...potentially startling... news for you about the efficiency and thoroughness of immigration enforcement procedures worldwide.

This hardly means that the US is at the top of the class; but the only mechanism with a genuinely notable success rate is to be so squalid and miserable at home that nobody even tries to jump the fence...

Comment Re:Aim for "low cost" instead of "free" (Score 3, Informative) 60

With wifi systems, there are really two different problems, because of the two major choke-points:

1. The speeds that available technology let you wring out of the slices of RF spectrum you are allowed.

2. The speed of whatever internet connection(s) you've purchased to connect the thing to.

Problem 1 is the really fundamentally nasty one. Physics gives you some hard limits, silicon vendors give you some rather tighter soft limits(but at least they raise them every few years) and whiny TV broadcasters and cellular telcos keep you from expanding your slices of spectrum.

Problem 2, unless you are really in the sticks, is much more amenable to pricing-based solutions: it isn't horribly difficult to throttle bandwidth per-device, or do captive-portal authentication, so you can make fairly granular decisions about how much of your cake you want to have, and how much you want to eat. Have you determined that some amount of 'free' internet access is good for local business/a human right/a public convenience that local taxpayers want, just like having the grass mowed at the local park/whatever? Ok, provide unauthenticated access to that amount of bandwidth per device. Do you find that some users of your free service would prefer to use it much more heavily(to the exclusion of a home ISP, say, rather than just at the coffee shop or in the park)? Sounds like you need an authenticated non-free tier that charges more in order to buy more bandwidth to provide to paying customers.

If you are over-subscribed at the RF level, you are pretty much doomed, at least until better silicon or more spectrum become available; but over-subscription at the ISP pipe level is much more fundamentally solvable.

Comment Re:Sad (Score 1) 60

I suspect that they don't know that and are, instead, approaching the problem through some sort of horrible caricature of naive Bayesian induction:

"The whole system is a magical black box that I don't understand. However, I have connected to 'the wifi' at home, work, starbucks, and the airport, on numerous occasions and in numerous locations. Almost every time I connect to 'the wifi', I obtain internet access. Therefore, 'the wifi' must provide internet access, and an FCC proposal to 'expand the wifi' must be a proposal to provide internet access!"

The same reasoning could also be used to demonstrate that you can obtain free potable water just by connecting a pipe to a sink and then shoving it into the ground(but, conveniently, also obtain access to a sewage line by connecting a pipe to a toilet and shoving it into the ground. How do they not get mixed up? Magic!); but so it goes...

Comment Re:The difference between fantasy and reality (Score 1) 60

Used to live in a city with "free wifi". It was horrendously slow because everybody used it and most still paid a normal provider.

Given that use of the relevant ISM bands is minimally restricted, and not charged for or sold exclusively, in most of the US(sorry, suckers), every city has 'free wifi' in the sense that the FCC is actually proposing to expand... It's just that a few of them also decided to put up APs and then connect them to something.

Comment Unsurprising, unfortunately... (Score 2) 60

I suppose we nerds need to step up and take some of the blame:

We've been so industrious about our networking duties that when the noobs see an ethernet jack or an SSID they just go and assume that it will lead them to the bounteous lolcats and porn of the internet...

All jokes(but not all jokers, alas) aside, WTF is wrong with these 'journalists'? Reporting 'FCC proposes additional wifi spectrum' as 'FCC proposes free internets for the masses!' is about as conceptually confused as reporting 'Staples offers 2-for-the-price-of-1 sale on copier paper' as 'Staples, Amazon, New York Times take sides over plan to slash print media prices by half!'.

Seriously, I'm not expecting these guys to not fuck up something actually tricky, just to make the basic conceptual distinction between the price and availability of a transmission channel and the price and availability of what is transmitted over the channel...

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