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Comment Re:Duh (Score 1) 353

Not really. Sure, building and maintaing the *capacity* costs money. But that's a fixed cost regardless of how much of that capacity you actually use. That's very different from water.

No, not really. It is a fixed cost, but capacity is explicitly limited by that initial investment. And it is a very significant cost both to initially install and upgrade. Its costs a lot of money to rip pipes out of the ground to replace a 6" main with an 10" main. Likewise, it costs a lot of money to replace a 100Mb backbone segment with a 1Gb segment.

When a subscriber upgrades their 1.5Mb line to a 10Mb line, they expect to only pay a nominal increase (or more likely get the increase for the same price). They have no concept that actually supplying that backend (an order of magnitude increase) is an immense capital cost. And that subscriber has no intention of paying that capital cost... That means the ISP has to spread that cost out over many years. Yet somehow the user now expects orders of magnitude speed increase every year or 2??? Cost wise, equipment wise, backbone capacity wise (as far as spectrum/etc.) it simply is not feasible.

And don't give me this crap argument "well then they should have built it right in the first place". The real world has real costs. I can install a hypothetical 1Gb backbone now for, lets say, $15,000. I could also install a 10Gb link for $110,000. Spread out over 2 years with 300 customers, that 1Gb backbone (one of a dozen or more you will need) amounts to an increase of $2/month on every customers bill (excluding the cost of borrowing). That 10Gb link will cost each of my customers an additional $15.28 every month.

If I have 300Mb real bandwidth requirements on that particular segment today, does it make any sense for me to install the 10Gb link today? When I will not utilize it for years? When my customers will not pay for it today? Yet somehow several years from now customer expect that 1Gb circuit to magically upgrade itself to 10Gb without any cost.... real money, it's what its all about.

Comment Re:Duh (Score 2, Interesting) 353

No... As someone who works for a small ISP, and runs the backbone among other things, bandwidth is exactly a commodity like water. Bandwidth is extremely cheap at the source, but the source is not where the end users of that water are. The bandwidth must be distributed across a vast area to many, many endpoints. I can get water out of a river for (nearly) free. But as an ISP, if you want that "water" delivered to your doorstep and I have to pipe it uphill, 50miles from the source, the water is no longer "free". It costs real money to distribute...

Now, my above statements are not meant to imply that the premise of bandwidth caps are not financially sourced... they are. But to extrapolate that backbone peering is cheaper now than previously and that therefore end users are being overcharged, is a complete farce. The entire premise of the article is flawed by a complete misunderstanding of the costs an ISP experiences.

As an ISP, we get offers of dirt cheap peering bandwidth all the time, on the order of a couple dollars per Mb per month for 1GB+ circuits.... But when you question their quoted price in depth the result is always the same... this isn;t bandwidth delivered to your door, to our POP, this is bandwidth delivered on a switch port at the datacenter the peering provider is already located in. I.e. selling me access to the river assuming I already have my feet in the muddy bank. Actually getting that river out of the banks and to my office door costs far far more than the river itself.

So yes, bandwidth is a commodity exactly like water....

Comment Re:Slashdot has been trolled (Score 1) 293

Agreed... Once again the Slashdot editors have failed to do the most trivial investigation before posting articles. In this case the alleged JPL article is at: http://nasaupdatecenter.us/press.html.

Since when is "nasaupdatecenter.us" an official JPL website?
Why is it that this website has no content other than this article and every weblink points to the real site "marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov"?
Why is it that this site has the "news", but no such story on the real JPL website press releases: http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/

Perhaps more importantly.... do Slashdot editors enter all their bank account details on every phishing website they get any email for? What makes this any different?.....

Comment Re:Truth or dare... (Score 5, Informative) 617

A few questions:

  • - Why are you allowed to cancel orders ? At an auction you owe the money once you've raised your hand.
    - Why isn't there a fine on traders who happen to cancel more than X% of their orders ? X being in the order of 1.
    - Why aren't transactions or even 'reservations' (which is what a canceled order looks like to me) taxed ?

Just to be clear... The above is a grossly oversimplified example of HFT. Thanks to the new world of online trading, an order isn;t really processed until both sides have confirmed the order. In the old days with a hundred guys in a trading pit, someone offering to buy at $150,000/share would obviously be wrong. Mistyping the same in an electronic order that autocompleted could have disastrous consequences, so there has to be a way to cancel a request. Why aren;t there fines or taxes? Well ask NASDAQ/etc.

In the real world the above is happening on trades with a difference of a fraction of a cent. In many cases it may be that Bob has a buy order at $25.01 and Alice has a sell order at $25.00. Eve has millisecond timing and can simply enter the orders faster than any human trader could possibly react. Eve is also taking in every market fluctuation and stock move the virtual instant it happens... meaning a well built Eve can anticipate the bounces in a stock price based on buys/sells and just announced news, before a human could recognize that news. But at the end of the trading day, Eve has no position in the market. Eve has only served to suck money out of the market by acting as an (unwanted) intermediary.

Comment Re:Truth or dare... (Score 5, Informative) 617

So it is possible to create a large volume of "trades" without actually ever buying or selling anything? I am surprised that isn't gamed on regular basis

It is and this is the basis of high frequency trading... though on Wallstreet they call it "providing liquidity". It works like this:

Alice wants to sell 1000 shares of Acme Corp. She places an sell order for 1000 shares at $25.00 on the exchange, but she also places a minimum bid of $23.90 on the sell order. This minimum bid what Alice is willing to accept should someone counter-offer but is suppose to be secret, only the sell price will be published.

Bob is looking for 1000 shares of Acme Corp. He wants to place it in his portfolio for long-term growth, but he thinks it is currently worth less. Bob places a general buy order at $24.40 on the exchange. For the sake of simplicity we will say that is his only price, though he too could have a maximum bid he is will to pay.

So there is a sell order at $25.00 and a buy order at $24.40 pending on the exchange, nothing trades. Now Bob could make a buy offer to Alice at $24.40 and the trade would go thru, or Alice could make a sell offer to Bob at a lower price and follow thru. In a perfect world the exchange would figure it out and match the orders... but that doesn't happen without further action on the part of Alice or Bob.

Eve is a high frequency trader... Actually, Eve is a high frequency trading program at MegaTraders LLC. and has spotted that there are buy and sell orders for Acme Corp on the exchange. Eve places a bid at $24.99 for Alice's share, the exchange accepts, and then Eve immediately cancels the bid order. Eve has just learned that Alice is will to sell for less than the sell order posted. Eve then continues placing bids on Alice's stock, $24.98, $24.97, $24.96, etc., each time immediately canceling the buy when the exchange accepts the bid. Eve gets down to $23.89, at which point the exchange does not accept the bid for Alice's stock. Eve has just learned that Alice is willing to sell for as little as $23.90 and all of this has happened within 10s of milliseconds.

Remember all those articles on Slashdot about high frequency firm X laying their own fiber directly to the exchange to cut milliseconds off transit time? Having custom L2 firmware on their switches and no firewalls on their trading links to cut milliseconds off transit time? This is why they do it, so they can submit hundreds/thousands of buy/sell/cancel orders on a single stock within a fraction of a second to learn pricing differences between orders that otherwise should be secret.

So Eve now knows that Alice is will to sell for $23.90 and would perform the same procedure against Bob to discover his highest buy price. Once found Eve can now see a price difference advantages to herself. Eve buys the 1000 shares from Alice at $23.90 and then immediately sells the shares to Bob at $24.40, pocketing the $500 difference. On Wallstreet they call this "providing liquidity", anywhere else this would be considered insider trading and illegal. Multiple all this by several hundred firms with special inside access to the market place, each running their own competing Eve programs, and you quickly realize how the market can go into turmoil within seconds....

Comment Re:But... its fiber?!? (Score 5, Informative) 153

Maybe I'm missing something, but fiberoptics aren't conductive. That's one of the beautiful things about it. Why would they need steel-coated cables to protect them from the electric lines?

The fiber optic cable is not conductive, but the aerial hanger wire and pole supports, to which the fiber optic is wrapped, most certainly are. This is not about protecting the fiber optic cables, this is about protecting the infrastructure (ALL of the utilities on the pole) and the life and safety of those personal working on it. This issue is very clear-cut and Google/Kansas City will lose. They tried to slip in a fast one of defining their own terms for pole placement, but issue of pole line placement is already quite well established

The highest voltage lines are placed at the top of the pole, say 25kV feeder lines. Below that on the power pole, outside the exclusion zone of the upper wire, comes the primary distribution lines, perhaps 7kV or 14.4kV, and below that exclusion zone comes the next highest voltage and so forth... At the mid pole location (and below all the above exclusion zones) comes the secondary distribution lines (120V-480V). Below that level comes the telephone lines (48V), and below that cable distribution. At the very bottom is the lowest power lines, namely being fiber optic cables.

This means that a telephone/etc. service technician never has to be within the exclusion zone of a high voltage, for which they do not have the proper equipment and training. The Google proposal would have the fiber installers working in the same space, and requiring the same training and equipment, as the power company personal who handle live high voltage lines.

Comment Re:Spotty (Score 4, Informative) 451

Came across here at 12:02 MST and the audio stream was screwed up. The audio alerts came thru fine, but the message was extremely faint and unintelligible. About half way thru the 60sec test someone at the radio station cranked the input volume all the way up, horrible high-pitched whine of background noise, but you could at least understand what was being said then. Still, it sounded like trying to tune into a radio station a thousand miles away... The normal monthly tests have never seemed to have that problem.

Comment Re:Thanks for the redesign! (Score 4, Insightful) 2254

Yep... More laptop has plenty of horsepower, yet the new design has made it useless. A single Slashdot window open and all the Ajaxy crap uses 100% of a CPU continuously. Ajax is suppose to be for enabling small updates to pages (getting more content, updating a status, etc) in response to a user action. Why do people think Web2.0 means continuously run a thread and use all the CPU when doing absolutely nothing????

Comment Re:Edit this now, please (Score 1) 2166

"informal" = "incorrect"

Once again, you are simply wrong. For a grammer Nazi, you seem to be having difficulties understanding the English language.

- adjective
1. without formality or ceremony; casual: an informal visit.
2. not according to the prescribed, official, or customary way or manner; irregular; unofficial: informal proceedings.
3. suitable to or characteristic of casual and familiar, but educated, speech or writing

People converse using common English, no so-called "proper" English. Perhaps you should pay close attention to the third definition above: casual and familiar, but educated, speech or writing

For a troll, you are not particularly entertaining.

Comment Re:Edit this now, please (Score 4, Informative) 2166

How in the hell does one guy injure eighteen people and kill five at an event that surely must have had dozens of police and security personnel?

Why would there be dozens of police and security? Congresswoman Giffords is local representative, not the president. She regularly holds "Congress on Your Corner" informal meetings at shopping centers. Anyone can come up and talk with her on any subject regarding her district. You know... actually talking with your constituents about their concerns, instead of camping out in palatial gated estates where only insiders and lobbyists are invited.

The meet-and-greet event was just starting and there were a total of about 20 people waiting to talk with Giffords, dozens more walking in and out of the market. A total of eighteen people were injured, 6 of which are dead. Not all the injured were shot. The suspect reportedly had a 9mm gun with an extended 20-round clip.

Comment Re:Edit this now, please (Score 5, Informative) 2166

According to the live news conference that just occurred at UMC:

Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head, thru-and-thru, and is now out of surgery. She is in critical condition, but is alert and responding to commands, the surgeon believe she will come thru this in good condition.

Updated numbers indicate a total of 18 people injured, 5 of which are dead including a young girl about 9yrs old.

Comment Re:idea (Score 5, Informative) 90

Sorry, no your wrong. I work for an ISP and I know exactly what the GP was referring to. The removal DSL from the list of tariffed products (the list that sets price for wholesale telco products) is what killed small/medium ISPs. The national dialup pools had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Before the rule changes, any mom-n-pop ISP (which could be 20,000 subscribers) could sell DSL internet to a customer for the DSL-line tariff charge + ISP charge (the same tariff charge as the telco charged its direct customers). The only difference between ISP A, ISP B, and the telco monopoly ISP was the ISP charge and the customer services provided by each.

After the tariff change, the local telco monopoly now charges much more for the DSL line charge to a third party alone than it does for its own complete bundled service. As an example... Qwest now charges $33/mon for a bare-naked DSL line serviced by a third party ISP. Add in $20/mon for the ISP charge. Qwest's own DSL package price is $29.95, less the line cost itself.

Remember, this is just the price difference in the last-mile DSL circuit. The mom-n-pop ISP also pays the telco for dedicated high-bandwidth circuits to every CO DSLAM to pickup the aggregate circuits (typically). How does a local mom-n-pop ISP (often with far better customer service) compete when the base price of the DSL circuit (without service) is more than the incumbent monopoly package price?

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