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Comment Re:Help us Google Fiber! You're our only hope. (Score 4, Informative) 568

The end is near my ass. I'm in Los Angeles and I still only have one option for broadband access at any reasonable speed -- and it's Time Warner Cable. The end is nowhere near until we somehow break the monopolistic (or duopolistic) stranglehold these bastards enjoy in any given market. Apparently this stranglehold is in large part perpetuated by political deals these ISPs have made with local government (e.g., the City of Los Angeles) wherein the city gets kickbacks from the ISP for rights of way, etc. Because local governments are dependent on these kickbacks to support their budget, there is no competition. It's a form of payola.

If you're in a Sonic.net coverage area, check them out. I'm 6000 feet from the CO, and get 14mbit down, 1.3mbit upstream -- no monthly bandwidth caps, and their pricing includes a real analog phone line (not VoIP) with unlimited long distance. For about double the price, you can get business DSL that bonds 2 lines to give you about double the speed.

I was getting 50mbit/10mbit from Comcast, but dropped them after moving to Sonic because once a week I'd see latency and packet loss so severe that the line was unusable.

Comment Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (Score 1) 479

I worked on a near-shore oil (seismic) exploration crew a long time ago, which used high pressure air to blow calibrated bubbles in the ocean. The air was at 3500 PSI and was carried from compressor to 'guns' via 1/2 inch high pressure hose. One of the guys on the crew before I got there happened to be in the way when one of those hoses broke, and swung around spraying air at 3500 PSI. The air cut his arm right to the bone, as it passed by.

Comment Re:Hydrogen is indeed quite dangerous... (Score 1) 479

Back in the day, some of my associates in the prototype test group used to play a prank based on this. They would fill one of those plastic film canisters that you used to get 35mm film in, by spraying the freeze spray used for testing electronics into it. If you keep spraying in the same place it gets so cold that it freezes. So you fill up the canister about 1/2 way with that, snap the lid back on, and quietly as you walk down the aisle, toss into the back of a terminal that someone is using/testing, that happens to have the cover off. A minute or two later, POP!! sounds just like a very big capacitor blowing up. Excitement and jollity ensue.

Comment Help us Google Fiber! You're our only hope. (Score 5, Insightful) 568

Seriously the ISPs who get behind metering and capping are just trying to stop the cord cutter movement. They know they are dinosaurs and the end is near. They are the same ones who refuse to take free Netflix CDN boxes to reduce the Netflix backhaul by 90%, and improve the service quality to their customers as well, instead trying to charge Netflix bandwidth fees. There is nothing whatsoever precious about Internet bandwidth. Every few years some new tech lets them put 100x as many bits down the same single mode fiber-optic pipe, and it's burying or stringing that pipe where the lion's share of the cost is.

Since Google isn't in the TV game really, they have nothing to lose by letting you pass all the data you want.

Comment Re:This, this, and more this! (Score 1) 372

That's also been my experience, for the most part. In the past when a Slashdot post has revealed enough information for me to dig through the edit history on Wikipedia to see what happened, I've sided with the Wikipedia editors.

One time I put quite a bit of effort into cleaning up an article about a fellow who set a dubious record long ago (less stupid than winning World Sauna Championships, but still inadvisable). There was a great deal of misinformation spread in the aftermath of this stunt. It was a tricky business to make correct logical assertions through the minefield of popular misinformation that ensued. A doctor who supervised this did eventually publish in a peer-reviewed journal enough of a factual synopsis to sort out which stories were candyfloss bullshit, and which weren't.

A week later another editor came along and "simplified" my careful prose into the language of careless, naked assertions. I chalked this up to a lesson learned.

The vast majority of my edits have fared better than that. These days I mainly restrict myself to adding isolated statements.

If anyone digs into the article's history, there's a version of the page with carefully worded prose. My contribution wasn't erased, it was merely buried. I wonder sometimes how many pages on Wikipedia have far superior text buried in deep sub strata of their page histories.

The real problem with the model is that there's no underlying arrow of progress. Given their editorial guidelines, credible sources are the foundational object. But sources are not first class objects on Wikipedia. Pastiches of credible sources (the actual articles) are the primary first class object. For the highly inculcated, formal dispute resolutions might also be considered first class objects (in many cases, rather fuzzy first class objects).

Until there's some method, at least semi-automatic en route to the semantic web, to enforce the use of a good source over a bad source at the level of isolated assertions, nothing much is going to change. Editors become possessive of pages because the effort of volunteers is the only force retaining any of the historical quality of an article from death by a thousand well-intentioned word changes.

The least reliable articles are often the ones apparently riddled with careful references. In many cases I've dug into the source and found it doesn't support the claim in any fashion whatsoever, or outright contradicts the claim in some larger frame of consideration.

One could define software engineering, if one wished to, as the art of pushing entropy up hill with quality control. The opposite of software engineering is politics. This can work for a while, until your free labour quits in disgust.

The other remark I'll make is that most people vastly underestimate the utility of mediocre information conveniently packaged. On just about any subject, fifteen minutes at Wikipedia is all I need to put together a mental game plan about what I need to pursue and how, and what is likely to be the most productive place to begin. Underneath the curling, worm-eaten, multi-coloured leaves of factual assertion, there's a pretty decent semantic graph lurking in the page structure, even if sometimes it's closer to the lyrics of Dem Bones than Gray's Anatomy.

The social graph is full of shit, too, lest we forget. One can glean a lot from a social graph full of shit, and many companies do.

Comment Fast rise, fast fall. (Score 1) 227

The faster the technology rises, the faster it falls. Things like Flash become sensations for fickle reasons. Then the next thing comes along and everybody who's anybody switches. Yet all the crap dumped into the tech upon demand of the fickle people remains, weighing it down.

Technologies which mature more slowly (if you're willing to wait for them to mature) tend to have better staying power.

Comment Re:Unfriendly Elitists (Score 1) 372

That's not the worst of it. The ideologues chase newbies out of the core topics... and then delete their remaining articles for lack of "notability." What person with any knowledge worth sharing would bother fighting against that for the opportunity to not be paid to share his knowledge?

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