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Comment Re:The Robot... (Score 1) 231

The robot, apparently code-named 'Bender' was apparently not concerned initially until it determined that the fridge contained beer, at which point it flagged this as a priority.

I heard this robot codenamed Bender had an antenna connected to a faulty transceiver that might be responsible for cell phone network interference (as well as satellite TV interference)

Comment Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (Score 4, Informative) 231

It's not his fault their network is impacted by a completely unrelated device.

Once he's been informed of the disturbance his device is creating; he becomes liable if he fails to make it stop.

Same as if you have a fridge that makes insanely loud noises and creates a disturbance in the neighborhood, or a fridge that shoots fireballs at the neighbor's property.

The person operating the fridge is liable for the damage, and responsible for the repairs or to cease operation and dispose of their misbehaving equipment.

Comment Re:More pertinent information on beer fridge (Score 1) 231

You will unplug my beer fridge over my cold and lifeless body. This is why we Uhmerkins have guns.

If need be, the Guvernment can order the local electric company to shut off power to his residence, in order to combat the interference. The lights can be switched off at a safe distance from the pole, without unplugging anything or approaching the residence.

Comment Re:I can't imagine this is worth it (Score 1) 146

Absolutely nothing. As copyright law has nothing to say about boards. About the software in the ROM?

The point is copyright restricts performance, distribution, and modification, not just copying.

The first sale doctrine has been used to establish a precedent that allows you to re-sell copyright works you have purchased. The right of the copyright holder to make the copy exercised by the first sale, flows; that is: this allows you to resell the work, the first sale permits it.

But there's a problem here.... what happens when you have an unpublished copy that was never sold to anyone; there is no 'first sale'; therefore, the first sale doctrine does not apply to this ROM you have recovered.

And there is no first abandonment doctrine I know of, that says the copy of the work of an author who abandoned a copy of the work, or accidentally misplaced a copy, or who accidentally leaked a copy due to employee misbehavior, or subcontractor misbehavior -- enjoys a right to be redistributed.

Therefore.... there is no right to distribute the work that is flowing to you.

In other words: salvaging the ROM, and reselling it without copying, might be infringement. There is no precedent I know of which says that is allowed, and it encroaches on an exclusive right protected by the copyright statute, that would tend to suggest that redistributing it would be illegal (even though you haven't made the copy -- and the copy may have been legal to make, it was never "infused with a right" to be redistributed, since there was never a first sale).

Comment Re:ISDN PRI, Channelized DS1/DS3 not going anywher (Score 1) 347

On top of that, we regularly suffer multi-hour outages from our upstream provider, and they refuse to fix the problem.

How the hell is VoIP going to be reliable, if your upstream provider regularly fails?You think their uptime and service reliability will be better with internet service?

Either service can be unreliable with a bad service provider. POTS is easier to get right; although indeed more expensive, and not completely impossible to incompetently install, design, maintain, or manage.

POTS is a federally regulated service, and standards of reliability are applicable. If your provider refuses to fix, you may have a complaint to take to the FCC public service commission.

Before you start extolling the virtues of POTS, keep in mind that everything is not always flowers and sunshine. We have 20 line POTS to the building I'm in, and the up-time is atrocious. The patchboard alone is a nightmare no one wants to touch.

This is more an equipment/implementation issue.

I would tend to say, get rid of the 20 POTS lines, and get an ISDN PRI; or a fractional T1 and a channel bank.

Get rid of the expensive proprietary PBX, and get an IP-based PBX with ISDN PRI as the upstream.

In other words: a mixture of VOIP and POTS technology.

VOIP to connect phones to an inexpensive PBX or SIP proxy (less than $5000)

PBX to connect to the upstream phone network.

ISDN PRI or fractional voice T1 is easily moved to a VoIP service provider at any time, for all or some outgoing or incoming calls

So you can have a mixture of VoIP and POTS as required.

Meaning; you could use VoIP as a failover in case POTS is down; or POTS as a failover in case internet is down, in some cases.

And mix use of service when it makes sense

Comment Re:I can't imagine this is worth it (Score 1) 146

Maybe they'll sell seven million copies of E.T. for the Atari 2600, covered in human waste and for a dollar each, proving us all wrong and freezing hell solid.


I see plenty of E.T. available on Ebay with box and manual, doubtlessly taken better care of, and in better original condition for ~$8 to ~$10.

The best use of digging it up would probably be to recycle the components; unless they intend to collaborate to make a magic cartridge modification to fix all the issues with the game, and sell an altered version.

I suppose a big chunk of them could sell as a novelty... collector value, just because of the fact that it came from Atari's game burial.

Maybe the 3 thousand or less copies they are likely to recover (assuming there are any packed in the middle of the 'stack' that have not decayed/been damaged beyond recognition), will sell for $10 or $20 based on that.

It still won't recover the hundreds of thousands that a dig operation like this costs to perform :)

Comment Re:ISDN PRI, Channelized DS1/DS3 not going anywher (Score 1) 347

Outsourcing saved Dell, and it saved HP. Were it not possible, we would be importing our computers from China just as we do our TVs, radios, set top boxes, microwaves, etc.

Because you haven't really substantiated your contention; I am more inclined to believe Forbes' detailed analysis on this topic, then some Slashdot AC's unsupported claims.. please see How HP and Dell destroyed their PC advantage piece by piece.

The outsourcing "fad" has just begun. Even H-1Bs are extremely attractive. Think one can pay a USAian with a CCIE $30k/year? Won't happen, but you can easily get H-1Bs for that pay and qualifications with just a couple forms.

The CCIE is an expensive and difficult certificate to obtain regardless of nationality; people who hold this are valuable, regardless of nationality. I don't believe there are many Indians holding this level of qualification. There aren't very US people holding this qualification either. This is definitely not a helpdesk worker certificate.

I will agree that H-1Bs are attractive. Especially for menial programming jobs. Outsourcing is extremely attractive for programming jobs and manufacturing.

But outsourcing falls apart when there is work that is tied to a physical location; such as at an ISP or Telco, where you have a wire plant.

Until robots are invented that can be operated from overseaas, and the speed of light is broken, so that latency can be reduced to an acceptable level -- there is not much fear of offshoring technicians that do some mechanical work which involves physically touching misbehaving equipment in order to troubleshoot.

Comment I can't imagine this is worth it (Score 0) 146

Atari video game burial: The goods disposed of through the burial are generally believed to have been several million copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a game which had become one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming and is often cited as one of the worst video games released; and the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man, which had been commercially successful but critically maligned.

E.T. was a commercial failure -- do you really think it would be worth recovering a few million reproductions of a piece of trash?

What would copyright law say about restoring and reselling boards with a copy of a copyright work that was not sold, and the author ordered destroyed?

One or two copies of E.T. might be worth a lot. As soon as you have millions though, the value is negligible...

Their only real value is to collectors as a historical memento; there are only so many collectors, and millions of copies is plenty enough for all of the collectors, without competing -- I see no way the dig could recover its costs, even if they find them..

The copies of Pacman may be worth a little more, because hey: people still want to play that.

Comment Re:ISDN PRI, Channelized DS1/DS3 not going anywher (Score 1) 347

Unless his dad is working from India, I'm amazed he's still got a helpdesk job. Time to move on or up.

As long as he's advanced helpdesk Level 3 or higher, and he's not in the first line Level 1 or Level 2 support job; I don't think he has much to worry about from India.

The engineering outsourcing fad is just about over, if not over.

Go ask Dell about how well that worked for them in the long run, farming out all their work to overseas companies -- by outsourcing everything, they outsourced their competitive edge, and then their suppliers started working for the competition - enabling the competition in various countries to provide essentially the same equipment as Dell, for a lower price: in other words, outsourcing came to bite them, because they effectively exported the core of their business, directly resulting in them bleeding sales...

Anyways, while outsourcing customer service and low-level support works well -- a call center operator can just read from a script.

It doesn't work so well, for helpdesk, beyond low-level jobs, when you need advanced level troubleshooting, such as helpdesk logging into service provider routers and other highly security-sensitive network infrastructure to do some diagnostics, and not following a script.

It doesn't work so well, when a specific understanding of the customer's network design is required to troubleshoot the issue.

It doesn't work so well when you lose customers because they are fed up talking to "engineers" with accents they cannot understand.

It doesn't work so well when the person taking the call needs to physically touch something, to provide the service the customer expects.

Or when the helpdesk person needs to coordinate with a field technician for diagnosis.

Comment Re: Why the iPhone of all thing? (Score 1) 316

When you remove subscription paying readers from the equation, you get less money to pay professional photographers.

Which is bullshit; when you consider, that at the same time you removed subscription paying readers from a local area where your paper is published: you now have the opportunity to appeal to Ad revenue generating readers from all over the world -- as long as your work is high quality, including visual appeal which means professional quality charts, graphical design, and photos.

Comment Re:ISDN PRI, Channelized DS1/DS3 not going anywher (Score 1) 347

I won't claim to be intimately aware of telco operations, but it's my understanding that more and more telcos are ditching channelized copper on the backbone

Telcos are usually using channelized fiber on the backbone.

IP based protocols don't provide reliable delivery and circuit protection switching. For the forseeable future, only VoIP providers are switching voice to IP at the backbone, and providers that sell circuits to customers are not.

Comment Re:Yeah, I'll think about that for you. (Score 1) 204

Check your math. Gasoline sold at retail typically has 10% ethanol (usually corn-derived) and 90% actual gasoline.

I cannot calculate exactly what will happen, but increasing the concentration from 90% to 100% tomorrow means that every person who buys 9 gallons of gasoline today buys 10 gallons tomorrow.

The US driving population is approximately 200 million. Gasoline is already a scarce raw material.

Lets assume 100 million people fill up their cars with 10 gallons at the pump twice a month.

That's 18 = 9 gallons x 2 in the world before the removal of additives

And 20 = 10 gallons x 2 in the world after we removed the additives.

In other words, 50 million people buying 2 additional gallons of gasoline twice a month = 100 million gallons

This translates into approximately 5 million barrels of oil.

Of course, people buy more gasoline than that, so it is actually a multiple of that of gaslone taken off the market.

So while demand for Ethanol will be going down; There will be a demand shock for Gasoline, at least temporarily.

The Demand for Gasoline might eventually go back down, if indeed, vehicles are sufficiently more efficient with the new mixture -- people should be buying their 10 gallons less often.

However: they will still be floating more fuel in their vehicles; that is the increase in concentration increases the effective quantity of gasoline that each individual person is demanding to be stored in their vehicles, because they will be always filling their tank up completely.

When the gasoline is in your fuel tank, it's already been taken off the market. It's as if everyone's fuel tank was suddenly expanded to carry an additional gallon -- artificial incentive for everyone in the market to hoard an extra gallon gas per 9 gallons of fuel.

Therefore, you have a rather complicated economic situation. The engine efficiency may be higher. In fact, if you visit the gas station less often, and less fuel is burned -- then gasoline is burned at a lower rate by the entire population, and yet, you have a short term demand issue.

Comment ISDN PRI, Channelized DS1/DS3 not going anywhere (Score 3, Informative) 347

As for helpdesk support... support isn't going anywhere. Although I feel like it's a fruitless pursuit to spend your entire career in. If you're 15 years away from retirement, I would seriously be looking for opportunities for education and advancement, to a more managerial position, where you could have more impact, and maybe get a higher inome for a better retirement.

As you mentioned.... people too far for DSL.

Aside from clear channel DS3; which I don't think is even an argument, that those are going anywhere -- businesses still buy those. And the capacity and assurance that the bandwidth will be available is much higher than DSL.

As you didn't mention... businesses that need something more reliable than DSL, and a SLA from their telecommunications provider. DSL is typically best-effort by the ILEC; sometimes taking 48 to 72 hours to repair. ISDN services are less fragile, and typically have a tigher SLA for diagnosis and repair -- and hey the insult required to break ISDN are essentially drastic situations like stray voltage on the line, cut or short-circuit.

DSL reception can be totally broken, or the speed suddenly greatly diminished, by a huge variety of minor insults to the copper, where electrical continuity isn't lost.

The performance you will get from a T1 link by contrast, is pretty much a certain thing, barring severe damage to the copper.

Businesses requiring POTS applications; believe it or not, VoIP doesn't work for just anything, and still might not be preferred even if it's cheaper; the reliability and security characteristics of POTS may be preferred.

For example: IT security departments like POTS, because VoIP is so vulnerable, and easy to record, intercept, and forge calls, in case of network intrusion.

Various applications work better with POTS, such as fax machines and alarm systems. In large sites, there is likely to be some need, and maybe enough need that a PRI or channelized T1 is required for 24 phone lines.

Existing services where T1/T3 is already in place are unlikely to be changed; where they are filling the need. Not every business wants to tempt fate by switching kinds of service if there is no need to it --- for the forseeable future, there is no massive exodus for DSL.

DS3 signalling isn't going anywhere either; it's the way of muxing a bunch of T1s or SLA guaranteed customer circuits for circuit protection and mapping across the transport network infrastructure. A bunch of DS0s become DS1s; a bunch of DS1s become DS3s; a bunch of DS3s become OC-xxx; a bunch of those so-called obsolete T1s form the backbone of a telco transport network.

Comment Re:Yeah, I'll think about that for you. (Score 1) 204

Then I'll wonder exactly how many pre-1981 cars are actually still on the road, and I'll wonder about the percentage of total fuel usage by all cars which is accounted for by pre-1981 cars.

If they stopped putting in additives; the price per gallon would explode, because the expensive part is now more concentrated. How do you think the average person will feel about paying $2 to $3 more per Gallon?

It would be commercial suicide, unless all the retailers did this, they wouldn't buy the more expensive gas; furthermore, consumers would be unhappy, the resulting price increase would be seen as a profit grab...

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