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Comment Re:Give the conspiracy stuff a rest (Score 1) 101

Uh, I'm not sure you actually got what is going on. FCC is going to cave on it's previously-ongoing legal defense of an extension to include broadband in the lifeline communications subsidy. FCC will stop approving broadband providers who wish to participate in the program and will instead allow states to make this decision. States don't actually have the constitutional responsibility to govern communications, that is given to the Federal government by Congress in the Communications Act of 1934. States are unlikely to have a program to approve broadband lifeline subsidies in place at present because it's a Federal responsibility, and even given the FCC Chairman's odd justification states aren't necessarily going to be eager to take this on.

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 101

Internet is also necessary for children to do their homework and any sort of research these days. It does seem that broadband has become basic connectivity. Would you like to show me how long you can get along without it?

Where I live, there is an organization that takes old computers, puts Linux and Chrome on them, and gives them to poor people along with continuing technical support. I do hear of such things elsewhere. I don't think it's actually all that difficult for a poor person to get an old laptop.

Comment Re:You may not like this (Score 1) 101

The problem I'm having with your argument is that I can't come up with a natural reason for this to be a State rather than Federal issue. What I've heard before is reference to intents of the founders or the 10th amendment. The 10th amendment argument generally takes an originalist view of the Constitution. Given originalism, we'd not have women's suffrage or racial equality, so much for originalism.

If we look back to when social policies like this were enacted in the Federal context, it's when we've had the problem that some states have been dragging their feet about racial equality (and essentially any other social issue of the last century). The Federal government thus saw a need to step in.

Comment Re:Background and the real issue (Score 1) 101

Actually, you haven't yet given me any evidence that you're a racist. I haven't looked at your previous postings here or elsewhere on the net, and you didn't say enough in this one. But I certainly would say you were a racist if you convinced me that you were, and the last time I checked the constitution, it gave me the right to do so. This is a Slashdot discussion, and Slashdot is not actually obligated to provide a podium for my first amendment speech, but they generally have done so.

Regarding whether I can tell you that you have to pay the telephone lifeline subsidy fee, the fact is that it's still required, the money is just not going to pay for internet any longer. It still pays for phones for poor people. So, yes, I factually state that you have to pay it.

Now, I understand that you're just trying to express a vague tax-revolt sort of sentiment. I get that, even though I obviously don't agree with it. But IMO you need to put more thought into it. If you can express it better, it might be worth arguing about. That's what democratic discourse is.

Comment Background and the real issue (Score 5, Informative) 101

The lifeline subsidy does not come from your income taxes, but from a fee charged to telephone subscribers. This is used to make sure that poor people can call 911 and can participate in our society sufficiently so that they can get a job, go to school, and make use of government services that were formerly only available by phone or personal visit.

These days, getting a job requires use of the internet and you can't really hang around the library for the entire time you're trying to get work. So, it makes sense to give poor people some basic connectivity.

I believe the actual motivation behind this move is the same one that is behind making it more difficult for poor and disenfranchised people to vote - even though there is no evidence of significant voting fraud in the USA: Poor folks and minorities might vote Democratic. Suppression of the Black vote has historically been an important part of Republican strategy, this is just one of many reports on that issue. Having gerrymandered them into the most odd-shaped electoral districts, it becomes time to make sure they can't get news online or participate in democratic discourse.

Comment Re:Thanks, I'll pass on all of them (Score 1) 252

I'll grant you restaurant variety will suffer the smaller the town. That said I live in a place with a population of less than half a million and we've got several Thai places, numerous Korean joints, at least one Japanese eatery I'm aware of, and a couple Indian places.

That describes one side of a single city block in downtown Vancouver, if you add a Vietnamese Pho, a Starbucks, two decent coffee shops, and a superior French bakery.

Comment those are taxiways (Score 1) 321

Look more closely at the diagram.

The dual-circles around the buildings are taxiways. (Notece that, in addition to being far narrower than an airplane and too close in, they're also not circular, but have a flattened area at the right side, making it more like a "D" than an "O".

The runways are the wide, straight, "roads", of which you see just a tiny chunk at the very boundary of the picture. They're essentially tangent to the taxiways - slightly out from them.

This is just a standard airport designs with straight runways.

Comment Re:Uhm... (Score 1) 543

Documents 6 bankruptcies, and 13 businesses that closed up shop - at the very least suggests he doesn't know what he's doing.

Business has something in common with war and engineering:
  1 You try a bunch of stuff that looks like it might work.
  2 Some of it works, some of it doesn't.
  3a. You stop doing (and wasting resources on) what doesn't work
  3b, and continue doing more of what does (transferring any remaining resources from the abandoned paths.)
  4. PROFIT!

In business, step 3a is called "a large business environment, major projects are done in separate subsidiary corporations. This uses the "corporate veil" as a firewall, to keep the failed attempts from reaching back and sucking up more resources from what's succeeding. Dropping a failed experiment in step 3a (when it's failed so badly that there's nothing left to salvage in a different attempt's 3b) is called "bankruptcy". It lets you stop throwing good money after bad and move on.

So bankruptcy is NOT necessarily a sign of weakness, stupidity, or lack of business acumen. On the contrary: It shows the decision-maker was smart enough to spend a bit extra to erect the firewall between the bulk of his holdings and the iffy project.

So a successful large-business-empire-operator who is also innovative will usually have a number of bankruptcies in his history. It's no big deal, anyone in business at or near that level knows it, and took it into account if they risked some of their resources in someone else's experiment that failed in the hope of profit if it succeeded.

Also: Someone starting out may have to few resources to run many experiments simultaneously. (Or even a big guy may be reduced to a little guy by too many failures - not necessarily his fault.) So he has to try serially, doing only one or a few at a time. This may mean total bankruptcy, even multiple times, before coming up with something that does work. Lots of successful businessmen went through total bankruptcy, sometimes several times, before hitting it big.

Comment And now maybe we'll know why ... (Score 5, Interesting) 113

And now maybee we'll know why it's been so hard for Open Source developers to get information on writing their own against-the-metal drivers for telephony radios and startup modules (BIOS, EFI/UEFI, etc.)

It has long been suspected that was not just proprietary info-walling, but to reduce chances of discovery of backdoors and persistent threats imposed in the name of spying.

Submission + - SPAM: Quicken Bill Pay is No Longer Safe to Use 1

Bruce Perens writes: I don't usually make security calls, but when a company makes egregious and really clueless security mistakes, it's often the case that the only way to attract their attention and get the issue fixed is to publicize it. This one is with Quicken Bill Pay, a product of Metavante (not Intuit). It's from personal observation rather than an expert witness case, and the company has been unresponsive through their customer support channel.
Link to Original Source

Comment Abandoning Time-Worn Processes Leads to Atrophy (Score 5, Insightful) 158

Scientists determined that those people who made use of machine washing rather than hand washing had diminished hand strength and neurological motor communication necessary for fine motor control. Seamstresses who bought thread rather than using the spinning jenny were similarly impaired. But worst off were teamsters who used the internal combustion trucks rather than teams of horses and used forklifts and other mechanical devices rather than loading their vehicles by hand. Their overall body strength was much reduced.

Comment Pity, since I can't accept the EULA (Score 1) 147

Google's Chrome browser, on the other hand, remained unhackable during the contest.

Unfortunately for me, I can't accept Chrome's EULA.

It incorporates Adobe's, which (if I recall correctly from my AT&T Android-based smartphone) has several clauses I can't abide - including a never-compete, don't block updates, don't work on circumvention tools, we can change the license without notice, ...

I don't intend to do anything that might come back to limit my future software work or employability. Clicking through such a license (even if every bit of it is struck down by the courts - which I'm not holding my breath expecting), especially on a device that "phones home" in a way that is easily identified with my true name, is an invitation for an all-versus-one gladiatorial match with two multibillion-dollar corporations' legal departments.

Comment GitHub is in California (Score 1) 75

I struggle a bit to understand why this isn't a bigger issue. ... I wonder why some politician hasn't attempted to differentiate themselves by even mentioning the stifling effect on innovation [company-owns-all-your-inventions] policies impose.

Because it's already been adressed, long ago.

GitHub is in San Francisco, which is in California and governed by California labor law.

California labor law says that (paraphrasing from memory):
  - As a compelling state interest
  - overriding anything in the employee agreement
  - if an employee invents something
  - while not on company time or using company resources
  - and that invention is not in the company's current or immediately foreseeable business
  - then the invention belongs to the employee
  - (and the employment agreement must include a copy of this information as an appendix.)

(IMHO that law is THE reason for the explosive growth and innovation in Silicon Valley and why other states have been unable to clone it. Invent something that your current company won't use, get together with a couple friends, maybe get some "angel funding", rent the office across the street, and go into business with your new shiny thing. So companies bud off new companies like yeast. And innovators collect where they can become the inventor, the "couple of friends", or the early hires, creating a pool of the necessary talent to convert inventions into companies when they happen.)

What GitHub has apparently done is say to the employees:
"For the purposes of us claiming your IP, your lunch time and breaks are your time, even on company property, and your use of our computers and disk storage for things like compiles, storing code, and web research in aid of your project, does not count as 'using company resources'."

In other states, and other companies even within CA, that might be a big deal. For a company in CA, whose whole business model is providing archives for other people's software projects - and giving it away free to small groups, while charging large groups (or small groups that grow into large groups), it's not a big deal, and right IN their business model.

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