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Comment Re:Because Manufacturers Suck (Score 1) 60

Can you imagine having to wait for, say, Dell to OK to every package for your next "apt-get update"?

Except Dell will do just this if the update has anything to do with hardware, and in most server environments a lot of it does. I've done the dosey doe with Dell on their server platforms with drivers, debating whether my problems are due to the vendor-supplied drivers sucking or whether the Dell-provided drivers six months behind the OEM vendor are at fault.

I think the problem carriers worry about is unapproved software that effects their networks. My guess is this is pretty remote in reality. but shikata ga nai.

Comment Re:So, the gist of it is... (Score 3, Interesting) 86

More than a burner, they should coordinate their burners. Load them up with tantalizing information that wastes a ton of investigation time, but being careful not to have any actual prosecutor conspiracies.

Use burners with known weaknesses or backdoors and set them up with passcodes or weak encryption so they look legitimate but are easily broken with diagnostic software.

Emails about stuff supposedly buried in parks, or sunk in lakes at specific GPS coordinates. Treasure-map fantasies. Rent a storage space and decorate it with Independence Day decorations, but make it sound like it's full of anarchist equipment.

Bonus points if you can capture video streams of the Feds digging up a park or walking into a storage locker filled with decorations.

If you did it right, they might get tired of grabbing phones with the idea that they won't know which ones have real solid info and which ones will leave them chasing their tails.

Comment Re:I'm all over this (Score 1) 115

There's a whole world of people for whom the bargain side of everything matters more than the thing they got a bargain on.

My dad is like this -- he will always put up with inferior quality or drastically reduced choice if it saves him a buck and it really has nothing to do with his financial status. In fact, he often has broken or otherwise unusable things cluttering his life that he can't use but can't get rid of because he "spent good money on them"

Meanwhile, he spends so much time shopping for a low price that he doesn't have much time left to enjoy the thing he was looking for a bargain on or the experience is so degraded by low quality that he doesn't get any enjoyment out of it.

In terms of this, it's ridiculously expensive for an average at-home movie night. There's a million movie choices for $5 or less at home.

But there's a lot of ways I could see $30 being reasonable -- a big new movie for a group, people with kids who'd spend $30 on a babysitter alone, etc. It kind of doesn't have to be the greatest movie ever made, because it's about the larger experience. Sure, you could do it 6 months later when it hits Redbox, but by then the impetus is gone because it's just another title.

Comment What's the difference? (Score 1) 296

The Senate voted 50-48 along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era law that requires internet service providers to obtain permission before tracking what customers look at online and selling that information to other companies.

Well, so much for the argument that the Democrats and Republicans are just the same.

Not one Democrat voted for this bill. Not a single one.

Comment Re:Municipal/County Fiber (Score 3, Informative) 167

Yes, this is the model that makes the most sense.

It closely parallels the road system -- government builds the roads, but they don't deploy commercial services on the roads themselves -- ie, they don't get into the taxi business, the delivery business, etc.

I think it's telling and strange that they complain about this. For one, it says that they are less profitable on actual services delivered over the wire because when faced with competition where pricing is solely determined by content and not delivery.

Strange, because I would kind of expect that physical plant maintenance would be expensive. I see Comcast trucks all the time, which assume at least some percentage of involve physical plant work. If a city put in municipal fiber Comcast could connect subscribers to, I would expect that they would be thrilled to dump a shitload of plant maintenance overhead.

And at some point in the future, I would expect both competitors running fiber to the home and signaling limits on coax cable to render coax plants non-competitive, meaning that cable providers are sitting on something of a timebomb of aging infrastructure which will be very costly to upgrade.

I've often wondered if a smarter strategy for cable providers might not be offering to sell their municipal wire plant (coax to the house plus fiber distribution network) to municipalities. The cable company could spin off an independent plant management company which would actually run the plant -- I would expect any municipal plant to be managed under contract by a private entity anyway. The municipality gets an instant network to homes plus fiber distribution without having to do any construction and the cable company unloads a physical plant which will need a long-term investment to remain viable.

Comment Re:No complaints here (Score 1) 352

This is the 2nd winter in a row with less than average snow and higher than average temps. I certainly don't mind.

The best part is that it extends boating season by a month, another month when I get to run twin 350s and burn 20 gallons an hour!

If I can keep it up I may be able to warm it up to get another month!

Comment Re:goodbye jiffy lube hello $60-$100 dealer oil ch (Score 1) 241

The problem is, does screaming legalese and acts of Congress when you're standing there in the dealership to pick up your car (late for daycare pickup or something) and some low-wage flunky is telling you that you owe $1,787 because the repair isn't covered by the warranty really get you very far?

Sure, you might be *right* but they can say no, not give you your car back until you pay, and generally make your life miserable until you sue them and then they can drag that out until it costs you 10x what the invoice was.

I recently had some work done where the invoice exceeded a written estimate by 20% and explaining the fact that such an overage is illegal in this state really was not effective. They were literally more afraid of me screaming on social media or disputing the charge on my card than they were in breaking the law.

The legalese is great idea, but unless you can call the cops and get somebody arrested for violating consumer protection laws, the imbalance between a large business and the average consumer is so great that its almost like having no protection at all.

Comment Re:Features? Look Elsewhere (Score 1) 252

I was thinking about this yesterday in a similar way, how once a product's core functionality reaches a certain level you reach a point in its life cycle where as a user you're at risk of significant instability.

Inevitably the desire to add new features to justify additional licensing fees will lead to the "need" to rewrite or significantly restructure the core functionality and they never get that right the first time, often plunging products back to levels of instability not seen in many versions. And often not fixed for a long time, either, as feature bloat dilutes engineering resources and product managers and marketing fall on their sword to preserve the new version.

I sometimes wonder if a strategy to deal with this wouldn't be planning on switching to a rising competitor, even if it meant suffering a competitor's marginally lower stability. The idea being that the competitor hasn't hit a functionality & stability plateau yet and will be mostly increasing stability first and functionality second.

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