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Comment Re:Would it be positive for your customers? (Score 5, Informative) 158

"Stream Game of Thrones now without using your data, exclusively on AT&T" is something that carriers and content providers really want to do.

Close. They want the MONEY that comes with EXCLUSIVITY.

Somebody is paying for that. The big companies want it to be HBO or Showtime or Disney or whoever, spending tons of money to other big companies so the big companies can promote their big ideas.

The problem is that everybody else is excluded. Want to be in the Free Data system? Pay up. This is completely against the concept of net neutrality where all content is treated as equal content.

Prioritization is a similar issue. It is true that networks need to prioritize some types of data over other types of data. Phone calls shouldn't be buffered behind a large file transfer, so a limited degree of QoS needs to take place. But categorizing one provider over another provider is unfair. Having HBO streaming arrive at a higher QoS priority and Netflix streaming appear dead last in the QoS where it is constantly buffering and suffering lost packets because Netflix refused to pay up, that is unfair to customers.

If I pay for data it should not matter to the phone company what data I get. They should be treated as common carriers. If I want to stream data from a premium channel, or from youtube, or from a private website, or from a site the phone company thinks is undesirable, it should not matter at all. Customer pays to stream data at a specific speed, then the data should be processed at that speed. Just like common carriers of the postal service or parcel companies, if the customer pays to transfer something then it gets transferred, they don't decide to keep one company's boxes in the warehouse for an extra week just because they didn't pay an extra fee, it arrives in the warehouse it is processed just like every other package. There are still QoS for certain types of packages, a "next day air" versus regular ground shipment, but nothing is delayed because of the carrier's choices.

Binge-On is great this way. The customer can say "throttle ALL my data", or "stop throttling ALL my data". It isn't the phone company getting paid to bless a specific company with different speeds.

Comment Re:Indulgences (Score 1) 174

Once electricity is in the grid, it is fungible.

Within a local network, yes.

But power in Los Angeles is a totally different system from the power in Portland, which are totally different systems from the one in New York City, which are totally different systems from the one in Dublin Ireland.

If the local power grid is powered entirely by fossil fuels, extra energy credits will not replace it with wind or solar or hydro power. Only building a new energy source (expensive) or running cables to another power supply (expensive and also suffers from energy loss over distance) will bring the other power to the system.

If a region is powered by fossil fuels, the payments do not magically make the region powered by renewable energy.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 1) 161

That only works if the damage was on the plastic side of the disc. Quite a few we received had issues on the reflective side, including a few that had human teeth marks on the side, and others with small points that may have been dog teeth or something.

That is in addition to scratches, grooves, and the occasional toothbrush scrub marks on the thick plastic side.

Comment Re:Indulgences (Score 1) 174

Buying green power isn't really all that green: the renewable power you are consuming is power that is ...

By buying renewable energy you increase demand for renewable energy...

Right now it is a mix of both.

In many areas the power grid is only energized by fossil fuels. In other areas the power grid is only energized by hydro power, or by wind power, or by other 'renewable' energy.

You cannot truly increase demand for hydro power in an area without significant amounts of moving water, or increase demand for wind power in an area that seldom has high wind, or increase demand for solar power in an area that isn't suited for it. The initial costs to building whatever infrastructure works for an area is quite high, and the existing infrastructure is not instantly discarded.

Companies can choose to pay a premium that helps subsidize other areas.

In that regard the the grandparent post is correct. They are effectively buying indulgences. They take the energy that is the default -- likely coal or oil power plants -- and pay a little extra money to offset the cost relative to someone who is on a different power system. While it is true they are increasing demand for it somewhere, they aren't actually using renewable energy sources in all their locations. This will probably be the case always, and although we can build more energy sources in some regions, some places cannot. Some places are still completely powered by oil, coal, and similar sources. As the other posts claim, Google and other companies are paying an offset cost rather than truly being powered "100%" by renewable sources.

Comment Re:I beg to differ (Score 1) 161

I get the impression that worn-out DVDs are not being replaced

I ultimately cancelled the service. Not because they didn't have variety --- they did --- but because more and more of the discs were unplayable due to scratches and abuse. Sometimes we needed to return a video two or three times for being unplayable.

The thing about those DVDs is that they cannot be (legitimately) replaced. They had a single press run, maybe two or three runs if they were popular, and that's it.

Comment Re:You're not safe from hackers... (Score 1) 141

Read "A Study in Scarlet".

I have. Both parts are works of fiction. Arthur Conan Doyle became quite famous for his fiction. His fictional story about a bunch of mis-named religious people -- people who had an extermination order for practicing religion in a country that prides itself on freedom of religion -- was an interesting read, but it was clearly fiction just as much as Holmes was fiction.

(Although to be fair, I imagine some people think Sherlock Holmes was a real life character and perhaps may think Doyle's other fiction works are factual, too.)

Comment This is how the law will die. (Score 0) 122

This law will die or face significant overhaul as more of these stories hit the press. New of grandma charged thousands for supposedly downloading a $10 product for teens. Parents of young children charged thousands for their six-year-old downloading what they thought was a free game or movie.

Few things anger the public more than faceless corporations using the legal system to batter the elderly and the young. These stores will continue to appear --- and rightly belong --- in the news media headlines.

With luck, the courts of public opinion will trigger overhaul or reversal of the law.

Comment Re:They better make it to my house... (Score 2) 204

Same here in Austin... if a house has access to Google Fiber, it can add $20,000 to the value, from what a real estate agent told me.

Living in Austin, can confirm. Homes around here are around $250K-$400K depending on size. When Google or AT&T come through and install fiber to the home in various neighborhoods, the property value jumps about $20K.

That is on top of the already skyrocketing home costs of over 10% per year. Great time to have already been a property owner, terrible time to buy.

Comment Re:OMFH!!! (Score 1) 294

This Judge is saying it's not patentable but he did not say that a specific implementation could not be copyrightable. If someone reverse engineers your software and then re-releases it as his own I'm guessing you can still sue for damages.

Exactly. There are many protections available, and even if one specific protection isn't available to you in one situation does not mean that all other protections are also unavilalbe.

Also, in the full ruling note that the "software patents" they are referring to are basic addition of doing something on a computer. Note that if you still create an original process then a patent is still fully acceptable. If someone were to figure out some amazing new sorting algorithm or amazing new pathfinding algorithm or whatever, the patent on the process is still acceptable; what isn't acceptable is taking something and adding "On a computer..." or "On the Internet..." If you create a process then it exists on a computer and off a computer, anywhere you can do something.

Specifically they write in the ruling that the '610 patent is an "On The Internet" addition, the '142 patent is an "On a Networked Computer System", and the '050 patent is an abstract idea with the expected results (receive identifiers, test for a match, output values responsive to a request). The first two were shot down by the SCOTUS with the Alice ruling, the last one shot down forever ago.

If you make a new process worthy of patent protection --- meaning a process that is non-intuitive, or that gives unexpected results when applied -- those patents are still valid even if you happen to implement them on software, they just need to be applicable as a process generally.

Comment Re:Is this Opposite Day? It's not on my calendar (Score 1) 111

Nice to see that somewhere on this planet there's a judge that understands how to reasonably apply the law when it comes to patents and copyrights.

Agreed. Good job judge.

A copyright on the sound is just fine, which they all acknowledge. An audio recording deserves full protection under copyright law.

But as a trademark, to say "the sound of a telephone is our distinctive mark", that is too broad. Trademarks need to be distinctive.

As their name implies they are distinctive marks indicating the creator or distributor of goods, they are brand indicators. The generic bell ringing is not a distinctive brand by itself. They could trademark a series of tones for your brand (like the NBC chimes) or a jingle or theme (like the Batman theme or the McDonald's "I'm Lovin It"), but not a simple ringing bell sound.

Comment Re:How many priuses and leafs crash every day? (Score 2) 243

From the article:

...since firefighters were certain the victim had died immediately after the crash, it did not make sense for rescue workers to take unneeded risks in recovering his body.

They know exactly how to handle the vehicles in regular situations, and had the victim still had a chance of being alive I'm sure they would have rushed in. Most likely the body was severely mangled. When the victim is clearly dead there is no point in rushing in to rescue a corpse.

Comment Re:Frist to come must shut power down (Score 5, Insightful) 243

They know what to do with modern vehicles. I understand the rush to be a first poster rather than actually reading the article.

If you had actually read the article you would have seen:

... since firefighters were certain the victim had died immediately after the crash, it did not make sense for rescue workers to take unneeded risks in recovering his body.

Comment Re:Natures been doing this (Score 1) 367

We generally call it "evolution" round these parts.

True enough, but there is absolutely an ethical concern.

An interesting thing about evolution is that usually traits aren't fully removed, not for an extremely long time. You tend to get a range. Maybe a bell curve, maybe a curve skewed to one side or another, but it usually isn't a complete removal. Human adults have an average height, but adults range from under three feet (1 meter) to over seven feet (2.3 meters). Most people tend to be biologically extroverted, but about 1/3 of people are introverted. There is a 'pause to check' instinct in mammals, about 2/3 of humans don't have it but about 1/3 do. (Contrast with deer, about 2/3 have the 'pause to check' instinct but about 1/3 do not.)

Do we adjust genes to make people smarter? How much smarter? What about unexpected side effects of changing the genes? What about social side effects of modified people working next to unmodified people?

There are who-knows-how-many ways there are to tamper with genetics. Some ways have minimal ethical concerns, like removing a predisposition to certain cancers. But others are going to be highly controversial, like radically changing behaviors and physical characteristics.

Comment Re:RAID is not backup (Score 5, Insightful) 366

Say with with me: "RAID is not backup!"

Indeed. There is also a difference between backup and archive.

RAID = This is running live, and I need a duplicate that is instantly available so I can keep running in case one drive fails. The trick is that if there is an operation that destroys data (e.g. ransomware infection that encrypts your stuff) then you lose all disks. This is why RAID is not backup.

Backup = Just in case the machine dies, or I accidentally delete a bunch of stuff, or a virus hits, I can restore from the backup. This generally follows the 3-2-1 rule: At least three copies, at least two media, at least one off site. Businesses often use D2D2T systems for this.

Archive = I will probably never look at this again, but I absolutely need to keep a copy around for historic or business reasons. Think about services like Iron Mountain or Amazon Glacier. Tape archives that are quite cheap and almost certainly never reviewed again. This is along the lines of "show me the obituaries from a newspaper published 7 May 1957", or similar.

For the original story, it seems like he is looking for an archival solution rather than a backup solution.

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