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Comment Basic (Score 1) 629

My first programming language was a form of Basic (I forget which one) on Apple IIe computers. During middle school, we were instructed to program a slot machine program. Essentially, the assignment was to pull three random array entries and display those. Easy, right? I coded mine, looked up, and everyone was still working. So I decided to add more features. I added in betting with the game repeating until you lost all your money or decided to walk away with your winnings. I looked up and people were still coding. So I added in a loan shark who would lend you money which you had to pay back (with interest) or he'd end your game for you. (I actually had it display that he "took an arm and a leg.") I looked up and FINALLY people were finishing their assignments.

I blew the teacher and my classmates away with what I had made. That SHOULD have been my sign that I needed to go into programming, but it took me until college where I almost failed quantum mechanics as I aced my computer science classes to switch on that light bulb.

Comment Re:Make America Great Again (Score 1) 256

To be fair, my current connection is 15Mbps so it's not broadband either. When Spectrum forces me to their plan, I'm supposed to get a speed bump that might take me above broadband levels. When Time Warner Cable was here, they offered actual broadband, but you had to pay a lot more for it. Again, monopoly position = the company will charge you whatever it likes for whatever service is decides to provide and you can take it or go without.

Comment Re:Price caps cause market distortions. (Score 4, Insightful) 256

On the flip side, if you remove minimum wage, what's to stop an employer from paying nearly nothing for work that generates the employer more money? If an employee generates $25 an hour in value and the employer pays $0.50 an hour, what would protect the worker? Before you say "they can just change jobs", recognize that you could have an industry "race to the bottom" with salaries. The ones that pay less might make more profits and can gobble up (or force out of business) the ones that pay more.

To give an example, my son recently went to a local museum where he learned about the NYC garment district around the early 1900's. There was no minimum wage or safety regulations so people were worked 15 hours (6am - 9pm) for $3 a week. (That's about $1 an hour in today's money.) If people didn't want to work those hours or asked for more money, they were fired and people who would accept the hours/pay were hired. Every employer in the area paid about the same, so you couldn't just go to another employer. (The lack of safety regulations caused a fire that killed 146 workers.)

Minimum wage laws can help to keep employers from forcing workers to work long hours for little to no pay. They can help keep employees from falling below the poverty line or from having to work three jobs just to make ends meet. They might not be perfect, but doing away with the minimum wage entirely would be disastrous.

Comment Re:Make America Great Again (Score 4, Insightful) 256

The thing is, I'd be all for "let the markets fix it" if the ISP market actually had competition. If I could choose between 12 different comparable ISPs, I could easily vote with my wallet. When I only have one option, though, voting with my wallet doesn't work. The ISP market is broken and this means "let the markets fix it" won't do anything. Government regulations might not fix the market, but they can stem abuses in the short term and possibly even lay the groundwork for competition to sprout up in the longer term.

Comment Re:Make America Great Again (Score 2) 256

I've had someone try to tell me that DSL, satellite, and wireless services count as competition for wired Broadband. I currently have Spectrum (Charter, formally Time Warner Cable) at $35 a month - though that's a TWC rate that will likely go away next year and my cost will increase to around $60 a month.

DSL in my area is about 4Mbps for around $40 a month on lines that Verizon wants to get rid of ASAP. Satellite has slow speeds, low caps, and high cost. As for wireless, I use about 500GB a month - mostly in video streaming. Verizon's Unlimited plan would throttle me after 22GB. They have a "data only plan", but that runs about $700 for 100GB of data.

The person I was talking with honestly thought $700 a month was competition for $60 a month. While, technically these are "options", nobody with my usage requirements (video streaming) would take these. This leaves Spectrum as my one and only choice and they know it.

Comment Re:On behalf of Republicans everywhere (Score 4, Insightful) 307

Coming from someone who usually votes Democrat, I wish you luck. I really want there to be a second party that has a chance to sway my vote. There is plenty wrong with the Democrat party that I'd love to see fixed, but right now voting for a Republican candidate is a non-starter. If the GOP would ditch the anti-science and pro-Christianity views, it could turn into a party that I might actually support. That would ensure actual competition in the political parties in the races (as in "here are two different but viable plans for improving our future") and might also result in cooperation between the two parties after elections.

Here's hoping the crazy wing of the GOP gets spun off into oblivion before the "sane Republicans" go extinct.

Comment Re:I'll bet they don't (Score 4, Insightful) 63

Which is why safe harbor rules were made. This doesn't just affect CloudFlare, but any site that takes user content. Even Slashdot. Suppose I were to type a few dozen pages of text into my comment that happened to be from a copyrighted book. That could be a copyright violation and Slashdot might be sued. However, maybe the text comes from my own book which I own the copyright to. Or maybe the author placed the book in the public domain so anyone can post it online. How would Slashdot be able to identify that the text is copyrighted and whether the poster is able to upload said text. For a very large organization, this might be difficult but doable. For smaller companies (or hobbyist websites), it would be impossible and they'd find themselves one lawsuit away from being shut down - even if the lawsuit was groundless.

This is why we have safe harbor (possibly the only good part of the DMCA). If the RIAA/MPAA spot a pirate site using CloudFlare's service, they send a DMCA notice to CloudFlare. CloudFlare turns off the service and sends the notice to the site. If the site challenges the DMCA notice, CloudFlare turns their access back on. Then, it's a legal battle between the RIAA/MPAA and the site accused of piracy. CloudFlare is completely out of it (unless the court orders them to turn off access for good).

The MPAA/RIAA wants websites to be the piracy police so that they don't have to do any work. They want the benefits of the DMCA without any of the "costs" (needing to seek out copyright violations). It's pure laziness coupled with greed.

Comment Re:Confused here, real API issue not talked about (Score 1) 143

That was what did it for me. I wrote an application to let people see who followed you so you could decide whether or not you wanted to follow you back. It was a decent application and, if I put some work into it, might have been something many people used. Shortly after launching it, Twitter changed their API rules, vastly limiting the amount of times a developer could hit their API and how much data they could pull. My application, given it's tiny audience, wouldn't have hit that amount, but had it grown in popularity it easily could have.

I decided not to put my effort into the application if Twitter was going to give me a hard ceiling for how much my application could grow before they cut me off. If I'm going to put my efforts into something, I'd rather it not be in an area where someone tells me from the start that I only go so far.

Comment Re: Riiiiiiiiiight... (Score 1) 154

Wireless carriers, like Verizon/AT&T/Sprint, typically have either low caps or - in the case of the newer "unlimited" plans - a threshold after which your speeds are reduced. This is a good service to use for checking Facebook on the go, but not good for streaming Netflix from home. My Verizon Wireless plan has a 10GB data cap. I'd hit that in under 4 hours of HD. I recently checked and they have a "data only" plan that one could use to give a device Internet access without needing cell phone/SMS service. This would cost $710 for 100GB. (I typically use around 500GB a month, mostly in streaming video.)

Satellite tends to be extremely expensive and has low caps. DSL is slower, costs as much as if not more than my cable ISP does, and is an older technology that the phone companies want to get rid of ASAP.

Using your barbershop analogy, it's more like there are five barbershops in town. One will cut your hair for a reasonable price and the others will charge you $200 for a haircut and don't guarantee that they won't stop halfway through cutting your hair unless you pay them more. I don't call those options actual competition.

Comment Re:intellectually dishonest (Score 1) 154

Not to mention that mobile providers typically have caps. Right now, I can use 10GB of data per month on my Verizon Wireless plan. If I streamed Netflix videos at only Standard Definition and did nothing else, that would give me just over 14 hours of streaming. At High Definition, I'd have just over 3 hours of viewing.

Yes, newer plans are "unlimited", but that's usually with an asterisk and fine print that states you get throttled to slower speeds if you exceed a certain "definitely not a cap" amount. Either way, mobile providers aren't a suitable replacement for a wired broadband connection.

Comment Re:Talk about fake (Score 1) 154

As to this supposed "industry analysis", who did the analysis, Comcast? Of course they would say there is plenty of competition.

I'd be willing to bet that they're including mobile operators in the "competition" space. Yes, if you include Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and the dozen other resellers and tiny carriers, you have a lot of "ISPs" to choose from. However, if you actually want to USE your mobile connection for something data-heavy like streaming, you'll quickly generate a huge bill.

But that "option" is "available" so into the Competition Bucket it goes!

Comment Re: Riiiiiiiiiight... (Score 1) 154

I think it's going to depend on how they handle upgrading the Time Warner Cable network. TWC was in the midst of a "MAXX" upgrade cycle that would have bumped up the speeds without increasing the prices. (I'd have gotten a higher speed on my plan but would keep paying the same amount as before.) My area would have likely been upgraded this year, but all of those upgrades were put on hold with the merger.

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