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Comment More than just a fad (Score 1) 213

While I'm not gonna run out and buy some Ektachrome, I do shoot with B&W film on a regular basis. And there are enough of us out here that, for example, a shop can exist here (Blue Moon Camera) that sells *exclusively* to film users. There is not any hint of digital in their shop. And sometimes, the place is hopping with customers.

There are many non-USA manufacturers of film and paper still out there - amazingly, there are still choices.

There are also many informal groups that meet to share prints, ideas, knowledge, experiences, etc. And no, it's not just three guys reminiscing about the good old days - there are 20, 30, 40, 50 60 -somethings who get involved.

It's not just about the result. It's also about the process. Film is slower and more deliberate - you tend to take a few moments longer to think about the shot. You're also more deliberate in printing the final result. I have pro-level film and digital gear - what I use that day depends on how I feel and what the subject lends itself to. I value that choice.

Film will be with us for decades to come. Will it last another century? Possibly not. But it still has years to go.

Comment Re:And if you tried this in America (Score 1) 157

Sorry, no. It's not exactly the same.

Within the same telco, the business fiber and residential fiber might use different strands, different routers, offer dedicated vs. shared bandwidth, etc. They are quite different.

For multi-thousands per month, a business customer is paying for dedicated bandwidth. They know that another customer is not going to slow down their access rate. This type of service also offers the option of redundant entrance facilities, diverse routes back to the C.O., etc. For some businesses, this is a requirement and they are willing to pay for that.

For residential (and some low-tier business) service, there is the compromise you (as a telco) are forced to make. You have downward price pressure, so you look for ways to cut costs. You bring 2.5G to a splitter in the street, then divide that among buildings. You bring 1G into a building, then divide that among tenants.

The underlying transport technology might be different, you might put both transmit and receive on a single strand vs. separate strand for TX vs. RX.

Nothing underhanded here - the market demands a lower price point, you find ways to reduce your costs to enable that lower price and still make some profit.

Comment Distinction between science and emotion (Score 1) 609

It is never science itself that is 'evil', it's the implementation of policies (chosen by irrational humans), then selectively plucking out disparate facts that (seemingly) support the policy and calling it 'scientifically-based'.

(a poor example) The chemical processes involved in (traditional) photography are scientific. They've been investigated, the knowledge shared, the processes broken down to their component parts to better understand, the results verified a million times.

Using photography to 'prove' that aliens occupied the local Piggly Wiggly or that the entire Apollo program happened on a back-lot in California is just selectively choosing parts of a larger set of knowledge to support a point of view.

I believe a rational society could be wonderful. How we get there, when people are inherently irrational? I have no idea.

Comment Capacity (Score 1) 117

As a side-note to this discussion, it should be pointed out that access to poles should be regulated to some degree if for no other reason than to prevent overloading the weight-capacity of the poles. Poles do not have unlimited weight-bearing capacity.

--Disclaimer: I work for a big telco--

We have sometimes had to re-route our fiber builds because electric-utility-owned poles had reached their capacity. (a very expensive proposition sometimes)

If all carriers were allowed to add cables to a poles without thought to total load, years down the road, say, during an ice storm, you might find a neighborhood up the proverbial creek minus the oars. Loss of a pole includes electricity service.

Look closely at a pole that has a lot of cabling on it: almost all of it is under tension. In various directions. Get too much load then throw in a wrench (car hitting pole, wind storm, ice storm), and you lose both telecom service and electricity.

I'm no fan of regulation, but it had a root of common sense in the beginning.

Comment Re:No one is being forced to do anything. (Score 1) 175

>>>A government-sanctioned monopoly is offering a service, with no other competitors allowed to offer you a competing service.

I work for one of those non-existent competitors. There is far more competition out there than most people seem to think. That's not to say that all the competitors compete on price. (if price were the only competing factor, we'd all be getting cheap, shitty service)

There seems to be a very widespread belief that the only thing worth competing on is price. I guess that's why Walmart is so popular.

Comment Old age? (Score 1) 830

Let's face it, Tyson is not getting any younger.

And humans have shown very clearly that we get quite susceptible to god-talk as we age and face our own mortality. The idea that when we die, that's it. Nada. That's something many people can't face. Ever.

Whether it's religion-god or tech-god is influenced by the point in time at which the fear sets in. He's a scientist and so maybe the tech-god worldview has sway.

I'm not slamming him - I'm suggesting that this thought process has as much to do with emotion as it does science.

Comment Let's do the math (Score 2) 170

Let's see; 500 dates in, say, 1200 days comes out to another date every 2.4 days.
Assuming that a date often consists of dinner and maybe a movie, we'll say it occupies about 4 hours per date.
If the average person sleeps 7 hours per day, during those 1200 days, she was awake 20,400 hours.
Of those waking hours, we'll estimate that she worked approx 8500 hours, leaving 11,900 hours for everything not sleep or work related.
Take away at least 2 hours per day for various daily, unavoidable activities like showers, breakfast, dressing, cleaning... So that's another 2400 hours.
That makes 9500 hours that might fit into the category of discretionary time.
The dates occupied 2000 hours, or roughly 21% of all her discretionary time.
I'd call that throwing yourself into your work...

Comment I'm surprised anyone is surprised (Score 4, Informative) 139

I work in this (general) field and we run into this all the time.

First, there is no financial incentive for any provider to pre-qualify all buildings. It would cost so much to do all those surveys and assess all that data, without any revenue from it, that no one does it.

What you saw Comcast use was; looking at the financial model for coax delivery of service, they can't justify the build. But looking at the financial model for fiber delivery of service, you can justify it. Why? Their fiber-based service is 5X the price of coax.

I have seen 'business-class' Comcast coax installed by a technician just feeding cable thru an open window. I've seen it where the tech drilled a hole in an openable wooden window frame and pushed it thru. They will puncture any external wall and just shoot a little caulk at it later. In fairness, they generally do a better job of the physical install of fiber than coax. For fiber installs, they generally use the same methods as a LEC or other major provider would use (conduit, weatherheads, etc.)

I am still mystified as to why business people order Comcast coax service, get crappy performance and outages, then can't understand how Comcast can do that. They can do that because people keep buying their products/services. I know they are usually the cheapest game in town - I guess you get what you pay for.

So many business people say that their business is fully dependent on having Internet access, but they don't want to pay much more than residential rates for it. The nature of all residential service is based on consumers being pain-tolerant but not price-tolerant. So you make compromises on residential service to keep the cost as low as possible. With business-class service, there is a much lower tolerance of pain (outages, slow speeds), so you make fewer compromises (to maintain quality), which drives the costs for delivering services up.

Comment Re:BGP? (Score 1) 134

Understood - didn't realize that.

I work for a carrier and it's not the joke you might think, for some people. I argue on a regular basis with customers who don't understand why I can't set up BGP for their /28 or /29. And then there's the 'you have millions of IP addresses - you can spare a couple of /24's for me, right. What's the problem?'

Too many people (who knew better) have waited til the last minute and stubbornly refused to embrace IPv6. They don't understand why I can't reach into my back pocket and pull out those /16's I'd been hiding for a rainy day.

Comment Re:BGP? (Score 1) 134

It is the general agreement among providers that they will only provide BGP (broadcasting routes) between providers if you have;

Your own ASN number (go to ARIN for that)
At least a /24 of IP space (good luck with that)

Providers don't do BGP for CIDR blocks smaller than /24 because the router tables on the net would balloon in size. (OTOH, you can get iBGP within a single provider's network with a block smaller than a /24, but then you aren't getting cross-provider alternate paths)

Comment Re:Clarification (Score 2) 143

... No, they mean cement. You add aggregate to provide structural properties and reduce the cost of the mix when used for construction. This is for waste disposal.

FTA: "...the plan for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) where highly radioactive waste, immobilised in cement, would be interred deep underground"

I'm pretty sure they mean concrete. Cement is a dry powder (think of those bags at the home improvement store - "Portland Cement") - it would be tough to immobilise anything in a loose powder for 100,000 years.

It is quite common for people to use the words cement and concrete interchangeably, though they are two different things.

Cement (in this context) is a dry, loose powder. It is one component of concrete.
Concrete is a hard 'finished product' that they make (some) roads and buildings out of. Concrete is a mixture of ingredients that, after going thru a chemical transformation, "sets" or hardens into something with tremendous compressive strength.

Comment Clarification (Score 4, Informative) 143

I believe what they mean is "concrete" rather than "cement".

Cement is a powder that is one component of concrete;

Together with sand, water, and aggregate (rock) they undergo a chemical reaction (when mixed) to form concrete. Changing the quality, component ratio and admixtures of concrete can dramatically change various characteristics like strength, set time, resistance to water pressure, etc. I can remember seeing concrete that was very dark (almost black-ish) in color. I was told it contained a lot of lead for use in radioactivity shielding.

Just sayin'

Comment Re:Fallacy (Score 1) 329

I have a relative who is an engineer at an automotive manufacturer. One job he held was to analyze why certain parts failed more often than others. All parts were designed in the US and the alloys were carefully spelled out.

They flew him to various outsourced shops around the world to try to understand why, even when every detail was carefully spec'd, some parts (often cast) failed too often.

One thing he noticed was that, in some parts of the world, it is not uncommon to have some shop floors made of just dirt, rather than concrete. When you (as a manufacturer) have reduced costs associated with your choice of alloy to the bare minimum, there is little room for error 'in the mix'. Turns out that a dirty work environment can kick up a lot of dirt and dust and some of that finds its way into your alloy. And it surprised me how little it took to reduce the strength of the metal significantly.

There are subtle details that you and I might take for granted (like a clean work environment) that others have found as ways to shave their daily operating costs (locate in a primitive, less-expensive setting). You have to spec EVERYTHING.

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