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Comment Basic (Score 1) 623

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) 305

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:People are more worried about jobs (Score 1) 423

I'm not sure if you're being deliberately contrarian or if you're legitimately dense.

Saying they "paid for lower QOS for Google" is misleading; they would actually have paid for higher QOS for themselves, which is perfectly reasonable.

It wouldn't have been of any benefit to Yahoo to increase their QOS with Google's remaining unchanged. I'm saying that they could have partnered with companies that owned large portions of the network to slow down Google's access. If Google couldn't crawl it, it couldn't index it. If they couldn't index it, their search results wouldn't have been as good.

Google won because they were better, and they were better because they won?

Pretty much, yeah.

That's rather circular reasoning.

Perhaps but it's not wrong.

In actual fact, Google's search engine business would never have been a viable business on its own; it simply didn't make enough revenue. Google's search engine only survived because it was cross-subsidized by Google's advertising revenue.

It's extraordinarily difficult to make a profit on a "Free" service without advertising.

Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't support the argument that it was "better".

No, more people choosing Google over Yahoo, Bing and AOL means that it is/was better.

Net neutrality, in the end, is an arrangement where companies like Google can push ads on you and monetize free content and have you pay for the privilege through your ISP fees.

Except that with Net Neutrality in place, you are free to choose one of their competitors without the network penalizing you.

A few big companies have come to completely dominate the market because of that particular arrangement.

In a market where all are given the same access, a few companies dominating it are just proof that the market chose them.

Even if the completely unrealistic worst-case scenario of ISPs all replacing Google and Facebook with their own private offerings

That's a strawman. I never argues that.

They wouldn't be able to directly replace them, they would be able to give preferential treatment to the traffic of their own competitor. They can't replace them but they can make them near unusable to their customers.


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:People are more worried about jobs (Score 1) 423

Companies like Verizon and Comcast would take over those markets. Why would that be a bad thing?

Less choice is in any of itself a bad thing. It just so happens to be a bad thing that leads to worse things.

How could Yahoo have "slowed down Google's traffic"? They were both just search engines.

By partnering with (paying) MCI, UUNET and others to shape the traffic and provide lower QOS to Google.

Hence my use of the phrase "make deals" to do it.

And based on what criteria was Google "better"?

That varied from user to user but for me, it was more relevant search results and a cleaner interface.

You're basically saying that you think Google is great and that hence the government should interfere in order to structure the market to make it advantageous for companies like Google.

No. I'm saying that Google was better than Yahoo. Because Google was better than Yahoo, they toppled them from their position as the go-to search engine and the government should interfere to keep the marketplace available for the next upstart to come along and topple Google, if they can.


Comment Re: oh no (Score 1) 423

If you're lucky, you'll get here one day.

You'll be just as perplexed when someone takes offense at your use of the word "Uncle" because it's not only patriarchal but assumes the gender of the sibling of one of your equal co-parents.


Comment Re:People are more worried about jobs (Score 2) 423

These companies know that "net neutrality" is in their financial advantage and makes it harder for small companies to compete.

More than that, it makes it harder for access providers to leverage their position as access providers to make inroads as content providers.

If Net Neutrality truly dies, Verizon and Comcast will be able to prioritize the traffic from their own competing services to harm Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Google.

Without using traffic shaping, QOS or similar means to disadvantage the competition, any new upstart has to actually be better than an existing service.

Google beat Yahoo because Google was better at doing something. That wouldn't have happened if Yahoo had been able to make deals to slow Google's traffic to dial-up speeds.


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