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Comment Also phone service was fucking expensive (Score 1) 202

Back in the day phone lines were so much, you didn't get to have your own phone line. You had a "party line". What's that? That's where everyone in your area as the same phone line. One line, multiple houses. It would ring a different number of times to tell you who the call was for, and if you wanted to call out and someone else was using the line you had to wait. Also this meant everyone could listen in on your calls, of course. However, that was the only way phone was affordable for most people. That's not to mention the cost of long distance, which in the old days was anything off your local exchange.

And for all the bitching about Internet service, it does keep getting better, by a lot. When I first got connected to the 'net 14.4kbps was all I could get. Faster modems were out at the time, but that's all my ISP supported. As time has gone on, I've got a steady and fairly regular set of speed increases until now I have a 300mbit connection. About 21,000 times speed increase in around 21 years. Not too bad, overall. Price is in the same ballpark too. Currently I pay $100/month for that connection. Back in the day it was $20/month for Internet and about $25/month for a second phone line, I can't remember precisely. So about $70/month in today's dollars. For that price I'd have to step down to 150mbit Internet, if we wanted to keep all things far. Still 10,000x faster. Not really that bad for a couple decades, particularly compared to a lot of other, more mature technologies. My electric service sure isn't 10,000x as good as it was in the 90s.

So ya, fiber and gig or 10gig Internet hasn't come to everywhere yet. So what? It is getting rolled out, perhaps not as fast as we geeks would like, but it is still happening, and tech improvements are increasing bandwidth on copper formats as well. What we have now works well for most people, and the improvements we've seen are not insignificant.

Comment Contact the ISPs in your area (Score 1) 202

You can get fiber, if you are actually willing to pay. You just aren't willing to pay for it.

What I mean is they'll sell you a fiber connection, as fast as you'd like, but you'll have to pay the full costs. You pay what it takes to have the line run and installed, and then you pay the full rate for an unmetered dedicated connection and they'll do it. Real enterprise class service with a nice SLA and all that. Thing is, that is going to run 5 figured (maybe 6) on the install and 4 figures or more for the monthly. That's what it really costs, that's what actually running dedicated fiber costs and what dedicated bandwidth costs.

What you want is CHEAP fiber. You want them to roll out a PON network on their dollar, and then sell you can your neighbours access to share that bandwidth for a low price. That's fine to want, but demanding it as if they owe you is unreasonable. Particularly since for something like that to be economically feasible everyone needs to be willing to pay, not just you. If it is a shared network, with the costs not being paid upfront, then a bunch of people need to pay, and need to do so for a fair bit of time.

If you look in to it, you'll find more than a few people that have no fucks to give about fast Internet. any modern service is "fast enough" for them. You can't convince them to spend on higher speed connections. My parents are like that. They have 12mbit cable. They can buy at least 100mbit where they live, maybe more (I haven't checked lately). They just won't. They are happy with what they have. They've used faster Internet, when they visit me they get to use mine which is 300mbit, but they don't care. To them what they have is good enough and they would rather spend the money on other things.

So if you are really willing to pay, and I mean pay the actual installation, operation, and bandwidth costs for dedicated fiber line, you can have that. However if you aren't willing to, and I can't blame you if you aren't, you can't then demand that they should give you stuff for cheap.

Comment That last bit is the real trick (Score 1) 202

We are pretty good these days about keeping track of shit. Probably not as good as we should be, but still pretty good. However we have LOTS of old infrastructure. The documentation can be bad or non-existent. There's not an easy way to deal with, unfortunately, since it isn't like we can just open up an access panel and have a look at what's there. It'll continue to be a problem for a long time, perhaps forever.


Largest Auto-Scandal Settlement In US History: Judge Approves $15 Billion Volkswagen Settlement ( 116

A federal just has approved the largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history, a $14.7 billion settlement concerning Volkswagen Group's diesel car emissions scandal. USA Today reports: U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco approved the sweeping agreement between consumers, the government, California regulators and the German automaker in a written ruling a week after signaling he was likely to sign off. He said the agreement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." The settlement comes about a year after Volkswagen admitted that it rigged 11 million vehicles worldwide with software designed to dodge emissions standards. The company is still facing criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and German prosecutors. The U.S. probe could lead to additional financial penalties and criminal indictments. About 475,000 Volkswagen owners in the U.S. can choose between a buyback or a free fix and compensation, if a repair becomes available. VW will begin administering the settlement immediately, having already devoted several hundred employees to handling the process. Buybacks range in value from $12,475 to $44,176, including restitution payments, and varying based on milage. People who opt for a fix approved by the Environmental Protection Agency will receive payouts ranging from $5,100 to $9,852, depending on the book value of their car. Volkswagen will also pay $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for clean-emissions infrastructure.

Comment Re:Agreed (Score 1) 77

I don't search on netflix.I use

mostly I follow new content - and it was better before netflix killed the "ageing out" content monitor - but if you can't quickly find something you want to watch on the site, then yeah, netflix isn't for you.

But for me? Buying used dvds and blurays and paying for netflix has been all I have been doing for years - altho - I will be signing up to amazon prime in a few weeks.

The Grand Tour featuring the Orangutan and his two pillocks will once again be the kings of the world, or wise men, or just entertaining bastards who are immensely entertaining.

Comment That's not what they did though. (Score 1) 430

They went in and searched everyone's phones. Unless there's an important detail we aren't being told here, that's unconstitutional. The 4th amendment says "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The important part there is "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." That is in there specifically to ban general search warrants. The idea is the police can't go to a judge and say "We think there is something illegal in a house somewhere in this 500 home neighbourhood, we'd like a warrant to search the houses," and the judge issues them a blanket warrant allowing them to search any home there, and look through anything in said home. That isn't allowed. They have to say specifically where it is they want to search, and what it is they are looking for, and also why they have probable cause to believe that what they are looking for is there.

If you read the article they say right at the bottom "I think it's very questionable whether the 4th Amendment" -- which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure -- "allows such an open-ended extension of the search warrant."

Comment 5th amendment and it would seem so yes (Score 3, Informative) 430

It isn't 100% clear, there is no cut and dried supreme court ruling and there have been some conflicting lower court rulings but in general the opinion of the courts seems to be that you can't be forced to hand over a password/code/etc because that is something in your head, which falls under 5th amendment protections against self incrimination.

The 4th amendment is what would be used to challenge a broad search warrant like was issued in this case. Without knowing the specifics I can't say for sure but this sounds like it would be an illegal search since it was a general warrant and that isn't allowed. The police aren't (supposed to be) able to get a warrant to just search anyone or anything in a given place, they have to be specific. This doesn't sound like it was, and so would probably be a 4th amendment violation.

Comment Block It (Score 3, Informative) 60

The Feds should block this one if it ever comes close to being attempted. We have an absolute dearth of competition as it stands now. I looked at moving from Time Warner for my internet and found AT&T is the only option in my area. TW is okay, but overpriced and I have never heard a good thing about AT&T. Allow the two to combine and I get the worst of both worlds.

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