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Comment Re:Superdistribution of Content (Score 1) 190

Generally it's from some stupid millennial, or the mouthpiece of a social networking company that offers a messaging feature that, for all intents and purposes, is email (except with centralization, censorship, advertising and data-mining). What they really mean is "we wish email were dead, so everyone would be forced to become one of our users and we could become the new defacto email".


Submission + - What are the FLOSS community's answers to Siri and AI? (

jernst writes: A decade ago, we in the free and open-source community could build our own versions of pretty much any proprietary software system out there, and we did. Publishing, collaboration, commerce, you name it. Some apps were worse, some were better than closed alternatives, but much of it was clearly good enough to use every day.

But is this still true? For example, voice control is clearly going to be a primary way we interact with our gadgets in the future. Speaking to an Amazon Echo-like device while sitting on my couch makes a lot more sense than using a web browser. Will we ever be able to do that without going through somebody’s proprietary silo like Amazon’s or Apple’s? Where are the free and/or open-source versions of Siri, Alexa and so forth?

The trouble, of course, is not so much the code, but in the training. The best speech recognition code isn’t going to be competitive unless it has been trained with about as many millions of hours of example speech as the closed engines from Apple, Google and so forth have been. How can we do that?

The same problem exists with AI. There’s plenty of open-source AI code, but how good is it unless it gets training and retraining with gigantic data sets? We don’t have those in the FLOSS world, and even if we did, would we have the money to run gigantic graphics card farms 24×7? Will we ever see truly open AI that is not black-box machinery guarded closely by some overlord company, but something that “we can study how it works, change it so it does our computing as we wish” and all the other values embodied in the Free Software Definition?

Who has a plan, and where can I sign up to it?

Comment Re:Who's gonna pay "THEIR FAIR SHARE"?!?!?! (Score 2) 140

Tax cuts benefit those who pay more taxes - the rich. A family that exists just above the poverty line is not going to get anything back when they have their washing machine repaired. But a wealthy individual would get a significant amount back - hardly fair.

A better solution would be to increase the "environmental" tax and apply the additional tax revenue to pay for recycling and other environmental programs. Now everyone benefits equally. And by raising the price of appliances, the government would be promoting more repair and reuse of appliances.

Comment Re:They do charge for the modem... (Score 1) 65

you don't get to save money by owning your own modem. The modem is "free".

It's entirely possible for that to be a lie anyway.

For example, when I had basic cable TV through Comcast (which I accepted solely because they refused to give me a lower internet-only rate than they would offer for the bundle), I was issued "free" cable box ("free" because it was the first one on the account). I later decided that if I'm forced to buy the service then I might as well use it and had them issue me a CableCard instead. When I got my next bill, I saw a line item subtracting the rental fee for the "free" cable box and another line item adding the rental fee for the CableCard. The CableCard fee was cheaper, so the total net cost actually dropped something like $2.50 below the advertised rate that I had been paying before.

Comment Re:They do charge for the modem... (Score 3, Insightful) 65

Huh??? DOCSIS requires backwards compatibility, both for the head end and the modems themselves. Any DOCSIS n hardware is compatible with n+k and n-k for all values of k. There's absolutely no reason for your cable company's head end to not negotiate a connection with your existing cable modem. You just won't get the faster speeds provided by the newer standard.

Maybe that's true, the same thing happened to me: alleged backwards compatibility didn't stop Comcast from causing my DOCSIS 2.0 (Linksys BEFC-MU10) modem to stop being able to connect. The DOCSIS 3.0 replacement (Zoom 6341j) I bought worked.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Comcast intentionally configured their network to reject connections from DOCSIS 2.0 modems even if they were supposed to still work, in hopes that some people who owned modems would start renting (or just to punish people for having the audacity not to rent). It's just the kind of thing those criminal, corrupt fuckers would do.

Comment Re:Work around? (Score 1) 220

Another European here going WTF at the implication that cities are considered corporations?

American here going WTF at the implication that Europeans still consider the alternative -- establishment by royal charter -- to be a good thing.

(FYI, a "municipal corporation" just means that the town was established by the free association of the people who live in it. The concept exists in parts of Europe too, by the way.)

Comment Re:Asinine. (Score 1) 410

How about forbidding using the words "Allah" and "jihad" on the internet? After all, some sites that encourage terrorism and actually publish instructions to make bombs use such terms.

Better to be safe than sorry in a corner case - it's just the First (and, in this case, the Second) Amendment. That's a very small part of the United States Constitution so such limitations are nothing to be concerned about.

Comment Just saying (Score 4, Interesting) 133

I have yet to meet a file "sharer" who thought there was *any* perceived risk. Not audio, not video, not programs...

Seriously. Not one. Since the first digital days. That's anecdotal, but it's a whole lot of anecdotes, as in every adult and teen I've met in the last 40 years.

And speaking as a software developer that decided not to copy protect, threaten or prosecute, but did implement anonymous active copy / IP reporting over the net so I knew what was going on in terms of interest and activity, there have been hundreds of times the number of non-purchased copies of my various software products in use as compared to the number that were purchased during the sales lifetimes of those products.

There's no fear out there. I'm not sure there should be, either. Because the threat level is basically zero. And perhaps it should be, ethically speaking. Legally... well, the law is often wrong.


Nokia Says It Can Deliver Internet 1,000x Faster Than Google Fiber ( 73

An anonymous reader writes: Verizon Fios has topped Netflix's speed index for quite some time now with its 500 Mbps up and down internet speeds. When compared to dial-up speeds of about 56 Kbps, Fios is roughly 1000 times faster (since 500 Mbps is equivalent to 500,000 Kbps). Google Fiber on the other hand offers 1 Gbps speeds, but it's not as widely available as Fios as of yet. In a statement made to ZDNet last week, Nokia said it has figured out how to deliver internet that is 2,000 times faster than Verizon Fios, or 1,000 times faster than Google Fiber. Their technique is called Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), which can deliver 1 Tbps speeds over a fiber connection. "The trial of the novel modulation approach, known as Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS), uses quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) formats to achieve higher transmission capacity over a given channel to significantly improve the spectral efficiency of optical communications," Nokia explains. "PCS modifies the probability with which constellation points, the alphabet of the transmission, are used. Traditionally, all constellation points are used with the same frequency. PCS cleverly uses constellation points with high amplitude less frequently than those with lesser amplitude to transmit signals that, on average, are more resilient to noise and other impairments. This allows the transmission rate to be tailored to ideally fit the transmission channel, delivering up to 30 percent greater reach." Nokia's demonstration is described as being achieved in "real-world conditions," though there is no timeframe as to when the technology will be deployed in real networks.

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