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Comment Re:You wouldn't know it was declining here.... (Score 1) 194

You'd not know it was not he decline here in New Orleans. Geez, the other night, driving through City Park about 3:30am on a Friday night, the place was packed with people slowly cruising around in cars with their Pokemon playing on their phones.

That wasn't Pokemon. That was Grindr.

Comment Re:How much for a de-gorped phone? (Score 1) 198

As of 2016, how easy is it for someone who's not super technical to buy an Android phone without carrier branding that works well on Verizon or Sprint? Even if hardcore users of Slashdot have a lot of time to learn to do their own research, our non-technical friends and family may not.

As of March 2016, I brought a Nexus 6p to the Verizon company store and told them to transfer my phone number to it. They knew to look up the ESN/IMEI, poke it into a Verizon support website (on their own support tablet) to validate that it's compatible with their network, go get a nano-sim and put it into the phone, and transfer the account and phone number to it. Half an hour, no drama.

I didn't have to know, do, or tell them anything. I am a super technical guy, so I was watching like a hawk, ready to manspain anything they didn't get right, but it wasn't necessary.

It can work, if you get someone competent at the support site. Such a thing isn't guaranteed, but it's not impossible either.

Comment Re:Wait What? (Score 1) 160

We would have been sittin' pretty with broadband wiring back when there was a government-regulated Telco, the old AT&T, had they gone ahead with the PicturePhone in the 1960s. But these days, there's no main telco, they're all private companies with only the minimal of must-wire controls. And they wouldn't necessarily solve the last mile problem in a way acceptable to any other wired carrier.

Wireless is a better possibility, but the big wireless companies, the ones with the existing infrastructure here, are used to absolutely raping their customers over data use. They apparently make far too much money there to consider at proper home broadband open a worthy goal. For one, they'd have to offer you 10-50x the monthly data cap at higher speeds for less money, or they'd be clobbered anytime a wired carrier entered the area. Concentrating on the advantage of mobile on less consumptive devices, they're maintaining those 40-50% profit margins.

Comment Re:Wait What? (Score 1) 160

Many/most of us would probably be willing to pay for the last mile infrastructure, we just do not want AT&T/Google/Comcrap/TWC/Charter to own it. The natural monopoly is primarily because of a bad funding model. These guys will all race to your house if they can be sure of perpetual domination, but are slow if there's competition.

Not so much. They'll race to your crowded neighborhood if they can have the monopoly. Maybe. Verizon froze their FiOS build-out years ago, and may be thawing that a little today, but they didn't want your business much if you weren't already covered. And if you're rural, just fuggedaboudit... they'll leave you to the savagery of the satellite carriers.

Comment Re:The last mile... (Score 1) 160

Some of it's just company policy... at my old place, I was across the street from a DSL-compatible local node... I could see it from my driveway. But while Verizon had a pretty big DSL customer base in the area (South Jersey), they were no longer supporting new customers. So I had 16 years of satellite Internet as a result. Just one more reason for leaving Jersey, I guess.

Cable was also in the vicinity, but not close enough. They offered to wire me up for about $60,000...

Comment Re:Driving yes, but charging? (Score 1) 990

But it is a practical problem for may people right now. My sister drove her shiny new Leaf to my house last year to show it off... unfortunately, that was about 85 miles. No problem, she says, we'll plug it in. I asked her if she had the 240V cable... apparently, that's a $500-something option. So into the 120VAC it went. Hours later, she had to be getting home, and nowhere near enough juice to get home. But she could make it to Cherry Hill, where there was a Nissan dealer that at least had a Level 2 charger... so that was only an extra hour on an hour and 20 minute drive. Far as I know, they stopped including support for the CHAdeMO high voltage DC charging interface on the Leaf, at least on the East Coast. Not sure you'd find a charging station anyway, but that 480V@100A or so is where you just start to get the ability to charge on the road in a practical way.

Comment Two Big Problems (Score 1) 990

First of all, if you're counting on charging at home, lots of people don't have garage access for overnight charging. This might be mitigated by charging at work, but that's all of a sudden going to challenge the available power distribution for those areas. And that's adding to the peak power problem. And the average parking garage doesn't have 250-500kW service. Might work well in places like Phoenix AZ, where a shaded parking spot could become a shaded solar parking spot.

The next problem is overall power. If we did replace every ICE car with a BEV, we'd just about double the electrical demand of the USA. Just for cars, not even factoring in trucks, planes, and trains. Where is all that grid power coming from? And we'll need grid upgrades to deliver it.

And then there's production. Tesla is hoping to be able to supply batteries about 1.5 million BEVs per year from their Gigafactory... it's going to take quite awhile to replace all 250+ million passenger cars. And of course, ability is one thing, desire another. It's not even a stretch to imagine a large population in the US switching from paranoia about the Government coming to take their guns to one about the Government coming to take their cars and trucks.

This succeeds much better going slowly. That also delivers better costs on batteries and the chance of better technologies along the way.

Comment Re:Seagate's post-Maxtor acquisition reputation (Score 2) 162

You have to appreciate the thoroughness of the engineering, to incorporate the electronics necessary to simulate the sounds of mechanical failure in a solid-state, no-moving-parts storage system.

The only improvement would be including a pyro squib and a small smoke source for the complete effect.

Businesses

Comcast Wants To Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy (dslreports.com) 182

Comcast believes it should be able to charge its broadband users who want to protect their privacy. FCC, on other hand, has indicated that such practices should not be there. In a new filing with the FCC, Comcast says that charging consumers more money to opt out of "snoopvertising" should be considered a perfectly acceptable business model (PDF). DSLReports: "A bargained-for exchange of information for service is a perfectly acceptable and widely used model throughout the U.S. economy, including the Internet ecosystem, and is consistent with decades of legal precedent and policy goals related to consumer protection and privacy," Comcast said in the filing. The company proceeds to claim that banning such options "would harm consumers by, among other things, depriving them of lower-priced offerings." In short, Comcast is arguing that protecting your own privacy should be a paid luxury option, and stopping them from doing so would raise broadband rates. But as we've noted for years it's the lack of competition that keeps broadband prices high. It's also the lack of competition that prevents users upset with broadband privacy practices from switching to another ISP. That's why the FCC thinks some basic privacy rules of the road might be a good idea.

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