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Comment Re:Simple, just multiply by the variable until max (Score 1) 345

My advice - get yourself signed up with "Samknows" at http://www.testmyisp.com/. If you get picked for the sample population, samknows will send you a device that probes the network and reports back. It only samples when the connection is idle (it won't perform tests when you're actively using the connection.) You need to agree to let samknows contact your ISP to gather information on your contracted connection.
You'll get monthly status reports showing what their tested results are, and these reports include bandwidth, latencies, etc.

Here is where it gets good - your operator knows that you'll be testing them (by matter of samknows contacting them) and they also know that your results will be rolled into the national broadband reporting stats that get published widely. So you might get better service. I know that within a month of getting my samknows box that Comcast sent us a new modem, with some oddball excuse for why they were refreshing the equipment. Our throughput was already pretty good but seems that it got even better.

There is only one more catch, if you are on a data cap plan (or a heavy user) this sampling adds about 25 to 50 GB per month of traffic. I think they make that part pretty clear when you go through the signup process.

Comment Re:Doesn't work in the US (Score 5, Interesting) 368

This is partially true, but what it looks like is that nobody around here is "handy" any more. People just don't get the practice of tearing things apart and fixing them. I get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to fix things, but many people don't.

I picked up a huge snowblower that my neighbor was throwing away (his answer? "duhhh doesn't work") and it just needed to have the carburetor cleaned out - total cost was about $10 in parts, and a couple of hours or my time. To top it all off I learned something. I also loved it because I had nothing to lose except some tinkering time - the thing was already broken, so if I made it more broken no big deal. However if I got it working then it was like winning the jackpot. (BTW the thing has enough power to throw snow across the street!)

Other neighbors had a combo stereo that just didn't work. And they had no clue of what to do. Didn't power on, so I popped the cover off and found the fuse blown. One trip to the hardware store later and I now have a great garage stereo with CD changer and even a remote control!

I could go on and on about my brother in law and his fixit dis-abilities, but maybe I'll save all of those "no common sense" stories for a book. (It has been a complete blast to fix things for my inlaws, they look at me like I'm some sort of magician or technological priest.)

Maybe that's what the problem is, either people think their time is too valuable (thanks marketers), or they just don't feel like learning anything. All of this takes common sense and a thirst for knowledge, something that people seem to be really short on any more. They'd rather sit in front of the idiot box for hours, or piss away hours with angry birds.... it is just too easy.

Comment Re:Witless stenographers? (Score 1) 664

Definitely saw this when I was in business school. A handful of students attempted to use their laptops to take notes, and the problem was trying to fit the lectures into the framework of Word, or Powerpoint. Very hard to insert diagrams (which would be a piece of cake to sketch with a pen and paper.) Also they spent probably half of their time playing with formatting, etc.

In all, it seemed that they spent so much time trying to input the information into their computer that they had no time left to actually pay attention to the lecture. They had even less time (effectively zero) to actually participate in any discussions.

Witless Stenographer is a perfect label for this.

Comment Re:why would you ... (Score 1) 435

Like others have posted, an MP3 at bitrates comparable to what the digital cellular systems use would probably not work. For CDMA (Verizon and Sprint, plus others) you are talking about a variable rate vocoder with a top bitrate of 8 kbps. The average bitrate would then be much much lower. There is a newer vocoder that can handle voice in less than 4 kbps.

The fewer bits you use per conversation frees up more bits for other conversations, increasing the overall capacity and lowering the cost per conversation to the operator.
Conversely you could dedicate more bits for better quality, and get less capacity, but I would doubt if that will happen.

Comment Re:Vaporware (Score 1) 1006

The companies would probably allow the first few electric cars to recharge, as it would let their green people claim "hey, we're a hip company and we support electric cars." Cheap marketing.

Then, once more people start showing up with their electric cars, and the electric bill grows (at which point to the company it feels more like freeloading), watch them change their mind.

Submission + - SPAM: Humans lose $21 billion to computer traders

destinyland writes: ""We are just mice dancing" between the supercomputers of Wall Street giants, complains one trading executive, and an investment manager notes computers are making 73% of all stock trades on U.S. exchanges. One former NYSE chairman admitted "This is where all the money is getting made." (Between April and June, Goldman Sachs earned $100 million in one day — on 46 different days.) High-speed algorithms use 30-millisecond trades to probe market conditions, and can buy and sell with a nearly omniscient knowledge of every other investor's price point. The New York Times notes that already these algorithms "execute millions of orders a second and scan dozens of public and private marketplaces simultaneously...""
Link to Original Source
Operating Systems

Phoronix Releases Linux Benchmarking Distribution 31

Bitnit writes "Phoronix has released a major update to their automated Linux benchmarking software, the Phoronix Test Suite, and more interestingly they have released their own distribution that's designed for hardware testing and benchmarking on Linux. With PTS Desktop Live they provide this Linux distribution that's to run only from a live environment off a DVD / USB key and then allows their benchmarking software to run — and only that — on this standardized software stack, which makes hardware comparisons a lot easier."

Submission + - Piracy To Save The Internet (adbusters.org) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In response to France and Sweden's recent anti-piracy laws, Anti-consumerism magazine Adbusters is calling for mainstream support of online piracy as the only of protecting the original dream of the Internet. Contributing Editor, Micah White writes that "if online piracy is the backdoor by which control of the internet will come, then we must openly acknowledge what many of us already secretly believe — that online culture should be free and remixable, the laws of capitalism shall not apply here."

Comment Re:Like maybe residuals and royalties (Score 1) 281

You are so right with this one.

A buddy of mine patented an idea that saved his company $150 million in the first year. He may have gotten a steak dinner out of it.

When his management asked him what he would recommend to his peers to get patents his answer was "don't do it, there is almost no personal benefit in doing it."

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