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Comment What policies are you trying to enforce? (Score 1) 904

What policies are you trying to enforce and on who? It would probably be easier to come up with ideas for you if we knew what policies you need to enforce.

Not giving out root would be a very good start. I ask who you are enforcing these policies on because some people have mentioned users asking for sudo permissions to edit some config file or another and then using it to get root access. If these are just typical office usres with office applications I can't imagine what valid reason anyone would ever come up with for that.

Comment Re:google running our government IT? (Score 1) 208

"..at least Microsoft just sells software"

Hopefully that's exactly what they are doing. But, if they are actually leaving important government docs on Google servers it's not really Google's fault. I'm sure Microsoft would love to be in that same position but if they were it wouldn't be their fault either. It's Vivek Kundra's fault for making the decision to do so, and also Obama's responsibility for chosing him.

Comment Re:And then... (Score 1) 409

By my reasoning... absolute competition opened up for all possible companies would probably be too much because their resources would be spread to thin to provide the same level of service to each customer without raising the price.

I agree that an absolute monopoly with no competition at all would charge as much as the population could give and have little to no motivation to innovate. Currently we get some competition by having separate companies available for each different form of connectivity. I'm not convinced this is the ideal way to do it but I'll come back to that.

Now, looking at your examples of competition in other industries, I find your first one very interesting. No, we do not have only 1 car company. However, we really don't have that many. Much like with broadband it takes a large infrastructure to build a car. In the early to mid part of the 1900s there were hundereds of auto manufacturers just in the US alone. Most people could not own an automobile as they were much more expensive than now when adjusted for inflation. It was after the majority of them either merged or went out of business that the price of the car began to come down.

As for operating systems or stores, these are bad comparisons. A single coder with an old computer and some spare time can build a basic operating system. A group of them in an online community can make that basic OS into something which can compete. Once it's written it may be copied virtually for free. There is no backbone to pay for like there is in telecom.

Stores do have a backbone. It's the interstate highway system. It's already built and they don't have to pay for it any more than the rest of us do in our taxes.

Now, about the current form of limited competition. I wrote that I was getting back to this. Currently it's more or less by wire type; coax = cable, twisted pair & fiber = telco. I don't actually see a point in having all of this. All three can carry internet and voice while two of them can carry tv. They are not however equal. Fiber carries more than coax, coax carries more than twisted pair. The telcos seem to get this as most of them progress in replacing their twisted pair with fiber. The cable companies seem to be living in the past as they just keep running more coax. Just look at the new Docsis standard, it uses four coax lines! It is faster than the current fiber offerings but that's only because the current fiber offerings do not completely take advantage of the bandwidth capability of a piece of fiber yet. They certainly can turn up the speed and beat these new four-line cable modems with just one line of fiber! On top of that, given the average failure rate of a single line of coax, shouldn't 4 be 4 times as bad? What a waste!

I don't see the point of having anything but the fiber, except as a way to preserve the current form of limitted competition. I do agree with you that a monopoly of one telecom company would be horrible for consumers. I don't think that having them all in the same area would work as the profit / backbone cost ratio would be too low. Competition might eliminate enough companies to make it work but if it meant they had to operate with the lowest amount of profit then development could stall. How many people are going to pay more to company A which is working on tomorrows network (which isn't ready yet) when they can get the same current service from company B that isn't bothering to upgrade anything? I don't know if an agreement could be made politically to limit the number of companies while still allowing more than one in an area other than the current 1-per "wire-type" arrangement.

Comment Re:And then... (Score 1) 409

That is correct, there is plenty of room under the streets. Still, I'm not convinced it could work that way.

Most of a cable/fiber/twisted pair run is going to be shared between multiple homes. (I don't care what the DSL salesman says, they are not running individual lines all the way from an internet backbone to your house) With a monopoly the cost of this shared part of the line can be paid for with the combined profit from each home that uses it. If the homes were split up among more competing companies than each company would have fewer homes per shared part of the line with which they would have to make enough profit to pay for maintenance and upgrade. I suspect that prices would actually be higher than now, even with the competition. Of course, I don't have the numbers to test this theory.

Also, as for the under the streets thing... There are probably tunnels which can be used in most big cities but for the rest of the world moving all the cables under the streets would mean a ton of construction delays and expense. Running that many wires on poles above ground would probably get pretty ugly and while I suspect most of us "here" on Slashdot wouldn't mind if it meant faster, cheaper broadband I suspect the majority has a different set of priorities than us.

Comment Re:Why does he have Roaming on? (Score 1) 410

Thanks for the reply, that clears some things up a bit.

Still, the original poster was asking why he had roaming on at all. I would say that unless one is accustomed to being around a national border it is pretty reasonable to expect roaming to be on. Most plans now I think are nationwide, no charges for roaming within the US. I know if I put my phone into home-only it wouldn't work at half the places I go and yet leaving it in roaming I have never had a charge. Now, data on a foreign tower... that I haven't tried and don't really want to.

I think that in the US, for someone who is used to living near a border turning off roaming or just turning off the cellphone altogether would be a no-brainer. For the majority however I don't think this is an everyday issue that people even have to think about so I can see how someone wouldn't think twice to do what he did.

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