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Comment Re:Fitbit is next (Score 4, Funny) 168


Who on their right mind is going to spend hundreds of dollars for some minor functionality?

Back in the 1980s, I remember thinking "If only there was a way to have my girlfriend (at the time) send me her pulse so I could feel her love on my own wrist in real-time. Of course the technology wasn't there, and wouldn't be for some time, so I had to settle for her bloody heart in a jar and 25 years in a psychiatric hospital.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 71

Yep. I have a friend who worked for a now-defunct ad placement firm. They hired people specifically for the purpose of figuring out ways around ad blockers. Of course that was dumb, because for people who are determined not to be tracked and force-fed ads, that simply makes them more determined to find ways to block things.

Comment Re:There are Ads on YouTube? (Score 1) 71

I recently went to renew my /. subscription because it has been some time since I last had. They are no longer offering subscriptions, not sure if it's temporary or not. One of the nice things with it was the option to turn off ads. I still run uMatrix and uBlock Origin on the site but still wanted to support them.

So it seems like they may be going straight for an ad & tracker supported model.

Comment Glitchless streaming. (Score 3, Interesting) 157

Can you name one thing that your customers actually want that is actually being prevented by network neutrality regulations?

Glitchless streaming.

Streaming (things like audio, video, phone calls) requires relatively small and constant bandwidth (though compression adds variability) but isn't good at tolerating dropouts or variations in transit time. When it does get dropouts it's better to NOT send a retry correction (and have the retry packet risk delaying and/or forcing the drop of another packet).

TCP connections (things like big file transfers) error check and retry, fixing dropouts and errors so the data arrives intact, though with no guarantee exactly when. But they achieve high bandwidth and evenly divide the bandwidth at a bottleneck by deliberately speeding up until they super-saturate the bottleneck and force dropouts. The dropouts tell them they've hit the limit, so they slow down and track the bleeding edge.

Put them both on a link and treat the packets equally and TCP causes streaming to break up, stutter, etc. Overbuilding the net helps, but if the data to be tranferred is big enough TCP will ALWAYS saturate a link somewhere along the way.

Identify the traffic type and treat their packets differently - giving higher priority to stream packets (up to a limit, so applications can't gain by cheating, claiming to be a stream when they're not) - and then they play together just fine. Stream packets zip through, up to an allocation limit at some fraction of the available bandwidth, and TCP transfers evenly divide what's left - including the unused part of the streams' allocation.

But the tools for doing this also enable the ISPs to do other, not so good for customers, things. Provided they chose to do so, of course.

IMHO the bad behavior can be dealt with best, not by attempting to enforce "Network Neutrality" as a technical hack at an FCC regulation level, but as a consumer protection issue, by an agency like the FTC. Some high points:
  - Break up the vertical integration of ISPs into "content provider" conglomerates, so there's no incentive to penalize the packets of competitors to the mother-ship's services.
  - Treat things like throttling high-volume users and high-bandwidth services as consumer fraud: "You sold 'internet service'". Internet service doesn't work that way. Ditto "pay for better treatment of your packets" (but not "pay to sublet a fixed fraction of the pipe").
  - Extra scrutiny for possible monopolistic behavior anywhere there are less than four viable broadband competitors, making it impractical for customers to "vote with their feet".

Comment Re:More advertising data (Score 1) 89

Linking who you share your location with their habits. Alice went to McDonalds. Bob went to Burger King. Both like fast food, show Bob ads for McDonalds.

Very elementary example, but they are basically asking the users to confirm that when Alice and Bob are in the same (or a similar) place, it is not a coincidence.

Comment Re:More advertising data (Score 1) 89

Thank you, you nailed it far more succinctly than I.

What gets me are the "So? Every other company does it." as if that makes it right. These are the same people that check in on Facebook, leave location metadata on in photos, and run Google Maps in the background because it gives them the warm fuzzies thinking they're helping.

Comment IQ and attention to detail are different things. (Score 1) 168

"How hard is to remember to unload your weapon before packing it?" I guess there's no I.Q. check for firearms purchases, maybe there should be.

IQ and attention to detail are different things.

Also: Even the best-trained, most reliable, gun user can have a lapse when in a hurry, as in when packing for a flight.

That's why firearms training stresses redundancy, with rules like "A gun is loaded as soon as you put it down and look away". Or "Don't point (even an "unloaded") gun at anything you don't want to destroy."

The phenomenon is referred to as "a visit from the Ammo Fairy". That entity is similar to the Tooth Fairy, but instead of leaving a coin under you pillow it leaves a round in your chamber. B-)

Comment I have read much of it, as I would an encyclopedia (Score 3, Interesting) 376

My wife and I each had a copy of the first three volumes when we married. Yes, there are female computer nerds. B-)

I first encountered it when assigned one of the volumes as a text back in 1971. Of course the class didn't consist of learning EVERYTHING in the volume. B-)

I use it from time to time - mainly as a reference book. Most recently this spring, when I needed a reference on a data structure (circular linked lists) for a paper. I've found it useful often when doing professional computer programming and hardware design (for instance, where the hardware has to support some software algorithm efficiently, or efficient algorithms in driver software allow hardware simplification).

I don't try to read it straight through. But when I need a algorithm for some job and it's not immediately obvious which is best, the first place I check is Knuth. He usually has a clear description of some darned good wheel that was already invented decades ago, analyzed to a fare-thee-well.

I only see him about once a year. He's still a sharp cookie.

Comment They let the ban on propagandizing citizens expire (Score 4, Informative) 324

Three and a half years ago the US government, under the Obama administration, let the ban on propagandizing US citizens expire - and immediately began writing and spreading "fake news".

From an FP article dated July 14, 2013:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. governmentâ(TM)s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

So the only thing new here is US citizens noticed one of the government's renewed, official, domestic propaganda operations.

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