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Comment Re:And this is why... (Score 1) 356

Nope, they are actually simple concepts and simple to implement. Go back to the start of the country and you'll find that corporation != person. That's something the Supreme Court decided in 1819, See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_personhood for more details, They also decided that corporations can't be limited in their contribution in 2010.

The simple fact is corporation are not people and therefore are not guaranteed the right of freedom of speech. In my opinion campaign contributions should be limited only to people and that amount set to a reasonable maximum for each person. Individuals are already limited to giving set amounts for campaign contributions per candidate. Here's an overview of current campaign contribution limits: http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/limits.php

If only people were allowed to give a campaign contribution and it was set at a reasonable limit then freedom of speech is preserved and corruption is greatly reduced. That last bit is exactly why it will not happen. It's a rather simple and straightforward solution and one inline with the current constitution (minus all the legal shell game of changing standard definitions).

Comment These are just the visible amounts too (Score 1) 271

These are staggering amounts for being just the tip of the iceberg. Remember that many other companies are forced to provide access and tapping resources out of their pocket. This is passed onto the consumer as more charges. All the major ISPs, Mobile phone companies, many email hosting providers, etc, etc, etc all have to provide facilities, data storage and other resources to comply with "lawful interception" requirements. These costs add up and are not insignificant but you have to do them or the government will shut you down. BTW, this was happening in Europe more than 10 years ago and things are only ramping up. I can only imagine with systems like carnivore and the sealed requirements how much this is costing US companies (and therefore us customers). It might even rival or surpass the 56 billion figure by the time you tally up all the company costs.

Comment Re:Too many factors. (Score 1) 297

I think this is simply an effect of the complexity of issues. I know when I do estimating I try to break it down into pieces of .5 - 3 hours. Any larger blocks need further subdivision. Even with that things can go very wrong due to unforseen factors. An simple example is:
Project: Migrate 3 physical hosts to VMs on new hardware
2h (hours) - base OS install
1h - hypervisor install
2h - host 1 migration
2h - host 2 migration
2h - host 3 migration

Most of these estimates are very conservative for time and 90% of the time that 2 hours for the base OS install will be the case. The other 10% where I have hardware with misbehaving drivers or bad firmware that 2 hours can be off by 10+ and sometimes hardware may need to be changed to make it work. That is just one step in the process. I could also have software that is license locked to some part of the hardware and will need to be reactivated due to the change in hardware. Many steps can have these kinds of uncertainty in the estimation process and many times the people want you to provide estimates without giving all necessary information (complete list of applications or new hardware specs). People with lots of expertise usually assume the 90% will be the result for that step but then add in a bit of padding at the end to compensate for some of the 10%s. The more complex the problem and the more steps with higher uncertainty the worse the estimate overall is (many chances for greater variation in the statistics). These are not always 10% too, some might be 20% or 25% and usually relies on memory (gut feeling) to assign these percentages.

My experience has been that most of the estimates I am asked to give have very small time allocated to making the estimates when compared to the system complexity (often unpaid even for fairly large projects). There is also a common belief that if you are an expert you can just throw out a good estimates off the top of your head. For most non-trivial operations this is simply not reasonable and you are left with an educated guess instead of any sort of proper estimate. With little resources allocated to making accurate estimates and the complexities of the systems and tasks being estimated it does not surprise me in the least that many estimates are off by significant amounts. I think a large part of the problem with estimating is setting realistic expectations for the deliverables.

Comment Re:nVidia have been jerking Linux around (Score 2) 123

That USED to be the case until optimus. I've been a pretty avid nvidia on linux until optimus and that even after having one of the dell geforce mobiles that delaminated (hardware issue). Now I get to live with crashing to login every few days (a common occurence for us optimus users even before we load the bumblebee stack) but hey, who doesn't want their linux machine reduced to win98 reliabiity levels. Needless to say nvidia gives ZERO support. From here on out it's only Intel or other open-source drivers for me. I have no more time to waste with nvidia and their problems. Nvidia is in the same category as ATI for me now.

Comment Re:Democrat proposes more spending, what a surpriz (Score 1) 583

I'm not so sure about there being a necessary disconnect between Libertarian and Green. I think more than anything else the Libertarians want government to be run well according to the law. That means that if the constitution doesn't authorize the government to do something then it can't do it. That doesn't, however, preclude using the constitution properly and passing an amendment to it to legally cover new resposibilities.

I generally consider myself Libertarian in general but also realize that some issues need to be handled on the federal level. This is afterall why the constitution has clauses and a clear process on how to modify it. In my opinion basic environmental protections are one of those issues (unlike 95% of what the government currently handles on the federal level). As long as the proper processes detailed in the constitution are followed I really doubt most libertarians would have an issue with basic, carefully constructed and well-defined environmental regulation. Then again I don't think such regulation (or an amendment granting such regulation) is possible from the current mess of a system we have now. I also believe that most Libertarians would be very skeptical of making any change to the constitution currently. It's simply a question of trust and if you look at almost any poles you clearly see that most Americans (libertarian or not) do not trust our elected officials right now.

Comment Re:Too bad. (Score 5, Interesting) 798

I hate to say but I've read the contracts from Sprint, T-mobile and AT&T and they basically all have screw you clauses. They are customer hostile contracts and the reason I've gone to pre-paid now. It's sad but this is the face of corporate america now, bad lock-in contracts pervade so many sectors in the US now from cable (tv, phone, internet) to fitness centers. Many places now won't even let you see and take away the contract to go over it (you have to read and sign there or sign on a digital pad only to be given a paper copy that is readable after). It's simply shameful. I won't even waste my time listening to companies that don't let you properly review their contracts. If their contracts have hostile terms (allowing them to change the contract but not you) it shows even they don't believe in their quality. If they had a good service they wouldn't need such terms.

Comment It'd be nice to have a more detailed breakdown (Score 1) 665

The article lacks required info to back it's arguement. The two main areas I have questions about are: music delivery chain efficiency and how it works now compared to pre-internet.

Where does the money go? In the example they point out that the artist made $1,652.74 on 1.5 million plays. It doesn't list the actual amount per play from pandora but it does give a general range of .5 - .7 cents/play on spotify. Assuming the Pandora numbers are relatively close, say .4 cents/play to be conservative, that would mean the net to the recording company was paid about $6000 of which the artist got just over 25%. My questions are:
1. Who else is in the supply chain taking percentage?
2. What percentage does each entity take?
3. What do they do for that percentage?

It could be someone in the chain is taking the lion share and not doing much work for it. In that case the problem is not the internet delivery or revenue model but the inefficiency in the artist to delivery part of the chain.

If this was "pre-internet" would this artist get any money? I suspect there was a much narrower spectrum of artists that got money at all from recordings but I'd need to see some numbers to be certain about that. I suspect that when compared you might find that more artists get some money in the current situation than did before. Whether there are more or less that can live on the proceeds from recordings is a question I'd be curious to have an answer to. Unfortunately, even though the article seems to make this claim (implied) it doesn't seem to give any revenue information to make a comparison of the old and new models.

Comment Re:compatibility issues? (Score 1) 321

The big 4 in the US all use different technologies to provide service, so taking a device from carrier a to carrier b doesn't make sense in terms of being useful

That's not exactly true. Both AT&T and T-mobile use GSM so you can take your phone from one to the other if unlocked (although data bands are slightly different so make sure the phone supports both). Sprint and Verizon also use the same tech, CDMA and there is no technical reason you can't move your phone between them. The carriers, however, don't allow it because they want you to buy a new phone. Sprint won't even let you take a sprint phone to their sprint payG (boost mobile) even though it uses the sprint network.

Comment Re:Non-Event. Just silly... (Score 1) 292

Couldn't agree with parent more. Still trying to figure out if Fox News tech people really know nothing about basic network concepts or if they are just shilling for the monopoly ISPs to be allowed to charge for coming and going. It seems in the US that costs have to continually rise to keep up even when the service does not improve that much. Who knew maintaining cable infrastructure took more than rolling it out in the first place? Could it be we need a little competition in the ISP market?

Comment Re:Well... (Score 1) 1063

I'm not sure that's the case. To be perfectly honest I'd like to get someone from Switzerland to pipe in since they'd know best. The articles does say the army no longer issues 50 rounds to most of the militia and has recovered 99% of those issued. It also includes this part though:
"Most types of ammunition are available for commercial sale, including full metal jacket bullet calibres for military-issue weapons; hollow point rounds are only permitted for hunters. Ammunition sales are registered only at the point of sale by recording the buyer's name in a bound book."

I interpret this to mean that the army no longer provides the ammo but it is not that strictly controlled. That said I really am ignorant of the actual case in Switzerland. If ammo really is very strictly controlled then in practice it would be like having very strict gun control laws for the purpose of gun crime or so I'd suspect.

Comment Re:Well... (Score 2) 1063

If every year you lose 8 or more people / 100000 it will have an impact on life expectancy. Especially when you are simply talking about a difference of 4 years out of 80 or so...

Does it really make that much of a difference in the stats? Let's take a look at 100,000 people and how much the gun death rate impacts overall a population of 100,000 over 80 years. To make things simple and the effect more pronounced (worst case) we assume that all gun deaths for the 80 years happen in the first year (basically having a 0 year life for all the victims).
Avg life expectancy: 80 years
Gun murder rate: 8/100000 people
Total gun murders over 80 years: 640

Avg life expectancy for these 100,000 people when factoring in the 640 gun murders: (100,000 - 640)*80/100,000 = 79.488 years So in the absolute worst case you are looking at a differential of .512 years off the overall life expectancy from the US to a country with effectively 0 gun murders. If you assume the murders are distributed across the entire age spectrum then it would be half that or .256 years off the total.

I'm not trying to defend gun rights here but I am pointing out that the real causes of the 4+ year life differential probably lie mostly elsewhere. Having lived in both Europe and the US for many years I suggest you look at the food. IMO, the European food is significantlt better than in the US. The active lifestyle there also is likely a factor, many people bike and walk A LOT more than in the US.

Finally, it seems odd that Switzerland of all countries should have the highest life expectancy if gun availability were the major issue. I was pretty sure almost all males that were in the reserves were required to have a fully auto rifle at home for the time they served. This wikipedia article seems to confirm that. I will admit though that I was surprised to find the US still had a significantly larger percentage of homes with hand guns and rifles. I learn something new everyday :)

Comment Re:You are so naive (Score 4, Interesting) 177

I would agree those were cherry picked so how about we look at a few of the major trends:

Trust of politicians and government in general: http://www.people-press.org/2010/04/18/public-trust-in-government-1958-2010/

Income disparity (who is getting all the new wealth): http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3629

I don't have a particular link to environmtal damage but if you can't see that in just about every news source (even the terrible US ones) then you are working hard not to see it.

I will say that not everything is gloom and doom butpeople commenting on corruption, corporate greed and increase in power seems to me just being perceptive not overly negative. Most statistics I've seen and real world experience for the average person seem to support this. I would also point out there is strong evidence that government control is increasing and "rule of law" is decreasing. Again I don't have specific metrics for these but I certainly can point to several pieces of legislation as well as personal experience dealing with governmental institutions (border crossings, airports, traffic stops, tax assessment, building departments). Apparently you do not see this trend but the large number of comments about this just might be from people who see these trends or have experienced them first hand.

Finally, the impetus behind pointing this out just might be a desire to fix some of these issues. The first step in fixing a problem is to identify the problem. Refusing to acknowledge real problems does no service to people facing them or to resolving the problem itself. Just a few things you might want to consider. Hope this helps,

Comment Re:Interesting theory (Score 2) 207

I personally think that internet service should not be handled as a utility rather cable plant should be. Let the utility maintain all the inherently monopolized components (cable plant, gas/water pipes, etc) and then allow as many providers offer higher level services that build on that infrastructure. Customers can then shop amongst those providers. A single SEPERATE service utility (as in not in any way associated with the cable plant provider) can be allowed in areas where there is no or insufficient offerings for required services (ISP, phone, gas, etc). By regulating how much these infra utilities are allowed to overcharge you set the amount of infra improvement they will make (assuming the utiity is run as a non-profit).

The current system is simply a recipe for maximum milking of the customer and stagnation of infrastructure. Pretending these companies are not government granted monopolies (either via spectrum purchases or right of way) is simply delusional.

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I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher