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Comment Re:Need to ask the proper questions. (Score 1) 962

I don't believe an anonymous person, probably a male, posting a woman't address and telling her he's going to rape her some night is a position she thought she'd be in because she decided to work in the gaming industry.

It's certainly not a position I think I'm putting myself in when I apply for a job. I wouldn't call it criticism either. That crosses the line from juvenile and possibly hurtful speech to a threat one might have to take seriously.

Comment Re:Pft (Score 2) 962

If you grab somebody by the neck - be you male or female grabbing a man or a woman - I'm pretty sure that the company is going to walk you out and ask you to wait to see if the aggrieved party is going to press charges. That's unacceptable behavior no matter who the perpetrator is.

Comment Re:"He's not alone" (Score 2) 43

If he's doing this at 12, and keeps his interest up, I don't think he'll have too much trouble. He also seems to genuinely enjoy what he's doing, rather than going for what he thinks will make money. If I owned an engineering company and he has anything as interesting as this coming out of high school, I'd be thinking about offering up a paid internship to him. (Getting in the news for your Whatever Faire accomplishments puts you well ahead of the pack compared to all the nameless faces out there.)

Comment Re:inter-subscriber priority (Score 1) 337

QoS is a pretty standard way of making sure traffic that needs to be jitter free is. Netflix, Pandora, streaming or downloading don't really need it. Any "jitter" in a non-congested network for Netflix isn't noticed because the buffer takes care of it. Ditto with the occasional spot of latency. The problem with most people's ISPs and Neflix is the overall throughput, and that's because the big ISPs want Netflix to pay Netflix's ISP, you to pay your ISP, then Netflix to pay your ISP again for a non-congested fast lane, rather than upgrading their network to accommodate the traffic their customers are requesting. Jitter or latency on a phone call is immediately noticeable. Even nations with excellent internet services probably turn on QoS for known ports / protocols that need it. QoS done right isn't evil.

Comment Re:Density Myth. . . (Score 2) 337

Similar to water, sewer, and electrical lines wired internet cabling is a "natural monopoly". There are 3 different cabling standards to bring wired internet to the home. Twisted pair for POTs, which may also bring some form of DSL, cable, and fiber. I'm not certain that I want ISPs to own the wiring for these services, but that ship has largely sailed. In a properly networked setup once you have access to the single twisted pair, coax, or fiber, you'd have your choice of ISP. I could be mistaken, but I believe that's how it's done where countries have competition. I don't believe there's a crazy quilt of redundant wiring to each residence. TWX's statement about ISPs and cable companies needing to be common carrier, and needing to allow competition on their wires, since our municipalities don't own them, is spot on.

As far as the downsides to letting everybody run their own wiring?
1 - For telephone poles having a crowded and unsafe tangle of cables.
2 - For underground, it's even worse. I don't want my streets dug up every time there is an ISP startup.
A - It's just a nightmare when street maintenance is already a strained and underfunded beast in many U.S. cities.
B - If the ISP goes out of business, there's the potential for a bunch of "dark last mile wiring". This doesn't benefit anybody.
C - We have enough trouble keeping track of the wiring that's currently out there without adding a bunch more.
D - As you trench more, at some point it'll be impossible to put in new wiring without cutting somebody else's connection, even if temporarily.
E - It's wasteful. In the case of copper which is already in pretty high demand, it's highly wasteful to run redundant connections.

Ideally I'd like to see municipalities owning the last mile and leasing the wiring to any ISP that wants a piece of it. Alas, the private companies own the wiring, and our regulations are so wishy washy that with the exception of phone service, it typically means that the ISP that owns the wiring is the only one that gets to use it. With proper legislation to treat any ISP similar to a telco common carrier, it needn't be that way and smaller entities could ride on the same wiring as the big incumbents.

Comment Re:Density Myth. . . (Score 1) 337

On your second point, I said that even where the U.S. cities and suburb population densities are higher than the equivalent European ones, we have crappy internet access. I said that using the population density of the U.S. as the reason we don't have good internet access is a myth. The main reason is corporate greed. They already have internet to these areas, they're not going to charge significantly more for fiber or any other form of gig-E connection, so they're in no hurry to role out new infrastructure.

Comment Re:Density Myth. . . (Score 1) 337

I think we're on the same page. Even where ISPs can't claim that density is an issue - New York, San Francisco, etc. - the internet is still craptastic for large swaths of those citys' populations.

. . .

The real costs aren't in the last mile wiring, though these costs are real and substantial. In older cities like New York new wiring can require some ingenuity to work around the lack of space for it in old buildings. Even with those costs, the real money sinks are bureaucratic. Getting approval on the city, county, and state level, and sometimes the individual land or building owner can take time and cost quite a bit of money. . . but nowhere near what the company will earn once the wiring is in place. A lot of those bureaucratic costs go down in smaller countries where their equivalent to the federal government says "it shalt be done THIS WAY" for the whole country, which is probably more common in Asia than in Europe. Even in many countries in Europe you don't have the mess of overlapping approvals you have in the U.S. This totally ignores legislation that's in place that rigs it for the incumbent, like state wide bans on municipal ISPs and exclusive franchises for wide swaths of land. Granted one doesn't want every ISP startup to run their own wiring. . . but somehow the directives for the ISPs to allow line sharing to other ISPs haven't worked out well for the little guys. . . and the big ISPs don't seem keen on letting municipalities run their own wiring and leasing it out to whoever wants to pay for it.

Of course, if ISPs have existing infrastructure, and it's selling for a goodly fraction of what they're planning on charging for fiber or other modern solutions, what great incentive do ISPs have to hurry up and spend money to roll out new infrastructure when they can sit on their exclusive franchises and the old stuff and make obscene amounts of money? Or when they can charge service providers, like Netflix, for "fast lanes"?

ARS has a nice write up on the mess Verizon is making of their fiber deployment in NY. With more oversight, which would increase costs, some of Verizon's wiring mess probably wouldn't happen. Heck, if N.Y. just rolled out the fiber and leased it to whoever, including end users, the cost over time would probably be lower, and the job might end up being done better. But this would be unfair competition. . .

Comment Re:I prefer (Score 2) 337

Video and "internet radio" probably doesn't need "jitter free" downloads since, once you have a small buffer, it doesn't matter if it comes in relatively small spits and furts. I.P. calls, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, gaming, and anything that is truly sensitive to latency; however, should have priority. (Gaming is so particular to the game that ISPs wouldn't regulate this, if anybody did, it would be the individual.) Even in big corporate networks at least their phones generally get a lot of attention paid to them so your calls don't sound like you're out in the boonies on a cell phone with 1/2 a bar of reception. Your web pages probably wouldn't download noticeably slower to allow better phone traffic anyway. Certainly that 5G - 150G game download wouldn't matter if it arrived 5 seconds later if it means clearer calls. If web pages are loading noticeably slowly, even with certain services prioritized over others, it's probably for the same reason they're loading slowly without the prioritization: a poorly designed page waiting for that congested banner add to load before displaying the rest of their content. Or a massive number of plugins on a Wordpress page. Or a huge flash only page, etc.

Comment Density Myth. . . (Score 4, Interesting) 337

Except that even where U.S. city/suburb densities are as high or higher than said small country, internet access still sucks. This probably accounts for %60-%80 of the U.S. population. (Maybe not E. Asia, but certainly a good chunk of Europe.)

Other things small countries can do that may be more difficult for the U.S. to do:
1 - Have a true national plan for rolling out internet, rather than Country, State, County, Municipality, Neighborhood, and Individual plans. (Individuals in this case being people who object, maybe with some merit, to unsightly telco boxes on or near their property and do something about it, messing up the plan, either requiring the telco box to be moved or for them to go through city planners and/or court to get permission to place the box on the person's property.)
2 - Dictate how the internet is going to be rolled out. Similar to 1, but not quite the same. Possibly have "country wide" municipal broadband, with individual providers riding off of state owned infrastructure.
3 - Not deal with U.S. Corporate lobbyists. It seems we have world class corporate lobbying. Our lobbyists are so strong that they can convince us the price we're paying for Internet, Health Care, Cell Service, pick your overpriced product is as good or better than the rest of the world, that the reduced service we often receive along with the high prices is really better than the rest of the world, and that all the multiple ways we pay our ISPs to improve their infrastructure, through taxes, directly through our internet bills, through "back door deals" like Netflix paying both their ISP and the end user's ISP to deliver content will actually improve much of anything. (The latter seems to have, but only because that one entertainment provider has paid to improve that one service on that one monolithic ISP.)
4 - Laying down new infrastructure rather than dealing with a hodgepodge of existing infrastructure. This one is actually pretty important. Especially since some of that old infrastructure - land lines - are something ISPs/telcos are still federally mandated to maintain. . . unless this has recently changed. Also, they may have more uniform wiring, and access to that wiring, in their larger buildings.

Comment Re:If too expensive, move (Score 2) 319

*Most* people who live in San Francisco are renters. A little over 60%. For many of those people, rent control is keeping them there. Their costs aren't going up by much year over year. . . though as pointed out it does keep one tied to a particular rental unit.

As far as quality of life, that's subjective. In San Francisco you have access to great parks, decent beaches, a huge range of restaurants, bars, cafes, and even bookstores, neighborhoods with more than a bit of diversity, it's possible to live in the city without a car, and all the good and bad that comes of living in a city.

Just outside of the city you have access to the Redwoods, with a relatively short drive wine country, you're not far from the mountains if you want to ski. There's a reason so many people want to move to the city. Oh, and for the moment, at least in the tech sector, there are a fair number of jobs to be had.

I think there are more homes in San Francisco setup to be multi-family homes than there are places setup to be single family homes, though I could be mistaken on this point. Even if that's not the case, it's certainly a large percent that are setup this way.

Comment Re:You have your politics confused (Score 1) 319

For the guys in rent controlled units, they'd pretty much be forced out of the city if rent control were to go away for everybody. For everybody else, for a short while, there would be such a glut of units on the market that the prices would depress. By how much? I couldn't say. I don't know the % of people who are paying $600-$1000 for that 1 bedroom instead of $3000. (Throwing arbitrary numbers out there.)

Even after the glut of units on the market goes away it has been shown that without rent control, overall prices in a rental market are lower because people are more mobile. There are more units available at any given time. If you're a tenant in a rent controlled unit that you've had for any amount of time, you simply don't leave because you can no longer afford what's on the market. Without rent control you're paying market rate, so you're more likely to move for any number of reasons. Better neighborhood, move closer to work, don't like your landlord, whatever.

Also, at some point, you can no longer afford to live in the city so you move out. There'd be a larger number of people in this group. All of this leads to a higher percentage of vacant units and an overall lower price of rentals. . . but that doesn't mean the rental prices don't go up year over year at a steeper rate than inflation. They may go up slower, but I don't think the benefits of a "free rental market" in the city would outweigh the downsides to a renter who can't count on being able to afford his unit when his lease is up.

Comment Re:You have your politics confused (Score 1) 319

In San Francisco rent control applies everywhere. The "elite" don't control which units are rent controlled. There are other programs, like low income housing, that would better fit your argument.

The trick with rent control is that it only applies to the unit you currently live in. So you rented a 1 bedroom a few years ago when you were single. Now it's a great deal, but you get married and have a kid. As long as you're willing to live in that one bedroom you and your family are still under rent control. But as soon as you try to get a two bedroom, you're stuck with looking for units at the current market rate.

Rent control protects all long term renters who aren't moving. It *does* run the prices up on the units that are available because there are fewer units on the market. That said, I think the benefits of rent control and a renter being able to predict what they'll have to make to cover rent far outweigh the downsides to it. It's not a perfect solution, it's just the least bad of the solutions out there for a city that has traditionally had more people who want to live in it than living units available.

Comment Better interfaces aren't everything. . . (Score 1) 101

I also posted this on O'reilly's site.

Edit: After thinking about it a bit, having the device as another "person" that everybody interacts with might be a way around somebody pulling out of a social interaction to check something on Google.

There are some things where a "better interface" would allow technology to slide into the background. A simple example is a good GPS unit with great voice recognition rather than having to type in a start and end destination. Maybe with a see through display on your car's HUD rather than on a small screen set somewhere out of the "normal" view of the driver so that all you have to do to see your next turn is change your focus point, rather than look away. Taken even further your car drives itself and you no longer have to worry about the road - you can interact, safely, with the passengers in the car, or over a cell phone.

That said, we're single taskers. If I'm composing a note to billy, be it with pen and paper, on a cell phone's screen, a keyboard, or a device capable of reading my thoughts so I don't have to talk, type, or write, I'll still be concentrating on that note. I may *try* to talk with people around me, but then both my conversation and my written note would obviously suffer.

There are a couple ideas that excite me, but neither really solves the problem of ignoring those around us in favor of our toys. One is the idea of an augmented mind via a neural interface. This is a long way off, but having the "hud" behind one's eyes, rather than something strapped on top of them is kind of exciting. Add in a computer as part of one's brain, and some wireless technology built into that, and I could see a realm where you get the best of the binary and analog worlds when it comes to thinking. The wireless bit would allow one to offload tasks that are too big for your built in computer, but just having the built in computer offers some cool vistas. There are just some calculations that computers are better at than humans, and being able to think in both modes would be quite exciting, I'd think. I don't know if we'd ever really get to the point where the silicon, for advanced interactions like programming or mathematics ever actually "feels" like a part of the brain, or if it'd just be a much faster interface than keyboard and monitor. I could see having sensors, like a compass, that the brain simply uses, similar to the interaction with our eyes or ears.

Another idea I like to kick around is a companion device along the lines of the movie "Her", with an optional robotic avatar ala Persocoms in "Chobits". I'm not talking the end game in either show where the computer surpasses us, but an actual companion device. It could be as small as a Furby, or as large as a human. (Technically it could be any sized, but I don't think we'd want anything bigger than that unless it's a vehicle we're riding in or a domicile.) Secretary, personal trainer, a more "natural" interaction with you and the people around you than typing in a screen, etc. You'd run into strange situations where an adult might become emotionally attached to the device. Asking something with even a hint of a personality about something that's available online could be a lot more natural than breaking off a conversation to look it up on one's phone, and a computer *would* be able to multi-task like that without breaking the illusion that the conversation is the center of its world. Japan's already looking into robots for elderly care, and if the robot had a bit of personality, it'd surely help there.

I guess if you combined the two ideas you could "ask" the computer side of you to Google for the currently tallest building in the world, or how close we are to getting long chains of carbon nano-tubes for a space elevator with a minimal amount of interruption and have it return the results to you. . . but even then, the regular gray matter would need to take some time out to send and receive the data from the computer half.

I think an external thing that's everyone could talk to, as a part of the conversation, rather than something one person does away from the conversation, could be more natural. Cell phones aren't that far from it. They have voice recognition and offline processing. Offload the computing and get a bit of rudimentary "personality" into it, put it into speaker phone mode, and it could join the conversation rather than taking people out of it.

Comment Re:Whalewatching (Score 1) 373

I'd rather be working, daydreaming, socializing, sleeping,browsing the web, or nearly anything other than having to drive in commute traffic. It's a perk. As Anonymous pointed out, if only a few of their employees do more work while on the bus, or get their daily fix of Slashdot out of the way before getting to work, it probably saves them money. Heck, even if it simply means a small portion of their employees who don't like driving and live in the city stay with Google, they're probably ahead of the curve.

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