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  • Feb 19th, 2021 @ 11:36am

    (untitled comment)

    "Even though I don't understand this problem, or whether there is a problem, I was elected to solve it..."

    I continue to be disgusted by the ignorance continually demonstrated by those we elect to positions where they can directly influence the instantiation of new laws and regulations. I suspect that the ranks of elected officials would be severely reduced if each one had to pass the same citizenship exam as an immigrant wishing to become a U.S. citizen.

  • Feb 16th, 2021 @ 4:06pm

    (untitled comment)

    "He who has the gold makes the rules."

    Democracy was a wonderful idea, until our governments were sold to the highest bidder.

  • Feb 10th, 2021 @ 1:57pm

    (untitled comment)

    Just as stupid as the actions against Huawei, which were sponsored by lobbyists for Ericsson and Nokia.

  • Jan 28th, 2021 @ 10:50am

    (untitled comment)

    It's this kind of WSJ "reporting" that caused me to cancel my subscription.

  • Jan 15th, 2021 @ 9:07am

    (untitled comment)

    We're in an "urban interface" area where the only Internet connection we can readily obtain is crappy DSL, so we've banded together and are implementing wireless 100Mbps. Fiber would be preferable, but we're a long way from fiber and are on 5-acre lots, which makes fiber installation expensive. One of our neighbors asked for a quote from Comcast and got a response: $80,000 for just his house. (Comcast cable if about 200 yards from his house.) Not that we would actually want to deal with Comcast...

  • Dec 21st, 2020 @ 10:10am

    (untitled comment)

    You seem to believe that the CongressCritters are somehow obligated to represent the best interests of the people of the United States. They aren't. They've been bought and paid for by a corrupt system that allows big corporations to pay for their re-election campaigns. Like most every other institution in this country, their allegiance is to the rich and powerful.

  • Dec 16th, 2020 @ 1:18pm

    Only part of the Colorado story...

    Those of us who live in non-metropolitan communities or in the urban-rural interface are being served by fixed wireless providers. Some of these have customer service that rivals (???) Comcast, but many of the newer ones have capable management and are investing in infrastructure, e.g., towers fed by fiber, to provide reasonably-priced broadband Internet, e.g., 50mbps or better. To the best of my knowledge, these companies are not partaking of the various grants. They are actual businesses, run by competent business people, and expect to make a reasonable profit. Hopefully, they will not be acquired by some corporate behemoth intent on gouging the customers for every last dollar, which is what happened to the local cable providers.

  • Dec 7th, 2020 @ 10:40am

    (untitled comment)

    This is absurd. If they want to make a profit, do what MathFox suggests, turn it over to Google, and ask Google for a small percentage of the advertising revenue. Everyone wins.

    Congress is to totally dysfunctional that we cannot count on them to fix this atrocity. How else can we force something to happen?

  • Dec 2nd, 2020 @ 12:55pm

    Technical clarification

    I have numerous IoT devices, but none of them communicate beyond my internal network. I think this article, which is otherwise an excellent summary, needs to at least acknowledge that not all devices are visible beyond the LAN. My home automation system can turn on the coffee pot, turn up or down the HVAC, turn on the lights, etc., but none of that information is exposed beyond the LAN.

    However, it's important to acknowledge that an increasing number of consumer IoT devices are visible outside the LAN, but this can be a consumer choice if they are made aware of it.


    Some wifi switches actually have two IP addresses, which you can find in your DNS log or with a network scanner. One IP port is for the user interact with the device, but the other "calls home," typically for setup assistance but conceivably for any other purpose the manufacturer chooses. This is not explained in the documentation.

    I have an HVAC thermostat that claims to support Z-Wave. In reality, it only supports Z-Wave as a controller and then only by interacting with an online service. I would never want to allow control of my HVAC system to be exposed to the Internet, but I had to deny an IP address to the device to prevent that. An unwary consumer would have no idea about the risks involved.

    On the good news side, browsers increasingly support DNS over HTTPS. In Firefox it's almost trivial to set up. The problem is that too many consumers have no idea why you would want to...

  • Nov 23rd, 2020 @ 1:03pm

    (untitled comment)

    Even George Orwell couldn't have predicted this... Tried and convicted before the crime even occurs. Next step is to make these predictions before the kid is even born. Better yet, before the parents meet. Or, maybe, before the parents are born. Hmmm, "Eve, I need to warn you about what our models predict about Adam."

  • Nov 20th, 2020 @ 3:38pm

    (untitled comment)

    "...a lawyer for the United States argued Monday that the government has the power to kill its citizens without judicial oversight when state secrets are involved."

    I cannot believe that someone who graduated from a law school and was admitted to the bar in some state would say this. I guess they skipped the Bill of Rights at that law school. Nonetheless, the lawyer should be disbarred just for saying it in front of a judge.

  • Nov 18th, 2020 @ 1:01pm

    Caution Advised!

    It's easy to make fun of the grandstanding by ignorant CongressCritters (redundant), but we need to keep in mind that people vote for them, which is truly scary. Worse, 71 million voters apparently would prefer to live in a country with an authoritarian leader. Even more frightening, there seems to be a substantial part of the population who desire to return to the 1950s, where men were the head-of-household, mom stayed home and baked cake, women were submissive to men, people of color rode in the back of the bus and weren't allowed at the lunch counter in Kresge's, pornography and gay marriage were illegal, there was no Internet, and the greatest threats were Communists in our midst. Trump tapped into that belief, and a significant number of Republican law makers have joined the parade. The recent election will, hopefully, soon be over, but the conspiracy theories, evangelical Christian beliefs, racism, denial of science, etc. were not defeated. By claiming that the election was stolen, Trump has given them even greater credibility.

  • Nov 6th, 2020 @ 1:18pm

    WISP == faster, more reliable service and lower price!

    We live in an "urban interface" area and are the very happy customers of a WISP, XtreamInternet, which replaced unreliable and overpriced CenturyLink DSL service. We get much faster (25mbps) service for less money and it's been totally reliable ever since it was installed. (CenturyLink's program required that we also have a landline bundled with a costly assortment of features for which we had no use. Then they added on some "cost recovery" fees.) Now our former landline numbers route to Google Voice, which saves us from having to answer dozens of robocalls each day.

    Word of warning: we previously tried service from two other WISPs, back in the early days of fixed wireless. Both proved unreliable and had horrid customer service. One of the problems we encountered was that they were routing signal over multiple hops, e.g., from one residence to another. That created multiple points of failure due to wind, snow, homeowner not knowing they were a relay point, and localized power failures. In the ensuing years WISP operators have learned a lot and are no longer amateurs. The equipment is also better. We recommend that prospective customers request uptime performance statistics and customer service call volume data before signing a WISP contract. Well-managed companies are proud to share that information.

  • Nov 4th, 2020 @ 12:31pm

    (untitled comment)

    Too many states have passed into law restrictions on communities developing their own ISP. These were generally the work of AT&T lobbyists who made generous campaign donations to the legislators willing to hamstring their constituents. Removing those restrictions may help extend broadband further. Low-orbit satellite may provide some of the more remote locations with service, but the cost to the end user is high. We managed to get telephone service to almost every residence in the country; we just lack the commitment to do the same with broadband. Unfortunately, the current political divide in this country will undermine any attempt to extend coverage, and that highly-polarized situation is unlikely to change any time soon!

  • Oct 27th, 2020 @ 1:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    Of course no one is held accountable. The pig-in-chief isn't accountable. Mitch the Bitch covers the pig's ass and all the Republicans (with one or two notable exceptions) kowtow. Anyone who speaks up is swiftly unemployed, replaced by yet another political hack.

    The Founders of this country never contemplated that the voters would be stupid enough to elect an narcissist who is too busy worrying about how he looks and how much applause he can attract to bother actually doing his job. He'd rather just wave his middle finger at the taxpayers.

  • Oct 23rd, 2020 @ 8:13pm

    Thank you!

    I was in high school when Tom's first record was released. Been a fan ever since and sometimes find myself humming some of his tunes. And some of his lyrics just stick in your head: "Plagiarize, but please to call it research." Thanks for the update.

  • Oct 20th, 2020 @ 1:49pm

    Worth reading the complaint

    The complaint, which alleges that Google's monopoly keeps other search engines from entering the market, defeats it own claim: "Given the internet’s enormous breadth and constant evolution, establishing and maintaining a commercially viable general search engine is an expensive process. Google’s search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. Developing a general search index of this scale, as well as viable search algorithms, would require an upfront investment of billions of dollars. The costs for maintaining a scaled general search business can reach hundreds of millions of dollars a year."
  • Oct 20th, 2020 @ 1:17pm

    Antitrust or Distrust?

    As you point out, this is just theater. But one of the things that the current administration has accomplished is to cause a lot of people to distrust science, professional competence, education, and intelligence (real, not claimed). Now they want us to distrust innovation that leads to wild success.

    I've been using the Internet since 1993. It was pretty lonely then, and there wasn't much need for a search engine. As sites began popping up a few mediocre search services appeared, but they weren't easy to use. Eventually Yahoo launched and it was better than anything else. But...then Google appeared, and it was far superior. Today we would say that it uses "crowdsourcing" to improve the results, although that term didn't exist in 1998. The real genius of the Google business plan was the intent to sell every word in the dictionary, in every language, multiple times! That turned out to be extremely valuable to advertisers.

    Every year Google makes thousands of improvements to its search engine. I've compared searches on Google and Bing, and Google wins almost every time.
    On the downside, Google has increasingly favored its own sites and generous advertisers, so it requires some effort to sort out the real search results from the "paid" search results. I find that annoying, but I don't consider it illegal.

    Along the way Google has used its enormous profits to do what any good business executive would do: expand the business, and its value to users, by either inventing or acquiring services that extended its capabilities or met other customer needs and relied upon Google's enormous compute capabilities. The DOJ never raised an eyebrow!

    I'm sure there are some of Google's business practices that may give them a competitive advantage. I would applaud any effort to address those, but attacking the entire company is nonsense. What's being attacked is successful American innovation, which we need to celebrate and preserve.

  • Sep 18th, 2020 @ 2:36pm

    ...but only applies to products purchased with taxpayer dollars

    Pretty wimpy attempt that doesn't do much and definitely does nothing about the zillions of silly gizmos already in operation. This is similar to grandstanding "gun control" legislation, which does nothing about the hundreds of millions of firearms already resident in the U.S. Perhaps, someday, we'll be able to elect some Congresscritters who aren't both technologically ignorant and beholden to big corporations. (I also believe in Santa Claus!)

  • Sep 9th, 2020 @ 12:17pm

    (untitled comment)

    If "the Law is Too Hard to Follow," then why do we have courts? In particular, why do we bother with the FISA court?

    Long ago we lost control of our government, which no longer requires the "consent of the governed." Glad I won't be around when we hit this bottom of the slippery slope!

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