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Andrew Pollack

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  • May 09, 2007 @ 02:49pm

    It is just another tactic -- lawsuit as business t

    I doubt anyone at the big telcos thinks that the little telcos are doing anything that isn't within the laws laid out by the state of Iowa. Having failed to gain regulatory relief however, these large telcos can easily sue the smaller ones into oblivion simply by virtue of having massive legal departments on their payroll, and forcing the smaller telcos into the legal defense business rather than the telecoms business.

  • Feb 03, 2007 @ 05:35pm

    re: do they investigate first

    I'm not trained by any bomb squad, though I've been to a briefing on the subject by some FBI and ATF people a few years back.

    I don't know what criteria are used to determine if it is safe to blow something up, but I do know from meeting these people that they take this kind of study very seriously with more serious academic study than you'd think.

    Firefighters as well, unlike the TV kind, spend a great deal of classroom time on chemistry, fire behavior, hazmat containment, and other highly complex topics.

    Again, speaking not to this case, but in general when they blow something up they use a kind of barrel with an open top, which directs the blast up rather than out which is usually much safer (unless you are dumb enough to be looking into the barrel at that moment).

    These are not the goons that TV makes out. These are well educated men (mostly) who combine huge amounts of patience and skill with bravery and decisiveness. They deserve our respect.

  • Feb 03, 2007 @ 04:12pm

    As a fire officer in a town a hundred miles or so

    I do not believe that this was an overreaction on anyone's part.

    The mayor doesn't make the call on this anyway. Boston, along with every other fire department in the country (in theory) must follow the NIMS response plans for managing incidents and in this case it would have been either Boston PD or Boston Fire to make the call.

    Strange packages attached to bridges and signs in various parts of the city must be dealt with as if they are dangerous explosives or chemical dispensing or biological in one way or another. Why? If you under-respond and you're wrong people die. If you over-respond people are late for work.

    If it was my small town, and for some strange reason a lowly LT ended up in charge of one of these scenes you're damn right I'd block the road until someone who could identify and deal with whatever it was got there. No question at all. If you got mad because you're late for work now, I'd have no sympathy at all.

    Suppose you decided that since the first two were bogus the rest must be -- and they were. The next time they may not be because your response was noted. We KNOW for a FACT that some false alarms are called in for no reason other than to measure the method and size of a response.

    I've said this before -- the 11th one could be real, and it could be your daughter on her way to a 3rd grade field trip in a bus that happened to be under the thing when it did whatever it was designed to do. The fact that the other 10 were false alarms would hold no consolation for you as you crucified me in court.

    Thank you for listing to my rant.

  • Feb 03, 2007 @ 11:53am

    The larger issue is that the hours spent isn't a g

    More and more jobs are done without ever going to the office on a regular basis. I'm someone who did this very early on, and have been working from a home office for more than 13 years.

    Companies used to be terrified of this -- the idea that the couldn't track attendance and hours spent was difficult for management.

    In the end, companies need to be tracking results and out put, making users accountable for work product not time spent on work product.

    I'm a programmer, and have my own company now. I never ever do things on a purely hourly basis. Why? Because I'm very good at what I do. I produce quality work in less time. For this I should be paid less than a moron or newbie who takes longer to produce crap? I don't think so. Instead, I charge whatever I want -- a price a fix at whatever amount will make me glad I did the work. The few clients who don't like that, I offer to help them find someone else qualified who will work their way. No hard feelings, just not personally interested.


  • Jan 31, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Up to 90% great post!

    There are places which sell guaranteed bandwidth. It costs about ten times what a consumer grade line costs, but you get an SLA (Service Level Agreement).

    Speeds of 6MB are great between you and the cable company (if you ever really get that) but the reality is you'll never get that kind of bandwidth across the internet to the place you're pulling data from. Torrents break that rule to some extent, but even they are limited.

    The real killer is how consumers don't know to demand better upload speeds. I'd rather have 2mb full duplex bidrectional service than 10mb down and 768k upload speeds. Of course, I work from home and send data up more often than most people.

  • Jan 04, 2007 @ 06:59pm

    SCOTUS is about constitutional law. Where is the

    Patent processes are broken. We all agree they are broken. Patenting software really means patenting a logical process and needs to be considered in that way.

    Still, the Supreme Court is there to evaluate case law using the Constitution as its yardstick. Where is the constitutional issue obvious enough to give SCOTUS something really tangible on which to base what needs to be a firm, lasting, unambigous, historical decision?

    Exactly which right does the current system deny? There is no right to be free of stupid business rules. There are rights to property ownership, but logic is much more closely aligned with copyright than with patent. You don't own physical words, you own the copyright on they way you've assembled them. Software is a language, and ultimately will have to be treated as such. What is required, is a more flexible definition of plagiarism.

  • Jan 03, 2007 @ 05:33am

    Sueing Google on this is a mistake.

    One of the things I like about Google is that its leadership is unwilling to accept an answer from its lawyers or others that "we just do things that way".

    Google made some mistakes in its IPO -- but they were made because even something as tried and true as the process of going public had to be questioned and a new approach tried by these guys. I can't imagine them sitting still for a cash settlement on something so fundamental. This is the sort of group would would actually have the balls to go to court.

    I hope I'm write. A good test case really needs to be made.

  • Jan 02, 2007 @ 01:09pm

    EV-DO vs. Hotel Hotspots vs. Avis

    Here's the deal -- from a tech guy who travels alot.

    If you pay Verizon 60 dollars a month, you get a card that gives you speeds very comparable to DSL in or near most cities of the US and comparable to "good" dialup in most of the hinterland.

    My testing has proven this to be faster in most cases than the hotel wifi services, as well as more reliable. In addition, it's more flexible (not tied to the hotel room) and more secure (sort of -- at least with ev-do you always know what you're connecting to, and from there can make a vpn link to home base).

    At sixty bucks, as few as four or six times using wifi hotspots in a month would make that a more expensive option. These run 10 to 15 bucks a day -- and are way less convenient.

    Downsides to ev-do really come down to upload speeds (which are slower than wifi hotspots, so if you're trying to send someone a big file it's not great).

    cellular deadspots are less common that areas with no wifi for now anyway.

    For me, and for any business traveler that knows about it, it's a no-brainer.

  • Dec 29, 2006 @ 01:49pm

    Lots of good, but not quiet good enough tech.

    I asked for, and received, a ZEN Vision-M player. As a tech oriented person, it's a fine device for me -- but given to an end user type, it will not satisfy. The software side is simply too complex and problem prone.

    Apple understands this. iTunes is simple, inflexible, and so forth -- but anyone can use it. As a result, Apple owns the bulk of that market.

  • Dec 18, 2006 @ 02:49pm

    Well, as someone recently through this process....

    @20 - Patent "stealing" is actually fairly rare. Although the movie of the week shows a big danger of someone stealing your idea and patenting it out from under you; the lawyers I used (who are actually very reputable ones, not patent-shack silicon valley hacks) tell me that it is very rare and fairly easily challenged. At the time I checked, there wasn't a big legal industry around that particular problem so I tend to believe them. If it happened a lot, there would be many lawyers involved in that aspect of the practice.

  • Dec 18, 2006 @ 10:40am

    The reasons for patents are valid. The scope and

    The idea behind a patent is to make sure the investment and research that go into a new product can be covered before people enter the market place with copies that do not have to cover the cost of the original research.

    Unfortunately, the duration and scope of patents as well as the definition of "Uniqueness" is too broad now.

    A patent should not cover simple marketplace innovation -- that is what capitalism and market economics is for.

    I have no magic one sentence "fix-it" answer, but it is plain to see what is broken.

  • Dec 18, 2006 @ 09:25am

    re -- annoyed --

    ROTFLMAO. Excellent posting.

  • Dec 17, 2006 @ 05:38pm

    Speaking of which....

    ...I'd like to remind you that my 2004 Pacifica is not for sale either, but with the modifications I've made is now worth 250,000 dollars. Just in case you were wondering.

  • Dec 07, 2006 @ 08:30pm

    Firefighter == Hard to buy your own lunch

    I'm a volunteer firefighter - and Lt. actually. When we have coverage details is one of the few times I ever walk around in a uniform with a badge. Usually, it's street clothes and turnout gear over the top.

    When I am in uniform, it is embarrassingly difficult to buy my own lunch. Especially when you consider that my "real" job as a consultant, business owner, and application developer gives me a higher income by a long way than these people who really just want to say thank you.

    The other night we saved a home a few feet from a 3 story barn and woodshop that was fully involved when we got there. The family sleeping in their house that night is really all the thanks I could ask.

  • Dec 02, 2006 @ 07:44pm

    I wear a leatherman tool at all (daytime) times

    It's on my belt next to my fire department pager/radio. When I travel, it goes into the suitcase as I enter the airport and comes out in baggage claim.

    A bit of effort keeps the blade sharp and I find those blister packs don't resist a good blade very well at all.

    Still, the waste involved in that kind of packaging is frustrating. The only thing worse, is the way Mattel packages Barbie dolls. I have daughters and -- omfg, that is the most insanely overpackaged product I have ever seen.

  • Nov 30, 2006 @ 04:36am

    IMO, this is very perceptive

    I don't usually like tech articles that compare new things to old paradigms. They're overly simplistic and miss the point.

    In this case, however, I think you've hit the nail on the head in some ways. Second Life, like AOL, is bringing this concept and technology from the geek-only clubhouse to mass popularity. It is neither the "best" nor the most advanced technically -- at least from what I understand -- but it is the most mass-consumer friendly as is demonstrated easily enough by its rapid acceptance and popularity in the marketplace. (see Consumer Market Theory 101).

    The comparison is also useful in predicting its long term prospects. Other venues will become popular, technologies will merge and become standards, and perhaps one day S.L. will be just one 'neighborhood' in some larger virtual environment based on a more common standard. Nonetheless, it seems likely that this will remain a will traveled 'old world' city of the new world.

  • Nov 15, 2006 @ 06:40pm

    The best inventions are obvious - once invented

    I've invented something and am taking it to market. It looks promising. One of the reasons it looks promising is that everyone who hears about it says "wow, that's obvious now that I hear you describe it. why hasn't anyone done that?"

    The answer is, because they didn't. I did.

    The problem with the patent is not the "obviousness" of inventions, is the range of what is patentable.

    DNA, Business Processes, and Software techniques are not suitable for patents.

  • Nov 13, 2006 @ 12:41pm

    In context where it could mean something....

    Imagine if say, the Zapruder film (movie taken during the Kennedy assassination) had been taken on a video camera with an EULA like this, by someone other than the owner of the camera -- maybe a neighbor had borrowed it.

    Could you see the manufacturer of the camera, or maybe the software owner who licenses the byte code to the camera manufacturer claiming ownership of the video as a result of this kind of violation?

    Could we see a case in the near future where some highly valuable photo taken at the spur of the moment actually turns out to be not owned by the person who took it?

  • Jul 13, 2006 @ 08:06pm

    I'm not surprised by this.

    I've been a home office type since 1993. Most of that time, I've owned my own business. The advantages of setting my schedule (to always) and no commute can sometimes be offset by a total lack of office peers and general bullshit.

    Personally, I offset that by having a group of people I work with over IM and VOIP, speaking at conventions, and joining the local volunteer fire department -- but one way or another, you cannot turn into a hermit and be healthy.

  • Jun 29, 2006 @ 08:15pm

    Let them target me...

    My next step is to use the new linksys wifi router which uses the EV:DO for the wan side. A simple car a/c power supply to power the unit, and my wifi network follows me where I go. Tracking that should be interesting.

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