30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for December 14, 2011
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Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:34:11 -0500 From: Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: As Kindle Fire Faces Critics, Remedies Are Promised Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> As Kindle Fire Faces Critics, Remedies Are Promised By DAVID STREITFELD December 11, 2011 The Kindle Fire, Amazon's heavily promoted tablet, is less than a blazing success with many of its early users. The most disgruntled are packing the device up and firing it back to the retailer. A few of their many complaints: there is no external volume control. The off switch is easy to hit by accident. Web pages take a long time to load. There is no privacy on the device; a spouse or child who picks it up will instantly know everything you have been doing. The touch screen is frequently hesitant and sometimes downright balky. All the individual grievances - recorded on Amazon's own Web site - received a measure of confirmation last week when Jakob Nielsen, a usability expert, denounced the Fire, saying it offered "a disappointingly poor" experience. For users whose fingers are not as slender as toothpicks, he warned, the screen could be particularly frustrating to manipulate. "I feel the Fire is going to be a failure," Mr. Nielsen, of the Nielsen Norman Group, a Silicon Valley consulting firm, said in an interview. "I can't recommend buying it." All this would be enough to send some products directly to the graveyard where the Apple Newton, the Edsel, New Coke and McDonald's Arch Deluxe languish. But as a range of retailers and tech firms could tell you, it would be foolish to underestimate Amazon. Amazon sees the Kindle line of devices as critical for its future as a virtual store, and is willing to lose money on the sale of each one for the sake of market share. Once dominance is achieved, it plans to make money on the movies, books and music that users download directly from Amazon. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/technology/personaltech/amazons-fire-some-say-may-become-the-edsel-of-tablets.html
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 05:58:18 -0600 From: email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Broadband choices in Europe Message-ID: <ctednbixeaJHoHrTnZ2dnUVZ_oOdnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <email@example.com>, Lee Choquette <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >In article <email@example.com>, Tom Metro wrote: >>The problem with the purely commercial provider model is that the >>company investing in the infrastructure may not see a payback [...] >> >>So the answer seems to be some combination of public-private >>infrastructure. [...] > >Some communities have built TV translator stations (e.g. K30BQ) through >voluntary contributions to a local club, without which there would be no >over-the-air TV in these communities. I suppose this model would not >work for broadband Internet because this infrastructure costs much more? The 'capital expense' for an 'Internet repeater service' would likely be smaller than for a relatively low-power broadcast TV "equivalent". "Operating expense' is a whole different kettle of fish. A, say, 5kw TV repeater has a direct operating cost of around $1/hour for the electric and directly related cost -- this covers the receiver that picks up the 'distant' broadcast signal, the control electronics, and the transmitter. Repair parts, 'if and when' needed, are not included, and this "assumes" that the required 'control engineer' functionality can be provided by appropriately licensed volunteers. A 'wireless Internet' venture would have recurring expenses roughly an order of magnitude higher, at a minimum. The 'monthly recurring cost' of the 'upstream' link' that is big enough to support a mere dozen or or so gamers, plus half-a-dozen people watching streaming video, is well into 4 figures, Left of the decimal point, that is. For 'decent' service to an entire community, you're looking at high 4 figures, and more likely at low- to mid- 5 figures. And you don't get a decent price on that kind of a circuit without signing a circa 3-year commitment, or paying the proverbial 'arm and a leg' in one-time set-up costs.
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 07:02:47 -0600 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: OSHA: Two Federal DOT Agencies Ban Hand-Held Phone Message-ID: <dbKdnSCNUPhq0XrTnZ2dnUVZ_qmdnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <eTbzbD.A.ZxB.MwC5OB@telecom>, David Clayton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >> ***** Moderator's Note ***** >.......... >> In like manner, I wonder if they have mandated "hands free" operation as a >> sop to those who oppose cell phone use by drivers, such as EMT's, >> Paramedics, Firefighters, and insurance executives, while not making any >> effective rule, which would please the cellular industry a lot. That's >> what a politician calls a "win win": they get to say that they passed a >> law to deal with the problem, without alienating major contributors. >> >> Bill Horne >> Moderator > >The solution is blindingly simple - just make those who are need/want to >use communications devices while driving pass a special skills test to >ensure that they are capable of doing so. > >David, that just can't happen. I don't know the rules in other >countries, so I'm speaking as a citizen of Massachusetts in the United >States, but I think the principle is universal: too many very rich >people make too much money from automobiles and cell phones for them >to allow any meaningful restrictions on the use of either. > >In the U.S., by the way, pilots don't need special certificates for >each plane they fly, Well, as a 'private pilot', if you want to rent a plane, you do have to show 'currency' in that model. If you don't have 'recent' flight time in that aircraft in your logbook, a 'check ride' with a certified instructor pilot is a necessity. For virtually every 'flying club', the club rules contain a similar requirement -- dictated by the insurance companies. :) And, for 'commercial' aircraft of any size -- even the little twin-engine 'puddle jumpers' -- it is in the Federal regulations that one must be 'current' in that particular variety of aircraft. (There -is- a 'dire emergency' exception, to cover situations like where the entire flight deck is disabled, and the only choice is 'somebody else'. ) If it's your own plane, yes, life can be different. Subject to what your insurance policy says, that is. >... until they reach the skill-level needed to qualify for highly >complex aircraft like Learjets. "Not exactly.' A basic private pilot's license (PPL) is not good for multi-engine aircraft -- not even a twin engine one like a Beech Queen Air. Can't fly a 'float plane' -- e.g. a Cessna on pontoons-- without a special endorsement, either. And 'rotary wing' aircraft (helicopters) are something entirely different. >Commercial drivers need to pass a special exam when they apply for a >semi-trailer license, but most "boxback" trucks can be rented by >ordinary drivers. Used for non-commercial use, that is true. If you're driving as part of the duties of the job -- more than an 'incidental' part, that is -- you are required to have a 'commercial' license from the state, which comes in several varieties, with different size/weight limits. Driving in 'interstate commerce' a -Federal- commercial certification is also required. I can't speak for -every- state, but for circa dozen mid-west states, circa 1970, there were four classes of 'commercial' driving licenses; 1) taxicab only 2) grade 1 plus straight truck, GVW 5 tons or less, 3) grade 2, except straight truck, unlimited 4) grade 3, plus semi tractor/trailer. There are also usually special rules for a 'small' bus -- under about 12 passengers, specifically for church bus, small shool bus, retirement homes, etc. Special 'endorsements' are also required to carry, commercially, particular types of loads, notably: 'hazardous materials' in general dry ice, in more than 'trivial' quantities compressed gases, of any type,` d with sub-endorsements for several particular gases) explosives, things that will 'burn fast', but aren't explosives. (two classifications, depending on 'how fast'/'how easily' they burn, once known as 'flammable', and 'inflammable' -- which caused lots of confusion among the ill-informed :) Passengers And, lastly, a special endorsement is required to drive a vehicle equipped with air brakes -only-. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Good grief! That's more than I ever wanted to know about either of those subjects! Let me explain my original remarks in a different context. I was trying to drive home the point that requiring drivers to pass a special exam before using a cell-phone while driving wouldn't be allowed by the "powers that be" - the elites who make a lot of money by arranging for laws that - wait for it - allow un- and under-qualified drivers to take on responsibilities that they are not prepared for. I mentioned pilots for the same reason that B movies play minor cords on the sound track just before the swamp-thang grabs the frightened virgin. It's called "foreshadowing". So much for subtlety. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 13:53:27 -0500 From: Pete Cresswell <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: As Kindle Fire Faces Critics, Remedies Are Promised Message-ID: <email@example.com> Per Monty Solomon: > >http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/technology/personaltech/amazons-fire-some-say-may-become-the-edsel-of-tablets.html > Maybe that's why, in the point-of-sale displays I've seen, they don't let people try the browser - instead it's maddenly locked into some kind of advertisement. Kind of like Sony's "Dash" POS display - and those things never seemed to be exactly flying off the shelves. -- PeteCresswell
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:13:41 -0500 (EST) From: "Julian Thomas" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: An experimental switching system using new electronic techniques Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:53:48 -0500 Telecom Digest Moderator wrote: > >> > I came across a fascinating paper by A. E. Noel, Jr. , in the Bell >> > System Technical Journal: it gives an amazing insight into the coming >> > of the "digital" age in telephone switching, and into many "what if" >> > technologies that never made it off the drawing board. > Make that A. (for Amos) E. Joel. This sounds like the early design of the Morris (Ill.) ESSl -- Julian Thomas: email@example.com http://jt-mj.net In the beautiful Genesee Valley of Western New York State! -- -- Murphy's Anachronism: disk failures occur immediately before backing up.
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:31:35 -0500 From: Fred Goldstein <fgoldstein.SeeSigSpambait@wn2.wn.net> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: BufferBloat: What's Wrong with the Internet? Message-ID: <20111213213200.C0D15409B7@mailout.easydns.com> On Mon, 12 Dec 2011, Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> wrote, > > http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2076798 > > > BufferBloat: What's Wrong with the Internet? > > "A discussion with Vint Cerf, Van Jacobson, Nick Weaver, and Jim Gettys" > >Here's my take on the BufferBLoat issue: I think this is a great >discussion of how difficult it can be to change a widely-implemented >protocol like TCP: engineers keep doing work-around solutions until >the solutions create new problems. Very good summation -- sometimes things get to the point where fixes create more things that need fixes than what they fix. >At the heart of the TCP/IP protocol suite is a design philosophy of >trading time for reliability: the whole idea was to make a reliable >path using unreliable links (remember that in the 1960's, link >reliability was horrific by today's standards), and because of that, >there is no "minimum transit time" specification in the IP >protocol. We have added on QOS and other hacks to improve traffic >flow for near-real-time applications such as IPTV, but the bottom >level protocols don't know about them and don't deal with them. There's not even QoS in the Internet or the TCP/IP protocol suite. Overprovisioning (brute force) is used in many cases. But it doesn't always work. And what the bufferbloat article demonstrates is that there's no fix that works across all speeds. There's no reliable way to tell the network if your application is one that needs big or little buffers. >At some point, the Internet will need a major overhaul. ... >I don't have any magic bullets to solve this issue. I do. The problem goes away if you accept the simple and obvious (as in "the emperor really is naked") fact that TCP/IP has outlived its usefulness. It worked over a fairly wide range for a rather long time. But it predates MS-DOS and should be relegated to the same museum. The magic bullet I'm supporting is called RINA, the Recursive InterNetwork Architecture. It's an all-new protocol suite based on radical simplicity. Rather than a fixed number of layers in a stack, it uses a single layer mechanism (the distrubted interprocess facility, or DIF) as many times as needed, no more no less. Thus a common protocol is recursed, but with differing parameters and options at each layer to account for the different scope. Protocol options include QoS, encryption, authentication, multicast, and more... and it's extensible. See the Pouzin Society web site http://www.pouzinsociety.org/ for more details. The theoretic underpinnings are described in John Day's book, Patterns in Network Architecture: A Return to Fundamentals. John likes to say that he didn't invent RINA; he discovered it. -- Fred Goldstein k1io fgoldstein "at" ionary.com ionary Consulting http://www.ionary.com/ +1 617 795 2701 ***** Moderator's Note ***** Q. What happened to the little boy who told everyone that the Emperor was naked? A. Nothing. For the rest of his life, absolutely nothing happened to him. Bill Horne Moderator Moderator's Note Copyright (C) 2011 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:04:51 -0500 From: Matt Simpson <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: OSHA: Two Federal DOT Agencies Ban Hand-Held Phone Use Message-ID: <net-news69-ACD31A.email@example.com> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Moderator wrote: > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > Please cite the studies that showed "... hands free was just as > distracting". Here's one http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/399783/field_highwire_article_pdf/0/bmj.38537.397512.55.full.pdf A person using a mobile phone when driving is four times more likely to have a crash that will result in hospital attendance. Sex, age group, or availability of a hands-free device do not influence the increased likelihood of a crash. In this study, we measured the seriousness of crashes by participants~ injuries; almost all had at least one injury and almost half had two or more.
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