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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Technology]

Again?  Sweet Jesus, you're stupid.

October 17, 2014 The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he and President Obama agree on the importance of protecting net neutrality.

"My position is unchanged," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said at a press conference. "The president and I agree—and have always agreed—on the importance of an open Internet."

But net-neutrality advocates responded that as long as Wheeler supports allowing large companies to pay for special "fast lanes" on the Internet, he and the president are miles apart.


Such private deals are as old as the Internet itself.  That most of the time they don't involve the exchange of actual money has nothing to do with whether they exist:  In-kind transport is how the Internet works, by and large, and always has worked since the first commercial connections showed up.

Value comes in many forms and all of it can be reduced to dollars, if you insist on doing so.  That it's not denominated in dollars doesn't mean it can't be reduced to them, because it always can.  It's just pointless to do so when the value equation is reasonably balanced -- that is, what you give and get are roughly of equal worth.

You and I can engage in such a transaction if, for example, you brew your own beer.  If I like to drink beer and you have a lawn that needs mowed, you might offer me a few pints to be consumed while mowing said lawn.  This transaction is an exchange of value, and while neither of us formally accounts for it using dollars nor do we hand them across to one another the fact is that such a transaction of value took place.

Such it is on the Internet as a whole; each provider of end connections to someone comes up with a value and pricing model across their network and with the interchange that takes place with other networks.  Some of those model components involve the formal spending (or receipt) of funds, and others do not.  But all of them have value -- and without them the entire network collapses.

The issue that Wheeler has, and refuses to discuss honestly (along with Obama) is that these equations are not always equal and thus someone has to pay someone else, because one party gets (massively) more value out of the transaction than the other.

The obvious one is that you pay for your end connection because you offer only cost, and no value of materiality, to the provider.  But there are many more situations where this same fact applies.

The market sorts this out, in the general sense, and has done a pretty good job.  Disputes and even outright hostilities (sometimes including lawsuits and similar) do arise, but that's part of business and is good, not bad.  Through that process innovators are rewarded; those who can deliver more at less cost.  Those who are not innovative but simply are a sink on someone else's assets eventually find themselves with a business model problem and either have to change how they operate or risk going out of business.  This too is good.

Obama cannot change the law of common business balance and neither can Wheeler.  It's simple: You must give at least as much value as you receive in a transaction or eventually the distortion you introduce causes one of the parties in the transaction to go bankrupt.

What drives people to come up with new and innovative ways to do things that dramatically reduce cost and thus improve the economics of the transaction for everyone is this fact.  If I can find a way to deliver web hosting for less than anyone else, or Internet access, or any other service by using my brainpower and developing a newer paradigm then I win immediately and you, as the customer, win over time.  I win because my margins expand and I make more money; this allows me to hire more people and become larger.  You win because ultimately my innovation causes others to either find a way to copy what I did (without violating my patents and copyrights, if I have any) and that in turn drives down prices, so you get more while spending less.  In the interim my expansion leads to more employment and those new employees (and the raises I pay to existing ones) buys cars, food, power and expensive toys from others -- maybe you.

If you mandate that this process not take place through the force of law you get what we had in the United States when there was only "Ma Bell" -- no innovation and much higher prices.

Who remembers paying exorbitant toll charges to make a phone call just a few dozen miles away?  How much do you pay now per-minute for the same call?  Over a cell, zero -- I had two half-hour calls yesterday each spanning hundreds of miles that I would have never, ever made 20 or 30 years ago simply due to cost.

Don't fall for the Democrat crap on this folks.  Innovation requires that the market be allowed to work, not mandated out of existence, and the cost-shifting model Obama favors is exactly why your medical care costs 10x or more what it should and is bankrupting you, Obamacare or no.

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"More clearly needs to be done"? smiley

The vast haul of Snapchat images obtained by hackers in a breach discovered last week should serve as a massive wake-up call to consumers, warns an expert, noting that users may have been lulled into a false sense of security.

“More clearly needs to be done to remind Snapchat’s millions of users – many of whom are teenagers – of the dangers of sending intimate images that may later leave them humiliated or embarrassed if shared with unauthorized parties,” wrote Oxford, U.K.-based computer security expert Graham Cluley, in a blog post Monday. “As has been known for some time, there will always be ways for Snapchat images to be preserved by recipients – even if you were hoping they would expire and delete themselves a few seconds after being viewed.”

Yep, because I could either screen-shot the image, use a third-party client (which doesn't "dispose" of the image), there could be malware on your device that can get access to the files while they are "hot" (while being displayed) and copy them or the user could simply point a second phone at the first one's screen!

The last, by the way, cannot be defended against.

So why is it again that you would "believe" that a picture you take with your cell camera and then send over the airwaves via any means whatsoever can be "controlled" in its distribution?  It can't -- period.

Anyone who believes that so-called "timed erase" actually assures that whatever you send doesn't wind up preserved beyond that time is an idiot.


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I've been fortunate enough not to encounter this crap -- but apparently some other people did...

(CNN) -- Think hotels are deliberately blocking your personal Wi-Fi networks so you'll buy theirs?

No, it's not just a conspiracy theory. It turns out the federal government is concerned about it, too.

Marriott has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine after the Federal Communications Commission found the company blocked consumer Wi-Fi networks last year during an event at a hotel and conference center in Nashville.

Marriott has tried to claim that this is for the "benefit" of their customers; that people might set up unsecure and even malicious hotspots that would steal your data.  Uh huh.  

The real reason is that they want to sell you their expensive service instead, of course.  Higher-end hotels have been pulling this sort of crap for a long time -- and travelers have responded by using their own cellphones with local "hotspot" service.  As 4g/LTE has proliferated this has destroyed the ability of the hotel industry to rape service the hotel customer.

My answer is not to patronize such higher end establishments. But that doesn't change the fact that intentionally tampering with RF emissions is a federal offense, and, well, I guess Mariott didn't appropriately tithe to the administration...


Sucks to be you Marriott.

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2014-10-06 06:15 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 211 references

I wondered how long this would take to come out in the form of a "kit"....

In July, researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell announced that they'd found a critical security flaw they called BadUSB, allowing attackers to smuggle malware on the devices effectively undetected. Even worse, there didn't seem to be a clear fix for the attack.

That's because there isn't a clean fix.  The problem resides in the fact that a USB device can "announce" that it has multiple capabilities and the machine they're connected to will believe it.  Some of those can be input/output devices (like a keyboard) and others can be storage-related.

The HID (input) device vectors are especially bad because today's operating systems won't ask or stop one of these from attaching automatically.  That in turn means that an attacker can "inject" a command exactly as if you typed it.

Now if that same malware and figure out when to send the specific nasty command (specifically, when you just authorized the machine to do something that requires privileges) Bob's Your Uncle (or rather, your computer now belongs to the bad guy!)

This is very hard to stop without changing how we think about USB in general, and human input (like keyboard) devices in particular.  Specifically, how do you ask a user if it's ok to use a keyboard without a keyboard? You see the problem with popping up a box asking, right? smiley

Are there ways to address this?  Maybe.  But not using the paradigms we use today for USB.

Is it time to put electrical tape over the USB port?  Maybe.  It is definitely well-past the time to allow someone possessing a device you do not explicitly trust to plug into your system -- but that's been true for a very long time.

It's just that now everyone and their brother who wants to screw with you was given the code to do it.

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