* Posts by rshpount

20 publicly visible posts • joined 1 Aug 2017

FCC plans to restore net neutrality rules tossed out under Trump


This was never about net neutrality

Making ISPs a Title II service allows the FCC to impose fees on them (https://www.cloudcommunications.com/navigating-the-changing-landscape-of-the-universal-service-fund-program/). One such fee is USF, which was suffering from a declining contribution base, resulting in 30% to 40% fees on any telecom services. Expanding USF to internet services will increase the contributing base drastically, allowing the FCC to satisfy its budget needs by collecting a much smaller percentage (like 2-3%). States and other locales will soon follow since they can tax internet services. This will help them fund emergency services (911), suicide prevention hotlines, telecom and internet to schools, and other services currently funded by telecom fees. All of those services are currently underfunded, with the telecom subscriber base and associated service fees declining.

Equinix to cut costs by cranking up the heat in its datacenters


Re: Turn down the lights!

Some of their data centers are totally dark with people working in the night vision goggles. Some have lights on motion sensor.


This is not how data centers work

Data centers do not have a stable temperature. Equinix SLA states the maximum temperature at the bottom of the cold side of the rack. It is not supposed to exceed 27 degrees Celsius for more than 15 consecutive minutes. In fact the temperature currently fluctuate between 24 and 30 degrees. The hot side of the rack is a lot warmer. Top of the cold side is a lot colder since this is where the cold air is coming from.

Now the main problem-- if you increase the average temperature on the cold side of the rack, you automatically reduce the amount of equipment you can put in a rack. The limiting factor on the number of servers you can put in the rack is cooling. With the current setup racks are already often half empty. If your servers need to perform some number of tasks, they need certain amount of energy and this energy needs to be dissipated as heat. That amount of heat translates to the amount of energy needed for cooling. Modern servers are energy efficient per task but very energy dense per rack unit. To cool them at higher ambient temperature you will need to spread them over more data center space.

Rolls-Royce, EasyJet fire up first hydrogen-fueled jet engine


Not the First

This was done before in TU-155 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-155). The problem with hydrogen is that it diffuses through solid metal. Because of this it can't be safely stored.

US net neutrality bill is only two pages long. And that's potentially a good thing


Title II means taxes and fees

Wouldn't this clarification result in defining intrastate and interstate internet, with USF fee (currently set at 33%) charged on interstate internet usage? Local usage will be taxed by every jurisdiction starting from state and all the way down to the county. This means if you send an email to someone in Small City, Lost County, State you nevet visited, these city, county, and state will send a communication tax bill to your provider, which will be passed to you as a tax recovery fee.

Lenovo ThinkPad T14s: Impressively average, which is how corporate buyers like it


Get T14 instead

T14 (no S) is the actual laptop preferred by IT. It is only slightly thicker, but has better cooling, better keyboard, ethernet jack, and a faster RAM. It is also cheaper. There is little reason for T14s except for a slightly bigger battery. X1 Cabon is something that C-suites will prefer. P1 or X1 Extreme is something you give to developers or IT. Regular T14 is for regular worker bees.

Zoom! That's the sounds of comms firm chomping down on loss-making Five9 in transaction valued at $14.7bn

Thumb Down

Zoom bought a boat anchor

They just purchased a company with a lot of legacy software in old style Telecom business. Changing anything is hard since it ends up negatively affecting some customer who needs some legacy feature. This is why all big Telecom equipment vendors went bankrupt. Too much legacy, not enough profit.

Five words everyone wants to hear: Microsoft has 'visually refreshed' Office


Can we get the menu back?

The only visual refresh I care about would be to switch the ribbon to a toolbar, or, at least put it vertically at the side of the document.

Microsoft's 0.5 release of Project Reunion dev kit has production support – just don't be touching UWP


Who cares?

I do not think anyone cares about windows desktop development anymore. It does not matter how many layers of lipstick you can put on the pig, it is still a pig. Just restore the traditional Win32 API and kill all the new UI stuff. The new UI is almost universally unusable. Rewrite OS applications back to Win32 and put all the settings back in one place.

Cops storm Nginx's Moscow offices after a Russian biz claims it owns world's most widely used web server, not F5


My friends won several law suites worth hundreds of millions of dollars against Sberbank (related to real estate bought with Sberbank loans). No bribes were exchanged. Suites were won on merit. Everyone, except their lawyers, was surprised. Lawyers said it was normal, since Sberbank does very basic shakedowns and does not expect resistance.


According to Russian law, work belongs to employer if it was created as a part of regular employee duties or if employee was explicitly tasked to do it. Simply using company resources or doing something on company time is not enough for company to claim ownership. Since Sysoev worked as a network administrator at Rambler and was not tasked with creating a web server or any software development duties, Rambler has no claim. The burden of proof is actually on Ramblet to show paperwork that they directed to write nginx. Furthermore, former Rambler management, including Sysoev direct manager at that time, state that they are ready to testify that nginx was discussed and explicitly excluded from work covered by Rambler copyright. So, basically, frivolous law suit Russian style.

Since the FCC won't act, Congress finally moves on robocalls by passing half-decent TRACED Act


Re: Robocalls cost cell phone companies money

This is due to costs. Calls to cell phones in Europe are order of magnitude more expensive then calls to land lines or calls to cell phones in US. The reason robocallers are not calling -- it is not economically viable.


Re: Author is clueless

First of all, most of consumers in USA are on the flat rate plan. They are not billed for placing calls to domestic, and in a lot of cases a lot of international destinations. Also, in US, called party is never billed for receiving the call, unless it is a toll free number. So, as far, as cell phone companies are concerned, the less people call, the better. Flat rate fee is already collected and any usage on your phone, be this data, SMS, or phone calls are just an expense for them.

Outbound calls actually cost money (some small fee per minute). So, robocallers pay some phone company to place these calls. This phone company is usually a smaller long distance operator. What this operator does, is gets a regular phone calls by providing the discount rate to legitimate caller such as one of the numerous VoIP or enterprise phone service providers, and then mixes the robocall traffic with the traffic from legitimate source. This long provider knows exactly who the robocallers are, but anybody who is receiving traffic from this long distance provider, cell phone operator or likely one of the larger long distance companies, cannot easily filter this traffic out.

Furthermore, local calls within the same local calling area in US are free. These calls are placed through LEC (local exchange carrier), which are old telephone monopolies in each region. LEC only accept connections using TDM (old digital phone lines). So, what long distance operators targeting robocallers do, is spoof the local caller ID within the same area as a called number. This allows them to terminate calls for free through the LEC. This not only reduces their costs, but also mixes their calls with all the other local calls in the area. Since robocallers spoof caller ID, when calls go through LEC, it is virtually impossible to distinguish robocalls from valid local calls. Furthermore, LEC often state that FCC prohibits them from blocking calls or, more importantly, tracing robocalls back to origination without a subpoena, which cannot be obtained unless crime was committed. Enabling tracing robocalls back to origination and reporting this to FCC is essential to resolving this issue.

Calls through LEC are free but connections to LEC are expensive in large part due to using old technology. With the increase of robocalls, cell phone companies are forced to buy more connections trunks to LEC, which drives their costs up with no additional revenue for them.

One last point is, that even though robocalls are fly by night operations, long distance carriers are not. They are registered and regulated by FCC. There are about 10 to 12 well known long distance operators responsible for introducing robocall traffic to the phone network. These people advertise. If they are fined or closed the traffic would virtually stop.

A colleague of mine, David Frankel, is running an initiative to stop robocalls: https://legalcallsonly.org/ He has sued FCC for this, met with law makers, and testified before congress and senate. He is in the same area as author (SF) and would probably be available to help with explaining this issue in more details.


Author is clueless

Almost every single statement in this article is factually wrong. Robocalls cost cell phone companies money. Long distance companies make money on robocalls. They actively promote services to robocallers since this is the only new source of revenue for them with decreasing call costs and regular call volumes. The law is pointless to an absolutely absurd degree. It puts the burden of blocking robocalls on terminating party instead of originating carrier. STIR/SHAKEN is incomplete and nowhere near being ready. It also ignores how a lot of illegal robocalls are placed (pretending to be local through LEC TDM links where STIR/SHAKEN is not supported).

I expect this to be blocked since author cannot handle disagreements or discussions.

The FCC has finally, finally approved a half-decent plan to destroy the robocall scourge... but there's a catch


Re: that are significantly lower that what you will actually have to pay

These are not taxes. These are "fees". They tend to change quarterly and phone company does not know how much it is supposed to pay until it gets the bill. Some of the agencies simply project how much money they need next quarter and divide the amount by the number of phone operators. These "fees" end up being 2-3 times higher then the phone company operational margin and reach 25%-30% of the bill. One of these 'fees", until recently, was supposed to cover the expense of Spanish American war.


Re: This is not how telephone service works

Robocallers and long distance companies which robocaller use are not "powerful". They are "specialty" players who are good in skirting the laws and regulations. There are literally 5 or 6 long distance companies who originate all the robocalls. They do this because it is easy money. Make regulation a little bit harder and they will stop doing it. Also, they do not grease palms -- they do not have enough money to bribe an FCC official. They also do not jump jurisdictions, since it takes time and a lot of effort to get enough capacity to generate high volumes of outbound traffic. Getting interconnects to telephone network takes years to provision. The carriers who are enabling robocalls are all in US and well known. As I have mentioned, these companies advertise and easy to find.

Robocallers are completely different story. They are hard to find because there are long distance companies which take their traffic and their money and do not ask questions. These long distance companies take money and millions of calls from a company that is supposedly operating from the garage in India or Ukraine and pays via a pre-paid or stolen credit card. These long distance companies also know where the actual call originators are located (hint US), but pretend they cannot find them.

P.S. Just a food for thought: Every politician is a huge robocall customer. It is legal to place unsolicited calls for political campaigns, so that politicians can get themselves elected or raise money. It is one of their main sources of campaign funds. One of the reasons FCC does not touch long distance companies which initiate robocall traffic is that politicians will be immediately affected by this. Imagine how long the new regulation will hold if new analytics will start blocking calls to raise money for house or senate election.


Re: This is not how telephone service works

I did not say phone companies do not make money. I said CELL phone companies do not make money on robocalls. Long distance companies (also a phone company) does make money on the robocall traffic. Cell phone companies received the traffic from long distance companies and connect these calls to customers. Since most cell customers are on the flat rate plans, for cell phone companies the best thing would be to charge their customers plan fees and never connect any calls. Calls are an expense form them. Up until last year cell phone companies were obligated to connect all calls to their customers, including robocalls, since it is in their interest to connect as few calls as possible. As of last year, cell phone companies are allowed not to connect calls from non-existing from numbers. Now they can also block calls based on some undefined "analytics", but this is hard since robocallers try to make their calls as similar as possible to regular calls.

On the other hand, long distance companies definitely know that their customers are robocallers. They have a special product specifically targeting them, which is called high volume call termination. They charge a lot more per call or per minute on this product and are very good at detecting robocallers who are trying to initiate calls using regular cheaper call products.


This is not how telephone service works

Cell phone companies do not make any money from robocalls. Most of the cell phone plans are flat rate with no per minute charges for inbound calls. Also, a lot of robocallers pretend to place calls from the same local calling area as terminating number, so that they can place them as local calls and pay nothing. Cell phone companies, on the other hand pay for inbound local calls to local exchange carriers. Only people who make money on robocallers are long distance carriers (inter exchange carriers), but even they, in their majority, prefer to stay from robocalls. Only long distance carriers who specialize in high volume callers (callers who generate a lot of calls with small connection ratio), take this traffic. There are about five or six companies in US who do this. If you make them behave, robocalls stop.

All that FCC did was posturing. They are pressured to do something, so they are doing something. Like "letting" phone companies to enable some magic "analytics" to block robocalls. Since this is optional, carriers do not actually need to do anything and most likely will not. At most, they will now block calls pretending to be local from unassigned numbers. This will cut their costs and will improve customer experience.

Oh, and if you want a fee to be angry about, look at USF. This is a fee which is set by the FCC chair and can be spent at his discretion. It is currently set at 18% of any communication charges. Technically FCC chair can spend this money on buying himself a new horse farm or a golden coffee mug, but this would be too on the nose. What he does do, is issue extremely lucrative contracts to his personal friends, like providing internet to schools at 10x the market rate.

You're the Swan that I want, you are the Swan I want, ooh ooh ooh: Intel anoints Bob as CEO


Another one bites the dust

To see how well companies do under CFO management one only need to look at Microsoft. Next thing Intel would be doing is buying something like T-Mobile for cash flow and then closing it, realizing they have no idea how to operate this business.

Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again


Twice as expensive as google speech API

Google charges $0.006 per 15 sec. Speechmatics is 4p per minute. Are they really twice better to charge twice as much?