We've detected that you're using an ad content blocking browser plug-in or feature. Ads provide a critical source of revenue to the continued operation of Silicon Investor.  We ask that you disable ad blocking while on Silicon Investor in the best interests of our community.  If you are not using an ad blocker but are still receiving this message, make sure your browser's tracking protection is set to the 'standard' level.

   PastimesCrazy Fools Chasing Crazy CyberNews

Previous 10 Next 10 
From: ms.smartest.person11/4/2006 8:01:20 AM
   of 5140
"How Much Does It Cost To Run Your PC?"

Eric Shufro - 9/23/06

Do you know how much it costs to run your PC each month? Until recently, I didn't. In the past, I had speculated that running my PC 24/7 may cost about 10 dollars per month. However, with increasing fuel / electricity prices, my new estimation may surprise you.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (5087)11/4/2006 5:54:14 PM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 5140
&#9658 Weekend Edition (Nov 4-5)

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: ms.smartest.person11/4/2006 6:19:53 PM
   of 5140
:•) November 2, 2006 I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The $200 Billion Lunch | PBS

We're switching to IPv6, dontcha know, and it might be worth it.

Remember Y2K? If you worked in Information Technology in the waning days of the last millennium, you probably remember Y2K as a combination of Christmas and the hardest workday of your life. We'd programmed ourselves into a potential disaster with the way computers handled dates, and fixing the problem took several years and a reported $100 billion. Well if you liked Y2K, you'll LOVE IPv6.

IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) is, of course, the next-generation Internet address scheme that has been around for a decade but generally not implemented. Instead, we came up with Network Address Translation (NAT), a kludge that allowed us to stretch the available pool of Internet addresses that would otherwise have run out years ago. NAT works well enough that we could rely on it for years to come, but then those feisty Chinese went ahead and decided to switch their whole country to IPv6, so now we have to do it, too.

To a certain extent, it is Sputnik all over again. Some people see this as a place where there will be a commercial disadvantage unless the U.S. keeps up. It is comparable to NTSC vs. PAL television standards (hint: PAL is better but we don't have it).

To be fair, IPv6 is a far better solution to the problem of diminishing Internet address space than NAT could ever have been. IPv6 just expands the total size of the address pool by making the addresses substantially longer, with the benefit that the pool will be big enough for every device to have its own unique static IP address.

As things stand right now, something over 30 percent of Internet packet traffic is illicit, either spam email or attacks of various sorts. As such, a passive unprotected Windows system on the net can be infected with some kind of pathological code in a median time of minutes. Converting to IPv6 addressing would be a chance to at least get a finger into that leak.

There is also a very large market for being able to encrypt net traffic. IPv6 puts that where it belongs, down in the lower layers of the protocol stack. Right now we really have to put encryption in the top of the stack at the application layer.

The downside of all this upgrading is cost. Implementing IPv6 will incur an infrastructure cost of around $200 billion, and that's just for the U.S. Figure another $200+ billion for the rest of the world. In short, this means an IP feeding trough of unprecedented size.

The good parts about IPv6 include no more NAT, greater resistance to hacking (though that's only until the new IPv6 crime codes are introduced, believe me), and much easier tracking of data on the net. Figuring out your new IP address is easy, too, just add a string of zeroes at the front of your current IP.

The bad parts of IPv6 include having to replace most routers, as well as any performance hit that may come a jump in packet size -– today’s packets average 63 bytes, while IPv6 packets will weigh in at 87 bytes. But the real hit will come from inadvertently broken parts of the network, like anything based on Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) technology. ATM uses fixed 53-byte packets with eight bytes of address. Switching from eight-byte to 32-byte addressing will decrease the packet data payload from 40 bytes to 16 bytes, which is not good. IF ATM survives it will require either a NAT-like kludge, new ATM equipment that runs 2.5 times as fast, or a simple acceptance that the new Internet is slower than the old one it replaced.

My Mama wouldn't like that.

But the U.S. military sure would. Future Combat Systems (FCS), the $125 billion (or $300 billion, depending whether oil changes are included) U.S. Army of the near future will absolutely rely on IPv6. FCS wants to make addressable over the Internet anything with an electrical system -- every flashlight, walkie-talkie, and Humvee. The FCS mantra is that everything that has electricity is a sensor, a node, an effector, or all of the above. That's a LOT of IP addresses. The same force is moving the civilian market, too, with RFID tags on everything.

All this government money is about to be spent on IPv6 upgrades because otherwise it won't happen. Nobody is going to do it voluntarily, so there is a federal mandate, and such mandates often come with federal money. This one sure does. People won't voluntarily upgrade because their systems are working just fine now, and will continue to work after the IPs run out -- they just won't be compatible with the later IPs. Until that SERIOUSLY affects their day, they won't spend the money to change.

Here's where I get on my soapbox.

Most readers of this column have known about IPv6 for years, but I doubt that many readers know a mandated upgrade is coming. It isn't my job to announce this stuff, yet it seems like that's what I often do. And I'll do so with a prediction that it won't be a smooth upgrade because we're too distracted with other issues and we'll turn this transition into an excuse to spend far more money than we really need to.

Instead, we should look for inspiration to the source of our most recent motivation to move to IPv6 -- China. In the current addressing scheme, China received a very small number of IP addresses, and this was causing them a lot of difficulty. If they stayed with the existing system it would have resulted in a nasty network kludge. So they made a national decision to implement IPv6 and put in a good network design. With IPv6 China has the address space they need and it is working well for them. Of course, the rest of the world is still on the old system and to communicate with China an address translation is needed. This is becoming a pain. Countries who want to do lots of business with China or who want to do lots of business through the Internet (India) are now seriously looking at their own IPv6 plans.

Look at it as leadership through good example. China has done something very impressive and now others are taking notice. We (the U.S.) think we control the Internet, but China is proving otherwise.

And what is happening in the USA? Well we have Net Neutrality. We have a telco rebuilding a national monopoly. We have Cisco and Microsoft working together on Network Admission Control (NAC). I can see a time in the near future when they'll try to charge me for every PC in my house. While China is building a national resource, our government is letting companies turn the public Internet into an expensive private toll road.

But we'll move to IPv6, that's for sure, if only to make sure Halliburton has plenty of business.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: ms.smartest.person11/14/2006 9:03:50 PM
   of 5140
After numerous rounds of "We don't know if Osama is still alive," Osama himself decided to send George Bush a letter in his own handwriting to let him know he was still in the game.

Bush opened the letter and it contained a single line of coded message:


Bush was baffled, so he e-mailed it to Condi Rice. Condi and her aides had no clue either, so they sent it to the FBI. No one could solve it at the FBI so it went to the CIA, then to the NSA.

With no clue as to its meaning they eventually asked Britain's Secret Service (MI-6) for help. Within a minute MI-6 cabled the White House with this reply :

"Tell the President he's holding the message upside down!"

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

From: ms.smartest.person11/18/2006 9:39:56 PM
   of 5140
Apply funding where it can do the most good

November 18, 2006

Regarding Marcela Sanchez’s Nov. 10 column, U.S. aid to Colombia could very well spread both coca production and civil war throughout South America. Communist guerrilla movements do not originate in a vacuum. U.S. tax dollars would be better spent addressing the socioeconomic causes of civil strife in Colombia rather than applying overwhelming military force to attack the symptoms.

We’re not doing the Colombian people any favors by funding civil war. Nor are Americans being protected from drugs.
Destroy the Colombian coca crop and production will boom in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Destroy every last plant in South America and domestic methamphetamine production will increase to meet the demand for cocaine-like drugs.

The self-professed champions of the free market in Congress are seemingly incapable of applying basic economic principles to drug policy. Instead of waging a futile supply-side drug war abroad, we should be funding cost-effective drug treatment here at home.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Arlington, Virg.

Copyright 2006 Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (5103)12/5/2006 12:51:59 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 5140
&#9658 Monday December 4 Edition Free

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (5107)12/15/2006 12:26:15 PM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 5140
&#9658 Friday December 15 Edition Free

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read

To: ms.smartest.person who wrote (5051)12/30/2006 2:08:52 AM
From: ms.smartest.person
   of 5140
:•) I, Cringely

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: ms.smartest.person12/31/2006 2:48:31 PM
   of 5140
Say Good-Bye to $4 Prescriptions at Costco
Costco Executives Say They Lost Money and Announced the End of the Program

By Kari Hamanaka

Costco officials announced they will stop the $4 drug prescription plan at all Costco stores saying that the company had lost money as a result of the program.

The $4 program filled prescriptions for a 30-day supply of selected medications for only a $4 cost to consumers. Many drug stores and other retailers attempted to mimic the $4 prescription program from Wal-Mart, the first company to implement the pricing plan.

Instead of the $4 deal, Costco will offer its customers 100 pills for $10 which amounts to a couple cents more in expense per pill as opposed to the $4 prescription plan.

When Wal-Mart first announced plans to charge $4 on prescription drugs in September, many analysts suggested that Wal-Mart would be doing major damage to the prescription drug sales of other retailers, but so far stores such as CVS have said the program has not really affected them adversely.

According to officials at Costco, the cost of pharmacists at Costco, the bottle and maintaining records did not amount to $4, which is why the company ended up losing money with the plan.

Target, along with Costco, was one of the Wal-Mart competitors that attempted to match the program. Target's $4 program is still continuing, but with Costco dropping out of the race one wonders whether copying someone else's marketing plan is really the best way to go. It was not obviously the best way for Costco.

The company realized that it will be losing some of its $4 customers to Wal-Mart or Target who are not able or willing to pay more than $4 for their prescription, but the hope is that the $10 for 100 pills incentive will be enough to keep customers coming back to the Costco pharmacy.

While many said that all other retailers would have to follow suit with Wal-Mart's $4 prescription program in order to survive, that is not necessarily true or even a wise business decision.

It is true that no one may be able to beat Wal-Mart's prices, but at the same time there are people who choose not to shop at Wal-Mart for all sorts of reasons and instead, pay slightly higher prices to shop at other discount, drug or grocery stores for what they need.

Too many stores and industry analysts tend to think that all businesses in the same category as Wal-Mart should be following in the giant company's footsteps every time it makes steep price cuts. Other businesses should not be doing that because Wal-Mart is too big to compete with. This statement is not meant to be cynical, but it is meant to be realistic in terms of how some of these stores do business. Costco cutting its prices to mimic Wal-Mart doesn't make sense because they are two different companies.

Instead of simply matching competitors' prices, stores should just focus on factors that are unique to that store and that brand. While people do like to bargain shop, there are others who are willing to pay slightly higher prices if the store is smaller, easier to navigate or sales associates are more accessible to the shoppers.

Perhaps, if Costco had realized this before following suit with the $4 prescriptions, the company may have saved some money.

More resources

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)

From: ms.smartest.person1/20/2007 11:35:26 AM
   of 5140
UglyRipes prevail in tomato growers spat

Friday, January 19, 2007 10:52:47 PM

It's the Rocky of tomatoes, lumpy but loved by fans.

But consumers clamoring for juicy UglyRipe tomatoes this time of year have trouble finding them because of an industry pact that largely bans their sale outside of Florida.

Sunshine State growers say the rule ensures that Florida tomatoes – the only state where winter tomatoes are grown commercially in the U.S. – are sufficiently round and smooth.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted Philadelphia-based Procacci Brothers a waiver from the rule, which will put more of the weirdly bulbous fruit on store shelves.

"When it comes to a product as innocuous as a tomato, it's a no-brainer – let the consumer decide!" ardent fan Dan Wire of Reading, Pa., wrote to the agency during last year's public comment period.

The pleas came from dozens of UglyRipe supporters ranging from a Wal-Mart produce manager to a winter-weary Ohio woman to a Plutarch scholar at Brown University.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said a waiver would give Procacci Brothers an unfair advantage. Other firms have to meet size and shape standards set by the Florida Tomato Committee to sell the typically hard, round winter tomatoes known as Florida Rounds outside the state from mid-October to mid-June.

"Every grower has some percentage of its crop that is flat, elongated, ridged etc., yet they are still required to adhere to the minimum grade requirements," Bush wrote in his August letter to the USDA.

Reginald L. Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee, objected in a 26-page letter.

The marketing rules are designed "to assure that during Florida's growing season, wherever you buy a tomato in this country you always get a consistent product that is of the highest quality," he wrote. Brown did not return a phone message Friday from The Associated Press.

Joe Procacci said he spent 20 years and $3 million developing the hybrid UglyRipe to meet consumer demand. He grew the first 100-acre crop in Florida in 1999.

"We've been in the tomato business around 50 years," said Procacci, 79, who started peddling produce with his father and brothers when he was 8 years old. "All we heard from consumers was the (winter) tomatoes taste like cardboard."

His company, which introduced grape tomatoes to much of the U.S., is perhaps the largest seller of Florida Rounds, with 8 percent of the U.S. market, he said. The Subway sandwich chain is his top customer.

But if the machine-picked and -packed Florida Rounds serve one market, a growing number of consumers want other options, and are willing to pay for them, Procacci said.

The UglyRipe, which has to be picked and packed by hand, typically sells for $3 to $4 a pound, but can go up to $7 in some grocers.

The Florida Tomato Committee allowed Procacci's Santa Sweets division to sell UglyRipes from 1999 to 2002, when it was considered a new product in search of a market. But as demand grew, and Procacci increased his acreage, the board reversed course.

In 2003, with 700 acres of UglyRipe seeds already in the ground, the board said he would have to start meeting the Florida Round standard.

While perhaps a fifth passed muster, Procacci had to dump most of the crop. Some of it was fed to cows. He lost $3 million.

"I guess the cattle were eating better tomatoes than humans," he said.

Procacci's lawyer ultimately appealed to the Agriculture Department under a new program that allows waivers for premium specimens with unique DNA structures.

On Jan. 12 – shortly after Bush left office, Procacci notes – the agency granted the petition.

The UglyRipe became the first product registered in the department's Identity Preservation Program.

"I think it's going to grow to be a large part of our business. Consumers want taste. Once they taste something good, they'll keep buying it," Procacci said.


On the Net:

Santa Sweets:

Florida Tomato Committee:

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read
Previous 10 Next 10