Resource hogging


Today on SFGate there was an article talking about how some Bay Area coffee houses were struggling to deal with workers who purchase one cup of coffee and then camp out all day using the free wifi. The final paragraph quoted one of the campers.

“We usually get one small coffee and stay for hours,” [Camilla Magrane] said. “Internet should be free.”

This type of resource abuse is obvious – customers can’t get tables to drink their coffee or have a quiet conversation with a companion. Less obvious is the type of resource abuse that ISPs have to deal with. Spammers avoid blocks by using botnets or frequently changing IP addresses (snowshoeing). ESPs open up tens or hundreds of connections at any one time. Delivery experts attempt to bypass published support channels and instead send direct messages to ISP employees hoping for a faster resolution to an issue.
All of these things use more than the sender’s share of resources and is very akin to buying a single cup of coffee and hogging up a table for a full day.

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  • I struggle with this. I recently discovered that I enjoy working at the corner bar much more so than my office, but I’m aware that the table I usually sit at is worth, I estimate, around five bucks an hour in tips to the waitress who usually serves it. Now, I have the benefit of dating the manager, and if she’s working, the waitress knows that she no longer ‘owns’ that table (and we generally tip her anyway, just because it seems like the right thing to do) but I’m still aware that this ain’t “free office space”, it’s roughly $5/hr office space, and I’m a douche if I don’t actually pay that. But the reason I know this table is worth about $5 an hour is because I’m dating the manager. How am I to know, anywhere else? If the sign says “Free internet to patrons”, well, what’s ‘patrons’? What’s fair?

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