The internet has made it easier that ever to perform due diligence. In theory that should make the extinction of flaw products and services more likely. That conventional wisdom may be flawed. While instant communication and collaboration can help identify and rectify flaws, and ultimately kill bad products, it can also perpetuate them. In fact, the power of the clique can overcome even the worst of flaws. Sound far fetched? Today’s news feed has two very good examples.
Consider Facebook. As the world’s top social networking site, membership is nearly compulsive as friends and family made it the center of communication. Even recurring problems securing users data, along with aggressive monetization of user data with blatant disregard for privacy haven’t slowed user growth. In fact Facebook is expected to reach 500 million members within days.
Then lets take the iPhone. Now in it’s fourth incarnation, the cute factor initially overcame annoyances like a proprietary headphone, a non replaceable battery, and being forced to pay upscale rates to AT&T for iffy service. In fact, recurring issues with the hardware itself and inconsistent service would have killed any less clique-ish device. Response to complaints has typically been snarky with half fixes like the one for antenna problems in the new model. Never the less, the iPhone clique keeps growing.
Could it be you d0n’t have to build a better mouse trap to succeed as long as you can build a cult around a bad one?
A very big part of what makes Third Pipe different from most of the net centric blogs in the ether is the Jeffersonian viewpoint of our team. We one of the few in the blogosphere that openly reports from this viewpoint while those who report from a left leaning elite viewpoint deny their slant. Put simply, we believe in a free and open net without any government “management”, and a market that is open to many competing access providers as opposed the the regulated few we have today. Our tiny but important platform would be shuttered if we were forced to seek out and pay for content that provides an opposing view simply because we really don’t make any money here to begin with. The reinstatement of the incorrectly named “fairness doctorine” could very easily silence us and many more like us.
The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.
“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”
“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?” (Business & Media Institute)
Before you convince yourself that Speaker Pelosi and her gang of elitists are only targeting bid media types like talk radio, consider this: Elites have never been interested in freedom of speech when it involves an agenda and viewpoint that is different from their own. Those who beleive that a reinstated “fairness doctorine” will not effect the internet may very well find their own voices permanently silenced as well. Please consider this before you vote in November.
In an interview with Information Week’s Mitch Wagner Internet founding father Vint Cerf makes it clear that we need more competition, and that the telecom act as enforced did not deliver this.
“What we have is not very much competition, and at best two competitors,” Cerf said. “Two competitors don’t produce the pressure of true competition.”
Given the lack of alternatives, consumers have no choice when Internet service providers block some applications (for example, Comcast and other ISPs allegedly blocking BitTorrent). ISPs will likely try to filter traffic further, blocking access to specific applications and companies to increase their own profits. And the U.S. is lagging behind other countries, notably France, the U.K., New Zealand, and the Netherlands, in broadband penetration, Cerf said.
“All of this is telling me that we didn’t get it right” when the Telecommunication Act of 1996 was adopted, Cerf said. “When we wrote it, the Internet was barely visible to the public, and probably completely invisible to Congress.” The Web itself had just started becoming popular two years earlier, Cerf said. “Maybe we should step back and ask ourselves how to do this better,” he said.
The Internet is more like they highway system than it is like the phone or cable TV system. Phones and cable TV are networks that were purpose-built for individual applications — voice and TV, respectively. The Internet is built for any application and information that you can digitize, just like roads are built for any wheeled vehicle, Cerf said.
“Maybe we should treat the Internet more like the road system, look for ways of creating incentives to make the Internet more accessible to everyone, and less likely to be abused by the private sector,” Cerf said. (Informatuion Week)
I take exception that the act in and of itself was a failure. It was not originally conceived and written for the Internet, but in the days of dial up, it worked. When dial up was the most common mode of access, competition was fierce and robust. We need to take a careful look at what made that possible. The incumbents with the right of ways were required to carry the traffic at a regulated rate even though it was just piggybacking on a copper connection designed for voice. When broadband access became dominant, the FCC allowed carriers to push competitors off of their networks in order to “re-coop their investments”. Restoring a must carry requirement until there are maybe 5 or 6 fixed line connections to a premises just plain makes sense. This model is working in France, Japan and Korea where broadband costs are low and speeds are high - and providers are very profitable.
Cerf’s comments will likely be used by many to make the case for a federal takeover of the internet. I don’t think that’s what he has in mind. Before we hand over our internet to the feds like the interstate highway system, it’s important to remember a few facts. The highway system took far longer to build than it should have, cost far more than it should have, and is poorly maintained even though the taxes collected for it maintenance far exceed what is actually spent on maintenance (while pols demand we pay more!)
If you think things are bad now, imagine an interstate highway style net where you’ll have to pony up more for less, tolerate endless closures for maintenance, and lag even farther behind the rest of the world with no alternative. I think it’s far better to admit that the market is not open to competition, and remedy that problem instead.
The movie industry continues to show it’s cluelessness about how to deliver content. In a seeming tribute to the quality of much of what Hollywood produces comes another stab at the bad idea of a self destructing, disposable DVD. What is really offensive to yours truly is this comes from the same group of people who routinely pontificate on us to give up our cars and air conditioning while trotting the globe in their private jets.
From PC World – The technology’s not all that new; Flexplay DVDs have been around for about five years, though on a more limited scale. The premise remains unchanged: Flexplay’s patented disc adhesive reacts to oxygen when the DVD’s package is opened, beginning a slow chemical reaction that renders the disc unreadable in 48 hours.
The idea is that you can rent a movie without having to worry about when you’ll watch it — the disc remains playable so long as it’s sealed — or about returning it. Staples will start carrying Flexplay DVDs this month, for $4.99 each.
While we get hammered by actors to stop our use of landfills, they peddle their wares in the most hypocritical manner, creating more fodder for the trash man or more harmfully wasteful recycling scams. Like information, media wants to be free and portable. There is nothing wrong with charging handsomely for a copy of your art, but you should respect your patron and allow them to experience it as they wish, without time limits. Respecting your patron, and more importantly the environment you so willingly champion at the expense of the little people isn’t much to ask in return for being so exorbitantly rewarded for your talents. Fortunately this is a repeat appearance of a very bad idea that won’t catch on.
A recent trend that has become a national embarrassment is the formation of companies whose sole purpose is to collect outdated patents and try to apply them to new technology and sue the makers and users of that technology. It’s called a legalized protection racket. They produce nothing, clog the courts, raise the cost of goods and services while stifling innovation. Latest in the headlines is a group that calls themselves “Rembrandt”.
Inc. owns a patent on technology that it says is part of the digital television broadcasting standard used by the TV networks. Rembrandt is suing 14 companies, including ‘s ABC, ‘s , . and ‘s Fox Broadcasting for patent infringement and wants millions of dollars in royalties.
The American Antitrust Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group, asked federal regulators last month to bar Rembrandt from enforcing its patent. Otherwise, Rembrandt’s suits could add “tens of millions” of dollars to the cost of digital TV, most of which will likely be passed on to consumers, the nonprofit said.
“This is a massive tax that Rembrandt is trying to place on the transition to digital TV,” said David Balto, an antitrust attorney who co-wrote a petition the AAI submitted March 26 to the.
The AAI argues that Rembrandt is violating antitrust and fair competition laws by abusing the monopoly provided by its patent.
In recent years, the FTC has required companies to license their patents and set maximum royalties in several cases that involve technology standards.
Industry groups set technical standards in areas such as computer networking and memory chip technologies. The standards let different companies make compatible products. (Yahoo News)
Unfortunately a significant percentage of our elected reps in DC are lawyers, including 2 of 3 running for president.The patent act needs revision, and the patent office needs a housecleaning. It will take more them this one small voice to get their attention.
The feds have raised almost $20 billion from the re-purposing of a few analog TV channels. Who won? We’ll know when the FCC announces, in an estimated 10 days.
We’re most concerned with the C block, which has open access provisions in its rules. The suspected bidders were Google and Verizon Communications. Most analysts are predicting Verizon the winner. I my assessment, this is the worst of possible outcomes for the end user. If Google won, we’ll see something of a rapid, wild west style explosion of totally open wireless access. If Verizon is the winner look to a slow and steady deployment of something resembling their fixed line service, with only some of the available bandwidth being used for open access. With V as the operator we could get goegraphic more coverage than we have today, but not much new competition. We will still be searching for our Third Pipe.