A most unusual source, Linux Journal, has a scathing but humorous observation about television offerings and the Suits that provide them. –
For the purpose of discussion, let’s suppose that you are a *huge* fan of NBC’s 30 ROCK. I’m not, even though I think Tina Fey is really, really hot, but let’s just pretend for a moment. Further, let’s suppose that you missed last week’s episode, so now you are pointing your Linux-powered Firefox browser at www.nbc.com to catch it. After a quick search and a couple of video advertisements you find the link to last week’s episode.
You click it.
You get a pretty Flash animation of the NBC peacock, and a pop up window containing the following message:
Sorry but we do not support that browser, please use one of these
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 6
See what I’m getting at? What a stupid message! What a stupid policy to block Linux users! And how rude to not even tell us up front that we are being blocked! There are xx million Linux users in the United States. Nobody knows what xx is, but we’re pretty sure that the number of Linux users in the US is in the tens of millions. …”
Yes. NBC opts to pass over Linux viewership thinking of little consequence. The sad thing is it will only get worse for them as embedded linux browsers are appearing in internet ready TV’s, set top boxes, etc. So to watch that 30Rock episode one will have to go over to Hulu as described in the article.
We have never said that the Suits were smart, they are only well heeled.
Read the whole piece at the link.
Well the latest Consumerist award for the Worst Company in America has been rewarded. The Winner? Why Comcast!! The cable company that people seem to love to hate. But you know, there is something worse than being that winner. Being the company that rubs another’s nose in it –
For anyone who thought that mammoth megacorporations behaved anything like adults, they should just check out the Twitter account for Verizon, who saw fit tonight to have a little fun at the expense of Worst Company In America winner Comcast.
Follow the link to the Consumerist site to see the adult attitude from Verizon.
We hear constantly of the peril if the entertainment industry is not protected from miscreants and thieves. Now we don’t condone theft here at ThirdPipe. Never will. But we never hear of the fair use argument. Till now —
The IT industry’s US lobby group has released a report calculating the size of the “fair use economy” in the US — all the businesses that rely on fair use, including web hosting companies, private schools, search engines and many others. The total for 2007 (the last year for which stats are available) is a whopping $4.7 trillion — one sixth of US GDP — with over 17 million people employed.
The report is a counterpoint to those crazy Hollywood stats that show that every job in America will disappear unless copyright is extended to infinity, all network connections are surveilled, and every infringer is fined her entire net worth and stuck in jail.
Fair Use provisions are inherently useful in whole industries. Teaching for example would be extremely difficult if it were not for fair use. Same with certain entertainment venues like stand up comedy.
Read the whole piece at BoingBoing.
While the FCC searches for a way to get the authority to regulate the Internet, the net neutrality debate rages on. I stand firm on my position that net neutrality is a very poor substitute for real competition.
Competition ended the day the FCC quit requiring telcos to share their last mile right of ways and lines. That left the telcos and cable guys as a fixed line duopoly. Next, the FCC destroyed the promise of a wireless Third Pipe by not preventing the sale of broadband spectrum to the telcos along with allowing the cable guys buying up a chunk of Clearwire’s national Wimax network. So, with an uncompetitive market, net neutrality rules are being pushed as the fix for unfair traffic management. Never mind the fact that the FCC has done a pathitic job of protecting the public interest so far. It wants us to trust it to do better with new regulations.
As the FCC gets closer to crafting network neutrality rules (assuming they even have the authority to do so), AT&T lobbyists have worked overtime to push the idea that creating such rules would automatically result in job losses. To help nudge this scary meme into the press, they hired their old friend Bret Swanson, formerly employed at the Discovery Institute — a think tank that created both the “Exaflood” (debunked here countless times) and “Intelligent Design”. Back in February Swanson, like most AT&T hired policy wonks, used completely bogus “science” to insist that network neutrality rules would result in 1.5 million job losses. He came to that number simply by adding up all of the people employed by companies that submitted comments to the FCC opposing network neutrality (seriously). (Techdirt)
The idea that net neutrality will result in job losses at AT&T or anywhere else is just plain silly. So is the notion that FCC regulations will prevent unfair traffic management practices. I What is needed is an open market. That means fair sharing of the old copper infrastructure we all paid for years ago combined with some open access broadband spectrum. When there are 4 or 5 options in a given market, the net neutrality issue will take care of itself. That doesn’t mean some regulation isn’t needed. In rural market’s someone will need to intervene. I think that task is best left to LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, not the FCC.
By the way, I can guarantee you that an open market will result in job losses at AT&T. The silver lining to that cloud is that here will be better employers in the same line of business for the displaced to work for.
Some of the Senate’s most media hungry have decided to single out Facebook to offer users an opt out before sharing their information. Sure, Facebook is the web’s busiest destination, and requiring an opt in (instead of opt out) before sharing personal information is a great idea. The problem is just about every entity you can imagine gathers data on you and sells it without your prior consent using the same opt out policy. In fact many regularly “revise” their user / customer agreements, requiring you to opt out over and over again. To single out the busiest site on the web, while ignoring the much larger problem is at best showboating, and at worst another example of Washington’s war on tech companies.
Associated Press has seen a copy of the letter, reports that it is signed by Senators Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Al Franken of Minnesota, and says it is on its way to Zuckerberg. Since these are US Senators, we don’t expect they favoured the email approach to old fashioned post, though.
In the letter the Senators ask for improved privacy controls, most notably that plans to add the ‘Like’ button to the general Internet should be reined in and used less as a marketing aid. According to the AP, the letter observes that this expansion “raises new concerns for users who want to maintain control over their information.” (The Inquirer)
It would be a very bold, privacy and freedom protecting move to require any entity obtain your permission before sharing information on you. Unfortunately selling personal information is a mega business for large operators that contribute big to the likes of Senators Charles Schumer , Michael Bennet , Mark Begich , and Al Franken. The worst offenders are the banks, credit bureaus, universities and telcos and they have been selling your data for years with no intervention from the Senate. Shame on this group of capitol hill clowns for running down one company for its use of a very bad and very common policy. Instead of calling out favored industries they are given bail outs, and stimulus while tech companies are played as whipping boys who also have to pay the bill. We should treat everyone the same. Making it a rule that we have to opt in before information is shared should be applied universally.