While the vast majority of Americans enjoy a holiday, and the rest of the free world slows down for the weekend, I hope you’ll pause to remember the sacrifice the US armed forces have made and continue to make every day.
To those who have served and those who serve today, the Thirdpipe and Tightwad Technica team applaud you. Most importantly, we honor our best and brightest who paid the ultimate price so we can be free to enjoy a day of leisure.
It could be the tipping point for the broadcast, cable and satellite businesses as we currently know them. While the cable industry worked hard to get everyone to buy into it’s TV Anywhere concept, the real growth has come in the form of streaming devices like Roku’s little internet stream box. With Google’s Google TV announcement earlier this week, followed by the Apple rumor mill ballyhooing a fruit cult stream box this could be there year net video will take control of the big screen.
With so much video m0ving across the net, consumers should start demanding bigger pipes to better carry HD streams. With the duopoly’s myopic focus almost entirely on wireless, it’s a great opening for new competition. Now, if we could just re-open the last mile……..
As we reported earlier, the government’s attack on a free Internet paused briefly with Congress putting the brakes on the FCC’s power grab. It doesn’t take a genius to see what Congress had in mind. It plans to grant the authority to regulate, and probably tax the internet unto itself.
In fact, a three ring circus to discuss the subject is planned for June with four of the Congress’ biggest clowns presiding.
Senators Jay Rockefeller and John Kerry, and Congressmen Henry Waxman and Rick Boucher say they will soon launch “a process to develop proposals” for revising the 1934 Communications Act, whose archaic framework the FCC wishes to impose on broadband services.
Rockefeller, Kerry, Waxman and Boucher chair the relevant communications, commerce and technology committees in the House and Senate.
According to a statement, “As the first step, [Rockefeller, Kerry, Waxman, Boucher] will invite stakeholders to participate in a series of bipartisan, issue-focused meetings beginning in June.” The release offered few other details on the move, which could prove controversial. Even Democrats who facially support the FCC’s end-goal of net neutrality adoption were caught off-guard by the commission’s unprecedented move to reclassify. (Big Government)
We need to watch carefully when the show begins. None of these distinguished gentlemen are known for advocating free markets or a free Internet. Rockefeller and Kerry have been a dedicated and tireless allies of the telcos since the beginning of their careers. “Showboat” Waxman is the master of running long and expensive witch hunts and hearings, always attempting to extend the reach of government. Bouchet was one of the architects of the disastrous 1996 telecom act that claimed to open markets while it actually stifled competition. Hopefully you’ll join me in keeping watch, and advocating for an unregulated, untaxed net, with robust last mile competition.
Between compliance with a constantly growing list of government policies, doing today’s jobs with yesterday’s infrastructure while trying to cut spending, IT manager s don’t have an easy job. Add to that supporting users and dealing with the damage they can do and the job becomes daunting. That gets even worse when you find a growing portion of your staff is working from the other side of the planet while you sleep. How bad is the malware problem?
The results of Bit9′s “2010 What’s Running on Your Users’ Desktops?” survey, released Monday, uncovered PCs with a significant amount of non-business software, including games, toolbars, and torrent software. Of greater concern, IT pros surveyed also discovered malware, such as ransom-ware, Trojans, and Chinese spyware.
Among the 1,282 IT professionals questioned for the survey, 68 percent of them said they have software restrictions in place, but 45 percent said they still found unauthorized software on more than half of their client PCs.
Specifically, 46 percent of the IT folks surveyed said that spyware, malware, and unlicensed software continue to pose a problem by getting past traditional security methods. They also found that unauthorized or malicious software caused up to 25 percent of user downtime and calls to the help desk, leading to a drop in productivity. But 39 percent of the respondents also admitted they don’t have a software usage policy that specifically prohibits employees from downloading their own software.
As a result, only 32 percent of the IT pros surveyed said they felt confident their businesses would be safe from damage caused by unauthorized or malicious software this year. (Cnet)
Sure there are a few easy fixes that can lighten the malware load, but even a mis keyed version of a URL like “Google” can lead to sites that install malware without any other user action. Even if we step up enforcement, perpetrators are hard to locate, and are most often geographically outside of the reach of authorities.
Switching users to Linux or Mac is a short term fix. When either platform gains enough users, the bad guys will certainly find a way to compromise them as well. Until someone comes up with a magic bullet, the trend will probably continue. Sadly, we will all shoulder the cost.
The Internet is a wonderful thing. Yes there are nasties out there like child perps. (scum) But there are upsides too. One of the axioms of the ‘Net is if you intend to slander, defame, sue, or press legal action you better have your ducks in a row. It appears that especially true for those with a nefarious nature. Case in point –
A Western Michigan University student is giving a Kalamazoo towing company a costly lesson in customer service and the power of the Internet.
The problem began in January when T&J Towing removed Justin Kurtz’s car from his apartment complex parking lot, saying he didn’t have a parking permit. Kurtz, 21, said he had a permit, but the tow crew scraped it off his windshield to justify taking his car.
After getting nowhere with the company and paying $118 to get his car back, Kurtz created a Facebook page, “Kalamazoo Residents Against T&J Towing,” which has attracted more than 11,000 members since February, many with similar complaints about the company.
For firms that have a larcenous streak the power of Facebook can be a powerful thing. 11,000 friends many also wronged by the towing company makes for a very stong witness list when on goes to court. The real power of the Internet is the ability to transform a very big town into a small village where everyone knows everyone else’s business. For fly by nighters that is deadly.