Archive for the ‘internet’ Tag

RIP, Net Neutrality   Leave a comment

Net Neutrality is gone.  Yay!

Let’s try to understand what Net Neutrality is really all about.

Image result for image of net neutrality destroying the internetContrary to popular belief, the evil ISPs were not creating a have/have not divide in Internet access prior to Barack Obama’s interference in the Internet. What Net Neutrality really did was create massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth hogs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and … yeah, the porn industry.

Under Net Neutrality these platforms flourished along with the rise of the mobile internet, which is now arguably more important than the ‘desktop’ one in your home and office.  Google and Apple control access to the mobile web in a way that net neutrality proponents can only dream the bandwidth providers like Comcast and AT&T could.

Comcast & AT&T never had that power. Ultimately, consumers decide how much bandwidth costs. We decide how much we can afford for these creature comforts like streaming Netflix while riding the bus or doing self-indulgent Instagram videos of our standing in line at the movies. The ISPs can’t charge us more than we’re willing to pay and a great many of us were not willing to pay, so Netflix and Google began advocating for Net Neutrality, which took the pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers and handed the profits from it to Google and Facebook and their advertisers.

By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook could spend their budgets without much thought or care.  Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.

Because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold, thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low.  And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference, allowing Google and Facebook to grow more powerful.  That difference was never passed onto the ISP who could then, in turn, pass it on to the consumer. Thus our Internet access costs increased, while Facebook’s advertising costs were held stable.

All thanks to Net Neutrality.

With the rise of the mobile web, bandwidth should have been getting cheaper and easier to acquire at a much faster rate than it has.  Net Neutrality didn’t allow for that. It kept rates of return on new bandwidth projects and new technology suppressed. Money the ISP’s should have been spending laying more fiber, putting up more cell towers, building better radios went to Google to fritter away on endless projects that never see the light of day.

Net Neutrality guaranteed that the infrastructure for new high-speed bandwidth would grow at the slowest possible rate, still governed by the maximum the consumer was willing to pay for bandwidth, rather than what the consumer actually demanded.

Think it through, Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by “the bad guys”.

Getting rid of Net Neutrality will put the costs of delivering all of this worthless content back onto the people serving it.  YouTube will become more expensive for Google and all of the other content-delivery networks.  Facebook video will eat into its bottom line.

The ISP’s can and should throttle them until they ‘pay their fair share,’ which they plainly have not been. Yes, your ISP may temporarily charge you more for Netflix or Hulu … although it’s more likely Netflix and Hulu will have to charge you more. We’ll then find out the real cost of delivering 4k streaming content to your iPhone actually costs.

Meanwhile, those costs will filter down to the ISP’s such that they can respond to demand for more bandwidth.  Of course AT&T will overcharge us because they are just as bad as bad as Google and Facebook, but … here’s where the rubber hits the road … consumer have a right to say “no” and stop using the services the way Net Neutrality’s mispricing of service encouraged us to. If the ISP’s want more customers then they’ll have to bring wire out to the hinterlands.

Net Neutrality proponents kept telling us this was the way to help keep the Internet available to the poor and the rural.  That’s ridiculous. I’m surrounded by rural and can say confidently that Net Neutrality kept the Internet from expanding properly into the countryside. While Fairbanks has cable and DSl, my brother who lives only about eight miles out of town has neither. He’s 10 or 15 years behind everyone else in getting decent bandwidth, yet he lives in a fairly densely built neighborhood. He has never streamed Netflix because the wiring to his house cannot support it. Instead,  he gets cable television from Dish Network, with a signal so weak it’s been known to cut out during a spring rain. (That’s not Dish’s fault, really, but a factor of their satellites barely being over the horizon at this latitude.

 

We’re still waiting for the phone provider in our residential area to upgrade the bandwidth.  We even installed a second line for Internet service, but the service is so overloaded, it dropped two or three times every evening. So we switched to cable, even though we don’t want cable television. Why are we still a half-decade or more behind the rest of the nation? The return on new lines isn’t high enough for them.

If Google was passing some of the profits from Adwords onto the ISPs, I’d have multiple choices for high-speed Internet versus just one DSL provider, and maybe I’d also have more than one choice for cable. And maybe it would be affordable. I currently pay $90 a month for Internet only, no cable television. It would be another $80 if we wanted to watch television. But we can stream Netflix and Hulu if we’re willing to pay the price.

As always, whenever the political left tries to protect the poor they wind up making things worse for them.

The news of Net Neutrality’s demise is good for a variety of reasons. With Net Neutrality gone, a major barrier to entry for content delivery networks is gone. Blockchain companies are building systems which cut the middle man out completely, allowing content creators to be directly tipped for their work versus being supported by advertising no one watches, wants or is swayed by.

Services like Steemit and the distributed application already built and to be built on it point the way to social media cost models which are sustainable and align the incentives properly between producers of content and consumers.

Steem internalizes the bandwidth costs of using the network and pays itself a part of its token reward pool to cover those costs.  So, all that’s left is content producers and their fans.  Advertisers are simply not needed to maintain the network.

Net Neutrality was a Trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the Golden Age of print and TV advertising.  It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.

Look no further than the main proponents of it.  George Soros and the Ford Foundation are two of the biggest lobbyists for Net Neutrality.  Only the political left and its Marxian fantasies of evil middle men creating monopolies fell for the lies.

The rest of us were like, “Really?  This is not a problem.”  And it wasn’t until you looked under the hood and realized all they stood to gain by it.

Now, with Net Neutrality gone the underlying problem can be addressed; franchise monopolies of cable and phone companies in geographic areas.  These laws are still in effect. They still hang like ice fog over the entire industry.  Like Net Neutrality, these laws concentrate capital into the hands of the few providers big enough to keep out the competition.

So, instead of championing the end of franchise monopolies, which county governments love because they get a sizable cut of the revenue to fund non-essential programs, the Left made things worse by championing Net Neutrality.

That also needs to end.  Even if you believe that franchise monopolies were, at one point, necessary, they aren’t now.  IP-based communication is now fundamentally different than copper wire for discrete services like phone and cable.  Let people run all the copper and fiber they want.  There’s plenty of room in the conduit running under our sidewalks and streets.

Then and only then will the Internet be free.

Posted January 9, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense

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The Day the Internet Stood Still | Eileen L. Wittig   2 comments

I live in Alaska and had no idea what was going on because this Internet crisis didn’t affect most of the west. I have one app I use for work that would not do one thing I needed it to do. I assumed it was a glitch and worked around it. Of course, I don’t have a smart thermostat. Brad works from our house, so wanders through a couple of times a day to throw more wood in the wood stove. I guess we could designate him the “smart thermostat”, but I suspect that might not go over real well.

By the way, Alexa … kind of creepy. My brother’s keeps asking us if we want to ask a question. If I didn’t ask a question, I probably don’t want to ask one. And a friend whose name is actually Alexa says her husband has now gifted her with a nickname so as not to set off the answer machine. Just plain creepy! Lela

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, will forever be remembered as the day that Amazon single-handedly made every millennial freeze in their tracks and wonder how to go on living.

The internet outage that struck the eastern side of the US like an alien invasion affected the lives of countless young adults for hours. Hours. For hours, Alexa fell silent. For hours, Amazon Fresh was unavailable. For hours, an entire generation questioned its ability to survive. Good thing the internet came back before anyone had even left work to try to make it on their own at home.

Image result for image of a smart thermostatFor hours, Alexa fell silent. What were we supposed to do, just sit in silence like Medieval serfs?

Amazon.com was still running, but how were we supposed to buy things if we didn’t have Alexa to order it for us? The time of tribulation was nothing but questions: what about my music? What about my grocery list? How am I supposed to play Jeopardy or Hunt the Yeti? How am I supposed to get past the smart lock on my house door? How am I supposed to order my usual from Pizza Hut for delivery? What am I supposed to do if I leave work a little early to beat the traffic? Just sit in silence like a Medieval serf?

Tech departments across the Eastern seaboard sat restless, hopeful, shooting each other with Nerf guns while they waited for their jobs to become available again. Internet-dependent workers started actually talking to each other, imagining Employee Steve tripping over the Official Internet cord at Amazon Headquarters, pulling the plug from the wall and the router from its place on the Official Router Table, smashing it to pieces. They imagined Tech Guy Ted, the official Router Dude, being away on a late lunch break, which he always insists on being 100% work-free, enforced by closing his computer and turning off his phone.

“I can’t connect to my thermostat!” my deskmate exclaimed as he stared at his unresponsive phone. “Oh nooo,” I responded in mock sympathy (actually I was jealous he has a smart thermostat and I don’t), “you can’t make sure your empty house is at a comfortable temperature.” “I just like knowing I’m connected, that it’s there,” he said, but he was laughing at himself.

The Return of the World

At last the internet slipped quietly back into everyone’s Amazon devices, back into the unseen cables tying everyone to their stuff, back into the worldwide web, and the world lurched back into rotation like a caught VHS tape realigning.

What if it happened again, on a weekend??

“Oh, my thermostat is back!” my deskmate announced as he refreshed the app for the tenth time. “Ooh look I’m in eco mode. I shall adjust the temperature by one degree.”

And so the world returned to normal, if uneasily. The questions continued: since when did Amazon control so much of the web? What if it happened again later after even more of our lives became dependent on the internet? What if it happened after work instead of at work? What if it happened on a weekend??

With a collective shudder to shake off such incomprehensible horrors, an entire generation moved boldly on with their lives, into the suddenly less confident future. And everyone hoped that Employee Steve had bought a backup router with his accrued Amazon credit points in case he tripped on the cord of the new Official Router again, and that Tech Guy Ted had hired an intern to come in over the lunch hours.

Source: The Day the Internet Stood Still | Eileen L. Wittig

Posted March 2, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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Medium & Message   Leave a comment

Marshall Mcluhan coined the phrase “The medium is the message”; a concept that revolves around the idea that the content of a communication product  is far less important than the medium under which it is produced. Mr. Mcluhan died in 1980s, so didn’t have the opportunity to see his philosophy writ large on the modern stage.

With the advent of instantaneous communication, we have become a generation of individuals who see all information as equally relevant and conversely irrelevant, often at the same time. Far too many of us lack the cognitive ability to discern the immaterial from the material. We have allowed the least talented amongst our populous to direct the course of our society and civilization through little more than the click of a button.

Listen carefully and you can hear Mcluhan laughing hysterically between bouts of grieving sobs.

What the hell is wrong with us?

When Mcluhan made his observation in the 1960s, television was replacing newspapers and magazines as the primary source of news and information for most of society. He was concerned to see that people were turning from indepth news coverage — available in print to one-minute segments of broadcast news. He recognized that the medium of broadcast was far more attractive than the message that it carried, no matter how stripped down and shallow that message had to be to meet the demands of the medium.  Mcluhan contended that print, by presenting information in ordered small bits, gave consumers the power to separate thought from feeling and led to the compartmentalization of knowledge that enabled Western man to specialize and mechanize. He saw promise in broadcast for engaging senses other than the visual, but worried that it would encourage emotional thinking while interfering with critical thinking.

I wonder if he would criticize how today’s massive cluster of impersonal notifications generated by social media sites has effectively desensitized us to the human condition. On any given day, my timeline is clogged dozens of personal causes and flag-bearers who have no active stance to take on a plethora of issues. Half the time, they clicked “Share” because they liked the picture and never gave any thought to the content. But if you try to point out any inconsistencies in whatever stance is portrayed, you quickly discover that this medium kills intelligent debate!  The moment an individual decides to set their words upon the infinite aether that is the online community, it becomes more fact than opinion. It’s as if we can no longer distinguish the two.

We live in a world of information bubbles and what we know about the world is largely self-selected, which is made possible by the power of the Internet. When we encounter someone we disagree with, we no longer assume that they lack knowledge that might change their opinion, but we now assert with great confidence that they are crazy, evil, stupid or in some other way defective. This allows us to adhere to our own opinions and not let any contravening facts get in the way of our certainty on any given subject.

Examples abound and some of these may be worth exploring in future posts.

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