Tales of the Sausage Factory

So How's That Time Warner Bandwidth Cap Working Out?

Reposting a recent blog entry of mine from the Public Knowledge blog. As Time Warner expands out its usage cap pilot from Beaumont, TX to somewhat more populated and user-intensive communities, users are starting to notice and complain. Hopefully, with the FCC getting the ball rolling on the National Broadband Plan mandated by the broadband stimulus package, we will start to probe into the whole bandwidth cap issue a little more deeply.

More below . . . .

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Posted in Series of Tubes, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

General Exception

Microsoft Patents a System to Tell if You're Using a Microsoft Product


Ars Technica
has a report about a Microsoft patent application that is supposed to detect user frustration. The patent wording (as with most patents) is obscure and difficult to decipher. They’ve probably spent a huge chunk of money on the research… but I could have given them an exceedingly simple algorithm to detect user frustration:

Allow me to demonstrate in pseudo-code:


if (program.author == “Microsoft”) Then {
user.isFrustrated = true;
}

A more serious discussion, after the break.

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Posted in General, General Exception | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

General Exception

War on the consumer: The DVD War

Businessweek has
this article
about the new DVD standards, which will come locked down with new, onerous Digital Rights Management restrictions. It’s a good overview of how new consumer electronica are being designed to basically protect big corporations from the consumers who buy them.

One point that the article really misses, though, is how DRM isn’t really aimed at pirates, despite all of the entertainment industry’s protests to the contrary. Instead, the only real purpose of this technology is to force you to pay multiple times for same content. Want to watch a movie on your TV? Great! Buy the DVD. Want to watch it on your iPod? Well, here you go, buy it at iTunes. Want that music you downloaded from iTunes as your phone’s ringtone? Cough up more dough. What’s that you say? Fair use? Well, according to the past head of the MPAA, it doesn’t exist.

On a brighter note, Ars Technica has a profile of some of the good guys in the music industry: Emusic. Emusic is a digital music subscription service with no strings attached. No DRM, no limited playlists, no nothing. Just high-quality MP3’s that are compatible with just about all of the digital music players out there. It is interesting to note that they chose to be DRM free not because of any idealism, but because of a sound business decision. They wanted the maximum possible customer base for their product, so they selected the format that is most universal. And they seem to be making money at it, too. I signed up a few months ago, and I have to say I’m a happy customer.

Posted in General Exception | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

General Exception

Senators want to jump-start Gattaca

Ars Technica is reporting about a proposed amendment to the Violence Against Women act that would let police collect the DNA of everyone they arrest, just in case they are a sexual predator. What could possibly go wrong with that? Oh, you know, just fostering a future like Gattaca where genetics rather than actual merit is used to determine who advances in life. But then, merit doesn’t really play much of a role these days, does it?.

Of course, if those arrested by the police were to have their DNA confiscated, there are several rather interesting people’s DNA would now be on file… and perhaps even leaked out to the public. Who knows what could be turned up in that…

Posted in General Exception, I Fear These Things | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

General Exception

FDA approves RFID chips for human implantation

Oh boy! The FDA has approved the same RFID technology that is used to identify pets for human implantation. This particular take on the technology over at Ars Technica is a bit off the mark, though… all an RFID does is broadcast an ID number. It’s up to whoever is doing the scanning to figure out what that ID number is for, and what database the ID number is a key to. It wouldn’t give someone a copy of your medical records unless they could look up any and all medical records in the first place. And if they can do that, they can probably look up your medical or financial records without the RFID ID number anyhow.

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Posted in General Exception, I Fear These Things | Also tagged , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
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