June 2006

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Net Neutrality is freaking me out

Tim Berners=Lee

Tim Berners-Lee weighs in on net neutrality:

Net Neutrality: This is serious | Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs

Net neutrality is this:

If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.

That's all. Its up to the ISPs to make sure they interoperate so that that happens.

Net Neutrality is NOT asking for the internet for free.

Net Neutrality is NOT saying that one shouldn't pay more money for high quality of service. We always have, and we always will.

The thing that freaks *me* out is that you will never know if your traffic is being discriminated against. This is going to end up like frequent-flyer miles and credit card rebates and grocery store cards. Really complicated stupid rebate programs that are supposed to make you loyal to a company but just make the cost of business more expensive and complicating all decisions involving the product which ends up hurting people that don't have time or the intelligence to figure it all out. I mean who really thinks grocery cards were invented to save you money?

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Why is this a big deal?

If there is not a guarantee of net neutrality, then AT&T can tell Google that they will get traffic at 50% the rate that Microsoft Search gets traffic unless they pay AT&T a "premium traffic fee".

Alternatively, Comcast can charge consumers tiered Internet access plans like they do with cable. You can surf CNN for $10.00 a month. You can surf premium tier 2 which includes ESPN and Disney.com for $15.00. If you want unlimited access to all websites, then it will cost $30.00 a month. But even if you pay $30.00 a month, it's not clear that all sites will be as fast as others because of the first point above.

It's just a bad road to go down. It makes everything better for the network companies because it confuses the consumers into paying more money.

Similarly, regarding grocery store prices: It is clear that grocery stores charge their "free-market" prices to people with cards. The non-card prices are artificially inflated to punish people who don't go along with their card program. The card program allows them to track your shopping across multiple stores in their chain and possibly across different chains (e.g., Giant plus ACE hardware) The result is that the grocery stores end up offering different prices to different people. They do this by sending coupons to some customers and not to others and by giving "cash-back" bonuses to some customers and not to others. It erodes a free-market exchange of goods. It would be the same thing as Amazon offering different prices to different people by presenting different web pages to them. The bottom line is that it puts huge amounts of market power in the hands of the companies who leverage it to get more money from consumers (you). There is no corresponding capability for the consumers to push back to get the market back in line with an efficient exchange.

Posted by: DJP3 at June 26, 2006 9:32 AM

Funny Roadsign Recreations

road sign Funny roadsigns that don't really exist here.

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The Cost of Starbucks

A Vampire Smokestack, a personal house favorite.

Figure out how much your commercial coffee habit is costing you here. Over 10 years I would waste $18,123.59. But I make my own in a machine that cost me $199.00. I'm so virtuous.

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Welcome to our Fairy Overlords

mushroom yellow mushroom

I have no idea what in the world was going on in my office over the weekend, but when I showed up this morning there was a freaky-DisneyLand-invades-where-are-the-fairies mushroom growing in my *cactus* pot. Now typically I think of cacti as dry and mushrooms as wet, so I don't know what in the world this is all about. Furthermore, I didn't water anything on Friday. A picture of the primary mushroom is above, although there are siblings growing toward the back of the pot. Oooo - I said pot. Pot and mushrooms in the same blog entry. There goes my google ad account keyword index.

The only logical explanation is that a gang of malicious fairies is holding my computing resources hostage. They are causing my programs to not compile and my network connections to bog down. Because they are invisible 99% of the time, they had to communicate thier presence by planting Play-doh colored yellow mushrooms in my office.

Fortunately now that I understand that fairies are running rampant on campus it explains a lot of things. So, I for one, welcome our new fairy overlords.

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Pat Robertson in the News Update

Time Magazine Cover
Time Magazine Cover from 1986

I wish Pat Robertson didn't command so much of the world's representation of Christianity. Here is my running list of some recent CNN headlines that he's been involved with:

Pat Robertson claims to outlift linebackers -- This is apparently an attempt to crossover from his religious base to the diet product market. This press release is closely tied to his new product "Pat's Diet Shake".

Robertson suggests God smote Sharon - After Sharon has a stroke.

Robertson: U.S. should assassinate Venezuela's Chavez - after Hugo Chavez takes control of Venezula

Pat Robertson's 'nuke' idea draws protest - after Robertson suggests blowing up the State Department (the U.S. State Department) with a nuclear bomb.

No casualties? White House disputes Robertson comment - After Robertson says that President Bush said there would be no casualties in Iraq.

It kind of all goes back to Noam Chomsky's observation that news has to be boiled down to extreme positions that are easily digested and categorized so that there is time for commercials and the products are viewed favorably because all the issues are neatly tied up before the break. Robertson is a perfect source of sound bites to make the issues appear easy. The funny thing is that what ends up happening is that the "issue" that is easy to understand is that Christians are nut-cases, their responses are idiotic, so let's dismiss them and Christ from the public square. I like Jim Wallis more than Pat Robertson. Unfortunately for prime time, though, he doesn't distill his comments into two minute chunks.

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Cool Table

cool table

Cool table is a mashup of other tables. Neat metaphor for a conference table - lots of people, creating a new thing which is a merger of everyone's ideas.

Tjep. - Accident for Strawberryfrog

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Meebo is web-based Instant Messaging


Meebo offers a browser-based cross platform instant messaging solution. It works well for people behind firewalls that don't allow IM. You know, it's not a huge revolution, but for some situations, this is exactly what you need.

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