Fixing the Internet

Interesting article about the Internet’s next iteration, The Internet Reborn, via Volokh:

A grass-roots group of leading computer scientists, backed by Intel and other heavyweight industrial sponsors, is working on replacing today’s Internet with a faster, more secure, and vastly smarter network: PlanetLab.

Most of the article deals with common-sense enhancements to speed up web browsing and conferencing that have the side effect of limiting viruses and DoS attacks. This is a good example of the benefits of good engineering.

Broadband TV takes off in Asia

Reuters reports that Asian telco now offer pay TV services:

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Asian phone companies are rolling out new pay TV services using their broadband Internet networks, injecting fresh competition into an industry dominated by cable and satellite operators.

The trend has taken off in Asia first because the technology is already in place: three-quarters of the region’s broadband connections use digital subscriber line (DSL) technology to transform ordinary telephone lines into high-speed data pipes, industry analysts say.

Modifying existing DSL systems to handle pay TV is a relatively minor expense for most Internet companies as they look for new ways to make money, said Marcel Fenez, an Asia media consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

There are a couple of issues here, penetration and bandwidth. Japan and Hong Kong offer higher-speed DSL than we’re used to in America, and more people are hooked up. There must be some subsidies at work, but I don’t have the details on them.

Link via Broadbandits author Om Malik.

Dean’s campaign too “blog-centric”

Some pols notice that Howard Dean’s supporters are all professionals, just half of the traditional Democratic constituency that usually encompasses working and unemployed people alike. See Howard Kurtz, just over half-way down:

This concern, which has popped up repeatedly in the media, is shared by many other Dean supporters, including Richard Hoefer, a San Francisco filmmaker who believes that the campaign has been too ‘blog-centric.’ Asked if he thinks there’s a homogeneity to Dean’s base, Hoefer responds, ‘You mean whitey?’

We know that blogging, like political giving, is only for white professionals, but voting is something everybody gets to do, so Dean may not be as strong as he looks based simply on fundraising.

Song stealing suits commence

The RIAA has finally started suing major music thieves, starting with a few hundred people who’d each “shared” over a thousand tunes. One file thief’s reaction was typical:

Another defendant, Lisa Schamis of New York, said her Internet provider warned her two months ago that record industry lawyers had asked for her name and address, but she said she had no idea she might be sued. She acknowledged downloading ?lots? of music over file-sharing networks.

?This is ridiculous,? said Schamis, 26. ?People like me who did this, I didn?t understand it was illegal.?

?I can understand why the music industry is upset about this, but the fact that we had access to this as the public, I don?t think gives them the right to sue us. It?s wrong on their part,? said Schamis, who added she is unemployed and would be unable to pay any large fine or settlement.

OK, perhaps she was genuinely in the dark and didn’t know that what she was doing was wrong. Perhaps those of us who know better can help those who don’t understand this behavior by calling it by its name. So from now on, instead of calling it “file sharing” let’s call it “song stealing” the better to educate the masses. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Here’s a statement from songwriter Hugh Prestwood on song stealing:
Continue reading “Song stealing suits commence”

Silicon Valley

On one of my many trips to Fry’s this weekend, I ran into an old buddy from 3Com who now works for Wi-Fi champion Atheros, and we quickly ran down 802.11, 802.15, 802.16, UWB, Intel’s wireless strategy, and the limitations of IPv6. Little chance encounters like that are what’s best about Silicon Valley, but on reflection I didn’t learn much from it except that it’s nice that I don’t have to write code for a living any more.