Judge Kozinski was slimed

You’ve probably heard about the judge with the on-line porn collection who had to recuse himself from a porn case and laughed about it. If so, you’re going to have to take it all back because you’ve been scammed. See: Harold Feld’s Tales of the Sausage Factory:

As documented in several posts at Patterico’s Pontifications, it would appear that Scott Glover was “played” by one Cyrus Sanai, although perhaps “played” is the wrong word. Sanai appears to have pursued a relentless vendetta against Kozinski, and found a willing ally in Glover. As Kozinski’s wife explains in this rebuttal, Glover’s descriptions of the items on the website are at best misleading and at worst outright efforts to sensationalize things circulated all over the internet (typically with the “not work safe” heading). For example, what Glover describes as “video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal” turns out to be a a fairly popular Youtube video of a man who had gone to relieve himself in a pasture fending off an aroused donkey. (The San Francisco Chronicle, apparently wishing to demonstrate the further virtues of trained journalists over bloggers, characterized the video as images of bestiality.

And then see Larry Lessig:

So the wires are a twitter with the story of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s “web site” which, from reading the stories, you’d think was filled with porn (and worse), revealing a dark soul who, some experts in legal ethics suggest, shouldn’t be presiding at an obscenity trial. That, you think, is what I mean by “the Kozinski mess.”

It’s not. What I mean by “the Kozinski mess” is the total inability of the media — including we, the media, bloggers — to get the basic facts right, and keep the reality in perspective. The real story here is how easily we let such a baseless smear travel – and our need is for a better developed immunity (in the sense of immunity from a virus) from this sort of garbage.

And also see Seth Finkelstein’s blog for the lowdown on the nature of the server.

And don’t believe everything you read in the LA Times. The reputation of a good, decent, and extremely intelligent man has been damaged, and you don’t want to be a part of that. As we said last week, journalists should not base stories on blogs; they’re playing with factual fire when they do.

IT Examiner coverage of Innovation ’08

John Oram of IT Examiner does a fair write-up on the Innovation ’08 panel in IT Examiner:

Richard Bennett said he is opposed to Net Neutrality regulations because they shut down engineering options that are going to be needed for the Internet to become the one, true, general-purpose network. Today on his blog, Richard adds “Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in server farms to put its content, chiefly YouTube, in an Internet fast lane, and it fought for the first incarnation in order to protect its high-priority access to your ISP.”

Richard continued: “Now that we’re in a second phase that’s all about empowering P2P, Google has been much less vocal, because it can only lose in this fight. Good P2P takes Google out of the video game, as there’s no way for them to insert advertising into P2P streams. So this is why they want P2P to suck. The new tools will simply try to convince consumers to stick with Google and leave that raunchy old P2P to the pirates.”

It’s much more balanced and diligent coverage than the article in The Register.

Sweetness and Light

Cade Metz reminds us that Google is the most virtuous collection of people on Earth in this love-letter in The Register

“This side of the argument said: We were pretty well known on the internet. We were pretty popular. We had some funds available. We could essentially buy prioritization that would ensure we would be the search engine used by everybody. We would come out fine – a non-neutral world would be a good world for us.”

But then that Google idealism kicked in.

Continue reading “Sweetness and Light”

FCC-enabled Triple-Play Customer

After writing about triple-play and residential broadband for years, I’ve finally decided to take the plunge and try it out. I already had Internet access from Comcast, and I’ve taken out an order to add TV and phone service. The motivation wasn’t entirely economic, although it will save me a bundle for the first year. I’m currently getting TV from DirecTV and my phone from AT&T like a normal person, so the prices of these services will be cut in half and my Internet would have been $15 cheaper for a 50% higher cap, but I decided to go for the 16 Mb/s cap for a price that’s still lower than what I’ve been paying for a 4 Mb/s cap.

My primary motivation for dropping DirecTV was to get away from their crappy DVR. I don’t watch live TV at all, and haven’t since I got my first TiVo in 2002, but there’s no way I can tolerate DirecTV any more. They used to partner with TiVo for a nice unit that integrated two satellite tuners with the recorder, but they idiotically decided to cut their ties with TiVo and do their own thing a couple of years ago. The DirecTV box still doesn’t know what channels I get, and there’s no way I can tell it, so it tries to record baseball games on channels I don’t get and misses the ones I do. This is really unacceptable.

The only convenient way to record all the games played by the A’s is to do a keyword search for “Oakland A’s”, because the actual titles of the games are things like “Oakland A’s at Evil Anaheim Angels of Anaheim” or vice versa. So title search would require 58 entries on each of the four channels where A’s games appear (local OTA, Comcast Sports Net Bay Area 1, 2, or HD.) The keyword search for “Oakland A’s” tries to pick up games on other sports nets and national channels, which is worthless.

Although Comcast has a deal with TiVo and is testing a Comcast DVR with TiVo software, the feedback on the TiVo forums is that it doesn’t work very well, no doubt due to the crappy Motorola hardware platform it’s built on. Some day it will probably be fine, but it clearly sucks at this stage. Thanks to the FCC, cable companies are required to support CableCard, so I can use a true TiVo HD box on cable with the simple addition of a cable M-Card, as the story goes. So we have an odd case of Comcast gaining my TV business because of regulatory action on the cable front that doesn’t exist for satellite TV. DirecTV is not required to open their system to third-party DVRs, and they don’t. Don’t believe that the irony of this effect of cable regulation is lost on me.

The first hiccup came when I tried to activate TiVo service on my new DVR, which I bought from Amazon for $214.65 (it’s up to 263.47 already.) TiVo accounts are indexed by e-mail address, and because I already had a DirecTV TiVo, they wouldn’t let me login to their site with my e-mail address to active the new own-brand TiVo, which is pretty dumb. So I had to use an alternate e-mail address after a fruitless hour on the phone with CS. TiVo does some things exceptionally poorly.

I should have that all straightened out by the time the cable guy shows up, but I do have to ask him why he ran over Kevin Martin’s dog (*inside joke*.) More on that later.

Introductory Remarks, Innovation ’08

Here are my opening remarks from Media Access Project’s Innovation ’08 in Santa Clara this morning. A DVD will be available shortly. This was a lively discussion, with Google and Vuze on the case.

The remarks are cross-posted to CircleID and were Slash-dotted. One Slashdot reader said: Thank you, I finally read a post from someone who gets it. I didn’t think that would ever happen. That’s not a bad response.

Good morning and welcome. My name is Richard Bennett and I’m a network engineer. I’ve built networking products for 30 years and contributed to a dozen networking standards, including Ethernet and Wi-Fi. I was one of the witnesses at the FCC hearing at Harvard, and I wrote one of the dueling Op-Ed’s on net neutrality that ran in the Mercury News the day of the Stanford hearing.

I’m opposed to net neutrality regulations because they foreclose some engineering options that we’re going to need for the Internet to become the one true general-purpose network that links all of us to each other, connects all our devices to all our information, and makes the world a better place. Let me explain.
Continue reading “Introductory Remarks, Innovation ’08”

Mark Cuban Does it Again

Why Tiered Broadband is a Wonderful Thing and ASIVS – Blog Maverick

There is a new and exciting development. Its called an Application Specific Integrated Video Service (ASIVS) . What is an ASIVS ? Its a computer dedicated specifically to downloading and playing both standard definition and high definition video. You connect it to a network that is dedicated to delivering GIGABITS PER SECOND of high quality video with ZERO buffering. Its amazing, it always works and connects right to your standard def or High Definition TV, easily. Most of the systems I have seen have a pretty good programming guide and scheduling system and they will let you download AS MUCH VIDEO AS YOU WANT, limited only by the size of its hard drive!!

If you haven’t heard of the ASIVS, its because most people call it a DVR.

If downloading TV shows is so important to you, add a DVR to your cable or satellite service for 5 bucks a month and download all you want. If you want to watch those shows on your laptop, connect the composite video out in your DVR to the composite in on your laptop. Same with movies.

Read the whole thing, it’s a classic.

Technorati Tags:

Innovation ’08 Details

Here’s an update on the MAP/AT&T tech policy event next week:

Where: de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053

When: Thursday, June 12

10:15 AM Panel 1: What Does Net Neutrality Mean Now?
Comcast’s interruption of P2P transmissions has generated debate about the need and wisdom of deploying advanced net management technologies. Can and will the private sector address this problem without government mandates? Historically, the debate about Net Neutrality has focused on who can access information distribution channels, and under what circumstances. Comcast’s recent interruption brings up new questions, explored here by some of the leading experts in the field.

George Ou, Technology for Mortals
Richard Bennett, Network Architect, Broadband Politics
Ronald B. Yokubaitis, Chairman and CEO, Data Foundry
Richard Whitt, Senior Policy Counsel, Google
Jay Monahan, General Counsel, Vuze, Inc.
Parul Desai (Moderator)

They had me down as “Musician” which is pretty funny for anyone who ever heard me sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Another panel will discuss the 700 MHz auction after lunch:

12:30 PM Panel 2: Spectrum Policy After the 700 MHz Auction
The FCC’s recently concluded 700 MHz auction has been praised, criticized, and puzzled over. Auction veterans will discuss what happened, why it happened, and what will happen next.

Coleman Bazelon, Principal, The Brattle Group
Gregory Rose, Economist, Gregory Rose & Associates
Carolyn Brandon, CTIA
Marc Berejka, Senior Director of Public Policy, Microsoft Corporation
Joanne Hovis, President, Columbia Telecommunications Corp.
Harold Feld (Moderator)

Every Silver Lining Has a Dark Cloud

UPDATE: the Times BITS Blog has totally re-written its story, removing most of the incendiary language, so this post is now officially academic. A similar piece in The Register has also been re-written. It would be a lot easier for everyone if our blogger/journalists would get things right the first time, but better late than not even.

Comcast’s “protocol agnostic” network management system has been generally praised by all parties in the network neutrality debate as a sane and sensible approach to congestion management. As the system enters trials today in two locations, the praise has been tempered by some irrational criticism. Saul Hansell, a New York Times blogger, sees the new system as something quite nefarious, a “blacklist:”

It will test new devices that will keep track of Comcast users and assemble a blacklist of heavy users. Those on the blacklist will find that all of their online activities may slow down at peak times: from downloading movies to checking e-mail.

This account is extremely bizarre, but not unprecedented. Saul Hansell, meet your progenitor.

Internet History Lesson

See Vanity Fair for a nice synopsis of Internet history, based in interviews with key contributors like Paul Baran and Larry Roberts down to social networking people. Here’s their article summary:

Fifty years ago, in response to the surprise Soviet launch of Sputnik, the U.S. military set up the Advanced Research Projects Agency. It would become the cradle of connectivity, spawning the era of Google and YouTube, of Amazon and Facebook, of the Drudge Report and the Obama campaign. Each breakthrough—network protocols, hypertext, the World Wide Web, the browser—inspired another as narrow-tied engineers, long-haired hackers, and other visionaries built the foundations for a world-changing technology. Keenan Mayo and Peter Newcomb let the people who made it happen tell the story.

It’s long, but parts of it are very interesting, and there are audio clips and a nice little slideshow.