The landing site for news relating to the University of Tennessee Volunteers (Go Vols), interactive advertising, online marketing, digital media, the Internet, social sciences, politics, and current events... with some random rants & ramblings.
Tony Bradley– Sat Jan 29, 10:07 am ET
In the wake of the FCC decision to approve a basic framework of net neutrality rules, the battle rages. While Internet providers like Verizon file preemptive challenges to regulations that haven't even taken effect yet, Netflix chimes in to defend net neutrality, and the political strife in Egypt provides a poignant illustration of how important it is for the Internet to be free and open.
Congress established the FCC in 1934 and designated it with the authority to regulate interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. Verizon--and subsequently MetroPCS--believes its wires, satellites, and cables are somehow exempt from government regulation, though, and has filed a legal challenge to the FCC's authority to implement a net neutrality framework.
Meanwhile, Netflix finds itself at the center of the net neutrality debate with its streaming video content drawing attention as the type of traffic that ISPs might like to throttle or discriminate against. In an open letter to shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, "Delivering Internet video in scale creates costs for both Netflix and for ISPs. We think the cost sharing between Internet video suppliers and ISPs should be that we have to haul the bits to the various regional front-doors that the ISPs operate, and that they then carry the bits the last mile to the consumer who has requested them, with each side paying its own costs," adding, "This open, regional, no-charges, interchange model is something for which we are advocating. Today, some ISPs charge us, or our CDN partners, to let in the bits their customers have requested from us, and we think this is inappropriate."
Hastings is referring to the ongoing battle between Level3 Communications and Comcast. Comcast has demanded that Level3 pay a surcharge for the privilege of having the Netflix streaming content delivered over its network. However, the Comcast customers are paying for a certain bandwidth of service, and Comcast should not involve itself in whether that bandwidth is used to send e-mails, shop Amazon, post Facebook status updates, or watch Netflix movies. The Comcast customer is already paying Comcast to deliver the content, so Comcast's additional surcharge amounts to double-dipping extortion.
The political unrest in Egypt this week, and the actions by the Egyptian government to shut down Internet access and wireless communications, illustrate the importance of net neutrality and an open Internet. The country-wide blackout--aimed at disrupting the ability of protesters to communicate and organize--is an extreme example, but what if your Internet provider chose to block Facebook or Twitter? What if your provider throttles traffic from some streaming video providers, while providing optimized delivery of other content from providers willing to cave to the surcharge demands?
The battle for net neutrality is far from over. In fact, it has just begun. The actual decision by the FCC to finally approve some sort of net neutrality framework is like drawing first blood.
While the legal wrangling over net neutrality continues, Netflix is doing its part to let the free market speak for itself. By providing data on which Internet providers consistently offer the fastest, and highest quality delivery of streaming video content, Netflix is arming its customers with the information necessary to choose the best ISP and let their purchasing power speak on behalf of net neutrality--at least those customers fortunate enough to have a choice between ISPs.
With foursquare continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, the location-based mobile app posted a new list of House Rules, divided into DOs and DON’Ts, with several of the latter geared toward eliminating fraudulent check-ins.
The rules: DOs Find your friends on foursquare! It’s more fun with friends. Find them via your phone’s address book or via the tools here. Friend people you know and feel comfortable sharing your location with. Sending mass requests to people you don’t know is a big no-no. Add a shout to your check-in! It adds context and conversation to where you are (think of this as the “what you’re doing” part of a check-in, like, “Seeing Spider Man 3!” or “Finally trying the double double animal style”). You can also send a shout to your friends without checking in to a venue (“Finally leaving the office. Who wants to grab dinner?” or “Driving home for the holidays!”). Leave tips for others. Leave useful tips at locations you’re familiar with. Give recommendations of what to order at a restaurant (“Order the caramel milkshake. Not on the menu but so good!”) or other insider information (“Come on a weekday to avoid lines”) that would be the same kind of helpful info you’d pass onto friends. See more info on foursquare tips here. Create a to-do list. Add places and tips to your to-do list so you remember where you want to go and experience later. Upload a profile photo. Upload a photo to your account so you’ll be eligible for Mayorships (and so people will recognize you when you send friend requests). Use foursquare to discover what’s around you. If you’re in a new area, open the foursquare app and browse the places tab to discover new venues and tips around you. Go off the grid if you want. Use the [off the grid] feature to check in when you want your whereabouts secret (but visible to you later on your personal user history page). Be respectful of other users. Keep the foursquare community positive! Harassment of other users via tips or shouts is not cool.
DON’Ts Don’t check in when you’re not at a place. Check in when you’re actually at a place, and only check in one time when you’re at a venue (remember: only one check-in per day at a venue counts towards Mayorships!). If you check in more often than when you’re actually at a place, you will see the rapid fire check-in error message. Checking in across the globe is discouraged — we know you love badges, but it’s only really fun if you earn them fairly. Don’t create venues that do not exist. A foursquare venue should be a social location where people can actually meet up. We do think that venues like Snowpocalypse, based around a temporary, real event, are social and, thus, OK! Examples of what not to add: your car, stuck in traffic, your mom. Make sure to search for a venue before adding it to our system. That’s the best way to prevent duplicates! Don’t check into someone else’s home if you’re not there. Home venues are sensitive, and it can creep people out to see non-friends checking in. Remember, checking into your own home is OK! If you have categorized a venue as a home, it will not show on the nearby places list to others, but it will show up if you search for it by name so your visitors can find it (it helps if you have a unique venue name in this case!). And only create a foursquare venue for someone else’s home if you have the permission of the resident/owner. Don’t leave tips with inappropriate language or negativity directed at another user. They will be deleted! Plus, being nice is better than being mean. Don’t spam via tips. Spamming tips (links to Web sites selling software, realtor contact info, a listing for your business, or other promotion) across a bunch of venues is against our terms of service and will cause your account to be deactivated. Tips should be unique to the venue and useful for others! Posted by David Cohen on January 11, 2011