Early Internet Pioneer Claims The Internet Is Broken... But Oh Look, He's Selling The 'Solution'

from the marketers-dream dept

If I announced tomorrow that some key technology in widespread use today was fundamentally broken, but (oh yeah) that I was selling a solution that would fix it all, don't you think most reporters would first try to track down an independent third party to find out if what I was saying was actually true? Apparently not all reporters feel that way. So take it with a grain of salt when PC Authority writes a gushing article about how one of the internet's original designers, Larry Roberts, claims the internet is fundamentally broken. Roberts has been pushing this line for a while, and it's rather important to note that this is part of the marketing campaign for his company, which is trying to sell a "solution" to the problem. Yet PC Authority focuses entirely on the idea that the internet is broken, checks with no other third party, and only mentions at the very, very end of the article that Roberts' company just happens to be trying to sell a solution. Whether or not you believe Roberts' claims, you would think that a reporter wouldn't put what seems like a blatant press release and pitch it as a news article without at least getting some third party opinions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    What?

    "If I announced tomorrow that some key technology in widespread use today was fundamentally broken, but (oh yeah) that I was selling a solution that would fix it all, don't you think most reporters would first try to track down an independent third party to find out if what I was saying was actually true? "

    Why on earth would I think that? Press-release 'journalism' has been the norm for as long as I can remember.

     

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  2.  
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    RD, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Um...

    "Whether or not you believe Roberts' claims, you would think that a reporter wouldn't put what seems like a blatant press release and pitch it as a news article without at least getting some third party opinions."

    Wha...? What news have YOU been reading the last 5+ years?? This is ALL the news is anymore, everyone is in everyone's pockets. So many "news" articles are just paper-thin whitewashes of press releases or "Favorable" articles thinly disguised as "news."

     

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  3.  
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    John Doe, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Wait for the bloggers...

    The bloggers will be along shortly to get to the facts.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    "you would think that a reporter wouldn't put what seems like a blatant press release and pitch it as a news article without at least getting some third party opinions."

    And yet, here we are.

     

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  5.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    And?

    This seems perfectly reasonable to me. FYI, if you have ANY ILLNESSES WHATSOEVER, feel free to take my snake oil, which cures everything that you surely have, since most people's bodies are broken. It's got the Rockefeller name on it, so you know it's.....er....good.

    Love and kisses,

    William "Wild Bill" Rockefeller

     

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  6.  
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    everydayjoe, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Confusion or bait?

    Mike,

    A reporter? This sounds to me more like the modern definition of a "journalist," which is synonymous with "advocate."

    I hope this helps.

     

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  7.  
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    Comboman, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Why limit to the internet?

    Replace "internet" in the above article with any other fashionable topic and it still works. "Businessman claims the economy is broken...but oh look, he's selling the solution", "Environmentalist claims the climate is broken...but oh look, he's selling the solution". Take everything you read with a barrel of salt.

     

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  8.  
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    nraddin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    get over it

    Honestly nothing is going on here that doesn't happen in the 'press' all the time now. Caveat Emptor, and do your own research.

    It also turns out that the expert you would want to talk to about packet switching and flow control happens to be the guy that was already talking. The startup in question is not trying to sell a product so much as change the basic underpinnings of the internet. His plan is not to make huge amounts of money on changing a protocol and making it propriety, his plan is to help people change to a new open protocol and system that will run smoother. While his company has some plans to make money helping people with that it does not change the fact that he is correct about flow control on the internet.

     

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  9.  
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    scooter, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    Hmmm...

    The actual piece of hardware looks a lot like an old bay networks 10mbit switch...I wonders.....

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    The internet is not broken. If it was, Al Gore would fix it.

     

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  11.  
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    Greg, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: Um...

    You forgot about the smear campaigns...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    um. it's because they're doing exactly what every one of these news sites does... rewording press releases as news. some are more objective than others, but most say pretty much everything that's in the press release regardless of how lame it is.

     

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  13.  
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    WildSubnet, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: get over it

    The problem is, he's wrong. His white paper describes a method of processing packets that went out the window about 10 years ago. All modern day routers process traffic based on flows now. The first packet is examined and the subsequent packets are forwarded based on the results of the first packet. There isn't anything new or revolutionary here. Most routers in the price range of his product also offer some or all of the features he's selling.

     

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  14.  
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    Memphistopheles (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Techdirt reported it first

    Funny:

    The PC Authority article's author was practicing journalistic aggressiveness - now, PC Authority can say, "We reported it first!"

    And Techdirt can say, "We reported that someone else reported on something first!"

    There's nothing truly unique about the PC Authority article. They were just hurrying to have their fingers in the information pie. All journalists need something interesting to report about...

     

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  15.  
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    Kyle Brady (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Yeah

    I called him out on this too, but for a different reason. Ignoring the fact that he's selling the "solution" for the moment, is what he describes as the problem even the problem?

    The answer is "no!": http://www.kyle-brady.com/2009/07/09/incorrect-base-assumptions-about-network-management/

    --Kyle

     

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  16.  
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    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    Re: It's not broke

    If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

     

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  17.  
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    kingstu, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    My Internet broke a few days ago. I was streaming some (clears throat) "adult" content and my computer just stopped. Thankfully, a quick restart fixed things right up...

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    Re: Wait for the bloggers...

    But bloggers can't fact check because they aren't journalists. You need four years of schooling & 10 years running coffee around before you gain the ability to do an Internet search to verify information.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    The Internet is a proper noun and should be capitalized. The only thing broken is your English.

     

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  20.  
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    Sailingmaster (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    It's all just shades of

    Yellow.

    Most of what passes for professional journalism these days is so yellow, it should be published on old fashioned legal pads.

    For those that need it explained:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism

     

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  21.  
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    trollificus, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:59pm

    Surprised??

    Hell, when I taught my kids how to read newspaper articles, I told them to first look in the 3rd paragraph (or later) to find out who had handed the story to the "journalist" who purportedly authored it.

    Then, if they were still interested, they should research the group or individual responsible. And THEN read the story with a skeptical eye.

    And they wonder why newspapers are "dying". Tchyuh.

     

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  22.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Techdirt reported it first

    Mmmmm, information pie....

     

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  23.  
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    Dohn Joe, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Kickbacks for All

    "you would think that a reporter wouldn't put what seems like a blatant press release and pitch it as a news article without at least getting some third party opinions"

    ...he would (as I suspect many do) if he was getting a kickback!

     

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  24.  
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    Allen (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    I'm more disappointed in the IEEE. I expect more from them than some popular PC rag.

    Anyone that knows anything about modern routers knows that all manufacturers rely on flows to optimise routing. This is not a new idea. Not even close. But the article contained no comparison with or even acknowledgement of competing technology. Is the Doctor's implementation fundamentally different from Cisco's, Juniper's, or any of the others'? How is it better? Who knows? Not the IEEE.

    This may not have been published in one of their academic journals but some sort of critical review would have identified the fundamental flaw.

    What is even more concerning is the question of whether or not the IEEE paid Dr Robertsin for his shameless plug.

    PC Authority may have failed in parroting the IEEE, but the IEEE failed first

     

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  25.  
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    angry dude, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:03pm

    In other news

    Mike Masnick of Techdirt is claiming that patent system is broken and he is trying to sell us a solution: T-Shirts ...

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTs of f****** t-shirts !!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    tech Dirt Lemming Punk, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:39pm

    Re: In other news

    really ? ... A Mike T-shirt ?
    Awsome !

    btw, you been hiding under a rock again ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    What you're describing has long been common practice among television news organizations, which accept so-called VNRs from companies (and sometimes governments) and air them more or less unedited as filler segments in news broadcasts. It's basically just free advertising for the companies releasing the VNRs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_news_release

    I can't say I'm surprised to see that this practice has made the translation to paper journalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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