Kal Zekdor’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jan 29th, 2016 @ 1:21pm


    A quote from the report:

    In sum, Binge On is aptly named: it feels good in the short-term but harms consumers in the long run.

  • Jan 21st, 2016 @ 1:02pm


    False dichotomy.

    It could be agreed upon by the parties involved to offer the choice of having ESPN or not to the consumer.

    Comcast is bleeding from a thousand cord cuts. They need to retain customers. They can do this by lowering the price point of their service (basic economics). A good way to lower price is to more efficiently meet customer needs, i.e., lowering costs. Comcast could save money by splitting off ESPN to an optional package. However, ESPN currently has a contract which forbids this...

    ESPN is also feeling the crush of innovation. The good news is that demand for Sports hasn't gone down (at least significantly). As was touched on in the article, they were riding high on the cable bubble, but reality has come rushing in, and it's time for them to tighten their belts. They can't offer a streaming service because it would invalidate their existing contract, turning a relatively stable glide to the ground into a nose dive. They need that lifeline in order to buy time to adapt. However, if they keep strangling Comcast with it, neither company will survive. So, ESPN could strike a deal with Comcast, allowing unbundling of the channel in exchange for either an upfront capital infusion to allow them to move forward, or for striking the provision regarding streaming services from their contract.

    Isn't business fun?

  • Jan 21st, 2016 @ 12:44pm

    Re: erm

    Who said anything about watching? This whole article is about people paying for (i.e., are customers of) a channel most of them never watch.

    Producing quality content may be the best way to keep customers around, but it's clearly not the only way.

  • Jan 12th, 2016 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Data Cap Punching Analogy

    No! I came up with the idea! It's mine, I own it, and the world owes me for it!

    </sarcasm> (Because a depressing number of people actually think like that...)

  • Jan 12th, 2016 @ 10:23am

    Data Cap Punching Analogy

    It's punching someone and then claiming you're being nice by offering them a hand to get them off the ground.

    Way to steal my analogy, Mike.
    Applauding T-Mobile for this move is like thanking a guy for only punching you in the face once. "Hey, I was going to punch you in the face twice, but I changed my mind. That guy over there? He'd punch you in the face three times. You made the right choice."

    Clearly I have the copyright on punching based analogies as applied to Binge-On.

    You'll be hearing from my lawyers.


    (It's a good analogy, not surprising that parallel construction happens.)

  • Jan 7th, 2016 @ 9:56pm


    It's also kind of the opposite of free.

  • Jan 7th, 2016 @ 6:56am


    Except if they were concerned about peak bandwidth usage exceeding alotted capacity, data caps are a poor way to manage that. Data caps attempt to manage congestion through secondary effects, and they do so very inefficiently. The best way would be to simply implement basic network QoS, and throttle down users when a node is about to exceed allocated capacity, preventing balooning costs from rare usage spikes. You can even do this "fairly" by first throttling users with a heavier usage profile; those who contributed most to the average network burden would be those who feel the effects.

  • Dec 31st, 2015 @ 9:43pm

    Sinking ship.

    I'm starting to think these companies know that they're on a sinking ship. If you accept that cord cutting is inevitable, their behavior does make a perverse kind of sense.


    1. Over the next decade or so, all media consumption will be done over IP streaming. No one will continue to pay for cable.
    2. Fiber to the home will become the standard method of connectivity for urban/suburban population centers, making the cable infrastructure meaningless.


    1. Assumption 1 indicates that a primary revenue source will dry up, regardless of their actions.
    2. Assumptions 1 and 2 together mean that a large amount of capital infrastructure is about to become worthless.
    3. Because of point 2, if they wish to continue to compete (long-term) in the ISP market, they'll need to procure a huge amount of capital expenditures.
    4. Because of point 1, they will not be able to rely on their other service to fund the necessary infrastructure changes.

    In order to remain competitive long term, these companies need to spend a large amount on infrastructure. Even if they do so, however, there is no guarantee that a suitable RoI will follow. Competitors such as Google Fiber make the market uncertain.

    However, there previous capital expenditures have not yet been completely devalued. By gradually raising prices and cutting costs, they can drain every last cent from the business before it inevitably goes under. By taking the funds wrung from the dying business and investing it in a different market, they can get a better return than if they had tried to pivot their business.

  • Dec 30th, 2015 @ 5:04pm

    Re: A question...

    Trade agreements, like TPP.

  • Dec 20th, 2015 @ 5:41pm


    This is why Omnibus bills are frakking terrifying. Anything that can get shoved into that monstrosity will effectively become law without any meaningful debate, and almost zero chance of being voted down.

    Congress desperately needs to make some procedural changes to the legislative process. One of the most badly needed changes is to do separate votes for each attachment to a bill. That way, even if someone attaches a rider to a "must-pass" bill, the bill itself can still pass even while the rider is voted into oblivion.

  • Dec 18th, 2015 @ 7:23pm


    Seriously. Doing some rough calculations, this whole ordeal cost them in the ballpark of $2500. (And that's assuming they have proper design and marketing tooling, I sincerely hope they didn't have to modify each of those images by hand.)

    They don't seem to be a crazy tiny company, but that's still a non-trivial cost they had to bear, because... reasons.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: need or want (repost)

    "That said, high speed Internet access is optional."

    Even that's highly debatable, depending on your employment or other communication needs. I certainly couldn't do my job or personal communication as effectively from a remote location if my apartment and those of friends/family didn't have broadband.

    Mm, true. There are plenty of edge cases (especially for those who work in the tech sector) where people need a reasonably fast connection in order to, y'know, continue to feed themselves.

    ~90% of people (obviously a number pulled from the aether) don't need more than basic web browsing/email, though.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What internet provider charges per GB of throughput?

    Comcast. $0.20/GB.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 4:27pm


    But normal network data has significantly more '0's than '1's. That means whoever is sponsoring '0's ends up footing the majority of the bill, and since this is all about maintaining fairness, that's unacceptable.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 7:37am

    Re: need or want (repost)

    I'm going to assume that you don't have kids, don't have a white collar job, and aren't looking for a job.

    No, access to the Internet is not optional, it's a requirement of modern life. That said, high speed Internet access is optional. One doesn't really need more than 5/1, which even DSL can reach.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 7:28am


    People would feel better if they paid a monthly fee to be connected and then were billed for the data they actually used at the market rate.

    Well, to be perfectly fair, Comcast's rate of $0.20/GB is only 2-3 times the common market price.

    The included data of 300GB at that rate is $60, and, from what I recall, the general monthly cost for Internet was ~$90/mo. That's a $30/mo connection fee, which is somewhat reasonable.

    They need to have discounted rates, though, for any data from services with peering agreements with Comcast. Netflix, for example, will cache popular content on servers in ISP data centers, saving expensive general bandwidth. Those peering savings need to be passed along to the customer, not just for Comcast's services.

    I don't think I'd care too much about the capped plans if they were truly optional. My problem is (aside from the BS marketspeak rhetoric) that they're rolling this out to existing customers, which is a rate rike of $0-$30/mo across the board, for an already expensive service.

    They are going through with this, though, so some more friendly suggestions to Comcast on how to make this more... palatable for your customers.

    1. Industry pricing is almost never more than $0.10/GB. Cut your data price in half.
    2. Only charge for data that you yourselves have to pay for. Don't charge your customers for access to Netflix when Netflix is paying to have their data get to your network for free.
    3. Do pure usage based billing. Get rid of the included data, and the data blocks. Charge a low monthly connection fee, and then the per GB rate.
    4. Cable is heavily weighted towards Download. As such, don't count Upload towards usage.
    5. Stop pretending this is about network congestion or "fairness". Honesty goes a long way. Call it a pricing restructure to a flexible billing model, if you must, but make it clear that this is a financial decision, not a technical one.

  • Dec 15th, 2015 @ 6:45am

    TV Revenue

    Ok, first, I'd like to preface this with the fact that data caps are one of the least efficient methods for managing network saturation, and that they are always a blatant cash grab.

    That said, it seems clear that, barring FCC regulation, Comcast is going to be rolling out data caps in every market that lacks real competition (nearly all of them). So, my thought is, since this is obviously about protecting their TV business from Netflix et al., (Comcast's streaming services doesn't count against your cap, because of course not), then they should include a "free" Unlimited tier upgrade to every customer who gets their TV package alongside Internet.

  • Dec 11th, 2015 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Failed Test

    Movable type?

  • Dec 8th, 2015 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Just Deserts

    It's bullshit because no one "deserves" anything. There's no shadowy overlord dictating that this year Americans have been good little boys and girls and thus deserve a better government as a reward.

    We have the government we have because we have the government we have. It is a tautology, and there is no meaning to be drawn from any of it.

    Come back when you actually have some ideas on how to make the government better, even slightly. Until then, all you're spouting is defeatism and victim blaming, and I would respectfully ask that you shut the fuck up, as you're part of the problem.

  • Dec 5th, 2015 @ 10:58am


    Loading times aren't CPU bound, they're I/O bound. SSDs have made loading times for all but the heaviest of assets nigh instantaneous.

    There's very little that a developer can do to shorten loading times other than using fewer game assetd. They could use real-time compression, trading CPU for Memory, but that hasn't been in style since the '80s. Sometimes JIT (Just-In-Time) loading (or procedural generation) of assets can work, spooling up assets soon to be required in the background, but that's a difficult technique, and doesn't work for every type of game. Another technique is just to load all the assets into memory at startup, having an initial long load instead of having smaller incremental loads interrupting play, but obviously that can only work for smaller games.

    All in all, hardware is going to solve the problem, not software. Loading screen minigames aren't going to matter, one way or the other.

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