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  • Sep 30th, 2020 @ 8:26am

    Too obvious

    If an ISP caps your data at X, but traffic from them (or whatever streaming services have chosen to pay the Danegeld) doesn't count against that, then obviously there's an incentive to use those sources rather than incur the overcharges. For the third-party sources, the ISP is engaged in rent-seeking behavior, charging for access to their customer base. For all the current administration bellows about free markets, this is the ISP gatekeepers picking & choosing winners based on the heft of their wallets. For the consumers it's being penalized for daring to choose content suppliers other than the ISP or its allies. Having the same company providing both content and controlling your access to anyone else's content is clearing anything but net-neutral. I hope for a turnover of administration and a clear, legislative solution to this.
  • Sep 30th, 2020 @ 8:06am

    Re: On the matter of sport channels ...

    Notice how baseball & football have handled their restart: empty stands, a handful of camera crew spaced out around the venue (and I'd agree that could drop with some reasonable automation as is used in the overhead skycams), the "control board" for the game being managed from an offsite location and the announcers in 1+ other locations. With all that network traffic already flying around, how hard would it be to simply provide a livestream off said control board and charge appropriately? You subscribe to your favorite teams' feeds and the league gets a cut. The assorted sports networks like ESPN get to pound sand.
  • Sep 29th, 2020 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: this again

    My current bill for DirecTV is $160/month ($110 base, $30 set-top boxes, $10 "sports fee", DVR service, no premium channels), gig fiber $80 (uncapped while bundled), PLUS taxes & "service fees". Hulu Plus @ $63 for the comparable channel bundle, uncapped fiber resold by toast.net for $75. Not quite half-off. If AT&T and Roku ever get past the measuring contest, adding back the HBO Max for $15 still puts me ahead.
  • Sep 29th, 2020 @ 9:42am

    Re: this again

    Yes, I get uncapped fiber 'Net access from AT&T for bundling their VOIP and satellite TV service. They throw in HBO Max for free as a (minor) perk on top of that. That contract expires in October, at which point we're likely moving to Hulu Plus for TV and finally dumping the "landline" after 30 years in this house. Keeping the uncapped fiber service will cost another $30/month from the Deathstar, but an available reseller (toast.net) will provide uncapped service on the same fiber strand for $5 less than the bundled price I've been paying to SWBell, er, AT&T :-). I see little downside here, other than the dubious value of the HBO I can't use on my Roku players anyway...
  • Sep 8th, 2020 @ 7:17am

    Cops don't get it both ways...

    On the one hand, they want everyone with Ring-or-similar to volunteer them to LE to avoid them actually having to do boots-on-the-ground patrolling. On the other hand, it creates an offsite copy of any cases of their overstepping (dang, can't just seize and "lose" someone's cell phone to cover up), which I'm sure any lawyers looking to have QI overturned will find soooo useful.

  • Sep 4th, 2020 @ 8:02am

    competition ftw

    My city was one of the candidates for Google Fiber before that disintegrated. Big noise from City Hall about how modern this made us etc etc. Strangely enough :-), about four months later, AT&T drops a postcard in my mailbox that they've run fiber through my neighborhood and would I like gig service for what I was paying Comcast for 75/10 internet? Can't complain about the service TBH, but I frankly would have preferred Google coming in and being able to tell Comcast *AND* the Deathstar to pound sand...
  • Sep 1st, 2020 @ 7:52am

    classic monopoly mindset

    Stephenson came up through SW Bell's hierarchy, apparently with the old monopoly mindset well-entrenched by the time they bought up the rump-AT&T operation and took the name.

    He assumed they could slap the Deathstar logo on something and have people rush in for it. At this point they run screaming.

    At present I have a 'triple play' bundle with them for DIrecTV, FTTH gig internet and VOIP, which contract runs out in the fall. At that point we may keep the fiber, which is giving us free HBO, but if they can't get their act together with Roku it's off to toast.net, a reseller without data caps. For the rest Hulu Plus and maybe Ooma will drop our media bill by about 2/3.

  • Jul 10th, 2020 @ 6:21am

    Waiting for AT&T to catch a clue

    On AT&T's fiber service, so I'm entitled to HBO Max gratis. That said, neither my LG smart TV or my Roku boxes can get the service, and I'm uninterested in picking up YA streaming box such as Chromecast just for their stuff when everything else I'm interested in is already available. Planning to dump their DirecTV once my contract is up in the fall, so streaming options are important.

    That AT&T can launch a service to try and staunch the flood of cord-cutters, then ignore 2/3 of the streaming platform market (Roku & Amazon) astounds me. Old-school monopoly mindset still in play I suppose. At some point they're bound to deal with their cranio-rectal inversion, in the meantime AT&T can suck it.

  • May 1st, 2020 @ 6:14am

    Re: studios owning theaters

    In the US, the studios were forced to divest their theater operations as an anti-trust move in the late 1940s; the original ruling had come nearly 20 years earlier but was put off by FDR during WW2. The studios unloaded their portfolios to the rising television networks of the time (all the late-night old movies on the independents back in the day...).

  • May 1st, 2020 @ 5:44am

    Re: phones out in theaters

    the Alamo Drafthouse chain has a hard-and-fast no talking or texting rule in their theaters. They've even gotten some stars to do lead-ins to warn people against it, usually as part of whatever new movie they're in:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAVp6i5dlU (Godzilla!)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_a8YATU_NM (Mark Hamill)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh9xkaY8TYQ (Amy Schumer)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=077i_XUvOBo&list=RDCMUC5hYQ9a_QgTFnOCqHBzlX4g&index =7 (Chadwick Boseman)

  • Apr 29th, 2020 @ 7:15am

    Re: Beginning of the next 'Ma Bell'?

    >> It'll be interesting to see how the US handles this, because they'll have to choose between government enforcing equal-levy rules on the cables, or a permanently entrenched monopoly. Problem with re-engineering this is that most of these companies have exclusivity agreements either at the state or local level, so you'd end up getting into a raft of "states' rights" arguments (hello, Interstate commerce rules :-) ). The simplest solution would be to declare the last-mile infrastructure as open to all comers, such as was done in the Ma Bell breakup, so competitors could get on the wires/fiber/coax. The incumbents would scream, but this should create the "public roads" needed. In my town, AT&T & Comcast suddenly got much more competitive on pricing once Google FIber announced/threatened to come in. Have AT&T gig FTTH at this point for $80/month. Will be looking HARD at cutting the cord (ditching the dish in my case) once the contract expires in the fall.
  • Mar 11th, 2020 @ 5:54am

    Re: There are several ways this can be fixed.

    1) already happened some years ago to a Ron Paul staffer: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2009/06/aclu_sues_tsa_for_airport_sear.html

    They backed away quickly once it came out that these were political contributions.

  • Feb 14th, 2020 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Thanks, beat me to posting that one specifically.

    "wear gloves..."

  • Feb 12th, 2020 @ 9:07am

    set rules under business-friendly Congress

    Deathstar-Prime would like to get a set of meaningless NN rules in place (see Blackburn's nonsense) before the election and a potential Democratic trifecta of POTUS/Senate/House push through something with actual teeth.
  • Jan 13th, 2020 @ 11:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The History of Music

    Obviously 3 Feb 1959, now where's my whisky & rye ....
  • Jan 7th, 2020 @ 11:26am

    Re: Threading the needle

    Of course, go back far enough and IBM could jump on this claiming Oracle ripped off their R database project...
  • Oct 24th, 2019 @ 8:00am

    Typ. AT&T marketing

    After The Breakup, it was said by many that AT&T wouldn't know how to sell a cure for cancer. Too many of the execs are still of the old-school monopoly mindset and assume "lock-in loyalty" on the part of their customers. You'd think 30+ years later with landline service nearly dead, mobile customers jumping between carriers based on who provides the best deal this month, and cord-cutting hitting the inflection point that they might actually try competing on service and quality. Naaah, let's squeeze the suckers to pay for thicker gold-plating on those exec's parachutes...
  • Oct 9th, 2019 @ 12:57pm


    In the NBA case, this was an team 'employee' using their public position to advertise their opinion, and the employer then choosing to placate an offended group of customers despite its stated posture of supporting US free-speech values. In the Blizzard case, it was leveraging a "don't offend others" clause no doubt way down in the EULA against one customer against another customer-group, again in spite of US conventions and triggering a counter-response supporting the original poster. It's about impossible to make an utterly neutral statement that doesn't push someone's buttons, somewhere, so this is a much more questionable move, and may backfire on them to some degree.
  • Sep 20th, 2019 @ 6:41am

    Re: inconsistent

    The point of net neutrality isn't QoS, which the prior rules specifically allowed for. The point is that startup site XYZ should have no more barriers to customer access than Netflix/FB/Google/etc . If XYZ can buy the bandwidth to get their content onto the Net, they should have as much access to customers as the Big Four. This is the basic disruptive nature of the 'Net. The latter being able to 'pay the Danegeld' to various ISPs in order to reach those customers at full speed is *LITERAL* rent-seeking behavior that the NN rules were meant to prevent. This is the ISPs picking market winners based on their ability to pay for prioritized access to those customer bases, and is completely anti-competitive. For all the conservatives' trumpeting about free markets, this is anything but, and their failure to acknowledge as much brands them for what they really are.
  • Sep 5th, 2019 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Freedom to choose

    SImple math: you get vaccinated once as a kid, maybe a booster as a teen. Pharma's not making any big money on that; consider the chronic medications like insulin, blood thinners, cholesterol meds etc that you have to take EVERY FREAKIN' DAY, there's the vector for price gouging.

    Yes, some people have bad reactions to vaccines, the percentage is exceptionally small. The benefit to society in general greatly outweighs this. The anti-vaxxers touting how few people die of the classic childhood diseases don't count in the much more frequent (but still slight) neurological problems, blindness, male sterility from mumps, etc etc. Dodging the question by focusing only on the worst possible outcome frankly proves the moral bankruptcy of their position.

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