Tech at Night

Net Neutrality goes to court. Great news, too: Verizon’s preferred venue won the lottery, and the Net Neutrality fight will happen in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. This is, of course, the same circuit that slapped down Net Neutrality last time in Comcast v FCC.

Oh, but here’s a big surprise. Despite the FCC claiming previously that “We look forward to defending our open Internet framework in court,” they’re actually doing everything they can not to have to defend it in court by attempting to get Verizon’s appeal dismissed. So much for that day in court.

As for Sprint Nextel, even as they sue claiming competition will be impaired if T-Mobile and AT&T join up, their own strategy update presentation admitted the truth. See the 9:46AM slide, showing the growth rate of the year-on-year net postpaid subscribers across the top four providers. In 2010, Sprint was the only one to accelerate, while AT&T saw the biggest drop in its growth. In the first half of 2011, Verizon and Sprint are accelerating, while would-be deal makers AT&T and T-Mobile look on pace to notch their third and fifth (respectively) years of slower growth.

Yes, that’s right. Sprint’s gaining subscribers at a faster clip, and is trying to keep the laggards from combining to keep the pressure (and 4G prices) up. And they’ve gotten the Barack Obama/Eric Holder Department of Justice to help, using your taxpayer dollars.

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Tech at Night

Hello again to those I saw in Charleston over the weekend, and hope to see you next time to those who weren’t able to make it!

While I return to California and get settled in again, it seems that some are leaving the state for good, and the hostile business climate is why. This includes the punitive Amazon Tax which has made it impossible for Amazon and others to host affiliate programs in California, destroying small businesses, slashing profits, and killing jobs. And this is a story we’re seeing again and again, up and down the state. New and higher taxes, even of the unconstitutional variety, kills jobs.

So my message to Tennessee’s Governor Haslam is don’t do it. Don’t be like us. Create a job-friendly environment, or you will only compound whatever revenue problems you have.

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Tech at Night: Google, FCC, Civil Defense spectrum

On April 14, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

That’s one of the most boring and least unique Tech at Night titles ever, but I’m going to war with the links I have.

Slade Gorton’s priorities are horribly wrong. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is. On Tuesday the Greg Walden subcommittee held hearings on “Use of Spectrum with Public Safety.” I’ve already explained why I think the D Block of wireless spectrum needs to be allocated directly to public safety, but Gorton’s argument for putting the D block up to auction is ridiculous. So says Energy and Commerce’s press release:

Gorton testified that auctioning “the D Block to the private sector will reduce the deficit, empower huge investments in new technology and job creation, and will meet the very real needs of our vital public safety sector.”

We already tried auctioning the D block. It did none of the above. And why should we try to reduce the deficit with a one-time payment from the pockets of first responders? That seems all wrong to me.

I know civil defense has a mixed record historically, when it was promoted by some as an alternative to tough-minded deterrence of nuclear war. But the threat of retaliation doesn’t work against jihadis. We need to be prepared to react to attacks better than we did on 9/11.

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Tech at Night: Google, Apple, RIM, Al Franken

On July 27, 2010, in General, by Neil Stevens
Tech at Night

Good evening. Sure, it’s technically morning, but when I went to post tonight I realized I had nothing queued up to write about, so I had to make a crash run through my news feeds before I could get started.

But get started we shall tonight with Apple and the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is apparently entrusted with setting rules for what forms of reverse engineering are allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a landmark bill which included (over)broad restrictions on software. In short, the DMCA pretty much bans reverse engineering or circumvention of software or hardware that enforces copyright. Exceptions are given though, and the Library of Congress has announced some more exceptions.

One of them is a doozy: Both major forms of Apple iPhone “jailbreaking” are now expressly legal in this country. It is allowed to circumvent Apple’s restrictions to install legitimate software otherwise inaccessible through the App Store. It is also allowed to buy a used iPhone and circumvent the AT&T carrier restriction in it.

In practice this might not mean much, as jailbreaking activity was already strong due to clear legality in other countries from the start. That fact forced Apple to fight jailbreaking technologically, rather than legally. But now the full might of American engineering may be brought to bear on iPhone jailbreaking, and Apple might have a tougher time going forward.

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Tech at Night

It’s Friday evening, and mentally I’ve almost checked out for the weekend, but I still have a lot to get through here, so let’s get going before I zone out with some Horatio Hornblower (a series I’ll start on this weekend thanks to a neat site called Age of Sail).

One big story is that Amazon may be trying to broker a Net Neutrality compromise. Amazon is, like Google, an Internet firm that stands to benefit greatly if ISPs are pounded into the ground by the FCC. But, as Amazon’s Paul Misener points out, “there have been almost no Net neutrality violations.” So Misener suggests, to cram his full piece into a few words as best as I can, that Internet routing be allowed to be more flexible and yes, payment enhanced, as long as everyone gets a shot at it. Fairness does not demand a socialist leveling of everyone onto the lowest common denominator of service.

It’s good to see at least some Net Neutrality proponents understand the way the Internet works both as a business as well as a technology, and can cut through the socialist ideology to start proposing reasonable compromise. I hope to see more talk of this nature.

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Nima Jooyandeh facts.