Network Neutrality simplified

I wrote a letter to my local paper giving a simplified explanation of the network neutrality issue, for the low-tech crowd. You can read it below:

The FCC is considering a proposal to allow Internet service companies to give higher and lower priority status to websites who pay special fees, and to restrict consumer access to websites who don’t pay for this special status. Consumers pay for access to the Internet, which means all of the websites on it; websites pay their own Internet service costs. This proposal is akin to companies setting up an extra tollway on a road you already paid to use.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is a former lobbyist for these Internet service providers. The fox is in the henhouse and the FCC is now being abused to give special kickbacks to Internet service companies, and in doing so risks the free flow of ideas in America. Your favorite websites will soon be slower or go completely dark, unless they pay the special fees. If your local Internet service company doesn’t like a website because it doesn’t agree with their politics, they can block it altogether.
The only viable solution is to reclassify Internet service as a common carrier. This would make it like phone service. Your phone company can’t decide who you can and cannot call, and Internet companies shouldn’t be able to control which Websites work and which Websites don’t.

Open Letter to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz

An Open Letter to Senators Cornyn and Cruz:

On May 15, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who comes from the telecom industry and who will presumably return there once his term as a regulator for the telecommunications industry ends, will reveal his proposal that is expected to represent a turning point in the history of the Internet. There are indications that he will be moving us away from net neutrality. the concept that ISPs can’t prioritize or de-prioritize certain internet traffic and towards a “commercially reasonable” litmus test. In other words, ISPs will likely be allowed to treat online traffic however they please as long as people like Tom Wheeler deem what they decide to do “commercially reasonable.”
Wheeler has been an executive at two lobbying groups: he was the President of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and the CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA). I have to infer, based on that history and the news that he plans institute the “commercially reasonable” standard, that these new rules are designed to benefit the major telecom and ISP companies rather than the public at large.

This is a prime example of regulatory capture: the current chairman of the FCC was an executive at lobbying firms for the industry he’s now regulating. The fox is in the henhouse, and the FCC can’t be trusted to do the right thing when they’re controlled opposition for the companies they’re supposed to be keeping in check.

As such, I am asking you to introduce a simple bill that would re-classify ISPs as Title II common carriers and which would briefly clarify that ISPs may neither prioritize nor de-prioritize any information flowing through their networks.

Failing to prevent the decay of net neutrality would have widespread consequences. If the FCC is allowed to apply a “commercially reasonable” standard at Tom Wheeler’s discretion, we will see the stifling of both online activism and the free association of like-minded individuals online and, almost inevitably, an assault on the freedom of the press (Did a muckraking journalist just publish a groundbreaking investigation of the ISP industry? Guess what webpage isn’t going to be loading anytime soon.).
Please do not allow ISPs to dictate the future of the First Amendment.
Do the right thing and re-classify ISPs as common carriers.

More information can be found at www.savetheinternet.com

Clever spam

Mike,

Hello, I am from approximately two months in the future. On 10/22 at approx 2:34am CET a tachyon field failure in the main resonating ring of the LHC causes a “temporal blowback”. Shortly thereafter, the resulting destruction of the strong nuclear force causes the world to vaporize in seconds, while a few of us near the experiment are thrown into a temporal causality loop. While the predestination event (or as we have come to call it “The Big Rewind”) hasn’t occurred yet to
you, for us it is about three years in our past. I came across your site looking to see if there were any other scientists that may have theorized this phenomenon who may be of assistance in preventing it. This brings me to my point, I have repeatedly checked your site for the past five
rewinds at 2:34:01 CET and it still says nope, believe me at this point the LHC has most assuredly destroyed the world. I can provide a bank account in Nigeria for the funds to be placed. I am curious to the exact amount however.

John Titor
CERN Specialist

Creative signs their death warrant

Creative Labs has decided to threaten a community modder because he was making Creative Labs drivers that actually supported Windows Vista with all of the features advertised for the product. Vista has been out for well over a year, and I have used it now for less than a year, and during this time Creative has entirely failed to provide a driver solution that gives all of the features advertised for the product. Hell, they can’t even make a driver that’s stable on the operating system. I have contacted Creative Labs support on a couple occasions about this, posted on the forum, etc. but in the end anytime I try to have sound outputting during high CPU usage I am nervous about my computer locking up.

I have complained about this product in the past, how Creative won’t just release specs so people can make Linux drivers, but I make this my vow: I will not buy another Creative product, period. I also will go on every single review website, forum, etc. and give people the raw facts about Creative Labs: they are incompetent and worthless(with of course, all the details of their failings).

For more on this topic, see the digg article.

UPDATE: For those looking to download the Creative Audigy drivers written by Daniel_K, they can be found here http://digiex.net/drivers/164-creative-audigy-series-vista-32bit-x86-vista-64bit-x64-drivers-daniel_k.html