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Tag: internet

Egypt’s Crackdown of the Net and Mobile Services

Posted by geeknews at 11:53 AM on January 28, 2011

The Internet Gives and the Internet Takes away is probably how I can sum up the situation in Egypt. What is crazy about the internet shutdown in Egypt was the absolute cut-off that has occurred. When drafting this 90% of Egypt is disconnected from the rest of the world.

Makes you want to make sure you hold on to some old school modems and hope that some ISP’s in other countries have services you can connect to with dial up have that list of ISPs handy. With the precedence the Egyptian Government has made in shutting down mobile and Internet service it really makes you think.

Not saying it could happen here in the United States, but if I was a doom and gloom type person these actions would make me want to hang on to some modems and keep a land line, things would have to get pretty bad for any government to shut down regular telephone service. Keep this in mind, if they are willing to kill the Internet I am sure it will not be long before they would kill international calling as well.

The only sure fire way to stay online would be to have a Satellite Internet connection connected to a service provider in another country.  I am sure what we see post shut down is going to shock us, as the digital age where everyone has a camera in their pocket is going to record everything that happened. The news is going to get out regardless but this crackdown is Egypt’s way of trying to prevent people from organizing.

Can you imagine this happening in America? People would be exercising their rights to carry and bear arms.

OTT Tsunami

Posted by tomwiles at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2010

We’ve been hearing quite a lot about Internet-delivered video content lately. Trends sometimes seem to advance slowly over a long period of time but then tumultuous market shifts seem to happen overnight.

Blockbuster just filed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster was unable to reconfigure their business structure to compete effectively with Netflix. It seems that Netflix has won the ongoing war.

Streaming video and video podcasts have been around for several years – these are not new ideas. However, what is new is the proliferation and increasing popularity of set-top boxes.

Back in the 1980’s backyard satellite TV dishes were a hobby among people that were looking for something different and as many choices as possible. That quest for choice ended up going mainstream in the form of commercial cable and satellite providers offering hundreds of channels.

Starting in 2004 people began experimenting with Internet-delivered content in the form of podcasts. I believe that podcasting happened as a direct result of broadband availability getting to a certain critical mass, combining the existing elements of RSS, MP3’s, etc. into a new form of communication. This new form of communication offered something very different along with unprecedented levels of choice.

Internet-delivered content of all kinds is rapidly becoming mainstream.

I believe 2010 is the year of the app. Apps suddenly seemed to have come out of nowhere to seeming to pop up on every device imaginable. Why the sudden popularity of apps? Desktop and laptop computers have been around for a long time, along with full-blown applications. What has really happened is that computers have now shrunk down to the point where they not only are in our pockets in the form of smartphones, but they are also showing up in HDTV sets and plenty of other devices. These devices we are running these apps on are actually quite powerful computers in their own rights.

There is now a wide variety of content that is heading for every computer-enabled screen you own, especially your HDTV.

GNC-2010-09-14 #610 Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Posted by geeknews at 1:15 AM on September 14, 2010

I share with you early on in the show, why I screamed no over the weekend some of you had troubles downloading the last show and that was part of it. Watch your ears at the end as I share a special audio No :).. This one is packed to the rim folks with lots of tech and assorted goodies. The new news links you all have been providing are dangerous. Thanks to all of the Ohana that keep this show at the top of their listen list. I am very grateful.

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History Is About To Repeat

Posted by tomwiles at 12:18 AM on July 15, 2010

I remember it well. Back around October of 2004, I first heard the word “podcast” used on The David Lawrence Show via my XM Satellite Radio. It sounded interesting, and I wrote it down on my driver logbook cover with the idea of looking it up later. I heard David mention it again once or twice over the next few weeks. Finally, in early December of 2004 I finally got around to looking it up. I found Adam Curry’s podcast, realized what it was, and knew that I felt compelled to not only listen to podcasts but get involved as a podcaster myself. This was exactly what I’d been looking for for many years – a wide variety of content that I could choose, download, and control the playback/consumption of on MY terms.

Podcasting took previously-existing elements and applied them with a new twist. MP3 files had already existed for a number of years. Virtually every computer already came with a sound card and had the basic ability to both play back and record audio. Portable MP3 players had been around for a while. Apart from Adam Curry’s and Dave Winer’s contribution of the podcasting concept and making it work, the one key element that suddenly made podcasting viable and actually inevitable was the fact that Internet bandwidth got good enough to make it practical.

Practical is an important key.

We have now passed another important milestone in terms of mobile bandwidth. Mobile bandwidth, while not yet perfect, has improved dramatically in both terms of data delivery and coverage. About three or more years ago I had experimented with streaming audio via my smartphone while driving my truck, and quickly determined that it wasn’t viable. I couldn’t listen long at all before I would lose the stream. No problem, I had plenty of podcasts to listen to.

I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about Pandora.Com lately, so last week I finally tried the Pandora Android app out on my new Sprint HTC Evo. To my surprise, it worked amazingly well – even in Arizona and the western third of New Mexico along Interstate 40 where Sprint still has 1XRT service. The streaming music sounded great, and the few times it did briefly drop out in a couple of mountainous areas, it automatically reconnected and reestablished the playback stream.

(By the way, a side note – I was surprised to learn that Verizon has NO data card coverage around the Kingman, Arizona area – my Verizon aircard would NOT connect in the Kingman area.)

Streaming radio via the Internet in a moving vehicle is now practical. Smartphones have also reached critical mass to the point where they are really beginning to move into the mainstream. Even though streaming Internet audio has been around for quite a few years at this point, I believe the automotive market for streaming audio is about to open up in a massive way.

Up until this point most people have felt that streaming Internet radio had plateaued or was only going to grow slowly. I believe that improved cell networks along with smartphone proliferation will create a new market for streaming audio services. The automobile has been the traditional stronghold of terrestrial and now satellite radio services. An old kid that’s been around a while suddenly has a big and growing shot at a new lease-on life.

I believe opportunities exist for streaming Internet radio stations that deliver highly specialized content. For us geeks, imagine a 24/7 tech-centric streaming station. The sky really is the limit. The cost of running a streaming station can be very low, so therefore it becomes possible and practical to narrowcast to relatively small audiences.

Why Did The Initial Joost Experiment Fail?

Posted by tomwiles at 10:15 AM on July 6, 2010

A few years ago remember seeing all those “Joost” commercials pushing their Internet TV application? “Proper TV – Joost” the sophisticated-sounding British spokesman endlessly blurted out towards the end of the ad.

Of course, the initial Joost experiment ended badly. The Joost application stopped working December 19, 2008. Literally millions of dollars went down the drain.

I remember downloading and playing with the application and watching a few minutes of the various included streaming videos. I wasn’t impressed, and never opened the application again.

What went wrong? Why have Hulu and Netflix ascended to near household name status, and Joost flopped with the thud of a drunk elephant tripping over it’s own trunk?

There’s something the Joost folks, savvy as they were, failed to take into account. It’s a little something called choice. Joost failed for the same reason that broadcast, cable and satellite providers are losing viewers and subscribers. The “choice” offered by channel surfing revolves around searching for the least-boring junk content that is currently playing. It is choice, but not a very good one. People sitting in front of their Internet-connected computers watching the Joost application trying it’s best to replicate the conventional channel surfing TV experience lost out to the Internet itself. Joost – b-o-r-i-n-g, close it and move on to another website and find something more useful and/or exciting.

The lesson is choice. Enlightened, sophisticated content consumers will choose that content based on three primary criteria – Entertainment, Information, or Character – either any single one or a mixture. By the way, these are the same three filters you apply to your choice in selecting friends.

The failure of the initial Joost experiment was inevitable, and should serve as a warning for all content creators and marketers. Sitting in front of an Internet-connected screen and the conventional channel surfing model don’t mix well. The Internet will easily win the battle.

Broadband Basic Right In Finland

Posted by Andrew at 8:25 AM on July 1, 2010

From the beginning of July, a 1 Mbit/s Internet connection will become a universal service in Finland.  Simply, this means that anyone who wants an Internet connection must be provided with one at a reasonable price by one of the 26 telecom operators.

This makes Finland the first country in the world to make Internet access a basic right and it’s interesting to compare this with the UK and France which have both threatened to cut-off the connections of persistent copyright infringers.

From a technical perspective, it’s not a big deal.  There’s already about 96% connection penetration in the country already and this means that there are only about 4000 properties that would need to be connected to achieve full penetration.

Personally, I think this is great step forwards.  1 Mbit/s isn’t super fast but it’s adequate and over time technology and commercial pressure will up the data rate.  However, the key point is that it’s a universal service or basic right enshrined in law, which means that it can’t easily be taken away.

There’s additional coverage over at the BBC.

Is It Time For An REA for the Internet

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:31 PM on June 30, 2010

The death of Senator Bryd at the age of 92, had me thinking about the technical advances he saw in his life time. That the fight to get those advances to the most people was being fought then and continues to be fought today. The battleground may have changed, but the arguments often repeat themselves. Today, the battle is over what is the best way to get broadband to the most people. In the 1930′s it was electricity. While 90% of all urban residents had electricity by the 1930′s only 10% of rural residence did. Electric companies of that time said it was too expensive to supply electricity to sparsely populated rural areas, that they could not justify the cost. Rural residents who were lucky enough to have electricity paid rates two times as high as those in urban areas. This was at a time when items such as refrigeration, the radio and the telephone, all which depended on electricity were coming into their own. Without electricity, rural areas were falling further and further behind their urban counter part.

Despite their unwillingness to build in rural areas, utility companies and their supporters fought against any kind of government involvement, They insisted that the free market would take care of the issue. By 1935 it was clear that the free market system was not working and that something had to be done to get electricity to the rural areas. To deal with the problem the Roosevelt administration, created the Rural Electric Administration. The REA supplied incentives in form of loans to private utilities to build the infrastructure to provide electricity in rural areas. In those areas where private companies could not or would not participate, the government encourage the formation of cooperatives which were established to provide electricity for coop members. By law these electric cooperatives could not compete directly against private companies. By the 1950′s nearly all rural areas had electricity either thru cooperatives or private industries.

My question is is it time for something similar to the REA to get high speed Internet or broadband to areas that are not being covered by private industries. Just as electricity was the backbone to much of the innovation of the 20th century, broadband will be the backbone of much of the innovation of the 21st century. As more and more business and communication is done on line, those who have no or slow Internet connection will get left further and further behind. Do we continue to depend on private industry to provide the broadband or do we consider other alternatives similar to the REA. What do you think


Over 50s Get Online In UK

Posted by Andrew at 3:39 PM on June 30, 2010

image: www.freeimages.co.uk

In a press release today, UKOM revealed that nearly two million more Britons are now online when compared to last year with over half of the increase coming from the over-50s.

The exact figures were that in May 2009 there were 36.9 million people online, growing to 38.8 million in the same month of 2010.  Of this 5% growth, 1 million were over 50.  For comparison, the World Bank reckoned there were about 61.4 million people in the UK in 2008, so that means that a little over 63% of the UK is online.

Interestingly, it was mostly men in the over 50s group, but large rises were also seen in the 12-20 and 21-34 women’s groups, possibly suggesting that they are catching up in Internet use.  There’s actually a great graph in the press release showing the breakdown by age and gender.

If you want to know what the over 50s were up to, UKOM handily provide the top 10 over 50s websites, including RealAge, Flixxy, Saga, WA Shearings, Fifty Plus, FamilySearch, Hand Picked Hotels, Lurpak, Jacquie Lawson and Cruise.co.uk.  That pretty much gives a snapshot of what they’re upto on the Internet.

The full press release is here (PDF).

AT&T Can No Longer be Trusted!

Posted by geeknews at 11:42 PM on June 2, 2010

AT&T I hated this company during the days of deregulation by the tricks they played to keep from losing long distance customers to Sprint and MCI, now once again I am beyond words of what I think about this company. I had planned on buying my wife a 3G iPad but as of today I will not buy the 3G version. The reason is simple. AT&T has handicapped the device with new data plan restrictions to include handicapping anyone buying a new iPhone.

If I was Apple I would be pissed!  AT&T has squandered the public trust a final time. I guess AT&T found out that when people buy devices and are told they can use them without restrictions they actually use them without restrictions. So much for tethering the iPhone they are gonna charge you and extra $20.00 and not give you any more bandwidth on top of the money you have to pay for the data plan. I can see the discussion, lets give them tethering but so little bandwidth they actually won’t use it.

I have had enough of their Bait and Switch Tactics and will no longer support the company through any further purchases of Apple products that require me to use AT&T. Who in their right mine changes their pricing for iPad data plans 30 days after the launch? I will tell you who. A company that is scarred to death of streaming apps like Pandora coming to the iPhone/iPad.  They said OMG someone may actually listen to music all day long on 3g we cannot encourage that.. This is legalized net neutrality data shaping through lowering bandwidth caps.

I will instead buy my wife a Wi-Fi iPad and get her a Sprint MIFI Overdrive 3G/4G  unit that she can carry in her purse and not only use with her iPad but also with a laptop. To Hell with AT&T.

I spend a lot of money each month on “mobile” connectivity. I have 2 mobile cards one from Verizon and one from Sprint, because when I travel I can bust through their 5gb cap on a card in two weeks. I have an unlimited iPhone account and was going to get my wife the 3G iPad so she could do research on her book without having to fire up a laptop when running the kids around town.

AT&T made billions of dollars last year, how come they did not take some of this billions and do more capital improvements so that I do not have to write this article. In all honesty I really want to swear like a sailor in this article to really let them know how I feel. So instead I will let your imagination imagine what I really wanted to say.

GNC-2010-04-23 #569 Firing on all Cylinders!

Posted by geeknews at 1:11 AM on April 23, 2010

Turned out we had a bad Audio card with my primary recording machine, went back to fire-wire for the audio recording. We announce the Roku winner tonight, but you need to listed to win as a new contest starts immediately. Two week road trip with a pit stop at home after week one. Meet Ups in your neck of the woods possible. Trip to Ford coming on Mid may looking forward to that and with a visit to the homestead.

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