Category Archives: business

Nettica DNS Service is under a DDOS

We are working like crazy to figure out what is going on but our DNS provider is down this afternoon and it looks to be a big issue. I am not sure how long Geek News Central will continue to resolve but we are working on getting a new DNS service setup.

Update: Their website finally came up and they announced that they are under a denial of service attack.

Ustream.TV Blows it in their Latest Updates!

Ustream.TV in an attempt to improve the interface for listeners and those of use using the service have caused a large number of content creators to cry out in protest of some of the changes.

During my Live event last night, all of the listeners where complaining about the new chat interface. In fact I could not participate in chat at all last night as the chat auto scroll was broken. Plus as part of the change I can no longer chat from the Broadcast Console it forces me to a separate web-page. This is problematic as I have 20+ tabs open on every show making it impossible to follow the chat.


The biggest issue I have with the changes is that when I am not streaming it is impossible for someone to watch my previous show from my video page here at Geek News Central. In order for people to watch an archived show they get driven back to the Ustream.TV website versus being able to watch here at Geek News Central. Plus the videos they are presented are the oldest versions. Which is really stupid.


One of the worst things is that visitors to my site no longer can quickly watch my previous episode which will result in lower revenues for both me and ustream as they cannot show any more ads to my viewers.


Another big issue is that Ustream is now promoting other shows that I do not approve of in my player window, whether I am live of off line on Geek News Central. This is a big issue why would I want to promote shows that I do not endorse!


On the Ustream site on my once personalized show page they are promoting other shows as well, which is frustrating, because as I visited over 20 shows that Ustream.TV was promoting on my show page and non of those show pages were promoting my show in reverse. This is BAD BAD BAD BAD as these shows get free advertisements on my show page and I don’t get any return love.

Are Geeks coming to my site going to want to watch some an Owl Cam? How in the hell can that be a recommended show? 


It is obvious that they are working very hard to keep people contained within the Ustream.TV website but they have effectively destroyed my ability to build my live show on my own website. Because the player on my dedicated video page does nothing but drive people away from my site and onto Ustream.TV website.



Time Warner Cable in battle to protect their Monopoly!

The stakes could not be in higher now in North Carolina where communities are sick and tired of being sick and tired of paying ridiculous prices for Internet, TV Programming and Telephone services are in a battle to save a local broadband services from being shut down by Time Warner.

Several towns have formed private companies in North Carolina to roll out their own service packages. Not at all surprisingly they are offering some amazing data, television, and telephone services that Time Warner is not happy about.

Wilson, North Carolina asked Time Warner Cable for more bandwidth a lower prices. TWC was unwilling to do so, Wilson, NC invested 28 million dollars to roll there own.


A comparison of services from various providers. The local service, Greenlight, both provides the most affordable bundle option for its speed, and offers an unmatched 100 Mbps option. The success has cable providers trying to outlaw the service. (Source: IndyWeek)

What is ironic here is that every time I have examined a city or town doing this it is a big win for the residents. Even more amazing if you look at the chart. They offer a 100mps symmetrical connection for $300.00 a month.

Almost makes you want to pack up and move your business to the Wilson, NC area.

Here is the kicker Time Warner has used its lobbyist and strong arm tactics to get a bill introduced in the North Carolina legislature that would actually outlaw what the city of Wilson did.

There is a huge battle going in in this state and if you don’t think it could happen in yours you are sadly mistaken. If you are a resident of North Carolina you better pick up the phone today and support Save North Carolina Broadband

TWC No Caps – No Super-Fast Broadband

2009-cryIt appears that Time Warner is re-thinking it’s deployment of faster broadband offerings because consumers complained about the caps!

Ladies and Gentleman I am constraining myself from saying what I really want to say to Time Warner, because I am trying to keep this post in the G rating category.

So not only does it appear that Time Warner Cable was going to try and ram bandwidth caps down customers throats, they are now going to go and threaten it’s customers by saying no caps, no speed increases. I am telling you this is a great way to make your customers really love you.

Check out this statement”

“This week, TWC chief operating officer Landel Hobbs said at a conference in California that his company’s strategy will be to deploy DOCSIS 3.0 “surgically” in markets where it is most needed, but not in markets where the company is not finding support for its tiered broadband services.”

2009-dunceWell I have news for the folks at Time Warner Cable, you all are not going to be rolling out very much DOCSIS 3.0 anywhere in the country, because people are not going to stand for these bandwidth capping games.

The true problem goes back to our local public utility commissions. The high majority of us have no choices as TWC doesn’t have true competition. We don’t have it here in Hawaii, and the poor folks who were going to be the guinea pigs in 4 market areas were in areas that were to get BW Cap Trials did not either.

Time Warner Actions Bait and Switch

Time Warner is now starting to roll out metered bandwidth to markets across the United States with unreasonable bandwidth caps. In a move that will do nothing but stifle innovation and a move to kill online streaming service Time Warners actions alone will forever change the face of the Internet.

It was bad enough when Comcast rolled out 250gb metered bandwidth caps but at least the were semi reasonable in setting caps that guaranteed that users of their service would nor have to worry about exceeding there caps each month by renting a few online movies.

Time Warners 50gb cap per month is ridiculously low, and many will see huge charges on their bills when they exceed the maximum bandwidth allowed.

Just like the Music Industry, Time Warner is implementing metered bandwidth at at time when most Americans using there service have no other broadband offering.

Living in Hawaii the Time Warner Broadband service has not improved in the way of upload or download speed in over 10 years. They have failed to improve their infrastructure and now because of larger demand on there network have to place bandwidth restrictions on there service to maintain acceptable service levels.

If there were more broadband choices it would be easy to pick up the phone cancel service with Time Warner and order new service with another vendor. But because of actions of Public Utility Commissions most Americans have 1 choice in a service provider that offers a true broadband experience.

Time Warner should be simply ashamed of themselves and I encourage consumers to pick up the phone and complain to Time Warner directly, email the company and file complaints with your local public utilities commissions demanding more choices in the broadband networks.

Time Warner actions are simple. They want to cap bandwidth so that you are forced into consuming more of their base cable products to avoid busting ones bandwidth caps.

It is ridiculous to think that they were able to establish normal usage criteria by doing a test in Bealmont Texas. If they wanted to establish normal usage patterns they would have done so in a place like NYC, Austin, San Jose, Los Angles.

Will IBM buy Sun?

Big news around the traps is the potential of IBM to buy Sun for a projected $6.5B, which is about double what the company was valued at when the announcement came out. It has been rumoured for some time that Sun had itself up for sale, it’s market share has been decreasing regardless of what they do to stop it and they risk burning cash to keep themselves afloat. Their latest 10K shows that in Quarter 2 they dropped in revenue, yet increased in costs despite having a significant round of cost cuttings and redundancies.

I don’t see any significant product advantage to IBM from this move. While they will gain some market share, history would suggest they would be lucky to keep half of what Sun now have. Then the cost of transitioning Solaris customers to either AIX or Linux would only be high. The only higher cost option being to keep AIX and Solaris going in perpetuity. There is also the impact of having to continue support for older versions of Solaris while the talented ex-Sun people stream away to other companies.

While IBM would gain access to Java, they have pretty much open access to it already without having to spend the developement dollars. And in every other crossover market, database, tape, storage and services there would be similar prospects of difficult product line merges.

If this does go ahead, I would think this probably has more of a blocking move than improving IBMs product line or market share. Sun are arguably a bargain price at the moment. Before IBMs interest became public, Suns market valuation was about equal to its equity position. Even offering double that this is a better deal than most tech takeovers. Sun has around $2.6B in cash and equivelants, which makes the real price around $3.9B, and splitting off and selling a few divisions will bring that down even further.

I would guess that IBM is worried about someone else buying them and getting quick access to a market they don’t compete in. Someone like a Dell, Acer or Cisco. Even possibly a Lenovo. Dell for example has $8B in cash and no Unix or credible high end services. Bidding big and bidding early might let IBM snap Sun out of a potential rivals hands.

The market seems to have decided this deal is going to happen. Sun shares rose nearly $9 bringing their market cap up to almost the IBM bid price. This means that the stock market is willing to bet $9 a share for a $1 a share return.

This doesn’t seem good for Unix customers though. They will go from having 3 mid-range options to 2. It will likely be good for Microsoft and the Linux vendors though as it will probably give a kicker to the companies moving away from Unix.

Circuit City RIP, 03-08-09

CIrcuit City’s official death date is March 8, 2009. That means we have two more days to buy whatever is left.

Not that there is that much left. I know, I was in one on Monday. Not much there that anyone would want. And the discounts still aren’t that great for what is left behind.

But for me, the passing of Circuit City is a hurtful blow. Even in this big metropolitan area I live in, we have few resources for getting computer and electronic parts when you need them. We can get the basics from most office supply stores, and sometimes from Walmart, and maybe from Best Buy, if you’re willing to pay the price. But right now I’m sitting here needing a ten-foot male-male USB cable for my mother’s printer, and the only way I’m going to be able to get it is to find it online and have it shipped. The same goes for a upgraded SD card for my camera because I’m getting regular failures with my current one, and for a hard drive for my ailing laptop. My biggest concern is that I will no longer be able to pick up something “on the fly” for an emergency. I am a geek, yes, and I have a lot of bits and parts in my big box ‘o gadgets in the storage room, but that doesn’t mean I always have what I need. In fact, I rarely have what I need.

It’s hard to believe the market for tech gadgets and accessories and replacement parts is not great enough to sustain local stores. People like me cannot be that rare. That makes little sense to me. I know the other techs I work with are having the same frustrations, and we’re always making do with duct tape and a wad of gum while we wait for replacement parts to arrive. There was a time when we could hop in the car and drive a half-mile to the nearest tech store and pick up whatever we needed.

Those days are gone. And I will miss having those resources handy.

Doing the Right Thing

I have been an ATT wireless customer for some years. I was a Cingular customer, until ATT bought them out. I was unsure about the switchover, since I’d already had wonderful (NOT) customer service issues with ATT home telephone service and ATT broadband service over the years. But, it was easier to roll into the new company than look for a new carrier at that point, so we just got in the canoe and went with the flow.

I have had my first real problem. After being a customer for 5 years, and adding lines here and there for kids and my mother, we finally let one go to another carrier. My oldest, who is almost 19, working full time, and getting ready to move into his first apartment, ported his number over to Spring and their “all-in-one” plan. For about $100 a month he has unlimited everything. This plan should do him well, considering he was receiving and sending about 6,000 text messages a month and using up our shared minutes as if they were unlimited (they aren’t).

This month’s ATT bill brought a surprise $175 early termination fee on a phone that we’d had on our plan for more than two years. The first customer service representative I talked to insisted that the phone had only been on our plan for 16 months and that “the timestamp on the computer says so.” I’m not kidding, that was what she said. I had to raise my voice before she’d get me to a supervisor to straighten out the issue. In the end, I got the $175 credited to my account.

What really bugs me is that low-level customer service reps are given so little power to fix mistakes or make changes. I knew that once I got a supervisor, whether I could prove the date was wrong or not, would give me the credit. They’ve made their money on us for the last five plus years, and will continue to make money on us for many years to come as long as we maintain our service. I was very blunt with the customer service rep when I told her that I was not opposed to taking my $200 a month somewhere else by switching carriers. But she could (and would) not do anything about the mistake. It took a supervisor to make that change.

Sometimes, doing the right thing is to make the right decision at the first point of contact. I understand they want to keep every penny they can get from us, but when it was obvious that there was an error, the problem should have been resolved right then and there. I spent almost an hour on the phone correcting something that could have been done in five minutes or less, had the customer rep had the training and been given the power to Do The Right Thing in the first place.

This can be a learning experience for many of us. I deal directly with lots of faculty clients, and there are times I “pass on” a problem to another tech for a variety of reasons. But sometimes, those reasons are pretty thin, and I should be better about solving problems as a first line of defense for our clients. I vow to do a better job of that in the future. No one likes to get passed around from one to another until a simple problem is solved.

Mogulus Pro Offering Way to Expensive

2008mogulusThis morning I received an email from the folks over at Mogulus announcing their pro-streaming service. When I looked at the price of the Mogulus Pro offering I just about fell out of my chair.

Their prices start at $350.00 a month with only 25gb of bandwidth allowance, plus if you bust your 25gb cap you will be charged $1.50 per gig. Someone over there is smoking crack.

They must think content producers are stupid. I have used a variety of paid streaming services for about 1/3rd the monthly cost they are planning on charging, and have been able to have my own branded player and many of the other options that are offering with this pro-offering.

This is a opportunity for all of those companies that have been streaming live content for years to step up and compete with Mogulus on their pro-offering.  I was fully expecting Mogulus or Ustream to come out with pricing that was aggressive, not pricing that is more expensive than many competitors in the space.

They will have to come up with an offering that makes sense. I think in order to get people like me to consider signing up for their pro-service it is going to have to be an offering a monthly price range in the $100-$150 range along with a healthy initial bandwidth offering.

I hope that Ustream.TV does not make the same mistake as Mogulus has made, because it is evident to me that with their pricing scheme they have not targeted content creators like me.

Flip Mino HD Review!

2008flipJust about 30 minutes ago the UPS driver dropped me a Flip Mino HD. I pulled it out of its case turned it towards me and recorded this video. I then plugged the camera into my USB port and used the FlipShare application that resides on the camera and added a couple of titles to the video and pushed it to YouTube.

Total time to when it arrived to when the video was uploaded to YouTube was just about 15 minutes. More after the video!

Please note that the Video that on my hard drive before YouTube encoding is really nice. Amazing quality for such a small camera. The encoding from YouTube really did not do the video or the audio any justice

The next video is the same exact clip but what I did this time was load the original file up in a video conversion program reduced the size from 450 megs to 32 megs and uploaded that file to Blip.TV who then encoded it in Flash. I think the Blip video looks a lot better.

The new camera is going to retail at $229.00 it can shoot in 720p which is 1280×720 in 16:9 cinematic wide screen. The new Flipshare application seems to do a much better job and even has some basic titling capability.

There is 4gb of onboard memory (wish there was more) and it will record about 60 minutes of Video. Overall Flip continues to hit home runs with these products. While the price point for the HD version has went up. I cannot even imagine this type of quality 4 years ago from a camera that is smaller then my cell phone.