‘Net Neutrality’ Amendment Rejected

‘Net Neutrality’ Amendment Rejected

I am getting a bit confused as to what ‘Net Neutrality’ is all about.

The large content providers, like Google and Yahoo and Microsoft, have very large data pipes connecting themselves to the Internet. They are paying the market rate for the volume they use and for the Quality of Service they expect. The Service Providers use those revenues to maintain and expand the network. If new services and a new Quality of Service is required, the service provider is perfectly entitled to charge more. They are adding new equipment and capabilities to the network.

My one concern with the service providers is that they will use their monopolistic control of network access to charge exorbitant rates for new or old QoS traffic.

I know others are worried that the service providers will start corrupting QoS for content providers that are possible competitors for the Service Provider’s content. (That would be be a contract violation, just like a telco providing your call records to a third party.) This is not a smart thing to do and can be easily detected.

The Content Users are the most likely content throttle, their access bandwidth may not be suitable for some streaming content, and while the ISP may be able to provide more bandwidth (using more network resources) for more money, the user may not want to pay the additional tariff. That’s their decision.

Of course, if the ISP provides more bandwidth to deliver the ISP’s content, at no extra charge, then they are exerting their monopoly and should be so charged.

What are they teaching these kids nowadays?

As I was a member of the not-so-walking wounded this weekend, I settled in front of the TV to watch the World Cup games. England really needs to learn to play football.

In between the matches, ABC reverted to the ‘regularly scheduled’ programming, which in this case was the Lilo and Stich TV show. I haven’t watched Saturday morning cartoons in a long while, but I didn’t change channels.

In this episode, Lilo has some sort of alien that can eavesdrop and replay what it hears. Of course, Lilo hears something replayed, misinterprets it, and all sorts of hilarity follows. And all along her mother is telling her that eavesdropping is not right. Eventually she sees the error of her ways, learns her lesson, takes her just desserts and hands over the trouble-making, eavesdropping alien to the government.


Finding Fault With Logic of Congress’s E-Mail Plan

Finding Fault With Logic of Congress’s E-Mail Plan

I see that Congress is having some spam problems. Poor Congress.

The point of the article is that the House web admins are adding a feature that requires an email writer to solve a simple math equation in order to send an email from the congressional site. This is a way to prevent robots from inundating a office on a specific issue. Why can’t they use the “text in image” method, where you have to enter a string of letters that are hidden in an image. Lots of sites use this method to make sure robots can’t automatically send email. The letters are skewed and in different fonts to prevent some optical character recognition software from bypassing this method. I wonder if the OCR technology has gotten to the point where that method is void. If that’s true, a simple math problem, or even a complex math problem, isn’t much of a gate to a robot.

It would seem to me that there are several ways of circumventing robotic petitions. (and I am including people pressing a button to send a cookie-cutter message to congress as robotic)

For starters, search the text of each mail and lump all that have 90% of the same text in the same place into a bundle. Then the staffer just needs to read one message and look at the count associated with it.

A second idea is to keep an email list of known constituents who send e-mails. These would not be part of the bundled messages but, rather, personally composed messages addressed to the congressman.

I know that I am often invited to send an email to congress from some interest group. I just have to go to their page, fill in some details and they will do the rest. Sometimes I can even personalize the message. I don’t bother with those efforts. Quite often I find I agree with the goal, but not their arguments.

If the issue is important enough to me, I will send an email from my own mail box. It is useful for me to know that a bill of interest is under consideration, but I am not going to be co-opted by a special interest group and let them do my work.

The biggest danger of this organized e-mail campaigning, by any and all interest groups, is that my voice gets lost in the noise. The Congressional staff will just stop reading email altogether or restrict their reading to a pre-selected few addresses that are filtered out of the spam. I would like to have my address in the pre-filtered list.

I know that I have attempted to create a white list of acceptable addresses on my mailbox and that if a mail marked SPAM comes into my mailbox, it gets trashed, unless it is on my white list. If you are a new correspondent and you write me an email that Spam Assassin thinks is SPAM, then I will never see your mail. And given the 1000+ SPAM I get daily, I am not even going to try. Of course, if it isn’t labeled SPAM by SA then I probably will see it. I have the same sort of protections on the blog site, so if you your comment doesn’t get posted, it’s because Spam Karma thinks you’re a casino or a pill pusher.

For congress, it is infinitely worse, because their spammers are using the same language that legitimate constituents are using. And while I don’t care if Joel Hefley doesn’t read e-mail from Iowans, Texans, NYers, etc. I do think he should be reading e-mail from the Colorado 5th congressional district. Now that I think about it, Hefley is on the House Armed Services Committee, so he may need to read mail from other districts. But only for Armed Services related issues.

One point the article appears to make is that Congress people are obligated to read everything that is sent to them. That their failure to do so leads to the downfall of democracy. (As if my congressman ever listened to me…) I don’t think so. It may be politic to read and respond to all incoming mail, but I don’t know if there is an obligation.

So even if my congressman ignores my pleas for intelligent legislation, I still want my voice to be heard.

And this would be a lot easier if each representative only represented 100,000 citizens instead of the 650,000 they currently represent.


It occurs to me that, in my desire to remove my foot from under my horse’s hoof this morning, I may have strained a knee muscle. Ouch, it hurts.