Battle to control Internet threatens open access
A new battle is brewing at the Federal Communications Commission.
It’s about the future of the Internet. Entrenched interests are
threatening open consumer access to the Net and stifling innovation and
competition in the process.
The Internet was designed to defeat government or business control
and to thwart discrimination against users, ideas or technologies.
Intelligence and control were consciously placed at the ends of a
non-discriminatory network. Anyone could access the Internet, with any
kind of computer, for any type of application, and read or say pretty
much what they wanted.
This Internet may be dying. At the behest of powerful interests, the
FCC is buying into a warped vision that open networks should be
replaced by closed networks and that the FCC should excuse broadband
providers from longstanding non-discrimination requirements.
Proponents of eliminating non-discrimination rules claim that
allowing dominant broadband providers to build walls around the
Internet is just ``deregulating’’ and ``letting the market reign
supreme,’’ deploying the rhetoric of Libertarianism to serve decidedly
parochial interests. The truth is that these corporations—so fond of
railing against government picking winners and users—are now asking
the FCC to do precisely that.
Telephone companies with bottleneck control have been required for
years to treat on equal terms all those who seek to use their
transmission facilities. So when the dial-up Internet came along,
dominant telephone companies could not stop new services and new ideas
from flowing over the network. E-mail exploded and streams of new
services came online.
The transition from dial-up to broadband should accelerate this
innovation. Instead, masked in murky discussions about an arcane
classification scheme, companies are lobbying the FCC to eliminate
openness rules. Safeguards put in place by Congress to guarantee
consumer protection, privacy and disability rights are at risk.
Think about what could happen if your broadband provider could
discriminate. It could decide which news sources or political sites you
could view. It could prevent you from using children’s Internet
filtering technology that it didn’t sell or that filtered out its own
Web sites. It could prevent you from using spam-jamming programs to
block its spam. It could impose restrictions on the use of virtual
private networks by telecommuters and small businesses to keep them as
paying customers of the public network. It could limit access to
streaming video to protect its core content business. Sound
far-fetched? It’s already beginning to happen.
If we continue down this path, the basic end-to-end openness that
made the Internet great will be gone. Control will have been turned
over to those who control the bottlenecks, just like Ma Bell controlled
them in the heyday of its monopoly.
Some argue that competition will save us from this fate. But today
only a minority of Americans has a choice between cable and DSL. The
rest of us can take whichever one is available—if one of them is
available. Until real competition between technologies limits the power
of incumbents, we must not abandon anti-discrimination rules.
The FCC is rushing toward breathtaking change in regulatory policy.
Whether it’s the giant media companies or telecom’s gatekeepers, we are
closing networks, undermining competition, stifling entrepreneurship
and threatening consumer choice. At this rate, it won’t be long until
we look back, shake our heads and wonder whatever happened to that open
and dynamic high speed Internet that might have been. ``What promise it
held,’’ we’ll say. If that happens, history won’t forgive us. Nor
MICHAEL J. COPPS is a commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission. He wrote this for the Mercury News.
around Unsanity’s ShapeShifter, a utility for Mac OS X that allows the
desktop interface to be customized in highly personal and sometimes
strikingly beautiful ways. ShapeShifter, released earlier this month,
is a $20 utility that can alter all the elements of the Mac OS X
interface, including menus, windows, buttons and boxes.”
posted this just so I could come back later when I have more time. I
like the idea of ‘skinning’ my system… as long as it’s stable.
Quote: “I think I’ve inadvertently discovered a serious bug in Panther. I’ve confirmed this on two different computers. Panther apparently allows admin users to drag the folder /System to the trash, which then will immediately cause the Finder to go into a spinning pizza of death (SPOD). Your only option is to shut down the computer. And then because the System is in the trash, the computer is rendered unbootable!!!”
Comment: Check this out if you’re using Mac OS X 10.3. Be careful. ——-
The Campus MovieFest is coming to Georgia State University in March 2004.
Boxes and Arrows: Natural Selections: Colors Found in Nature and Interface Design">Boxes and Arrows: Natural Selections: Colors Found in Nature and Interface Design
Quote: “Perhaps no other design element has as much influence on how we feel in a space (a website, a home, etc.) as color. Colors can instantaneously change our moods and alter our opinions. They can make us comfortable, put us in a state of awe, or get us excited. “
Comment:More good ideas about using complementary color, from web sites to video graphics.——-
“It is always cool to
see an effect you like, and even neater to break the effect down and
figure out how to recreate it yourself. This week, weíll use Adobe
After Effects (4.1 or later) and some clever editing to create what I
like to call The Super Zoom.
You have probably seen an effect like this on such shows as CSI
Miami, Smallville, and the like ñ it starts off fairly far from the
subject and then zooms into an area of interest very quickly. When you
want to do a shot like this in your production, the first thing you
need to begin with is the shot itself.”——-
If you havenít already done so by now, the waters seem safe enough to
jump into the latest OS from Apple. The OS is faster, stable, and has
a lot of cool new features. However for those who depend on Final Cut
Pro, and more importantly the keyboard shortcuts, there is a change you should be aware of.——-