Mayhem At The Movies and The Unsuspension of Disbelief

nogunsThis story about the guy who wound up dead after texting in a movie theater made the rounds of the social media networks last week. I let it go by the first couple of times I saw it. It seemed implausible at first, but now that I have digested the heart-wrenching details, it seems all too familiar.

I don’t know how you feel about people who light up their cell phones in a darkened theater, but my first thought was: “that coulda been me…”

Not the guy getting shot. The guy doing the shooting.

Because I’m the one who has too frequently had to ask the asshole sitting near me to put their cell phone away during a movie. Read More

Welcome to the “Weekly Digest”

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 6.16.42 PMThis is for the vast legion of subscribers to my e-mail list.

A couple of months ago, you started receiving an e-mail notification whenever I’ve posted something new to this blog/site – typically once a week.

Starting now, I intend to post a lot more to this site. Rather than giving all of my best stuff away on Facebook, etc., I’m going to post it here first, and then distribute to my social media networks.

So starting at about noon today – Wednesday January 22, 2014 – you’re going to be receiving one weekly missive from me with links to the seven or so best things I have posted in the previous week. Some of the items will be links and comments; hopefully there will be a weekly ~1200 word essay, you’ll get some photos, and maybe a link to some new music. Whatever strikes my fancy during the week and makes it through the Wednesday filter.

If you are unclear what you are subscribing to, read this.

Is Net Neutrality Dead?

LIstening to this excellent discussion of the issues around “Net Neutrality. It’s amusing to hear the guy from VerizonCast going through verbal gymnastics to make the case that more corporate control of the web is in the end-user’s interest. His organization is called “Free State Foundation.” A loving nod to Orwell…
http://ift.tt/1heemUM

It Was Nice While It Lasted ?

The “level playing field” of the Internet, that is.

a01-nl-vert-wolff-24-1306181153_3_4If you’ve been befuddled by the recent Appeals Court decision on the subject of “Net Neutrality,” Michael Wolff does a pretty good job of explaining what it could mean.

Power begets power and enables you to hold onto power. Owners of the pipes can charge what the market will bear. …Though Netflix will have to pay much more for distribution, it is large enough to be able to afford that bill. Its nascent and would-be competitors cannot. And without access to low-cost distribution

It’s not entirely clear that this loss of “neutrality” is a final ruling. It could yet go to the Supreme Court – though given that august body’s preferential treatment of corporate interests, it’s hard to fathom how the Appeals Court ruling could be reversed; Or the FCC could revisit its own mandate, and recast their original ruling under a different mandate.

The genesis of the recent ruling appears to be the jurisdiction under which the FCC originally ruled that ISPs like Comcast, AT&T an Verizon could not charge for access to their networks:

The court just invalidated the way the FCC tried to make Net Neutrality rules in a 2010 order. The judges rejected the legal framework used by the FCC and said the agency currently lacks the authority to implement and to enforce these rules…The silver lining is that there’s nothing in the court’s decision that prevents the FCC from reversing its earlier misguided decisions and treating broadband under the law as the “telecommunications service” it so obviously is.

So the fact of the matter is that nothing has been decided. We’re in limbo. The FCC could go back to the drawing board, in which case the whole thing would be up in the air again for years.

I can’t count the number of times over the past two decades I’ve heard the phrase “level playing field.” I always did think it was a bit of a mirage. If the FCC can’t find away to enforce the idea of the pipes as common carrier, even the mirage will probably vanish.

Things We Take For Granted

finger
You really can’t appreciate how much you rely on the very tip of your primary-hand index finger until you nick it with the super-sharp blade of a brand-new food* processor, and can’t use it for a couple of days to swipe or type…

*the original version of this post had the word typed as “foot-processor.” See what I mean?