Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BarackObama at twitter.com: FAIL

What happened with Barack's twitter account?

Can't be bothered to let us little people know what's going on?

Oh well, I'm starting to feel like a trampoline. Now that he's in the leather chair, he doesn't feel he needs us anymore.

On Net Neutrality.

I watched this video, from gammill (on twitter), and while it is sensationalized, it explains fairly well what net neutrality is about and what the stakes are.

What the video says

Basically it says that if net neutrality is defeated, the telecommunication companies will eliminate nearly all non-corporation-produced content from the internet. What is this content? Web sites, blogs, videos, podcasts, social networks. Essentially, they want the internet to become their exclusive content-delivery network.

Independent content provider: DIE!

My take on the message behind the message? As long as people can find free stuff on the web, people won't want to pay for content from the big media providers. So their idea is to eliminate all content that is not theirs by requiring all web sites to pay large fees to gain access to dedicated bandwidth.

For example: you have a simple web site. Your bandwidth upload speed need is, on average, 50 Kb/s (kilobits per second). That's not a lot. Now imagine that your internet service provider says that in order to go over AT&T-owned continental backbone, from your datacenter in Dallas, Texas, to Los Angeles, they provide 1.5 Kb/s at the standard rate, the next 30Kb/s at $0.03 per Kb/s and anything above that at $0.05 per Kb/s. The next month, your little web site gets a bill for $38,960 for continental backbone useage, and you decide: "Hell, ain't worth it" and you shut it down.

Sounds far fetched?

The numbers may not add up (these were pulled right out of the ether) but that's essentially what the deal will be.

Video

Now, you might think: I want video to work well on the web and I don't care how it happens, I'll just trust the media company. You want video? Get a Netflix account. Here's a sign up link for you. Go stream the 12,000 titles they have available, and spend the rest of you life on the couch.

Don't be a victims of marketing

See, the internet is already capable of delivering video straight to your TV. Don't be fooled by the telecommunication companies. Their marketing departments hire people with degrees from fancy universities in order to create specially-crafted messages to trick and confuse you into thinking that it is in your best interest to give them more money. Think about that. They pay people to trick you. Is that who you want to trust? No wonder they're rich and you're not.

Phone

Phone calls? Get skype. Or get Time Warner (substitute your cable company's offering) digital phone service. I just got that at home and it works great. Oh, what's that? It works "Just Fine" over the regular internet.

Geeky Stuff


Finally... Some people do work with the internet. Are you a system administrator who remotes into computers across the net? Do you ssh into your *nix boxen across the planet (and beyond)? Do you use GotoMyPC, webex, or even copilot? Get ready for the "Enhanced Service Delivery Fee" coming to you from your friendly local telco.

What you can do

In the grand sceme of things, not much. Just be find out how your elected representatives feel about this issue and vote against them in the next election if what they do is not what you want them to do. That's the way it works in this country.

Oh, wait, how will you find out what they are doing with your money unless there is solid, independent reporting out there?

Remember: Don't be a victim of marketing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Avira AntiVir false positives

Avira AntiVir personal keeps getting false positives on http://stereopsis.com/flux/

No good.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A comment to Seth Godin

I was going to leave a comment on his blog, yet I could not find the "comment" link. It's pretty ironic based on what the post was about... Anyway, that's not what I'm here for.

Yesterday at the office I searched for "health net" (the company I work for) in search.twitter.com. As you can imagine, I found some interesting comments.


I thought, mmm, who is "girlgonechild"? So I followed the link, which let to her tweeter account, that showed 1000+ followers. I thought, ok, she's a little famous. From there I noted her facebook page, which is open to all, and has pictures of her. So I thought, OK, she's real. meaning she's not a Loser who makes herself look like a Winner through the veil of Photoshop. Then I notice she wrote for the Huffington Post. She has reach, that twitterer!

So I send her an email... (lemme dig.)

Rebecca,

Saw your comment about Health Net on twitter.

I work for Health Net in IT. I'm getting laid off in a few months so my loyalty is near-zero, yet I'd like to see if there is anything I can do to fix whatever problem you're having (maybe not for you, but for others who go through the same)


Sincerely,


Chris Mahan
chris.mahan@gmail.com
grandcentral (818) 671-1709
Which, a day later, I still have no reply to. But she's a busy mommy and she might get around to it and she might not. I have a busy mommy in my wife so I know how these things go.

How does this relate to Seth Godin's blog? We're getting there.

I replay the whole thing to my co-worker; a fellow IT guy. He listens patiently as I trail him through the twitter and the facebook and the huffingtonpost page, and then declares: "The company doesn't care about this one person."

Not wanting an argument, near my cube, I desist (well, I did make a few remarks later on).

The thing is, really, that this one person is a Health Net customer.

Now, in the screenshot, the second link is gone from twitter, but the "Health Net can suck it" on is still there. Some people might not like it, but it's better than a lawsuit, you know?

Now we're getting to Seth's point.

Why did Rebecca vent on twitter? Does she vent on twitter about her local grocery store? I bet not. I bet that when she has a problem at the local grocery store, she goes to an employee there and lets them know what's up. If it's a bigger problem, I am sure she will find the manager and let him have it. And what will the store manager do? He will listen to her, and then he will either say that he will fix whatever the problem is, or otherwise explain why things are the way they are. Either way, though, he will say: "thank you for letting me know".

And that is what Health Net is not doing: allowing the customer to walk up to someone (in person, via phone, IM, email, matters not) , letting them know what's wrong, and getting that "Thank you for letting us know" statement.

Now, in all fairness, Health Net does have a customer service line. But I wonder how effectively they listened to Rebecca Woolf. I wonder how well they said "Thank you for letting us know."

Do I care? Yes. Because every two weeks I draw a paycheck, and in there is a little money that comes from Rebecca's bank account that she could have used for her son and daughter, so I certainly hope the money she gave us wasn't wasted but instead provided value to her and her family.

So when she writes "Health Net can suck it", I start to wonder whether we're actually delivering the value.



Oh, and by the way: Rebecca Woolf produces outstanding content: see the article and watch the video.