Will Comcast's (and other's) metered usage backfire?

Much ado today on the internets regarding Comcast’s trial of metered usage in Portland.
Here’s my $0.02 (and then some).
The idea behind this is to identify (and punish) the high bandwidth users. Comcast (and other broadband companies) have skated by for years on this “bucket-of-bits” concept where you buy a bucket of bits (we’ve all seen the UPTO 16MB commercials). This is a whole additional discussion which I don’t want to get into here, but in short I refer to that advertisement as fraudband.
So with this bucket-of-bits concept you pay a monthly fee for a connection and you use it as much as you want. The problem is that the *more* you use it, the *less* the provider makes for your usage. This is an upside down business model and I’ve tried to think of other companies that are incented to sell you a product that you shouldn’t use (help me out by commenting if you know of a successful business model that follows this upside down paradigm (and don’t say cell phone companies)).
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Online video viewing growing exponentially … duh

1video-footage_id1907591_size450According to this article from US Telecom, online video viewing is growing leaps and bounds. With 74% of broadband users downloading or watching videos online.  The article is based upon two studies from Pew and the American Life Project.
What’s amazing about the numbers is that 15% more adults are watching online videos than using social networking sites. Another number that’s amazing is the “near-universal” use by 18-29 year olds (old media beware).
I work with a lot of communities who still think that “broadband” is just high-speed internet and nothing more (which granted, all this online video viewing is occurring over today’s broadband). I often coach them on the fact that broadband will deliver all of your telecom services in the future including services we don’t even know about yet as well as those we do (like cable TV, telephone, etc.).  As more and more folks experience video online, they will pressure their local community leaders to become active in promoting broadband availability and broadband adoption so that they can experience the same services that those of us who live in more urban or suburban areas do.
Personally, I watch videos on my TV over Netflix from my Tivo, but also have a MythTV computer acting as a video server where I have ripped most of my DVDs and downloaded (mostly legal) videos.  I also watch plenty of youtube, google video and plenty of old media sites (like comedy central).
If you don’t have broadband, why not?  Is it too expensive or is it not available?  If it’s not available, contact your local elected officials and ask what they are doing to bring broadband to your area. It’s not just for browsing the web anymore and has serious economic development impacts on your locality.

Google Voice and the dumb pipe (AT&T/Apple/iPhone)

4232368305-voice_logo_smI got my Google Voice invite recently.  Even though I consider myself pretty tech savvy and up to date on cool betas and other Internet tools, I let this one bake for a bit before giving it a test. My first impression is that it’s a very useful tool and is yet another example of the Internet (and Google) making past and present tools and technologies commodities. In this regard, I have to express my frustration with AT&T and Apple and echo many folks before me.  I’ll get into that, but first here’s my early impression of the service and features.
For a brief introduction, Google Voice is a telephone number that is supposed to be your last and final telephone number. You set up Google Voice with your other phone numbers and then you can control how and when you accept calls from who. Sounds great, but let me provide an example which may make more sense. You set up your Google Voice number to send everyone in a “Work” or “Coworkers” group to your office phone number and your cell phone number during week days from 8am-7pm, but not your home number, but you have one particular work buddy that likes to call you on weekends so you make an exception for that individual, but only for your cell phone. You never give out your cell phone number (or any other number) and Google Voice “screens” your calls.
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Old school veterinary medicine and web2.0?

veterinary-symbolSomeone I am very close to was recently writing an article for a professional journal for veterinarian medicine. She asked me to proof read the article, but was unhappy with my recommendations and suggestions. The topic of the article was the Internet and veterinarian medicine. She presented a couple of angles on the potential uses and misuses of the Internet by veterinarians but failed to mention web2.0, social networking, social media, and viral marketing.
She asked that I help her with some changes, but when I started making suggestions she was reluctant to include my changes in her article because the audience had never heard of “web2.0” and were more concerned with the loss of prescriptions as a profit center to 1800petmeds.com.
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Disable trackpad while typing on EeePC 901 (Eeebuntu NBR 2.0)

trackpadSo, after much ado, I have been able to fix the tapping issue on my EeePC 901 running Eeebuntu NBR 2.0.
To be honest, the solution was all over the forums, but none of the posts specifically mentioned the 901. I spent a few hours trying different things and eventually got the settings about where I want them. The trick was that all the steps in this post need to be followed. The post indicates that this works for the 900 as well, but YMMV.
The trackpad seems responsive, yet not overly so,  it’s not jumpy (as it was with just the elantech driver), and I even have both vertical scrolling on the side of the trackpad and two finger scrolling as well.
Here’s the steps that I performed (these are pretty much identical to the post, but I’ve added some dialog):
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Eeebuntu NBR on my EeePC

justlogo_390The out-of-the-box Xandros Linux that comes on the EeePC just seem too much like a toy. I was very familiar with Ubuntu so I decided to install an Ubuntu derivative on my EeePC 901. The top choices were the Eeebuntu or the easy peasy distributions. I liked the eeebuntu forums a lot so I decided to go with the Eeebuntu NBR (Netbook Remix) distribution.
I’ll attempt to describe all that I had to do to get it installed and go into some of the customizations or additions I’ve made and why.
Installing Eeebuntu was not very difficult but I did have a few challenges and even did a re-install to change the default partitioning to use both SSD drives.
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EeePC First Impressions (second blog entry using it)

eee-pc-901My wife gave me an EeePC for my birthday last week. I blogged about wanting one a few weeks ago and I guess she got the hint. Overall, she did pretty good with the request. She got me a linux based EeePC 901 with the SSD drive.
My first impression was that the damn thing was tiny, shiny and did I say tiny. I’ve been using it for a little over a week now and I am grabbing it from the computer room more often than sitting down at my desktop. I did take it to work with me as it fit  in my bag with my other laptop and didn’t add much weight nor was it too bulky in addition to the MacBook Pro and a few folders and notebooks. I haven’t traveled with it, but I’m sure it will make the rounds soon.
After a week of use here are my first impressions both negative and positive:
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Bug in Safari beta caused me to lose a blog entry

I was using the new Safari 4 beta (leo) this morning and using the wp_admin pages of my wordpress blog to edit a new blog post. I have several plug-ins enabled for editing (enhanced tiny mce being the most likely culprit). As I went back to enter a link I got the gray screen of death…(at least in the browser window)…
I took a screenshot and there were the auto saves, so I didn’t lose much text. However, I did have to re-type a paragraph or two.
It’s what you get for using a beta so I’m not really complaining, I’m just warning others.

iCal Server (CalDAV) to Mobile Me and my iPhone

apple_iphone_ipod_cameraI can’t take all the credit for this.  I can’t even take a small amount of credit for this.  All I did was google, google, and more google for a method to get my calendar entries from my company calendar server (running Leopard Server) to my iPhone. Most of the solutions I came across involved some sort of sync between two calendars (local and remote) using paid for software (which may provide more functionality (like reverse sync)) or using paid software to sync your calendars to Google Calendar and use that as your iPhone calendar.
What I really wanted was alerts. I can’t tell you how many times I missed a conference call or was late to a meeting that was on my company calendar that wasn’t on my iPhone. I just wanted it to ping me 5-15 mintues before a meeting, is this too much to ask for?
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Any good stand alone broadband speed applications?

fiber-speed-2I do a lot of dog-and-pony public speaking on broadband. I often get asked many questions or statements like:

  • My cable modem works fine, why would anyone need more speed?
  • What does fiber get me that DSL or Cable HSD does not?
  • Just how fast is fiber?
  • What can I do with fiber that I can’t do with my current broadband?
  • 640K of memory should be enough for anybody.
  • Should I have more fiber in my diet?

In addition to discussions around the economic development benefits of broadband, I am often looking for methods to demonstrate the difference between different technologies.  I came across a Windows application from some site in the Netherlands (it had a .nl extension) that is sort of what I’m looking for (you can dig around on the Dutch language site and eventually find an English application).
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