• Newsletter Issue #649

    May 7th, 2012


    We like to think here in the U.S. that we pay a pretty competitive rate for wireless telephone services, but that’s not necessarily the case. On this week’s episode of The Tech Night Owl LIVEMacworld’s “iTunes Guy,” Kirk McElhearn, talks about how cell phone plans differ in the U.S. and France. Even though Kirk bought an iPhone without a subsidy, and paid the price of a top-of-the-line iPad as a result, overall he got a better deal. His wireless service carries a much lower monthly price, but you still have to get past the hefty upfront payment. He also discusses the impact of the ongoing migration of portions of the iOS to OS X.

    Outspoken commentator Peter Cohen, from the “Angry Mac Bastards” radio show and Executive Editor for The Loop, talks about cell phone reception woes, and offers a reality check about the malware situation on the Mac platform. When it comes to malware, Peter clearly feels that the recent problems on the Mac platform are highly overblown. It doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe, but it does call for a little reality check when it comes to press coverage of the platform’s vulnerability to malware.

    ClouldFlare CEO Matthew Prince explains how the company, selected by the Wall Street Journal in 2011 as the Most Innovative Internet Technology company, can help protect your site and make it run faster. We were clued in about CloudFlare some weeks back and gave it a try. After a few days, we found that our sites loaded faster in more places around the world — and traffic is up, meaning more people are paying us a visit.

    On this week’s episode of our other radio show, The Paracast: Gene and Chris present Mark Phillips, an award-winning producer who is Executive Producer for “My Ghost Story,” described as one of Biography Channel’s highest rated programs. During this episode, Phillips will tell you how the show originated, and the methodology he and his staff use to investigate and cover stories of paranormal encounters, as told by the eyewitnesses.

    Now Shipping! The Official Paracast T-Shirt — Now with New Design! We’re taking orders direct from our new Official Paracast Store, where you can place your order and pay with a major credit card or PayPal. The shirts come in white, 100% cotton, and feature The Paracast logo on the front. The rear emblem states: “Separating Signal From Noise.” We’ve also added a huge selection of additional special custom-imprinted merchandise for fans of our show, along with a redesigned storefront.


    The topic of net neutrality is surprisingly divisive. At its core, it means that your ISP shouldn’t be allowed to prioritize traffic on their Internet pipes to favor big companies who pay for special access. All Internet content should be available on an equal basis to subscribers to those services. That was the dream of the creators of the Internet.

    Certainly, the benefits of net neutrality are clear. If a big content provider or merchandiser can just pay off the ISP, it means that their sites will load faster. If they load faster, they will get more of your business. Surveys demonstrate that, even if a site is just a few tenths of a second slower, that alone can mean lost business, because impatient customers will simply go elsewhere. This is one of the reasons, by the way, that we’ve signed up with CloudFlare, a content distribution service, so we can take advantage of the power of their worldwide server network and play with the big boys.

    While net neutrality seems so simple and logical, it is also a political football. Some opponents of net neutrality want you to believe that it’s some sort of crafty scheme to allow a government, particularly in the U.S., to somehow control the Internet. I won’t attempt to explain how they came to such a silly conclusion, because it just doesn’t make any sense.

    In any case, the FCC has published a set of rules that are supposed to cover the ins and outs of net neutrality. However, as with many political actions, the rules have so-called “carve-outs,” which are basically loopholes that allow ISPs to nibble at the edges of net neutrality and engage in behavior that appears to prioritize some kinds of traffic.

    When you look at what’s going on, you have to think about those complaints about how Apple and other large corporations manage to reduce their corporate tax burdens by moving offices and excess cash to different states and even different countries, where the laws covering corporate finances are more favorable. But you can’t argue with trying to save money. Every taxpayer, regardless of income, wants to do the very same thing, and the only practical solution would be, I suppose, to just shut the loopholes.

    Now when it comes to those ISPs facing net neutrality restrictions, a loophole in the regulations evidently allows them to create a “private” Internet that is not part of the public network. The liberal political watchdog, Media Matters for America, calls the results of  this questionable scheme “The Schminternet.”

    So Schminternet it is.

    But what it means is that an ISP can, for example, stream their own content direct to you via their private network. You can get music or streaming video, but none of that content will count against your ISP’s bandwidth cap. And the bandwidth cap is the weapon that an ISP can employ to prevent “outsiders” from stealing their cable TV customers and streaming programs or even entire channels direct to you, thus depriving the ISP of potential income.

    The bandwidth cap is no doubt a key factor in dissuading Apple and other content providers from introducing subscription services to replace cable or satellite TV. So long as your ISP can throttle your broadband Internet service, or dump you temporarily or permanently with extreme prejudice, the competition will be held at bay.

    That is, unless the content provider essentially bribes the ISP to get a piece of the Schminternet action. There’s a report, for example, that Comcast will soon start offering their own on-demand private streaming service, Xfinity, through the Microsoft Xbox. This means that users of that gaming console will be able to watch streaming video without having it count against their bandwidth consumption.

    Clearly, Microsoft has agreed to send large chunks of money to Comcast to get a piece of the Schminternet action. But that’s surely the tip of the iceberg.

    Assuming this net neutrality bypass scheme spreads to other ISPs, and I have little doubt that it will, it would mean that Apple, Google, Amazon, and other heavy-hitters, will have a special gateway to deliver their streaming services. Sure, they will have to pay extra fees to bypass an ISP’s bandwidth caps and get preferred service. Maybe the customer will even benefit to some extent, because it will mean that you will be able to enjoy content from a variety of services and not be confined to cable or satellite.

    The ISP may lose your cable business, but they will still earn a reasonable return not just from your monthly broadband payments, but from the content providers who license use of the Schminternet for their own services. As far as the smaller players, particularly startups with limited funding, are concerned, well, that’s just too bad. They will be forced to play on the public Internet and thus force their potential customers to use up their bandwidth allotment.

    Now those 200GB or 400GB limits may seem a lot, but if you watch the equivalent of several high definition movies every day by consuming content for the typical eight to 12 hours on your flat panel TV, your bandwidth tank will be emptied real fast.

    In spirit, the idea of net neutrality is a good thing. In practice, it appears the FCC has made it possible for broadband carriers to simply skirt he rules, legally, without consequence. And remember that making it difficult or impossible for small companies to compete in cloud or video streaming services will mean less choice for the consumer. It also means that, having fewer competitors, the heavy-hitters in the cloud storage or content delivery business will simply charge you higher prices. After all, they will be paying for special Schminternet access, and the money has to come from somewhere.

    Sure, the FCC could easily shut this barn door before the cattle escapes, but political considerations may make that move impossible. They appear to have turned the promise of net neutrality into a paper tiger.


    When Mac OS X arrived in 2001, Mac users were quick to complain about missing features. The printing architecture was bare bones, and you couldn’t even play DVDs on your Mac. At least with 10.0, Apple admitted that it was meant for early adopters and power users. It was hardly more than another glorified public beta, and it took a few releases to add the most important missing features.

    Now it’s also true that some cherished Mac OS features have never returned to OS X, but Apple has moved elsewhere.

    As you know, Apple often makes possibly controversial moves on the Mac platform that the PC industry will eventually follow. When the first MacBook Air arrived, Mac users marveled at the ultra-thin form factor. But many chafed at the lack of a built-in optical drive. How would they install software from physical DVDs, not to mention playing movies? Well, yes, there was an optional external SuperDrive, if you wanted to play a DVD, and I don’t really know how many MacBook Air users actually buy that accessory.

    With the growing popularity of solid state drives, and a cheaper price, the MacBook Air has become hot. Real hot. Indeed, PC makers were caught flat-footed, and now have to rely on Intel’s “Ultrabook” reference platform to compete. Certainly, those generic Ultrabook PCs are very similar to the MacBook Air. Built-in optical drives usually aren’t part of the action, and rumors suggest that the next MacBook Pro refresh will include models that also ditch the optical drives.

    Apple seems to have a point. More and more people get software online, and play streamed content from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and other sources. I know that I rarely use the optical drive on my MacBook Pro, although I still rip CDs on my iMac. But I only do it occasionally, and once I import my entire CD collection — and it will happen one of these days — I may never use an optical drive again.

    At the same time, Microsoft’s is also helping you feel more comfortable ditching optical drives, but it appears to be the result of the razor-thin margins on PCs these days. You see, the Windows 8 version of Windows Media Player, according to published reports, won’t support DVDs. To get that feature,  you’ll have to get a third-party app at extra cost. The money saved from not paying the DVD software licensing fees slightly reduces the cost of building Windows 8, but it also creates an income opportunity for the PC makers. Maybe they’ll sell you email software next if those profits keep falling, even though the standard email standards are open.

    Now unbundling software isn’t unique to Microsoft or to Windows 8. Apple has done that already with Adobe Flash and Java. But the owners of these programming standards aren’t charging you extra to run Flash or Java applets in your browser. Java is theoretically free, although there is that controversial licensing issue that’s formed the basis of the civil lawsuit involving Oracle, publishers of Java, and Google. Adobe gives away the Flash players, but charges you for their own apps with which to create Flash content.

    Now I suppose Microsoft may have a point in wanting to ditch free DVD playback. At the same time, there are tens of millions of potential Windows 8 customers will feel betrayed the second they try to play a DVD and find it doesn’t work. Will Microsoft simply offer a paid download to resolve the problem? Or refer you to a third-party solution?

    More than likely, though, people will just have one more incentive to ditch optical drives.

    However, Windows 8 may already be a hard sell, what with the controversial Metro interface. Sure, maybe consumers will like it, but businesses, and particularly people who use traditional PC apps, such as Photoshop, may very likely stick with Windows 7 or, perish forbid, Windows XP. Could Windows 8 be shaping up as another Vista in the making? Maybe, although removing the DVD playback capability is far from the most serious obstacle Microsoft will confront in trying to encourage Windows 8 adoption.


    The Tech Night Owl Newsletter is a weekly information service of Making The Impossible, Inc.

    Publisher/Editor: Gene Steinberg
    Managing Editor: Grayson Steinberg
    Marketing and Public Relations: Barbara Kaplan
    Worldwide Licensing: Sharon Jarvis

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    22 Responses to “Newsletter Issue #649”

    1. […] to explain how they came to such a silly conclusion, because it just doesn't make any sense. Continue Reading… Related Posts: The Net Neutrality Greed […]

    2. dfs says:

      There’s a lot to be said on both sides of this controversy. But I certainly think it’s unfair to demonize the carriers, who must be struggling like mad to maintain an infrastructure capable of keeping up with ever-increasing demand for bandwidth while showing a profit sufficient to satisfy their shareholders. The simple truth is that both the quantity and quality of internet service in this country is second-rate in comparison with countries such as France, Japan, and South Korea, in which governments have assumed the provision of first-rate internet infrastructures as a matter of public policy, since they regard this as something in their national interest (fortunately for both our government and our carriers, most Americans are unaware of how better off the citizens of such countries are, or our people would be coming at them with torches and pitchforks). The bottom line is that maybe, like our space exploration program, this is something too big and too important to be left to private industry, unassisted: none of our carrier companies is capable of delivering internet service in the way we deserve. And yet the computer and entertainment industries have a never-ending way of rolling out new technologies which drive up demand yet higher (the bandwidth drain caused by Apple’s SIRI being a recent example of what I mean).

    3. louis Wheeler says:

      This is an intentionally confused issue, Gene.

      We can’t pretend that America has a free market in telecommunications. The Federal government allowed, for a long time, phone service to be a monopoly. Then, it broke up AT&T in a very uncompetitive way. The local bells maintained their monopoly status. Since then, the local bells have been re-monopolizing.

      Net neutrality is the Common Carrier concept in disguise. This concept did not work well for the railroad industry, nor trucking. It assumed that the special deals for Long Distance hauling (now large volume users for ISPs) to somehow be injuring the Short Haul users (the small user of ISPs.) The short haulers were envious, so they resorted to politics. Since competition would allow those Long Haulers to bypass states which attempted punitive regulations, then the restrictions must be federal.

      When the Federal government punished the long distant haulers, they made the railroads uncompetitive. This is the reason that the RR’s could not respond to competition from truckers and then airlines. So, the common carrier concept had to be applied to them. Once you restrict freedom and competition in any part of an economy, they tend to be restricted in other parts. National Recovery Administration regulations during FDR allowed cartels to be set up. The government would attack anyone who offered a lower price. Add in Trade Union featherbedding and obstructionism, and you had a wonderful way to destroy an industry. It is amazing that the railroads could operate at all.

      What a wonderful way to destroy America without a shot being fired. Jonah Goldberg’s book, “Liberal Fascism” can show you the details of how this was done.

      You want to apply the Common Carrier concept to telecommunications. Let’s leave aside the fact that the federal government has no authority from the Constitution to do this. The power grabbers never needed any authority to sabotage the Railroads. The Commerce Clause is a very tiny, and increasingly tattered, fig leaf. Leftists discarded Constitutional limitations long ago; they assume omnipotent federal power.

      Of course, that unmoors us from reality. It creates a soviet style economy. Even Leftists dislike the poverty which derives from that.

      If you want lower prices for everyone, then you want more carriers or ISPs. You want the carriers and ISPs to undercut each other’s deals. Such competition increases the number of backbones. Doing this must lower prices for everyone. But no, you want to restrict competition. If you do that enough then America returns to being a third world country. At one time, the Dutch had the most powerful empire on earth. Where are they now?

      • @louis Wheeler, In theory, net neutrality means that broadband carriers cannot offer access to their pipes based on the ability of the content provider to pay. Allowing cash-rich companies to bribe their way around open access, you are restricting a free Internet, not enhancing it.

        When it comes to a local broadband service, the biggest obstacles are the state and local governments, since they have to give approval to lay fiber cables and other equipment below ground. One possible solution, Clear, a wireless service, isn’t available in many cities and offers a performance level that is far below what the top-tier cable ISPs can offer. Some day wireless will probably be the best way to deliver high-speed Internet to everyone in the U.S. But it’s going to cost a lot to be able to deliver unlimited access without making customers pay through the nose for bandwidth.


    4. Louis Wheeler says:

      You add to the confusion, Gene. A marketplace does not care about anyone’s ability to pay. In fact, it relies on the marginal buyer which cannot or will not buy. It does not assume that a buyer has a RIGHT to buy. No one has a right to unlimited access.

      If you want a larger infrastructure then an ISP’s current users must pay for it. In the short run, you can use politics to force the service level beyond the current technology or economy. But you do so by sabotaging the future.

      You have a bizarre definition for freedom which implies the power to force others to sell to you. There is no free internet now and you would make it less free.

      You are technically bound to the present, Gene — stuck in the past. That fiber cable and underground equipment are a sunk cost. Sure, they effect the current price. What I’m concerned about is the future price. If you restrict competition through regulation, as applying the common carrier concept must, then you sabotage the means by which monopolies are overcome. Any monopoly, when they are unprotected by government patents, sets into motion forces which undo them.

      Every monopoly in the world’s history, except for Alcoa Aluminum, undid themselves by charging too much for poor service. So, competition was allowed to rush in. Phone service was assumed to be a natural monopoly when there is no such thing. All monopolies destroy themselves, either by inciting completion or becoming so worthless that no one will buy their services.

      How did Alcoa Aluminum maintain its world wide 94% market share from 1898 to world war two? It did it by pretending that it was in a fiercely competitive market. Every time it developed a technology which lowered its cost, rather than accepting the monopoly rent of higher prices, it lowered its prices. Thus, no competitor could raise the start up capital to build a competing plant. Only World war Two broke its market share when the US government wanted a second source for Aluminum. The military gave Reynolds Steel $200 million to build a competing plant. Even then it took a decade for Reynolds Aluminum to become competitive.

      • @Louis Wheeler, This is where we continue to part ways. Feel free to disagree, but when I talk about embracing a wireless Internet, that’s hardly being “bound to the present, ” or “stuck in the past.” If you don’t see that, there’s no further need for discussion.

        I would agree that a real solution to some of the problems would be competition. I live in a housing complex where we have a choice of just one, Cox, even though there is a second competitor, Century Link, who bought off Qwest, one of the former baby Bells a while back. But Cox wired the complex, and others have no way to get a piece of the action. Yeah, the free market sure worked for me. 🙁

        But wireless would be a different matter entirely. I would just have to be within the range of their signal. If Sprint offered state-of-the-art LTE speeds with unlimited bandwidth, I’d consider it real fast if the price made sense. If the wireless carriers could handle the bandwidth, and guarantee wired broadband speeds and better, they would have a new revenue source.


    5. Louis Wheeler says:

      I’m sorry if I insulted you. But, all your examples are present or past oriented. You leave no room for the imaginable. This moment is fleeting. It is already the past with every breath we take.

      What technology is the one after wireless internet? Do you know? Neither do I. They have proven, in the laboratory, that there is teleportation of electrons. All I know is that if there is freedom, then some technology will be allowed to thrive.

      If we have Net Neutrality we are consigning ourselves to a horse and buggy era. It could be higher speeds than today, but much less than could be.

      Regulation kills. Why? Because It shackles the future. The future needs to be free and that only occurs when there is competition. We have too little freedom now. We have too much monopoly and you want more?

      Ps. No one made you live where you do. If your highest priority was high broadband speeds, you would have never moved in. The market place never failed you. You never gave it a chance.

      The world is imperfect, Gene. It does not exist to benefit us. There is nothing in life without tradeoffs. The tradeoff associated with Net Neutrality regulation is stagnation.

      • @Louis Wheeler, Arguing with you is equivalent to entering an alternate reality. We chose this dwelling because, in all other respects, it was suited for our needs and budget. It isn’t the only place around here that is wired for one cable or telephone service or another.

        As to the future, past wireless: Out of the scope of the article. We haven’t even exploited the possibilities of current technology.


        • louis Wheeler says:

          @Gene Steinberg,

          You prove my point: high broadband speeds wasn’t the highest priority for your home. So, why do you complain about it now? It was your choice; accept that responsibility.

          What is past wireless is not beyond the scope of my imagination. Even current technology will be neglected due to Net Neutrality. It undercuts any other economic possibility. You are not perceiving the cause effect relationship here. Net Neutrality locks us into today. It provides no means to move toward something better.

          Our current situation sucks, because the government locked us into a phone company monopoly in the 1920s. We were suckered again when “deregulation” locked us into the local bell monopolies.

          You are uninterested in economic freedom, Gene. You cannot consider the possibilities. The Federal government has no constitutional authority here. What would happen if they stop trying to regulate this? I believe it would preferable to what we have.

          Freedom is an alternate reality, Gene. We live in a Progressive welfare/ warfare state. I am not locked into that, at all. Fortunately, the welfare /warfare state is on its last legs. I have no clear vision of what will supersede it.

          • @louis Wheeler, Actually I get good broadband speeds. It’s just that I don’t have a choice of a second provider if I want one. I didn’t say performance wasn’t good.

            Economic freedom has been shown to be a failure without a few government regulations to deal with chronic abuses of the system. We had too much deregulation and it took the economy down with the 2007-2009 recession. This is the sort of thing that always happens. We removed the wall between banks and investments in 1999; the end result was a banking nightmare because they are run by children who are so greedy they don’t care about the consequences of their actions.

            I’m sorry, I don’t live in your universe. Let’s drop the politics, OK? Further politics and I’ll just remove the posts.


    6. Louis Wheeler says:

      You know, Gene, we’ve had this conversation several times before. We always disagree about the same things. You always act the same way. You cannot stand a diversity of ideas. You do not value free speech.

      Sure, remove my posts. It was a bit of harmless fun. It was my way of jousting with a philistine; you have no appreciation for commercial arts and culture.

      You believe in institutional violence — that is, the government. I agree, with George Washington, who said that government is a necessary evil in order to suppress the worst of men. And, to use his illustration, that government, like fire, is a useful servant but a fearful master.

      The predicament of the state is that, too often, evil or greedy people get in control and they create a horror show. Oh! They have learned to do so incrementally, because if they betray themselves, as Obama is doing, the common people rise up and vanquish them. Thomas Jefferson said that there should be a revolution each generation. That revolution is too long delayed.

      Our economy is bad, not due to a lack of regulation; but a lack of freedom. Sure, freedom allows people to commit crimes, but that is why we have courts. Now, the rule of law has been discarded by the powerful, so the courts mean nothing. Neither the banks nor wall street are unregulated. They do their bad deeds with the government’s blessing. Obama’s regulators are on the crime spree — a power grab. Everything he and his minions do is unconstitutional. Hence, bad tidings fall upon us.

      What will happen first? Will the economy shut down from a lack of freedom or will the US Dollar become worthless? Frankly, I’m betting on the latter because a resistance has sprung up on the regulation front. Meanwhile, few people know why price inflation is picking up in a bad economy. They don’t know that the damage to the economy has already been done. We can only ride it out.

      We live in the same universe, Gene, but it is possible to deny reality for a while. One way to do that is to never answer another person’s arguments. Never take their position seriously. I have studied your positions. I merely disagree with them. I suspect that we worship a different gods. Or you worship no God at all.

      You brought up the politics in your article, Gene. I merely refuted your position. I wanted you to attack my reasoning, but you never did. Instead, you tell me to shut up.

      I disagree with Net Neutrality because it is the wrong solution to a corrupt political problem. The problem with the Left is that none of their solutions work. They all have unintended consequences. We have become too poor to afford the price which the Left exacts.

      I’ll trouble you no longer.

      • @Louis Wheeler, Correction. You tried to refute my position, but the core problem remains undisputed, and a certain U.S. Senator is concerned. But, yeah, that guy is a liberal and a former comedian, so why not demonize him?

        But if we ever meet, lunch is on me.


        • Louis Wheeler says:

          @Gene Steinberg,

          We agree that the present system doesn’t work. Where we disagree is on the solution. There are almost an infinite series of bad solutions. And many people are bigoted toward their favorite. I would prefer to get rid of monopolies and introduce freedom and competition. Are you opposed to those? Why?

          A common carrier system has too many bad side effects. I believe it sacrifices the future for a benefit today. Do you have any evidence which shows good results after ten years? I’ve studied the history and can’t find any. Both railroads and trucking were harmed. It led to cartels, inefficiency and high prices.

          Do you deny that Net Neutrality is a Common Carrier concept? All use the same argument that the roads, railroads and the internet are publicly owned. That all of them were given grants from either state or federal government, therefore the government can assume total control. Unfortunately, this is fascism and I disapprove of that.

          Ps. Presenting an alternative viewpoint is not demonizing anyone. Do you have something against intellectual diversity?

        • ccllyyddee says:

          @Gene Steinberg, After having read the ‘dialog’ between Gene and Louis, it seems to me that Louis is so stuck in his opinions that he reads a predetermined meaning to whatever it is that Gene writes. And lifts phrases out of context to toss them around to see where they land.

          Loosen up Louis, lest you become the very windmill you are parrying with, whatever it is. I thought that the original definition of Fascism was that business controlled the government, which is what we have now, and that Socialism is where the government controlled business. But reality has nuance and is never all dark nor all light.

          There is no magical free market solution to any thing except maybe selling tomatoes by the side of the road in front of your house, or that there is an ideal social solution, except maybe providing roads and schools and military and police and fire suppression with the type of corruption in institutions where there is a guaranteed income from the government.

          What right has the government to tell me I can’t drill a hole under my seat on the boat since it is my seat and I can sink the boat if I want? I can’t keep up with what words mean in the US since their values change depending on who is using them. I can’t keep up with the changing meaning of Conservative or Liberal or Family Values or Free Market since such concepts get slung around so much depending on their psychological value. I call them words that have been forced into prostitution. Listening to politicians and idealists in the media gives me the impression that I am hearing an advertisement for ‘Babel, the Sequel’.

    7. Bart Hanson says:

      I offer a view from the sidelines (far away in NZ in the South Pacific actually). The roading network is what comes closest to the internet for me in terms of funding construction. In real world usage there are safety issues with physical highways, speed limits etc. which do not apply to the internet. Initially the internet was gifted to the world by the US inventors, there are no patent wars over HTML that I know about. So no one owns it then, we are free to use the technologies for good and bad. The absolute best use of it in my opinion is the opportunity to educate oneself. The internet has democratized information. I no longer need to be an editor, publisher, reporter or important orator to have my message read. You are reading my words here and now! Over and above this is one plain fact that most Americans do not seem to get at all. That is, that for every problem a solution exists. Sometimes a regulatory solution is the answer and sometimes a letting it run run its course /free market solution is the answer. Forget those artificial constructs we call communist, right wing, socialist, interventionist. They are merely words that others will use to trap you. Back to Net Neutrality. Do we want to keep the internet democratic? (it was never free as in beer, but more so as in speech thankfully). I do not want my world totally filled with advertising which is exactly where the internet has been heading ever since companies have finding that it is a great marketing tool and universities have tired of giving away their knowledge for free. In fact universities are now companies who are in the business of marketing themselves. Eventually everything will have its price, in the coin of the realm. Sorry if that it smells like freedom for some of you but let me live in my cave eating raw fish in peace please! Forget the freedom to make a profit. What about freedom from needing to be an economic slave and the simple freedom to share ideas freely? That’s how we got the internet in the first place guys.

    8. dfs says:

      I’m getting remarkably tired of this off-subject political debate. Both liberals and conservatives manage to bore the crap out of me, neither side seems to have any constructive ideas to offer. Gene, back on May 7 you wrote ” Let’s drop the politics, OK? Further politics and I’ll just remove the posts.” Please do. Or figure out a way to keep this stuff out of our mailboxes in the first place.

    9. Consider it closed unless the discussion returns to the topic at hand.


    10. ccllyyddee says:

      Please be so kind as to remove all of my comments above. Rereading both the article and the comments made me feel as if I were in a Monty Python skit. Rereading mine made me feel not-so-bright.

      But now I know from Gene what the controversy is about net-neutrality, and why it is so heated. I am more interested in the consequences of the rules rather than their higher moral purpose. After all, I use my computer for its access to the knowledge base, not as a holy object.

      My comment is about my Air, with SSD and without an internal optical drive. I am very happy with that combination. I also have the external optical drive, which seems to be faster and is of a better quality build than what is in most desktop and notebooks. You are correct that most of my downloads come from the internet, but I can rip CD’s in no time at all and when I want to watch a DVD, I import it into Air, unplug the drive, watch the movie, then erase it. As far as capacity goes, I have never had a computer that had enough space. I have solved this by having an external hard disk for iTunes, another for iPhoto, and a third as a Time Machine backup. When I want to take Air into the field for taking notes, it is simply a matter of unplugging and going. When I am using Air for its portability, I do not have to worry about scratching the hard disk by moving it around while it is still running.

      I think that Apple is right in taking bold steps forward. I still miss Firewire, but I have managed to live without it. Now if they could just get rid of all those cables between all the hardware, so that I could stare at an uncluttered space to stare at when I have writer’s block.

    11. Louis Wheeler says:

      Yes, Gene, by all means close down debate. Sometimes, that is the only way you can win.

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