Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rogers confuses data and bandwidth, cites inappropriate study and can't do math.

It looks like Rogers at least, is citing Cisco's global usage study and using it to draw conslusions about Canadian usage.

As mentioned in a previous post, it is irresponsible to cite a global study to make claims about Canadian usage. Surely global statistics don't apply to Canadians when Canada's internet is so much slower that the rest of the world's.

They also say that:

"Others say it’s more fair for customers to pay for the amount of bandwidth they actually use. We agree with this approach."

Then why not do this? Ie: Charge based only based on bandwith (2Mbps, 1Mbps, 512kbps, etc) and not based on monthly usage? Monthly usage is not bandwidth. Are you sure you're not getting these confused Rogers?

They are also making claims like:

"Our premium tier provides you so much bandwidth (175 GB) that you could watch streaming video on YouTube every day from 7 a.m. in the morning until midnight without reaching your cap"

Aside from the fact they again confused bandwith (usually measured in Mbps) with monthly usage limit (usually meaasured in Gigs), they also got their numbers wrong. YouTube bitrates vary from 0.25 Mbit/s to 5.0 Mbit/s. Watching from 7am-midnight is 17 hours. 17 hours/day for 30 days is 1 836 000 seconds.

Sure at YouTube's lowest bitrate, you can watch all month and only use ~56 Gigs. But even a modest bitrate of 2.0 Mbit/s will use ~448 Gigs, easily exceeding their Ultimate Internet limit of 175Gb.

By the way, am I the only one who can't get YouTubeHD to work in Canada without long buffering pauses?

Macleans thinks Canada's internet is "fast and modern". Harvard disagrees

Macleans (owned by Rogers) came out with an article on friday in favour of usage-based billing.

In it they claim conservatives are "encouraging the popular delusion that usage-based billing will condemn Canada to backwater Internet"

And they think Canada's internet is "one of the fastest and most modern".

Harvard disagrees, as my earlier post on a study out of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University covers. (pdf, pg 247)

"Though it was among the first nations in the world to provide widespread, retail broadband service, Canada’s recent broadband development has lagged behind other developed nations. Canada’s broadband penetration rates are often lauded, but the country is a poor performer on price and speed and a declining performer in penetration."

Canadian Media Giants: Pro-UBB, Anti-Net Neutrality

Shaw is big. Shaw, along with Rogers and Bell are Canadian media. See the list of companies they own here.

We already know they're pro-UBB, but they are also anti-Net Neutrality.

On Friday Feb 19th, "Cable companies, broadcasters and union representatives" met to discuss what should be done about their latest foreign devil: Netflix.

The meeting was hosted by Norm Bolen, president of the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA), who says the meeting was to discuss the impact of online services “competing for content, competing for customers and the effects that might have on the Canadian system"

Hmm... Norm Bolen...

His bio tells us he was previously Executive VP -- Content at Alliance Atlantis, responsible for fine Canadian channels like "Food Network Canada" and "BBC Canada"...

But there's already a Netflix Canada, so he's probably out of ideas...

But wait!

Alliance Atlantis Communications was bought by Canwest which was bought by Shaw.

And we know what Shaw thinks (who, as one of only 3 major Canadian Broadcaster's, was surely there). They want Netflix regulatd by the CRTC. As Shaw's president Peter Bissonnette puts it his we-pay-taxes-so-they-should-too argument, companies like Netflix:

"Undermines the ability of Canadian broadcasters to finance Canadian programs because the foreign competition is sapping their revenue base."

It sounds like they, and other major Canadian broadcasters (Rogers, Bell, I'm looking at you) want Netflix taxed.

Is not selectively taxing specific internet services a violation of the principles of Net Neutrality?

Then that's our media industry for you folks. Three companies that are pro-UBB and anti-Net Neutrality.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cisco's stats and Canadian usgae based billing

It seem's like the following chart from Cisco Visual Networking Index: Usage Study might be a source of the oft repeated claim "A tiny fraction of the population is using a lion's share of the usage."

I'm not sure if this is the source material for the Canadian claims being made, but it shouldn't be.

This table is talking about global internet usage and if considered for a moment, makes alot of sense.

I bet if we considered the speeds offered in different countries as well as penetration in those countries, corrected for the popultation of said country, I bet all we would find is that the table above only tells us "the Japanese, Sweeds and Koreans are using the interet much more than the rest of us."

Stay tuned.

But in the meantime, does anyone have a source for Canadian usage statistics? StatsCan, as usual, seems to be of little help.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Failure by design: African cities edition

South Sudan wants to redesign it's cities into the shape of animals. No joke.

The role of intellectuals in society

Bryan Caplan
has an interesting article about research conducted by Hans Noel. Definitely worth a read:

He assembled a big data set of all the written issue positions staked out by major pundits in major outlets at twenty-year intervals, then did factor analysis.
The results:

The empirics by themselves are impressive, but he also shows that pundits' period of chaos and realignment precedes politicians' by about a decade. While it's not decisive proof, it's consistent with a story where intellectuals change their minds first, and activists, the rank-and-file, and politicians gradually get into line.
HT: MarignalRevolution

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Human vs. Machine: Current Standings

Watson: $77 147
Jennings: $24 000
Rutter: $21 600

Watson went against the 2 best Jeopardy competitors and trounced them. Three times over. Nuff said.

Connectivity in Canada: Stats

From: "Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world"

Courtesy of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (pdf)

Overview of how Canada compares to the rest of the world (pg 247):

"Though it was among the first nations in the world to provide widespread, retail broadband service, Canada’s recent broadband development has lagged behind other developed nations. Canada’s broadband penetration rates are often lauded, but the country is a poor performer on price and speed and a declining performer in penetration."

Other interesting stats:

Friday, February 11, 2011

PublicSphere: An idea for an internet company

PublicSphere is part of the global conversation. It's the coffee shop and the pub. The lunch room and the dinner table. It's anywhere you engage in conversation.

You select a twitter tag and are randomly connected with another use via webcam. On the left side of the screen you see the video chat window (think chatroulette); on the right the live twitter feed of the selected tag.

You chat about what you see.

What's appropriate? That's not enforced by us. It's enforced by you, based on the hashtag. This would vary, as it would between the dinner table, lunch room and pub.

Its the PublicSphere. We're civil, we're moderated, but it's on our terms.

Here's how it works: each twitter tag has an associated public chat room. User's can report questionable behaviour to the admins of a particular chat room. They determine what sort of language/behaviour is appropriate for that particular tag.

How are people made admins? That's where things get interesting. Here's a breakdown of the rules:

1) There are two types of users in the chatroom: regs and admins.
2) Anyone who enters a room with no admins is made an admin.
3) Anyone who enters a room with a pre-existing admin is made a reg.
4) Any admin can ban any reg for 24 (48?) hours. She can only do this once per 24 (48?) hours
5) Every admin has to confer admin on another user every 24 (48?) hours or she loses her admin status. She's free to confer more admin status (to a reasonable limit TBD).
6) An admin's 'rank' is equal to the number of her children.
7) A coalition of admins can 'clip' another admin (make her a reg) by if the sum of their ranks is larger than hers.

So to rule a room, you must first infiltrate it. That is, be familiar enough with the opposing arguments to trick them into thinking your one of them. Then when the time is right, you and your coalition strike and overthrow the old regime. But you learn alot about their position in the process.

Of Interest

1. Honduras to form a charter city?
2. Milton Friedman on Hayek's 'The Road to Serfdom'.
3. More evidence that Suleiman is a poor choice to lead the transition.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Shaw and their UBB absurdity

Purchasing Shaw "HD with digital basic" is $36.95/month. Adding "Movie central" costs $17.00/month, and comes with unlimited on demand HDTV.

Assume a fairly aggressive compression and that the HD video srteam is 10mbps. That means for $53.95 a month I can transfer 25920000megs, or 24.7 terabytes over shaw's infrastructure.

If I were to do the same using their internet service, buying their Nitro package for $160.00/month would give me a limit of 360GB/month. That would put me over my limit by 24942.8 GB. At shaw's $1/gig overage charges (I was quoted this by a shaw representative) my monthly bill would be $160.00 + $24942.80 = $25102.80.

$53.95/month vs $25102.80/month. Anti-competitive much?

That's an extreme. Here's a more resonable scenario. Say a family watched 2hrs/day of on demand content. Again, at the conservative estimate of 10mbps for HD video, that's 2.05TB of data they pull down across the shaw netowrk a month.

This works out to $53.95/month vs $1739.2/month.

So shaw, are you going to start penalizing the "heavy users" of your TV on-demand service as well?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fuck you Hillary Clinton

From CNN:

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a security conference in Germany, said it is "important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman."
Excuse me U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but with all due respect, go fuck yourself. Suleiman was the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate for a ruthless dictator.

As someone on twitter so elegantly put it: "Yeah, I'm sure he's a really nice guy."

But on top of that, thanks to wikileaks we know that he's buddies with the US and the CIA

“Our intelligence collaboration with Oman Soliman is now probably the most successful element of the relationship” with Egypt, said a 2006 U.S. diplomatic cable that used an alternative transliteration of his name. It described Suleiman as “formidable” and says he is Mubarak’s “consigliere” on foreign policy.

We all know you don't want to lose your precious puppet state, Hillary. Stop making it so damn obvious.

GlobalNet: An Ancap-Cypherpunk ideal.

The concept of the fictitious corporation GlobalNet is inspired by Wikileaks, Futarchy and of course, Google.

Since the dawn of Science, it has always been evidence, backed by hard data that has forged the best path for humanity. Today, technology has created a storm of data that can be used to make predictions. As conectedness and data scales, so do our prediction accuracies. We can use this data to answer fundamental questions about our existence. DNA et al can tell us about human nature -- calls, tweets and bills about human nurture.

Tech scales. Data scales with it. So do prediction accuracies.

But so do ethical and privacy concerns. This is the dillema.

GlobalNet is the solution. Shares are issued, capital raised and invested long term. Half the interest funds GlobalNetTech, half to GlobalNetData.

GlobalNetTech provides free digital services to the world. Search... SocialNetworking... Storage... -- shareholders decided the services they'd like to see. All publications (media, code, etc.) are without copyright. They even design/sell hardware at cost.

GlobalNetInfo monitors usage over all GlobalNetTech's infrastructure. But they behave with your data, and back that promise up with cash as many ways as it can. Sharehold capital is used as collateral on liability insurance. If they are ever deemed to have been negligent with user-data, (as defined by the shareholders) the company is closed and all capital goes to the plantiff. They will also receive anonymous leaks. Same deal applies, and the data is disseminated to whoever the source desires. Sometimes nobody.

While the gadets and services provided by GlobalNetTech are fun and life-improving. The service provided by GlobalNetInfo could be revolutionary. They act as an Oracle over all the data. Anyone may ask of it any question they like. If the question is deemed to be 'acceptable' (again, as defined by shareholders) then a betting line can be placed. GlobalNetInfo uses its data to make predictions, and its funds to match the volume of any line. Thereby disseminating accurate, 'acceptable' and relevant information to the world backed up with money.