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Why Does Microsoft Always Get A Free Pass? Why Does Big Business Reek So Badly? - page 2

How Bad Must It Get?

  • December 3, 2008
  • By Carla Schroder
It's no accident that throughout history, the first act of any newly-minted tyrant is taking control of all communications. So it's no accident that since the Internet became available to the masses, world governments and our beloved, cuddly globalcorps have been doing their darndest to lock it down and control it. John Gilmore, one of the founders of Electronic Frontier Foundation and all-around awesome geek and activist, is often quoted as saying "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." But does it? The Internet is under the control of the companies who own the wires, which ain't us peons out here in the world.

Forbes magazine, in The Day The Web Went Dead, describes how a seriously silly-sounding dispute between Cogent and Sprint resulted in a several-day Internet outage for millions of customers. So where was the routing around the damage? Nowhere is where. The article treats this episode as an amusing duel between some good ole boys with a happy ending, rather than what it really is-- a childish tantrum that caused a lot of harm to a lot of people.

One of my favorite hobbies is scoffing at the worn-out claims of innovation by big business. Feh. The only thing they innovate is spiraling levels of baloney. How Comcast Controls Sony's Internet TV Plans relates the long sad tale of how Sony has been trying for five years to make a deal with Comcast to broadcast Sony programming over Comcast's networks:

"We've worked with the cable companies for five years to develop a system that would allow us and the rest of the television manufacturers to have alternative content on the TV," Mr. Glasgow said."

What's the hangup? Programming guides. The solution, after five years of arguing? Both parties get to offer users their own program guides. They seem to think it's a fair trade- fewer gadgets for customers to manage in return for more program guides. (Insert appropriate sarcastic face here.) Don't hold your breath, though, it's not coming anytime soon:

"All of these applications have to be tested by CableLabs and approved by your cable operator. That's the same crowd that took five years to agree to let Sony build its own electronic program guide."

Maybe they should requisition some adults to run these companies.

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