Tuesday, April 18, 2017
I recently repeated the process, with a twist.
I was an early cord-cutter -- getting my local TV with a rabbit ears antenna and streaming the rest from the Internet. That worked fairly well, but I could not get local content in some of the rooms of my house and even in the best room, there would be an occasional glitch and I had to play around with the antenna orientation. I tried amplified antennas, but none were better than my rabbit ears and I am too lazy to install a rooftop antenna. (The local TV transmitters are on a mountain 24.5 miles as the crow flies from my home).
My monopoly ISP bill crept up over time, as monopoly ISP bills do, and my old monopoly ISP, time-Warner Cable (TWC), had sold to a new monopoly ISP, Spectrum.
Spectrum started sending out flyers offering good deals to new subscribers -- Internet, phone and cable-TV service for a little less than I had been paying TWC. I called and offered to switch to the introductory offer and they accepted -- I spliced the cord.
I now get rock-solid local TV and a DVR for less than I was paying before. That is an improvement, but nothing like I could get by moving to place with a competitve Internet service market like Riga, Stockholm or Korea.
Are you hoping new wireless technology like 5G mobile or PCell technology from Google will provide ISP competition? The technology remains to be seen in the field but, if it turns out to be a threat, the ISPs will work hard to fight competition, for example, by outlawing the sharing of public infrastructure.
In spite of periodic renegotiation with my ISP, the cost is drifting up and I pay for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but I seldom go out to a movie these days. It looks like the long-run losers will be movie theaters and the public.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
I teach a class on the applications, implications and technology of the Internet and we look at relevant current events each week. Last semester there were many current events dealing with the election and I accumulated a large, chronologically ordered, PowerPoint slide deck on the political implications of the Internet.
Last week I substituted for a faculty colleague and gave two 75-minute lectures on the topic, using selected slides from the full deck. The selected slides are not chronological, but organized as follows:
- Historical context
- Fact checking
- Fake news for money
- Fake news for politics
- Fake images
- Trump dominated social media
- More historical context - disillusion
- Real world consequences
- The Internet is ephemeral
- Breitbart – “alt right” press
- Money behind the scenes
- (Imperfect) fixes
- Future fake media