Re Comcast, AOL and MS buying into Facebook

There have been 3 alarming things re the internet on the news today. (btw yeah i’m gonna talk about tech again for once. Dont worry i’m not getting all political as per last few posts. I just write whatever gets in my head basically).

Anyway, these are that Comcast had apparently been blocking / delaying some Internet traffic, and that ‘Email forwarding’ is being looked into by the US’ FCC after someone there lost a lot of business when AOL closed her account without warning, cancelling her email account and damaging her business. And the 3rd and final one is that Microsoft has bought into Facebook.

Obviously these issues happened in the States and had affected Americans directly, but being on the Internet, the effect of these things are universal. If Comcast decides to limit Internet traffic on certain protocols, servers, or whatever, anyone on the Internet accessing them is gonna be affected, and yes that includes us here in the bush.

The article that mentions it spends a lot of time explaining what this really means so I won’t try and venture to make any explanations myself, essentially because I’m lazy and such a highly techie thing can easily be screwed up by a lousy explanation. The threat however is fairly clear: Some people in Comcast’s boardroom is deciding upon themselves which services are best to serve and which they’d rather not. And since Comcast is the largest cable company in the US, not only do their actions affect everyone accessing services via their vast and large network, other cable companies throughout the world might realize that they too can (and because Comcast does it) should do the same.

Why would they? Firstly, it’s to save on bandwidth. Bandwidth is still expensive and their customers keep asking more and more of it. So instead of just buying loads and loads more of it, Comcast decided to just limit certain parts of it, so that the rest can be used to serve up the usual stuff people want (in other words, http). It therefore makes sense they chose to do that on file-sharing. Slowing it down is not blatantly obvious, and besides let’s admit it: Gnutella and BitTorrent users aren’t usually known as the most legit on the ‘net, so hey, why not slow them down a bit right?

The second issue has to deal with the possibility that the FCC is gonna require ISPs to allow ’email fowarding’ whenever someone loses their account. Now I sympathize with the lady who lost business, but seriously, doing so imho shows a lack of understanding how the internet works and besides her troubles could easily have been avoided in the first place.

Since time imemmorial I’ve been telling people to never ever use the ‘free email’ account that comes with signing up to their ISP, in our case for example, the pldtdsl ones and the globe broadband ones. This is for the simple fact that you do not want to be tied up with them if for any reason you need to move away from PLDT or Globe or Pacific Internet or whoever you are using. Remember, if you need to leave the country, are sick of their service, or whatever, and need to close your account, you email address will close with you and you’re gonna have to say goodbye to your contacts who know you by that address. So instead, set up a Gmail one, or go even further and buy a domain.

And finally, the 3rd, which is MS has bought into Facebook in a big, $240m way. As of the moment I’ve no specific thoughts on that matter other than that because I’m a regular Facebooker – which I think has a great Linkedln feel to it but without all the trying – hard – to – be – strictly – work – related crap, the only thing I can say about that, and any other venture MS tries to get into is, well, it can’t be good.

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