Freedom to Connect — remarks today.

Many thanks to David Isenberg for inviting me to speak today.  Here is a copy of my notes for today’s talk. Life is short, so I have put on the screen an image of a clock whose hands are close to midnight. It’s always good to have a sense of urgency, both in movies and in talks like this one.  And to face the big questions. Here’s one::  What makes a life significant?:  There’s an essay by William James with this title that I look back to.  James says that…

Meta moment

I did a short segment on NPR’s Bryant Park Project with Rachel Martin this morning – for broadcast tomorrow, Tuesday.  The plan had been to talk about the Cuba OFAC story from last week.  But when I got there they had switched gears – they really wanted to talk about net neutrality instead. So we did an interview about everything.  We talked about registrars freezing web site registrations at the direction of the Treasury Department, about a judge knocking Wikileaks off the internet, and about network access providers filtering/managing internet…

“The broadband revolution”

The International Telecommunications Union recently issued a press release announcing with joy the release of “the first set of global standards for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV).” A key sentence: A combination of voice, Internet and video services over a single broadband link and from a single provider is foreseen as the ultimate goal of the broadband revolution. Those of you who lived through What Is Broadband Good For? with me last summer (first post here) know that the word “broadband” is a pet bugaboo of mine. It’s a word that…

Comcast Is Pretending to be You

This AP story makes clear that Comcast is pretending to be part of online conversations in order to frustrate users who want to use particular online applications. This happens all the time in the name of “traffic shaping” — it’s the kind of thing that China does to interfere with internet use. What’s different and important about today’s story is that people have carefully experimented. We can now understand exactly what Comcast is doing. When you go online and click a link, what you’re doing is sending packets (think individual…

How newspapers and broadcasters are different

The advent of the digital age has put both newspapers and television broadcasters — until not too long ago the arbiters of opinion and taste in America — under pressure. It’s hard for hardcopy newspapers to survive in a craigslist time, and they generally can’t force people to pay for their content online. It’s hard for broadcasters to differentiate their offerings, and so they are starting to release shows online. But newspapers (unlike broadcasters) seem to get the idea that they’re better off with an open internet than a closed,…