Tag Archives: Internet

More Free Stuff!

This little item popped up last week, somewhat under the radar — a free Internet (for some people — AKA regular Democrat voters) proposal from the modern Santa Claus, the Obama White House and its puppet, the Federal Communications Commission.

As I’ve been telling people for some time, the “free phone” “entitlement” would morph into free Internet and here we see the first step. This is also related to the designation of the Internet and related entities as “Title II,” i.e. a utility that can be heavily regulated by government. Liberals will not rest until the Internet is part of the government’s portfolio and under its oversight and control. Eventually there will be a Dept. of Communication with a cabinet-level secretary. Bank on it.

Unless it is stopped.

The acorn of this mighty oak was a Reagan-era program. Reagan had a soft spot for Social Security and old folks (he philosophically knew better but couldn’t resist the sad stories). His idea was that no old person would be trapped without some kind of basic phone service, at least for emergencies. Immediately an income rider was attached so that “the poor,” no matter their age, would also be eligible. You knew then that it would be expanded and expanded. And so it was, slowly at first. Then, a few decades letter, it exploded with the Obamaphone program for getting wireless phones to those who might not have them. And now Internet “access” is being folded in, because, well, it’s just not “fair” that some people have Internet and some don’t.

I’m going to say something that has become controversial as liberalism has become increasingly more dominant in our culture. There needs to be a penalty for being poor. There needs to be some impetus, reason, encouragement for people to make themselves unpoor.

But the left likes people to be poor. It likes them to become dependent upon the government — for a few things at first, but increasingly more and more of the creature comforts. After awhile — a few years, a few generations they don’t mind being poor. It’s not so bad to be poor because everyone has enough to eat (except when it’s time to make hay about ‘hunger); everybody has shelter (other than those voluntarily homeless or mentally disturbed and when it comes time to make hay about ‘homelessness’); everybody is getting health care (except when it comes time make hay about ‘health care’); everybody has educational opportunities and increasingly a free or heavily subsidized college (except when it time to make hay about ‘education’); and so on.

In many ways they aren’t really poor — certainly in not any traditional and historical sense. Nor are they poor in any comparison to the actual poor in the rest of the world. Most of our “poor” would rate as middle class in most parts of the globe.

They have enough to get by but certainly not enough to actually become no longer dependent upon the government. After a few generations of this, people no longer are capable of taking care of themselves. And why should they, they reason — that’s what the government is for! Big Daddy/Big Mommy/Big Sister/Big Brother and Big Baby.

And they don’t have to pay a nickle for any of it because that wouldn’t be “fair” and they are poor!

Witness life in any Democrat-controlled city. Everything that comes out of the mouths of the local poor is “gimme” and their look is to the government (and the politicians are happy to abide). In their minds the government provides all. They are married to the government. The concept of taking care of themselves or looking to building a private sector is mostly foreign to them. In the rare occasions when it is addressed it is treated with contempt or denounced by politicoes and “stakeholding” activists as a conspiracy by Republicans, conservatives, corporations, enslavers to control them. Those “stakeholders” have a stake in keeping the poor poor.

The poor become completely incapable of understanding that they have already sold their souls to a master — the Democratic Party and its various flying monkey organizations.

The Care and Feeding of Topsy

It’s a sad axiom of government that once a program is started it will forever grow, eventually moving far beyond its intended purpose and scope.

While we are replete with thousands examples, I shall apprise you of a recent one that has come to my attention.

Ronald Reagan, bless his heart, had a blindspot for Rooseveltian social claptrap. It was a left over from his days as a Democrat. One of Reagan’s leftovers was a program called “Lifeline,” aimed at maintaining basic phone service for isolated senior citizens.

This was back in the early days of phone deregulation, the 1980s. Telephones were still sort of new back then, or at least not taken for granted. There were senior citizens who remembered having their first phone installed at their home. It was still a luxury to have more than one phone in the house, though that was changing. Long distance calling was still expensive, though thanks to Craig McCaw it was coming down. Cellphones had not been invented yet.

Lifeline was to be a small program, paid for by those nickle & dime “fees” that you read about on the back of your phone bill (like the one instituted to pay for the Spanish-American War but was only finally removed more than a century after the war ended). No one thought much of it because no one wanted Grandma to be without a phone and it was just a few pennies a month, right? Besides, back then even grandmas scrimped and saved to pay their bills. Nobody was going to call them deadbeats!

Fast forward 30 years to now. That cute little puppy of a program has grown into mangy adult coyote, complete with its own Washington lobby, army of rentseekers and disingenuous activist supporters.

Lifeline, in the eyes of the FCC, is now morphing into a broadband Internet entitlement that people of “low-income” are, well, entitled to. In fact, the cable television industry lobby group, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, wants to add in more than just basic services, because, as it says, consumers want choice (especially when other people are footing the bill).

There’s no such thing as “beggars can’t be choosers,” in this day and age. I’d surmise that many liberals would insist that it is those very beggars who should be given the most choice. That’s how they think in their upside down world.

The Democrats at the FCC are pushing to fatten it up as well.

Adding fuel to the fire — Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (a Democrat, of course), has written a letter to the FCC (and the Veterans Administration) insisting that Lifeline be expanded to cover all military personal and veterans.

I guess that would make a new recruiting tool — Join the Army, get free broadband for life. If that doesn’t raise the patriotic fervor of today’s kids and older couch potatoes, I don’t know what will.

Laugh now that some think broadband Internet should be considered a basic of daily life. In a few more years you’ll be paying for it (assuming you’re one of the 50% that actually pays taxes and for your Internet – which will be deemed a ‘human right’ by some.).

Suicide of the Web

Recently the leftie rag/website The Guardian asked a good question: Is Internet advertising technology ruining the Internet experience?

The answer to that is yes.

I’m all for free market and capitalism, whereas The Guardian isn’t, but there are limits to commercialism, or rather where it becomes counterproductive. Internet advertising at many sites has blown through that boundary.

I visit a number of conservative blog and websites. Several of them are shocking computer resource hogs. Sometimes I wonder, does anyone involved with those sites actually look at them or visit them from the outside (without their souped-up IT computer)?

I have an older Windows XP laptop that’s done me great service for years and a newer desktop machine (64-bit Windows 7 and 8 GB of RAM). I’ve taken to visiting many of these sites with Task Manager open – just to watch the “memory” numbers skyrocket – and then shut Flash down since it is the chief resource hog.

I’ll stick to generalizations mostly but I will note that the worst offenders, as a group, are the Townhall sites. They’ll grind the laptop to a halt in a minute. I also have to be wary of The Examiner, Washington Times, Pajama Media, Breitbart and Real Clear Politics. There are others that I visit that are better on some days than others, such as Power Line and National Review or visit less occasionally.

Pay attention webmasters!

It looks silly to have five (I’ve seen as many as seven) Flash windows open on a site and, often, all of them playing the same Annaliese Dayes, the egg lady, Food Planet, etc. videos, scenes from Uppercut or a Stylebrity fashion show video or whatever nom de video they’re running under that week.

Lately several sites have been running a syndicate of web videos that change their name about every two weeks but are the same celebrity programming/gossip and travel trash that isn’t particularly relevant to the conservative audience.

Annoyingly, shutting down those video windows, by clicking the shutdown X, sends you to that website. I know you think you tricked me but all you’ve really done is annoy me and deceived your client. I’ll have the pop-up window or tab shutdown in less than three seconds. Does that register a click? Is your client going to pay you for that nonimpression impression?

Here’s an idea. Since you stick cookies into my computer, don’t have me watch the same video more than say, three million times? You can keep count, I know you can.

Oh, and when I stop a video: Don’t then run an ad and then restart the video; don’t restart the video/ad when I scroll away or go to another tab. Simply don’t restart the video! What’s the point of running a video/ad that I’m not watching? To merely consume bandwidth or are you just jacking up “views” that aren’t actually views? Naughty-naughty.

Tip to you web designers out there — never have more than three Flash windows operating on a page. Not everyone has a bleeding edge, 8 GB RAM machine. Five is too many and seven is insane. Three is actually too many but there are compromises.

Then there are times of mysterious resource consumption. Hot Air is a repeat offender here. I have had every video window shut down – and I mean killed, not paused, yet I still can watch Flash in Task Manager spin upward past 500 MB in less than 30 seconds and over 1 GB if I walk away to get something to drink. I don’t see what’s running or using those resources.

Somebody at Hot Air needs to take a serious look at their website ad policy and stop worrying about their commissions.

Note that Liverail, AdapTV, Doubleclick, AdChoices, moatads, Scorecard Research, ping.chartbeat, any of the google.dots and amazon.dots, et al, are the spawn of Satan. These little ad purveyors, unsolicited content installers and verification monitors are in a desperate war with each other to fill slots and check that things are where they are or are not. It’s often a game of digital musical chairs – heavily-laden poorly-written code modules conflict with each other, possible purposely-written sabotage algorithms and the constant presence of constipated servers combine so that we are treated to Three Stooges-style doorway obstructions watching something hang on loading and everything else, including the content that you wanted, piling up behind it, all battling each other for a place on the page (or redirecting you to somewhere else).

Does anyone really click on a Photoshopped picture of an alligator swallowing a koala declaring that “One weird trick” can make you cancer-free and cut your car insurance by 90%? Somebody must because these companies stay in business. My God, people are dumb. (They can’t all be Democrats!)

Newsmax. Don’t even get me started on the Newsmax boxes appearing on sites – often 100% medical and financial snake oil. What happened?

Taboola and other “Sponsored Links” crapola are an annoyance but don’t seem to be resource-intensive. I’m surprised that conservative purveyors of their sites stomach the low-info voter content they peddle (picture of Kim Kardashian and text saying ‘Eight beauties with IQs over 200!’) but it’s likely that’s part of the blog package. I just saw one on Power Line with a black & white picture, clearly from the 1960s of a bikinied cutie on a bike. The tag – “WWII Photos From The Front Line.” The other three pictures in this “Popular Articles and Offers” all featured chesty women in exposing tops and were entitled: “Finding a bikini top that fits them properly is a chore for these 32 girls;” “These 28 photos of women bending seductively are straight-up attention-getters;” and “These Girls Wish These Embarrassing Photos Never Saw The Light Of Day.” This was at Power Line, I remind you. (BTW, I have nothing against these gals but at Power Line?)

Pop-ups (and the rarer pop-unders) — another of the Dark One’s devices. These are inevitably peddling crap services when not hawking malware. Lately I’ve seen the appearance of pop-throughs.

Another annoying ad tactic is ads that explode when you accidentally get near them – kind of like the alien. Sometimes they appear in the middle of the text and sometimes they hang around the edge and if your mouse gets too close they spring forth – obscuring what you were looking at or, if descending from a banner ad, push everything downward. It then snaps back when the ad is done and you are forced to search for where you were in the article.

Then there are ads at ad-heavy sites that go to war with each other. I got a good chuckle the other day when a site’s craptastic pop-up POS ad (Upgrade to eFax!) kept smothering it’s autolaunch freight rail ads in side boxes. Yeah, nobody at home at this very high-profile website. Unfortunately, ad wars on websites are rarely that good (like Iran-Iraq war good) and usually more troublesome, when not actually making the site impossible to navigate – if not actually continually crashing it.

Highlighted words – I’ve never understood this technique. I understand the (relatively sound) theory but the practice is reliably incompetent (if not completely idiotic). You see the phrase “river bank” with “bank” highlighted and if you hover over it (foolishly thinking it might be an infolink leading to another article about the river) a little popup shows up pitching a “5.8% mortgage rate from Columbia BANK” or something about a checking account, car loan or a credit card. Again, do any of the people involved with these websites actually look at their website? Does anyone peddling the link service look at how it performs? Does any client paying for this service look at its implementation? It’s a rip-off!

Some sites accidentally or on-purpose won’t let you leave them easily. Hot Air is a notorious jailer, often crashing Pale Moon (which I use in defiance to Mozilla/Firefox and IE) if I merely click on another link so I use the open-as-tab or new tab options to navigate away from the site. I’m not sure if it’s accidental or purpose-built sabotage code. Whatever, it builds anger.

As noted above, I keep Task Manager open and often purposely shut down the Flash player. That usually works and rarely does it affect the content you are there to see – unless it’s an awesome Remy or Andrew Klavan video.

I have to note that marketing minions aren’t stupid and will occasionally package a bomb in their Flash package that crashes your browser if you shut down Flash. I’ve had this happen mostly at Real Clear Politics but it has happened elsewhere. The craven marketers will do anything to pump their numbers up and they really don’t care about shoving at you a video that you won’t watch and then counting that when they bill the client. It’s the negative side of a great system called “programmatic” advertising.

Modern ad technology is supposed to be smart yet the programmatic buyers are being duped. Just because a site is political doesn’t mean that running PSAs for gays (I thought it was a spoof ad the first time or two I saw it) or campaign ads for a Minnesota libtard on a conservative website are a good idea.

So much of web advertising is designed into trying to trick you into watching or clicking on something. Why? Seriously, take a sober look at your ad policy. If the product or service is of interest we shouldn’t have to be tricked into clicking on it.

Stop making your sites actually painful to visit.

The Glorious Future of the Apple Minternets

Here’s a little note that came out just ahead of Apple’s WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week: Apple is thinking about building out its own content delivery network.

In English that means that the consumer products manufacturer so beloved by liberals is planning its own branch of the Internet to guarantee that its audio and video streams get to the consumer in decent shape.

Rewind to last year — when so-called “Net Neutrality” was all the rage on the left — the idea that a company could pay the titans of the Internet a little extra to make sure that their digital audio and video streams arrived to consumers in one piece was considered the height classism. The peak of snobbery. A brutal drubbing of the wretched poor’s noses in the digital dirt.

It was apparently a shocking idea, that some people might pay more for better service. Whoah! What kind of crazy talk was that? Pay more for better service? Not in our wonderful Socialist future! Everybody pays the same (except those that don’t pay anything or those living on subsidies) for the same – from a granny only wanting to check her grandchildren’s Facebook pages once a day to a hardcore multiplayer online gamer to a vast corporate with workers in a hundred different places. There will be no differences allowed!

Net Neutrality Forever! crowed one Barack H. Obama, Democrats far and wide along with a phalanx of “consumer” groups such as Public Knowledge, Free Press, etc. Everyone must have the same Internet packet speed because lack of high-speed broadband, with every packet of data delivered in the same way, was the only thing keeping the less fortunate down. If they had access to broadband Internet then they’d get college degrees, start businesses, cure cancer and vault into the lucrative high-tech future, they sang.

Of course so many of these technocratic experts had no idea what they were talking about (and the ones that did were snowing the gullible). I’ll let you in on a little secret. There already is a data packet hierarchy. It’s been around pretty much since the modern Internet began. It’s about the only way it can function without clogging.

For instance, your email packets aren’t high priority so they can wander around the Internet, be reassembled and you don’t notice the fragmentary seconds in delay. But if your video or audio packets did the same, you’d end up with chatter, hitches and lock-ups. In fact, it’s because some packets are more equal than others that your Verizon FiOS, AT&T Xfinity, et al, flow so smoothly. For your beautiful hi-def cable TV, it’s Net Neutrality-Shmet Neutrality under the hood.

But for the eternal envious grasping of the Free Stuff crowd, such things must not be allowed! They think that they’ll be able to force the big telcos/cable companies, the main builders of the fiber optic infrastructure, to cut prices and still keep building out expensive infrastructure. And that they’ll be able to control the final consumer price structure as well. It’s all about control and making other people pay for things that you deliver to your supporters (often in the name of ‘fairness’). These companies aren’t stupid. If Net Neutrality becomes the controlling facility, they’ll suddenly find reasons to stop building out high-speed fiber-optic networks. We’ll all be treated to an Internet trapped in amber – kind of like Cuba and its fleet of 1959 automobiles. Except…

Except companies like Google and Apple will build out private networks, if they have to. These superhigh-bandwidth broadband Minternets (a neologism of mini and Internet) will be built in the more affluent ZIP codes and will be essentially unregulated (because once regulation starts it will only grow, if only to placate the baying of the populists and socialists). The Minternets will be joined by the growing semiprivate IP networks being constructed by a handful of universities to create an elite computer network that will be capable of handling virtual realities and 8k television/movies. This will be while everyone else is scraping by on a slowly decaying public Internet trapped in mid-2010s technology. You’ll be able to thank the Net Neutrality folks for that.

Open Letter to Dick Wolf (and the CSI and NCIS Dudes)

Dear Dick and Fellow TV Programming Gods – The future of TV is clear (unless the government, likely the FCC steps in) – IPTV.

Your TV will increasingly be seen as a browser rather than the dumb monitor that it has been since TV started.

You may not realize it now, but if you have Verizon FiOS or any other of the fiber-optic-delivered services, you are already there. It’s just a matter of time before they start breaking it out.

Anyway, in the future, some programmers will be like websites or portals…

It will be completely Choice TV not Appointment TV as we’ve had for lo, these many decades.

I’ll have more on this glorious TV-holic paradise in the future.

But first – my brilliant idea (and no, I’m not claiming to have invented this concept): DickWolf.com or LawandOrder.com. There will come a time when it will dawn on you (if it hasn’t already) or your fabulously wealthy descendants, that you don’t need NBC (or TNT or TBS or USA, and a thousand local stations, et al); that you have a whomping big catalog of Law and Orders, and don’t need NBC or TBS to air them (and then split the proceeds). In fact, you have so much programming that you could have your own cable channel.

But why share the wealth with Comcast, Verizon, Charter, et al? The magic of IPTV allows you to start your own, personal cable network.

That’s right!

What most people don’t understand, including a lot in the industry itself (and any idiot thinking ‘Net Neutrality’ would ever work as they fantasized), is that these big cable companies are nothing more than miniature closed Internet universes. That is, they are nothing more than a jumbo website, they’ve just dumb-downed the GUI on your TV so you can’t see that.

That’s why all that video-on-demand is now proliferating. The program is just a digital file that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. And that’s why, increasingly, the cable companies peddle that “You can restart the program….” feature. Couldn’t do that when putting a program on involved slapping a master cassette into a machine in New Jersey and everyone had to turn to Channel 7 at the same time to watch. It can now be on-demand all the time for all those on fiber-optic networks. (I’m simplifying here because there are legal hurdles concerning who owns what programs, which will hamstring this for a while – until greed breaks down the barriers).

So back to you, Big Dick Wolf.

Imagine turning on your TV and first you see something more like a browser. The old electronic program guide (‘EPG’ in industry terms) is gone. You are free as a bird to watch whatever you want. Now, likely, there’ll be some kind of portal alerting you to what’s newly available, and smart algorithms or ads pitching you other things to watch based on your viewing history but you can choose to go anywhere you like. And you’ll probably have your “Favorites” on the TV desktop.

Let’s say someone is having a Law and Order craving. They type in (with a real QWERTY keyboard — make this happen now cable box builders!) DickWolf.com or Lawand Order.com (or it autofills or is a bookmark) and suddenly they have a screen full all sorts of Law and Order choices: original, SVU, Criminal Intent… They can choose by season. They can choose by actor. Oh, that Jill Hennessey was hot, I’ll never forgive Lenny Briscoe for getting her killed… What about guest appearances? Comedian Larry Miller was super-creepy in a pair of episodes. Or maybe, they’re feeling lucky so they hit “random shuffle.”

And to get them to hang around DickWolf.com (because it plays ads on the site and in the commercial breaks), there are extras to be seen: dozens/hundreds of interviews with actors, directors, writers, Dick Wolf youself; commentaries on some programs; specials on the whole Law and Order oeuvre; subject matter grouped marathons; and so much more. (Since the average Law and Order viewer is upper income and bought a Cadillac or Lexus within the last five years… Marketers stampede to place their wares at the site and in the commercial breaks.)

This will happen. The only question is — how long before it does (again, assuming the FCC and various Maoist ‘consumer’ and Internet activists don’t screw it up).

All I ask, for opening your eyes to the glorious IPTV future, is, like maybe, 1% of the gross on DickWolf.com and related properties. I’ll make a deal with you now, I’ll take 0.1% of the gross (not the ‘net,’ I’m onto that Hollywood scam).

Oh, and ditto on the CSI.com and NCIS.com franchises. It’s a small price to pay for the millions that will flow in.

You’re welcome!