Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, February 2, 2015 7:51 pm

Odds and ends for Feb. 2

So did the Seahawks call that slant pass to keep Marshawn Lynch from being the Super Bowl MVP? For the record, I don’t think so, but given Lynch’s treatment by the media, I can see why some people might.

So at least one prominent likely GOP presidential candidate, Chris Christie, has gone wobbly on vaccinations. His Iowa poll numbers are infinitesimal, and I’m thinking “Bring Out Your Dead!” as a campaign slogan won’t help.

Thanks to the lobbying of the kind and generous folks at Time Warner Cable, North Carolina state law bans municipalities from providing public Internet access. But the Federal Communications Commission  may get involved, arguing that such bans amount to an improper restraint of trade and hinder competition.

Bad as things get here in North Carolina, there’s always Texas. A school there has suspended a 9-year-old for bringing a ring to school because, after watching “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies” with his family, he told his friends that the ring could make them invisible, which school officials interpreted as a threat.

Y’all watch out for the rakes in the yard.

Monday, September 8, 2014 7:24 pm

Your local daily newspaper didn’t fall. It was pushed.

Athenae basically says, yeah, sure, print journalism died of lead poisoning — in the sense that it was shot full of it:

No moral dimension?

It’s all just happening?

It’s nobody’s fault?

I hate to interfere with that comforting perception but I think it’s pretty clear there are more forces at work than just declining advertising revenue.

Imagine, for example, that instead of spending all the money they were making in the 80s and 90s on hookers, blow, and acquisitions of stupid [expletive] like baseball teams, newspaper companies socked that cash away. Imagine if they’d treated journalism like the public trust it always should have been, and safeguarded that trust, instead of partying like it was 1929.

Imagine if they’d greeted TV and the Internet not with defensive crabbing in public but with the confidence to use those media to enhance what they already did well, instead of flailing around in a goddamn panic pissing off every customer they had.

Imagine if they didn’t sign over their circulation and distribution departments to minimum-wagers who had no sales or logistics backgrounds and couldn’t sell the paper or deliver it properly.

Imagine if they courted “25-year-olds” with actual information, instead of insulting them with section after section that disparaged everything they found interesting or culturally relevant? Imagine if they looked at the places print was the best option — like college campuses or small towns or commuter suburbs — and invested there.

Imagine if they just RAN THEIR BUSINESSES WELL. What would print look like then?

We won’t know, because it’s much easier to just steal all the money, spend it on a yacht, and sit back while supposedly intelligent media commentators blame the Internet for everything.

And if you’re wondering why your local daily continues to suck, and sucks worse every year, well, this is, shall we say, a nontrivial part of the reason.


Monday, August 26, 2013 6:41 pm

Things fall apart, or, Does anybody really know what time it is?

Filed under: Fun,Weird — Lex @ 6:41 pm
Tags: , , , ,

At one point this morning, my cell-phone clock was five minutes behind my office computer clock, which in turn was six minutes behind my office phone clock. Each of these devices is part of an Internet-connected network, so they should, at least in theory, be running on more or less the same time. Certainly there shouldn’t be an 11-minute spread. That’s enough of a spread for mischief to happen. And I am not in the mood today for mischief (at least, not of my own making). So attention, all electronic devices: Get your lies straight. There is no room in my calendar this week for addressing a rift in the space-time continuum, even if I use that rift to try to do so.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:55 pm

Another free-market fundamentalist admits he was wrong.

Filed under: Geek-related issues — Lex @ 8:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Fortunately it was only about the Internet, not anything really important.

Friday, May 27, 2011 8:28 pm

“Sometimes I wonder who really won the Cold War.”

So do I:

In Lithuania, fiber broadband equivalent in speed to the service purchased by most Americans (10/1 Mbps) is$14.72 a month. The Lithuanian telco just doubled speeds with no rate increase, and you can get 40/40 Mbps service for $55, with no caps.

In the United States, I pay $40/month for 10/1 service. Recently, my ISP (Time Warner Cable) announced that they’ll sell you 30/5 for $70/month, and 50/5 for $100/month. I can’t buy the top end of Lithuanian-grade service (300/40) for any price. But I still count myself as a lucky moocher, because 56% of my fellow leeches have capped Internet service.

“Hey, buying congresshcrittersh and FCCsh is expenshive,” Time-Warner CEO Jeffrey L. Bewkes muttered,  stirring his martini with a decorative toothpick festooned with human fetal hearts.*

*OK, I made up that last part.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:50 pm

If we were counting on Chinese economic growth to help our economy …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 8:50 pm
Tags: ,

… we’re probably screwed now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010 10:33 pm

How to figure out the right thing to do

Filed under: Deport these treason monkeys! — Lex @ 10:33 pm
Tags: ,

Find out what Joe Lieberman wants to do, and then do the exact opposite. For example, Joe thinks giving the president of the United States a kill switch for the Internet would be just peachy! And why?

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too,” said Lieberman.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Why newspapers are doomed

Filed under: Journalism — Lex @ 8:10 pm
Tags: ,

Although the survey phrasing is imperfect, I think this one slide says it all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 10:23 pm

If censorship = damage, damage = ?

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 10:23 pm

One of the most popular memes in the early days of widespread Internet availability to consumers was the notion that the ‘Net would empower free-speech movements worldwide because “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

Which raises the question: How does the Internet interpret damage? I don’t know of a good metaphor for the answer, but unfortunately, the routing-around? Not so much.

Worse still, apparently it’s entirely possible that what happened in the Bay Area was a deliberate attempt to try to map choke points by which widespread Internet service disruptions could be created with relatively little effort.

This is scary because, on a number of levels, the Internet has become as important as the electrical grid. And it highlights the need for a significant upgrade in ‘Net infrastructure, an area that deserved a far bigger chunk of the stimulus package than it got (which, as far as I can tell, was essentially zero).

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