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Tag Archives: Technology
In “Your complete guide to the murder of net neutrality,” Michael Hiltzik explains exactly why the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal to allow Internet service providers to charge certain clients more for access to a fast lane spells the end to new neutrality. The proposal, being championed by Tom Wheeler, President B. Obama’s appointee as chairman of the FCC, is a direct contradiction to positions Obama championed during his campaign for the presidency.
Wheeler’s proposal, which is scheduled for a preliminary vote by the full FCC on May 15, has been assailed as a full-scale retreat from the open-Internet principle traditionally upheld by the commission, and explicitly supported by President Obama. Wheeler claims he’s not backing away from net neutrality at all, and that assertions to the contrary are the product of “a great deal of misinformation.”
He’s blowing smoke. The critics are right. Wheeler’s proposal will turn the Internet as we know it into the private preserve of a handful of rich and powerful companies. It will make them richer and more powerful. And you’ll be getting the bill. If the commission votes for the proposal, it will then be subject to months of public comments. But the risk is it could become law by the end of this year.
In later parts of his column, Mr. Hiltzik explains why the big corporations will be able to use these developments to their advantage and to the detriment of we consumers. He also explains what we can do. It’s well worth reading.
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to do it. Run that update. It’s under “Settings:General” And, until Apple releases a patch for OS X, you shouldn’t use Safari to browse the Web when you’re connecting to the Internet via a public WiFi on your laptop, either.
Those folks at Barebones.com not only create marvelous pieces of software, but they have a sense of humor. Someone (Patrick, perhaps?) embedded in the support documents for Yojimbo, one of those products, a caution about users fiddling with some of the settings in that product:
The Yojimbo synchronization system contains no user-serviceable parts, and the cover should not be removed except by authorized service personnel in a static-free clean room environment.
Over on the NN/g Web site, Jen Cardello has an educational post about how to make the Healthcare.gov Web page much more readily navigable. It’s heavily focused on usability in the account set-up process, and it’s a beauty.
Alert readers will recognize NN/g (AKA the Nielsen Norman Group) as the public face of Jakob Nielsen, Don Norman, and their colleagues. Jen Cardello is a director for the operation. Learn more at http://www.nngroup.com/people/.
Among the many marvelous features at Virginia’s Herpatological Society are excellent photographs of of indigenous snakes along with important information about their status in the Commonwealth. For example, not only can one learn where different subspecies are usually found—I saw a beautiful, > 1-meter Northern Black Racer on our porch this afternoon; it went racing down the garden stairs after it saw me!— but also size, alternative names, and many other facts (e.g., conservation needs). Of course, because folks get freaky about venomous snakes, there are identification guides, though that part is pretty easy.
But, back to the other interesting stuff. For example, I was surprised to learn that there is a Glossy Crayfish Snake. I’d never heard of such! It turns out that this beauty has a range that is restricted pretty much to what is called the Virginia Pennisula, and then only a small part of it. The Wikipedia page about the GCS didn’t have it even living in Virginia, so I updated that document, based on the VaDGIF documents.
What’s a serious bummer is that this snake apparently is on the verge of extirpation in the Commonwealth. Now, I like crayfish, but I don’t mind competing against a little snake for a few. They may have have their share, but I don’t want to drive them out of Virginia; they’ve surely been here longer then I have. I have to guess they are losing in the space wars…people probably are moving into their territory. Read all about it! Wouldn’t that be a bummer if they were no longer living in that neighborhood?
Meanwhile, among the other cool things one can do at the Herp Site: If you see a Box Turtle, submit the data! Yep, you might remember Brer Terrapin because he won the race. Well his appearances on roadsides and backyards are being collected by the Herp Folx. Send yours in today using this link. (There ought to be an app for this, but for now, the image is hot, too.) It’d be pretty cool to help track the movements of large numbers of Box Turtles, no?
I look at maps frequently and at length. I find them fascinating. Aerial images also appeal to me, because they have a map-like quality. Among those that have intrigued me are images of Earth showing lights at night. I came upon a new one to me recently and am sharing it here, in case others might has a similar interest.
I snagged this image from a section of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Web site devoted to the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi NPP satellite. Interested readers can go to the page called “Our Earth at night” to read lots more, but here’s a snippet to explain a bit.