Archive for the ‘advocacy’ Category
For almost 20 years, AT&T, Verizon and the other big players have collected hundreds of billions of dollars through rate increases and surcharges to finance that ambitious plan, but after wiring the high-density big cities, they now say it’s too expensive to connect the rest of the country. But they’d like to keep all that money they banked for the project.
In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission announced the National Broadband Plan, which promised to provide 100 million American households with high-speed cable by 2020. Verizon has been expanding FiOS in major markets, and AT&T has been expanding its U-verse service. And now, instead of spending that war chest digging up streets and laying fiber cable, the cable and telephone companies have invested in a massive and very successful lobbying push. They are persuading state legislatures and regulatory boards to quietly adopt new rules—rules written by the telecoms—to eliminate their legal obligations to provide broadband service nationwide and replace landlines with wireless. This abrupt change in plans will leave vast areas of the country with poor service, slow telecommunications and higher bills.
This is good news if you own stock in Verizon, but very bad news if you have a small business that’s not in a city already wired up.
The federal government’s official broadband map shows vast areas of America still have little or no service, and many areas will never get it under the current plan. “Small business customers, people who work at home and rural communities across the country need to wake up before it is too late,” says Regina Costa, telecommunications research director for the Utility Reform Network in California. “Verizon and AT&T are aggressively moving to dump a large percentage of their landlines and force customers to wireless networks [that] are expensive, restrictive, incompatible with medic-alert services, less reliable for 911 calls and will not hold up during power outages—and in a lot of places wireless just won’t work.”
[It ought to be criminal, but it’s nothing if not corrupt. I’m not a big fan of the Feds taking on projects, but this is one they should. Take the money back form the telcos that aren’t interested, and like the rural telephone work, get the whole country wired with fiber. Probably can be done with a rounding error off the budget… how stupid can we be?]
Great piece by Nilay Patel at The Verge:
American politicians love to stand on the edges of important
problems by insisting that the market will find a solution. And
that’s mostly right; we don’t need the government meddling in
places where smart companies can create their own answers. But you
can’t depend on the market to do anything when the market doesn’t
exist. “We can either have competition, which would solve a lot of
these problems, or we can have regulation,” says Aaron. “What
Comcast is trying is to have neither.” It’s insanity, and we keep
lying to ourselves about it. It’s time to start thinking about
ways to actually do something.
Netflix paying Comcast is the canary in the coal mine.
[Smack on. There’s so much wrong with what’s going lately (carriage wars) because these are the same companies that argue over these things with the television companies. And the other side of the equation is also unbalanced (how much we get charged for really poor access… (I expect us all to have Gigabit Internet)). I guess the only way forward is around these folks, and I’ll bet based on what I’ve seen recently in network technology that it is possible.]
Source: Daring Fireball
However, because we’ve released so many products over the years, we’ve become a bit scattered, a bit diluted. Nobody does their best work when they’re spread too thin. We certainly don’t. We do our best work when we’re all focused on one thing.
Further, we’ve always enjoyed being a small company. Today we’re bigger than we’ve ever been, but we’re still relatively small at 43 people. So while we could hire a bunch more people to do a bunch more things, that kind of rapid expansion is at odds with our culture. We want to maintain the kind of company where everyone knows everyone’s name. That’s one of the reasons why so many of the people who work at 37signals stay at 37signals.
So with that in mind, last August we conducted a thorough review of our products, our customer base, our passions, and our visions of the company for the next 20 years. When we put it all on the table, everything lined up and pointed at one clear conclusion. We all got excited. We knew it was right.
So today, February 5, 2014, exactly ten years to the day since we launched Basecamp, we have a couple of big announcements to make.
Here’s the first: Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp. With our whole team – from design to development to customer service to ops – focused on one thing, Basecamp will continue to get better in every direction and on every dimension.
[I keep seeing this move. I still love it. Focus is so important at this point in time.]
Want to know why Chromebooks that “don’t do as much as my “laptop” picked up a bit this year? Want to know why iPads and the like are a growing segment? Because they cross the 80% line of what so many people do. No doubt some of us do all kinds of complicated things that require “more” in some sense. And maybe as networking continues to improve and “cloud” resources become less general and more tailored this to will change. But for now, Sure. You can’t run Pro Tools in the cloud etc.
That said, lots and lots of folks don’t do that stuff and can work perfectly comfortably with a web browser alone. Would I want to code in Github’s web interface only? Not at the moment. But I’ve already checked in changes when I was out and about and someone mentioned a bug or problem that I knew I could easily fix. The build system takes it most of the rest of the way, and another phone app completes the process. It’s a long way from impossible, and that’s just one example of something that we “assume” in many cases require heftier hardware. And sometimes it does. For now. Maybe.
But many of us do things that are simpler from an experience standpoint. If you use Amazon, Facebook, Google for mail or documents or spreadsheets, etc. there’ almost no need for something more complicated than the pads or the Chromebooks. And they’re far simpler to run each in their own way.
More often than not a simpler experience is a better experience and is the disruptive force that topples company after company in the tech field (and others as well).
I have gone to buy a computer, and had the salesperson speak to my husband and not to me, even though I am a professional game developer and my husband has trouble using a printer. I have had men in my department throw a Halo launch party and not invite me, assuming that as a woman I have no interest in games. I have had my professional opinion on server purchases overruled by men that were talking over me in meetings, and then watched those men be fired when the systems they purchased didn’t work.
Those life events inform my experiences and opinion. And, they inform my perspective on 2013 Tomb Raider. And, with respect, if you only have people voting on game of the year from a very singular opinion — generally white, straight and male — it’s missing so much information that it loses its validity.
This doesn’t mean guys can’t have awareness of issues affecting women. And it doesn’t mean women have a singular, monolithic opinion on games or even sexism. Even among my female friends, we have vastly differing opinions about 2013 Tomb Raider. Some of us love Bioshock Infinite; some of us hate it. But more viewpoints need to be represented in discussing games. We need more female games journalists who have a more central part of the dialog.
Sometimes, though, you run into a guy with empathy, who takes multiple points of view into account, not just his own. He might not even think of himself as a feminist. When 2011’s Vanquish came out, former IGN editor Ryan Clements was extremely enthusiastic. Then, in the middle of glowing praise of “watching an enemy explode into a cacophony of pieces” and “feeling entire highways crumble away under your feet,” Clements makes the following offhand remark in his video review.
“I say this game needed more badass girls, but that’s just me.”
[I agree. the world needs better representation for girls/women/ other folks etc. Expand the point of view of your company, team, whatever as widely as you can. It raises everyone’s level. We also need more folks who are badass at whatever they do and whatever field they do it regardless of gender or other ways people falsely divide themselves. ]
My hope — my expectation, even — for 2014 is that the fog starts to lift.
As much as I like using the fog metaphor, the thing about surveillance is that there is no actual fog. You can’t see it. It’s everywhere and gets in everything, and it still looks like a sunny day on the internet.
[Now that are our eyes are open, and we continue to add to the piles of data companies like Amazon, Google, Twitter, etc. know about us and of course, the vast amounts of data the Government knows about us what do we do? As a technologist I have a few ideas of where I can make things better for some people. And that’s what I’m going to do.]
There are industries of people throwing money at other people saying they’ve found a breakthrough way of doing X for Y, where X is Instagram and Y is something that couldn’t possibly be a dishwasher because that wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever. There are companies like Everpix who try to fulfill what some other companies are promising and what we all want, but they run out of money. To the extent that they can’t survive because no one wants to pay and all the funding’s gone to Twitter-optimized coupon sites that don’t know five years in how to turn a profit, yeah, we’re screwed.
But we’re not screwed because no one wants to pay for anything and would rather file status updates during Christmas dinner. We’re screwed because no one dares to actually break the mold. No one wants to unhinge everything and fucking fix it. No one wants to stop making photo library apps for 2001 where it’s just cool that you can have those family photos on the computer or the photo sender app for 2006 where you can send pictures to people outside of the room(!) and make the photo library app that will be needed as everything will be going digital, everything will be kept forever and accessible from everywhere and no one will even remember there being a discussion about no one remembering paper copies or rolls of film.
I promised some ideas and there’ll be ideas, but I can’t do this alone. Stop wondering about what version numbers the next versions of Windows and OS X will have. Start wondering about how the hell we’re even getting along with what we have.
Source: Brent Simmons