Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

World Cup Coverage Standoff

I love watching the World Cup, maybe even too much. As a recent MBA graduate I should be spending all of my time looking a job and helping my wife with her new acupuncture clinic. I just can’t help it. The World Cup is the greatest sporting event in the world and it only happens once every four years. So, I’ve accepted the prolonged start date and decided to indulge in the spectacle in South Africa.

The combination of my wife starting a new business and me being a recent graduate equates to low funds. To combat this we’ve been cutting corners where we can to save money. One measure we’ve taking has been to drop our Time Warner Cable TV service. We only pay for Internet. In 9 out of 10 situations this suites us fine. Unfortunately the World Cup is the 1 in 10 problem.

For the first 10 days of the World Cup I was able to view all of the matches on ESPN3.com. They provide HD streams, great commentators and pipe it all straight to my PC at no cost other than my Internet bill, brilliant. Unfortunately, just as the second round of the tournament got going I was no longer able to access ESPN3 streams. Instead I am prompted to verify my approved ISP provider. Missing from the list of over 150 providers is Time Warner Cable (TWC). I called TWC to ask why I can’t access content I thought I was already paying for. All I got was an apology without an explanation.

Then I started watching games on a handful of sites that provide peer-2-peer streaming, which wasn’t too bad. Watching matches in Arabic, French, German, Polish, and Russian exposed me to some interesting half-time advertisements. Now, I’m watching matches on UnivisionFutbol.com, who is ISP agnostic. But, since I’m paying for the Internet I feel that I should be able to access all of it. No gatekeepers please.

Turns out that I’m one of many caught in the crossfire between ESPN and TWC. ESPN charges the ISPs to carry their streaming content and TWC isn’t having it. I agree with TWC’s point that paying for Internet content is like old the old TV model. However, I highly doubt that ESPN’s asking price for content will sink TWC. The result of this standoff is that consumers lose.

I would love it if the ISPs became basic utility providers, like electric companies. If there are websites or services out there that interest me, I want to decide whether or not I get them.

In the end I view TWC’s position as anti-consumer and a reason to switch. If only I had know this would have been a problem at the beginning of the World Cup I would have switched.

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SXSW recap; March 12

In Code We Trust: Open Government Awesomeness

Panelists: Alissa Black, Noel Hidalgo, Dmitry Kachaev

#incodewetrust

How can we create a sustainable model to engage voters with their elected officials? Open source software platforms such as Drupal and wikis are being used to increase transparency and participation in the creation of government as a social platform. The discussion focused on examples of open source government websites and how to maintain a high level of participation. They stressed that these sites are not just e-government pages where you can file forms online. Open Government applications are places for people to collect and view various types of data including, how elected officials voted, crime, population data, and how much money is allocated to various municipal projects.

One example of an Open Government initiative is San Francisco’s Open Data Directive. Mayor Gavin Newsom signed this directive on October 21, 2009 to, “enhance open government, transparency, and accountability by improving access to City data that adheres to privacy and security policies”. RecoverySF is a site that is taking advantage of these open data policies.

For more information on Open Government initiatives check out:

Apps For Democracy

Transparency Camp

GovLoop

OpenMuni Wiki

Open 311

Battledecks 2010

#battledecks

This was a fun one. Battledecks is an ad-libbed PowerPoint presentation contest. Contestants are given 5 minutes to present a topic that they are unaware of until it’s their turn. During the presentation the judges flip through 10 slides that the contestants have never seen before. Scores are assessed based on the contestants interaction with the crowd, use of buzzwords, humor, and other factors that may be made up along the way.

There are a few clips of the Battledecks 2010 on Vimeo posted by Mangrove.

Google in China: Context and Consequences

Presenter: Kaiser Kuo

#googleinchina

Some of this talk’s questions have already been answered by Google’s recent redirection of users to Hong Kong. However, there are still many issues surrounding China’s Internet policies that merit attention. In China business such as Google are supposed to police themselves with, “self-discipline” to censor questionable content. Where questionable content remains the Chinese authorities are there to help warn users that they are viewing content that may be offensive. Jingjing and Chacha will appear on your screen should you click too far.

Restrictions on the Internet in China are often refereed to as, The Great Firewall. As a result the Chinese Internet is becoming more of an entertainment superhighway rather than an information superhighway.  Lokman Tsui stated that, “The Great Firewall is the Iron Curtain 2.0”.

Catching up after SXSW

SXSW was a blast, but it’s time to get back to the real world. I met some cool people, saw a bunch of movies, bands and panels, but it burnt me out. Time to focus in on what’s next for school and other parts of my life that require attention. This blog is part of that attention hungry school thing. Maybe if this turns out to be fun I’ll keep on with it.


what’s on my mind

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