Revision3 uses BitTorrent to distribute legal Internet television.
It turns out using BitTorrent may be enough to subject a company
to crippling online attack.
On the internet, computers say hi with a special type of packet, called “SYN”. A conversation between devices typically requires just one short SYN packet exchange, before moving on to larger messages containing real data. And most of the traffic cops on the internet – routers, firewalls and load balancers – are designed to mostly handle those larger messages. So a flood of SYN packets, just like a room full of hyperactive screaming toddlers, can cause all sorts of problems.
That’s what happened to us. Another device on the internet flooded one of our servers with an overdose of SYN packets, and it shut down – bringing the rest of Revision3 with it. In webspeak it’s called a Denial of Service attack – aka DoS – and it happens when one machine overwhelms another with too many packets, or messages, too quickly. The receiving machine attempts to deal with all that traffic, but in the end just gives up.
A bit of address translation, and we’d discovered our nemesis. But instead of some shadowy underground criminal syndicate, the packets were coming from right in our home state of California. In fact, we traced the vast majority of those packets to a public company called Artistdirect (ARTD.OB). Once we were able to get their internet provider on the line, they verified that yes, indeed, that internet address belonged to a subsidiary of Artist Direct, called MediaDefender.
This article was for a bit the most popular on thestar.com,
the online edition of Canada’s largest newspaper,
and is still number 5 on most emailed as I type:
The Toronto Star has learned that John Sweeney, Bell’s senior vice-president of carrier services, sent a letter to the independent ISPs last Friday acknowledging that Bell has implemented bandwidth management from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. for its wholesale customers. Sweeney admitted that peer-to-peer applications will not work as fast during this period, but argued that “a majority of end users will experience an increased level of satisfaction.”
While much of the initial commentary has focused on the implications for consumer rights, that discussion misses the more important aspect of this story, namely that Bell’s plans undermine the Internet’s competitive landscape by raising three concerns.
It’s all very well to talk about net neutrality or Internet freedom
and how it affects 700Mhz spectrum sales or freedom of the press.
But what does all this have to do with the average Internet user?
Suppose the telcos and cablecos get everything they want.
To buy a BBQ grill on eBay, you’ll have to pay for the eBay channel.
This is above whatever you pay the seller for the grill or
eBay for your membership.
You’ll have to pay your local Internet access company
just to let you get to eBay to participate in the auction.
Oh, maybe you’ll be able to get there anyway, but your
access may be so slow that you’ll pay for the eBay channel
out of frustration.
If you want to buy a book from Amazon, you’ll have to pay for the
For search you’ll need the Yahoo channel or the ask.com channel or the
Assuming your favorite search engine is even offered as a channel.
Many smaller services probably won’t be.
A federal judge has thrown up a roadblock in front of AT&T as it attempts
to roll out its new U-Verse IPTV service in the state of Connecticut. In
an opinion issued yesterday, Judge Janet Bond Arterton ruled that AT&T’s
U-Verse IPTV service is a cable television service like any other and
is therefore subject to local franchising agreements.
So I’ve been wondering what to say about Al Gore’s book,
The Assault on Reason.
A story in The Economist helped me out.
After lauding Gore for calling Mr. Bush’s risky schemes
well before most people, for denouncing the invasion of Iraq
back in 2002, for his Oscar, and for being “the man who changed the climate
of opinion climate change”,
it then ridicules the book’s core thesis:
But he does not stop there.
He worries about America’s money-saturated politics.
He lambasts television for infantilising the electorate.
He sometimes comes across as eccentric—as when he lambasts television
for killing public discourse, then celebrates the internet as its
potential saviour. A few minutes online, reading the zealots on either
the right or the left, should have been enough to explode that illusion.
That last would appear to be the sort of trivialized, perhaps even
infantilized, reaction Gore is lamenting.
The big advantage of the Internet is you get not just a few zealots
at extreme ends of an arbitrary spectrum: you get all the shadings
and colors and depth you can absorb. And you can weave your own
strands in this home-made tapestry.
Continue reading →
The merger commitment specifies that the plan had to be offered. That means to me that it has to be put forth as an option!!! (If there’s a fifty pound striped bass somewhere out there in the ocean, that’s not an offer of fish!)
So I don’t think AT&T is honoring its $10/month commitment.
This is the same $10/month service USA Today announced AT&T was
developing back in January.
Maybe they’ll just keep “developing” it until the 48 month time limit expires,
or make it available to a few people and claim they’ve honored their commitment.This is what SBC used to do: claim availability if one person per ZIP code
could get a service, and the FCC let them get away with that.
I don’t usually blog
the same article twice, but Cringely said something
else important (the all-caps emphases are his):
Now let’s look at this in the context of net neutrality. For the cable
companies, at least, it probably doesn’t matter. That’s because while
cable Internet service and cable VoIP service both use the CMTS, it is
easy for the cable company to configure its VoIP product as completely
separate from its Internet product. IF YOUR CABLE OPERATOR WILL SELL YOU
VOIP SERVICE WITHOUT INTERNET SERVICE, THEN NET NEUTRALITY DOES NOT APPLY.
If excess Internet traffic causes problems for the VoIP services of
these cable companies, they can prioritize their own VoIP packets with
impunity because VoIP isn’t defined as an Internet service. And for that
very reason, packet prioritization can — and will — occur even if the
broadband ISP has signed an agreement promising net neutrality.
The next level of this ploy is to validate the un-Internetiness of
the VoIP system through public service interconnects like 911. “Should
calling the police get priority treatment?” will be the question and
most courts won’t say “no.”
The various VoIP companies better be worried about this trick,
because it’s all the incumbent duopoly really needs to say their
own VoIP is an essential public service and any others are
interfering with public safety.
Continue reading →
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in
trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network
— the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.
As AT&T has begun selling pay-television services, the company has
realized that its interests are more closely aligned with Hollywood,
Cicconi said in an interview Tuesday. The company’s top leaders recently
decided to help Hollywood protect the digital copyrights to that content.
“We do recognize that a lot of our future business depends on exciting
and interesting content,” he said.
Now it’s for Internet video.
Which is what “James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president,”
meant by “exciting and interesting content.”
Nevermind participatory customer-generated content,
or that customers might not want AT&T monitoring their content.
Continue reading →
Sometimes Bob Frankston makes me shake my head in wonder:
Speed is trivial — the dial up modem completely trounced the entire
Interactive TV industry thanks to the web which gave people a reason
to find their own solutions without waiting for a service provider to
deign to provision a path. As long as you don’t over-defined the
solution you’ll get speed — it’s hard not to.
Yes, back in the 1990s, video on demand and interactive TV were
the big plans of the cablecos and telcos.
They tried it.
Users didn’t buy it.
Instead, participants bought modems and the web boomed.
Continue reading →