Category Archives: Video

Warp Speed From Behind

JBrbop02.jpg As we’ve mentioned before Japan has Internet connections much faster than those in the U.S. This point is getting more mainstream media play:
Broadband service here is eight to 30 times as fast as in the United States — and considerably cheaper. Japan has the world’s fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, recent studies show.

Accelerating broadband speed in this country — as well as in South Korea and much of Europe — is pushing open doors to Internet innovation that are likely to remain closed for years to come in much of the United States.

The speed advantage allows the Japanese to watch broadcast-quality, full-screen television over the Internet, an experience that mocks the grainy, wallet-size images Americans endure.

Japan’s Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future, By Blaine Harden, Washington Post Foreign Service, Wednesday, August 29, 2007; Page A01

So is it just for video? If so, maybe we’d better let the telcos have their way. Continue reading

Facebook as PicturePhone

Phone1.jpg Jeff Pulver has an interesting point that orty years later it’s an Internet company that delivers what a telco long ago promised:
During the past couple of weeks I have come to appreciate just how simple and easy it has become to send Video Messages to friends on Facebook. While the concept of a video phone dates back to the work of AT&T and their demonstrations at the 1964 World’s Fair, it has taken the advent of the Video application on Facebook and it’s general ease of use to get me to take the time and use it as part of my daily (Internet) life. While I have discovered how the Facebook video application can be used in various ways, my favorite is to send a personal video message to a friend.

My Favorite Facebook Application: Video, Jeff Pulver, Jeff Pulver blog, August 27, 2007

While a telco did invent or at least publicize the videophone, forty years later it’s an Internet application that delivers something like it on a mass scale. And maybe one reason the Facebook version of it is popular is that it isn’t quite like what AT&T predicted: it isn’t interactive television. Experience indicates people don’t necessarily want to be seen live any old time regardless of their state of dress or coffee.

And more obviously, there’s no fancy equipment to buy, so the worldwide clientele is already there on the Internet. It’s the difference between distributed participation and being sold a centralized service.


Pearl Jam Censored by AT&T?

Photo: AP Photo/Magnus Johansson-MaanIm
Political censorship?
After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the “Blue Room” Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.


So, “a mistake”.


But it gets better. Continue reading

The Internet As a Market: Al Gore and Reasoned Discourse

al-gore.jpg 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.

Gore in the balance, From The Economist print edition, May 31st 2007

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

Giant Beasts Gently Swatting

gz.jpg Susan Crawford pithily describes the current Internet access market:
The duopoly is something like Shamu and Godzilla on hire for televised wrestling – giant beasts gently swatting at one another for the cameras. They aren’t competing, these giants. There is a clear failure in the market for highspeed internet access in this country.

Moving Slowly in the Fast Lane by Susan Crawford, Susan Crawford blog, Tue 19 Jun 2007 10:29 PM EDT

What is to be done? Continue reading

Incumbents Preparing

about_bob.jpg Cringely gets pessimistic:
In the end the ISPs are going to win this battle, you know. The only thing that will keep them from doing that is competition, something it is difficult to see coming along anytime soon, rather like that lemonade-powered sports car.

Beyond Net Neutrality: If at first you don’t succeed, change the game. I, Cringely, Pulpit, April 6, 2007

Is he just whining? Continue reading

Eerily Familiar

Office of the Army Chief Information Officer The Pentagon video and blogging ban is circumventable primarily due to multiple Internet providers in Iraq:
Deployed troops can still post their videos to YouTube, despite the recently announced Pentagon ban against accessing that site and ten others from government computers. The trick, says Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hight, is to use your own internet access or visit one of the rec center internet cafes, which plug into separate, commercial networks. The ban, she says, applies only to the 5 million computers worldwide connected to the official Department of Defense intranet.

Getting Around the YouTube Blockade, David Axe, DangerRoom, 17 May 2007

I suppose we could resort to going to the local Internet cafe to get around such bans if they occur stateside. Continue reading

Control to Pay for Capacity?

Save the Internet found a recent quote by new AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
We’re going to control the video on our network. The content guys will have to make a deal with us.”

AT&T’s New Boss Wants Your World Delivered to Him, Save the Internet, 27 April 2007

Some say this is necessary to pay for infrastructure. Continue reading

Ramping Capacity

Hands Off the Internet notes that all major TV networks suddenly (since last year) stream programs over the net, and concludes:
But it’s also a timely reminder of how these deals are placing unprecedented strain on the web’s capacity. Internet traffic growth surged past capacity growth last year. Average traffic was up 75 percent while capacity grew only 47 percent, according to the folks at TeleGeography.

Katie Couric, Expensive Date, Hands Off the Internet, April 20, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Poor telcos and cablecos; straining to keep up. Continue reading

AT&T’s Internet Predictions from 1993

In 1993, several years after the commercial Internet was started by non-telco ISPs, AT&T produced the video “AT&T’s vision for the Internet”:
Picture phones on the ground and on airplanes. That’s in part 1 of Paleo-Future’s six part (OK, 9 part) series showing clips from the AT&T video. Watch the rest for a voice-actuated video-still-CAD phone tablet, plenty of virtual reality, and online shopping. In other words, a sort of visual AOL. Plus artificially intelligent agents and real-time voice translation with subtitles. Continue reading