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All Things Internet™ since 1999


Is Rogers lying or just incompetent? Throttling response to CRTC full of inconsistencies

Read this for background

Either the regulatory wranglers at Rogers are completely clueless about deep packet inspection, or they are lying.

Rogers: “We don’t target specific groups of customers or content”. In fact, the letter describes in great detail about how they are targeting customers who are using P2P applications on their home networks. That sounds like a group of customers to me.

Rogers: “Gaming customers have only been affected when running P2P file sharing simultaneously with a misclassified game”. This statement makes no sense whatsoever. Parsing it, it seems to be saying “Traffic that we can’t classify, running alongside traffic we can classify, causes connections to be throttled”. Okay. Except in the previous paragraph, Rogers stated “Rogers ITMPs limit only P2P file sharing applications to a maximum of 80kpbs of upstream throughput”. Soooo… what? Both statements can’t be true. If Rogers is only throttling P2P *applications* as explicitly stated in the second statement, then it wouldn’t matter how misclassified traffic was as described in the first statement. If their policy is only to filter P2P, why are they also filtering misclassified traffic? Wouldn’t it just make sense to not throttle it until you can identify it? Oh, wait – is Rogers actually filtering the entire upstream throughput and not just that available to P2P?

Rogers: “In very rare situations, traffic that is not P2P file sharing, may be misclassified, such as was the case with World of Warcraft.” WoW is one of the most popular online games. Misclassifying this traffic is at best, totally incompetent. Doing so would affect thousands of Rogers customers and would be anything but an isolated case.

Finally, am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the guy writing the letter is Rogers expert in both Copyright and Broadband law? There are huge differences between content/media and networks. The very fact that Rogers is internally Is organized with a belief that the same hammer can be used to drive both both nails just shows how screwed Canada’s Internet users actually are.

(As an aside, the letter includes a really annoying typo in the first a paragraph after the numbered list. Not really relevant, but it drives me crazy every time I read that sentence. If I was paying a flack to write on my behalf to a government agency, I’d want them to run it through an editor first. I realize this blog is full of similar oversights, but I do this for fun…)


Life in the cloud….


Comments were broken on this blog. The fix wasn’t immediately apparent, so I opted instead to install Disqus. That meant I had to install a third-party plugin for WordPress. Installing the plugin meant getting an API key from Akismet. So here I am, three virtual services away from my blog, signing up for this and agreeing to that just so you can leave comments on my blog.

Pretty cool.

Ten years ago, we talked about an API for everything. Today we no longer talk about it, it just is. It also makes me think about how cutting edge we were when we launched OpenSRS.

Register a domain name via an API? Can I still register via email? (yes, son, in the olden days the only way to register a domain name was by sending an email). In retrospect, I think its safe to say, OpenSRS was the first commercial web service. 10 years later, its still the standard in the industry.

Also pretty cool.


How you could have won the CIRA election

The most obvious way of winning the CIRA election was completely (and arguably, appropriately) overlooked by all of the candidates.

There are some restrictions on who can vote. They have to be Canadian, they have to own a .ca domain name and they have to be a CIRA member. The first is tough to do anything about, but there are a lot of Canadians, so presumably a candidate could find a lot of people to vote for them. Problem is, most people that potential candidates know aren’t .ca domain owners, never mind being CIRA members. Even though it only costs (on average) about $15 to register a .ca domain name and a few minutes to authenticate as a member before the start of the Annual General Meeting in order to make the cut-off, the $$+process+timing issues are probably just enough to make it difficult to launch a general campaign targeted at the general public. Its much more productive to go after existing members and try and win their vote.

Except this year was different. Yola is giving away free .ca domain names at gybo.ca. *Anyone* could have become a CIRA member for free. Sure there were a few hoops to jump through, but I’m sure that candidates could have convinced a few people to sign up for free and vote for them.

Only a few hundred ballots separate winners in this election. A broader campaign bringing new members in could have carried the day. Definitely something for potential candidates to think about next year.

Also something for the CIRA Board to seriously consider in how they structure their governance and policy development activities.

Just saying’.


Handicapping the CIRA Election

Every year around this time, I start to get the question “Who do you think will win the board election?”. Normally I’ll defer answering, or answering candidly in quiet circles after a glass of wine or two but as a sitting director, it was just uncool and not that politically bright to publicly lay odds on the incoming directors. After all, being wrong meant that I’d be upsetting someone that I’d be working with in the coming years.

This year with my departure from the Board, I can pretty safely answer the question – and I love watching the election develop, so I thought it would be fun to layout who I think will be elected to the board this year. Not who did I vote for or who did I support, but just laying down a bet as to who I think has the best chance of winning.

The Nominating Committee slate is always tough to pick. They always have a small number of candidates and a large number of seats. Generally, if you make the Nominating Committee slate, you have a pretty good shot at winning a board seat in the election.

My gut says that we might see some surprises this year. Incumbent Kerry Brown has had a pretty visible campaign on the twitters, but it remains to be seen if he still has the connection to the base of members that got him elected in the first place. He faces some pretty stiff competition – the nomination committee picked a solid slate this year, and the inclusion of a candidate from Quebec could split the ballot up pretty broadly. I’m also hearing good things about the efforts of Bill St. Arnaud, Gary Evans and Bill Gibson to get their seat. My picks?

Kerry Brown, Eric Boehm and Bill St. Arnaud.

The member side of the ballot is a lot tougher to call. 9 candidates, 1 seat up for grabs.

These candidates from the grassroots come from a variety of backgrounds. During the campaign, a few have risen to the top – Kevin Mcarthur, Frank Michlick, Rob Villeneuve, Marita Moll and Tom Williams were all extremely active in and around the Annual General Meeting, and to varying extents, in social media leading up to the election. Rob Villeneuve carries the backing of a substantial portion of the registrar community, while Marita Moll and Kevin McArthur carry endorsements from the public interest and in Kevin’s case, the techno-activism community. Frank Michlick, who carries respectable technical credentials has good standing in the Toronto internet community and the backing of the domain portfolio investor community. Tom Williams, the incumbent, is a bit of a dark horse who carries strong credentials, but may not be able to rise up above the noise in this campaign.

Unless there is some serious vote splitting of the various stakeholder groups, I suspect the real race will be between Frank Michlick and Kevin McArthur. With Kevin’s endorsement by OpenMedia.ca, I suspect he may have the slight edge. This one is really too close to call, but if pressed, my favourite to win would be Kevin McArthur.

With the election just a few hours away from closing, it still might be anyone’s game to take. Who knows – the election always has a few surprises in it. I really do wish all of the candidates the best of luck – it is quite remarkable that our Internet community still cares enough to participate, as voters and candidates, after all of these years. Without this participation, it is almost impossible for CIRA to uphold its mandate as the steward of Canada’s top-level domain. Thanks to all of you for the part you play in this.


High Tech or Hustle? Getting ahead of the pack

Last week I went on a demo binge in an attempt to find some social media management software.

Over a period of 4 hours, I checked out some 30 services, signing up for online demo’s for as many as I could. I even gave my credit card number to a few that didn’t have demo’s so I could make an informed decision. The services I looked at are priced at between $500 and $5000 per year. Real money.

In marketing terms, I was “a high value prospect demonstrating purchase intent”.

Within 24 hours exactly one sales person had followed up with me. Guess which company got $1200 worth of business from us?

A week later, I’m noticing an awful lot of advertisements for another company we checked out. That’s typically called “retargeting” – an advertising tactic that online marketers use to reach out to people that visited their websites but didn’t end up buying.

Retargeting is clever. Phone calls and building relationships are effective.

Hustle trumps high tech.


Dumb Terminal

I can’t believe it…

One of the most promising product releases in years and they blew it.

…it lacks a camera,
…doesn’t have a widescreen aspect ratio,
…have you seen that ugly thick bezel?
…doesn’t have a proper USB interface. I hate proprietary connectors.

Stupid Kindle.


My two cents on the iPad

6BF8BE59-8C53-455F-BF79-B2BF4E58E3BA.jpgSome people will buy this device, some people won’t. I won’t comment on the market viability of the product – time will be the judge of that. I’m quite looking forward to being able to buy one.

In reading some of the comments from various people, I’m very struck by the number of people that say things like “you can’t even download a text file in Safari and open it up in another app…” or “…the lack of multitasking is only one fundamental flaw that prevents it from being more useful…”.

What I find interesting about these views is how completely irrelevant these use cases are for most users. I am what most people would consider an “early adopter” perhaps even a power user. I can’t remember the last time I’ve wanted to download a text file in Safari, never mind open it up in a different application that the operating system doesn’t already handle for me. Youtube videos open nicely in the Youtube app, links to maps open up nicely in the map application. You could say that Apple has perfectly anticipated what I need from Safari and made it happen.

I fully expect that the iPad will be exactly the same. So, for all of you that think that the iPad will flop because “it doesn’t do x”, just remember that 99% of the population probably won’t miss “x” and will be utterly thrilled with what this neat little device *can* do.


Welcome to the New Byte.org!

Hello interloper!

I started blogging more than 10 years ago. Someday, I’ll tell the whole story, but the synopsis is that I first started posting status updates to a web page using handcrafted HTML sometime in 1999. At some point, I moved to UserLand Radio, then MovableType and then Blogware. I was on Blogware *forever* and recently, I’ve moved everything to WordPress, as you can see.

I’ve decided to post fairly regularly about stuff that interests me. Nothing too heavy, just riff-raff that I need to get out of my head. I love your comments, so please be sure to take a load of on me anytime you want.