2015-11-15 The Command Line Podcast

old-newspaper-350376_1280This is an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

This time, I chat about some recent news stories that caught my attention, including:

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Clueful Op-Ed on the Current Challenges to Municipal Broadband

I am often frustrated by stories of contested efforts of municipalities to roll out their own high speed networks. Ars has a decent op-ed by Christopher Williams that digs into why these projects still face such challenges. I especially like how Williams ties in the historical comparison to FDR and electrification. This is a common comparison when talking about improving access to high speed internet connections.

I therefore lay down the following principle: That where a community—a city or county or a district—is not satisfied with the service rendered or the rates charged by the private utility, it has the undeniable basic right, as one of its functions of Government, one of its functions of home rule, to set up, after a fair referendum to its voters has been had, its own governmentally owned and operated service.

This FDR quote is well chosen and telling. It speaks to local autonomy and to a valid response to market failures. This piece is well worth a read for anyone else that is as exasperated as I am by the obstructionism of the cable operators and telcos.

Fiber Speed Networks without the Fiber, Considering an Open Cloud, and More

  • New version of O’Reilly’s joint, online bookshelf, Safari
    Tim makes a good point about Safari challenging very early on how people, especially programmers and techies, read books. He also shares quite a bit on what O’Reilly as a publisher has learned from running the service these past few years. I’ve tried the service at various times but the need to be online has also been the limiter as I must want to curl up with a heavy tech book when I am completely offline, like out on the deck or on the Metro. That’s just my personal complaint, otherwise well worth checkingout.
  • Muni fiber prompts telco to roll out 50Mbps fiber
    This Ars story by Nate Anderson is the exasperating end of a long story that begin with Monticello passing a referendum to roll out its own fiber in the absence of a private offering. The infuriating aspect is the info that Anderson got from TDS, that they claim they would have rolled out the fiber sooner had they realized the demand.
  • Remote trojan kill switches in military tech
    This is concerning, if true, which seems at least somewhat credible. Sort of a worse case scenario of tethered appliances. Also reminds me of the panel I was on with Vernor Vinge at Penguicon a couple of years ago.
  • Searching for similar images graduates out of Google Labs
    Jolie O’Dell has the details at RWW. This does seem intensely useful to end users but I can’t help but think about the impact on the debate around filtering for copyright infringing material. If this proves to have a high degree of accuracy, it will considerably change the balance of the argument around whether automated filtering is feasible and cost effective.
  • USAF announces wireless fiber
    Some good, simple details at The Register. They main challenge to using a laser without the fiber are the distortions introduced by the atmosphere. This research borrows from astronomy to combine adaptive optics with otherwise problematic lasers. Line of sight will probably still limit how this is ultimately used, it won’t be a replacement for Wimax and white space devices.
  • A case for an open cloud
    I don’t disagree with Matt Asay’s thoughts on consumer choice and openness in the cloude, especially since he cites Glyn Moody who I think generally had a better grasp of software freedom which Asay usually dismisses. He does so again, here, and the only part of his point I might agree with is an over fixation of device freedom could obscure issues of freedom in the network. Ultimately, why can’t we focus on and improve both as independent and complementary values?