Friday, April 13, 2007

Network Neutality

In the current debate of network neutrality many Internet Service Providers feel the need to charge sites of high traffic extra money for usage of their lines. Due to the fact that these high traffic sites typically slow down the efficiency of their service. However others argue that by if a system like this is implemented it would regulate and possibly block some users from having access some sites. As a law professor from Columbia University states, "information
Networks are often more valuable when they are less specialized -- when they are a platform for multiple uses, present and future" (Wu, p.1, Net Neutrality Rate Remains Contentious). If Broadband and DSL companies were to have their way they would be specializing the internet, and therefore taking away certain information from the public who has the right to access it. They speak how people who use Google or those who download large files as causing traffic and slowing down the speed of their service. The Broadband and DSL companies feel that by not regulating this they are not holding their promise to the customer of high-speed online access. I feel that this is just something people have to deal with, much like the traffic you may encounter on your way to work. Just because the sign on the side of the highway says that the speed limit is 55 MPH does not mean that you will be able to do 55 MPH. Even a better example would be to think of the Timetable for the New York City Subway System as a network. Sometimes the train arrive late sometimes they arrive early. A customer does not get charged extra if for some reason their train takes longer to get them to where they are supposed to be then it said on the schedule so why should a company like Google be charged extra because of the high volume of traffic that their network encounters. “The Internet has succeeded in attracting users and applications because it has been an oasis of deregulation in the midst of a highly regulated telecom market” (Wikipedia, p.8). This means that most people are more concerned with the fact that they have access to whatever information they may need. Yes, a faster connection is always a plus however in the grand scheme of things it seems as if it is better to have access at a slower rate then not at all. Also by regulating the Internet smaller ISP that cover the areas that the major ISP Companies do not would probably find themselves at a loss for access to certain site. It is said that in some areas of Iowa is cost as much as $170 for DSL (Turner). If you ask me that is a little pricey for DSL or any Internet service. Ultimately if net neutrality is not enforced I feel that we may see a monopoly generated from this. The larger companies would have the power to limit access of certain sites to those that pay the highest price. Thus taking away from the information that those at lower Internet speeds have access to now.


"Net Neutrality Debate Remains Contentious." Information Week. 13 Apr. 2007 .

"Network Neutrality." Wikipedia. 13 Apr. 2007.

Turner, Derek. "Free American Broadband!" 13 Apr. 2007 .

Friday, April 6, 2007

Virtual Life for Sale

After reading through the readings multiple times and even calling up my little brother, who I never thought would be able to help me with anything in college, I am starting to better understand the madness of these virtual worlds and there bartering systems. As someone who is not into the World of Warcraft, and similar games, I found it hard to understand how these virtual worlds can intersect with the real world and a real economy. Having a better understanding of it now, the concepts still seem to confuse me. I am going to have to take the side of the creators of the World of Warcraft, although much about the game seems fairly addicting, and the economy itself fairly profitable, crossing real money with virtual life is a little over the edge. From what I understand of these games, a person can create his/her own personal paradise, the concept itself seems pretty cool. Think about it, you’re in a position to manipulate your existence in the game. However you are now spending real money to better your virtual life. What happens to bettering your real life, I have watched my little brother sit in front of the computer for hours on end playing World of Warcraft. Very rarely do I ever see him go out with his friends, when I was a teenager I spent countless hours being out with my friends probably doing things I shouldn’t have been doing but I was interacting with other physical beings. My friends and I aren’t as close as we are because we communicated through an online game but because we spent time together. Know I know it sound like I am putting down video games and I do not want you to get me wrong I enjoy most video games as much as the next guy. However I feel that we a crossing a threshold that could ruin socialization just as bad as it can hurt someone’s pocket. The fact that people are buying non-existing real estate is a little off if you ask me. I find it pretty interesting that an economy has evolved from a video game, however the game itself has its own economy within. Much like racing games, such as Gran Turismo and Need for Speed Underground, you have to play to earn some form of credits in the game. Earning these credits, I feel for a true gamer, should be done on your own. By the buying and selling of these accomplishments for real currency you are taking away from the fantasy that is the game. It seems like the feeling of personal pride of playing a game and beating it, is gone. Even though we are all aware of cheat codes which were and still are very popular, its seems that we are now paying unreasonable prices for something that was once free to look up online. Also, we are giving value to inanimate objects in an attempt to enhance our experience while playing the game. They are turning a virtual world into a reality, which is if you ask me preposterous. I think we should stick to what the designers have made a game to be, earn the credits within the game and use them to better the gaming experience, not real currency.

Friday, March 30, 2007


The article that I chose was on the U.S. role in Iraq, which has been claimed to be unlawful by the King of Saudi Arabia. I looked over the article from two different sources, one of which was The New York Times (paper edition) and CNN’s report posted on CNN’s website. After reading the two of them thoroughly I noticed a significant difference in the way that they were written. In the paper edition of The New York Times I found that the author had gone into much more detail then the other version. In the CNN online version the information that was given seemed very brief. They gave you bits of the story and a quote to either open or close their statement. “Many news organizations based in other media also distribute news online, but the amount they use of the new medium varies. Some news organizations use the Web exclusively or as a secondary outlet for their content.” (Wikipedia) I would have to completely agree with this statement made by Wikipedia. Online news, not matter how in-depth, seems to be secondary to print news, the stories constructed for the Internet seem to be geared towards a preview more then the story. Though I feel this may change in the near future, I believe that there will always be some form of paper news and I am sure that newspaper companies would prefer that. Most online news from newspaper companies only provide an abstract online unless you subscribe and I think it is just more popular at this point to read a physical paper rather then electronically. Also there are different laws governing over what can be published over the Internet, where as in paper prints the author is protected under the 1st Amendment. As stated in Wikipedia, “unlike a newspaper, they are much more liable for such things as libel.” Although laws are changing and certain states and countries are making accommodations to protect what can be published, however under a certain pretext. The Internet has much taming that needs to be down however I feel that it is just a matter of time.

Fattah, Hassan M. "U.S. Iraq Role is Called Illegal by Saudi King." The New York Times 29 Mar. 2007, National ed., sec. A: 1+.

"Online Journalism." Wikipedia. 30 Mar. 2007 .

"Saudi's on U.S. in Iraq: 'Illegitimate Foreign Occupation'" CNN. 29 Mar. 2007. 29 Mar. 2007 .

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I found a blog discussing a political rally in downtown Buffalo. The blog entitled "How Not to Get Your Point Across," was found at Link. . The author whose real name was not displayed, went by the pseudonym Buffalopundit, and he is a citizen blogger. When i looked him up on Technorati i was able to find out that he has been blogging since 12/30/2004, and his rank is 35,353. This post was on 3/14/2007.

After reading the article several times I found that the author was not all to upset by the Governors attempts to tax goods such as cigarettes and gas to those who are not Native-American, but more so to a sign being held up by a 15 year old. The 15 year old was holding a sign of Elliot Spitzer portraying him as a modern day Hitler. The author states, " The Senecas certainly suffered a great deal in their history, and they have a right to enforce their legal sovereignty, such as it is, but does this Sagdiyevesque expression of dissent offend you as much as it did me? Doesn't equating the Holocaust with a sales tax dispute seem like a bit more than mere hyperbole?(Buffalopundit, How Not to Get Your Point Across)" The author simply states that the meaning behind the sign is a little over the top. However, I would have to disagree with the author, because he is looking at this from a different point of view then the Senecas. Most people do not realize what something like this means to them. They view it as our government taking control of their land and their ways.

Buffalopundit. How Not to Get Your Point Across. 14 Mar. 2007. 24 Mar. 2007 .

"Technorati: Search." 24 Mar. 2007 .

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fw: com 125 hw

I, like most people my age use AOL Instant Messenger I have had several
screen names in my time on AIM. Most of the time I choose my screen
name by what most interests me at that point in time. For example when
I first started using AIM my screen name had something to do with a
Metallica album because that was what I was into at that point in time.
Since then I have changed my screen name multiple times, mostly because
of what could be considered a troll. Someone had gotten my password and
was signing on pretending to be me. Also, I had other problems with
deception where people would create a screen name and send you an
instant message just to mess with you. Similar to a Killfile on Usenet,
AIM has a blocking tool as well. "Killfiles are filters that allow
you to skip unwanted postings: if you put someone in your killfile, you
will see no more of their postings (Donath, p.24)." Similar to
Usenet, AIM will block a user under a certain screen name from being
able to contact you. However the same rules apply for both it is fairly
simple for anyone to just make up a new screen name and the problem then
continues. This I find to be a great tool even though there are loop
holes around the blockers, I have found that most people do not go out
of their way to harrass you past the initial block. Recently, there has
been an growth in online communities such as Myspace and Facebook.
Where as most use these sites simply to keep intouch with friends, and
family, a great deal of private information can be found within these
profiles. Although the creaters of myspace have gone to great lengths
to make profiles secure, as with most things on the internet security
technology can become obsolete overnight. As with UseNet, Myspace
offers the option to put in a user identifcation that is not your name,
and sites like this can be very misleading because you can make your
username what ever you want and you can even make your profile picture a
picture that you downloaded off of the internet. "A close look at the
account name, a seemingly simple identification signal, proves to be
quite interesting for it touches on issues ranging from the reputations
of various virtual neighborhoods to techniques for detecting identity
deception (Donath, p.7)." One can pretend to be almost anyone that they
want on these web pages, sometimes easy to pick up on other times it is
rather difficult. Some people feel that added security and keeping a
close eye limiting what the younger generation can view is the way to
go. However, I feel that this uncalled for, protecting our kids is one
thing however world experience can only be learned, not taught. Being
told that the world is a cruel place and experiencing it are two
different things. Also, dealing with it is on a completely other

Works Cited:

Donath, Judith S. "Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community."
Communities in Cyberspace.: 1-34.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Gift Economy

The term "gift economy," some wonder what it means mean, while they do it several times a day. "A gift economy is an economic system in which the prevalent mode of exchange is for goods and services to be given without explicit agreement upon a quid pro quo (the Latin term for the concept of "a favor for a favor")." (, 2007). I find that personally I am a part of this on a day-to-day basis through the Fraternity that I am in. Not only do the brothers help each other out by giving the brothers that don't have cars rides, or giving a few bucks to a brother for lunch, but we lend our time to do local volunteer work as well. As stated by Kollock, 1999, "A gift is tied in an inalienable way to the giver." This is basically stating that the time that my brothers and I donate when we do volunteer work is a gift that we gave to someone else. That is an example of a gift economy on a small scale I would now like to talk about a gift economy on a larger scale. The New York Times a paper in which many of you have probably heard of, I believe to be a gift economy in the form of a public good. On The New York Times website you can find full news articles and they correspond directly to what you would find in the actual "Times" that you would find at your local newsstand. Meanwhile this does give "free-riders" the opportunity to not have to but the paper and well free-ride. The net in essence has really opened the gate for the "gift economy." "For most of its users, the Net is somewhere to work, play, love, learn and discuss with other people. Unrestricted by physical distance, they collaborate with each other without the direct mediation of money or politics. Unconcerned about copyright, they give and receive information without thought of payment. In the absence of states or markets to mediate social bonds, network communities are instead formed through the mutual obligations created by gifts of time and ideas (The Hi-Tech Gift Economy, December 2005)." In this statement I think Barbrook was trying to say that the way that the internet works is based on a honor system. Which as you can see has pretty much turned into a free for all. Sharing music over the net was intended for artists to be able to send their work to other artists and in due time the favor would be returned. However I do not think that p2p file sharing has had that dramatic of an effect on record sales, I do understand the record companies concerns with it.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Copyright or is it wrong?

Many people argue what copyright does and if it applies to something
that they are doing. Fact of the matter is that the majority of
infringe copyright laws on a daily basis whether they know it or not.
For example, have you ever watched the reality TV show "The Apprentice,"
well for those of you who do not know the phrase "You're Fired" has a
copyright (
In my eyes copyright on stuff like that is a little rediculous, how ever
media companies do have a legit 'beef'. There purpose of existance
basically relies on these laws. So argue that filesharing is killing
the media business, specifically the fact that if you know what you are
doing you can pretty much download anything you want music wise online.
Also what many people do not know is that "since 1999, CD prices have
risen 10%, while the price of DVD's has dropped 20% (Oberholzer-Gee,
Strumpf, The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales An Empirical
Analysis." Another hot topic when it comes to file sharing is the "Fair
Use" doctrine. This doctrine permits limited use of copyrighted works.
However the guidelines to this doctrine are not very clear, in reading
an article by a Kevin S. Brady. The article is entiled "Copyright FAQ:
25 Common Myths and Misconceptions," the author helps define some of the
misconceptions that many people have about P2P filesharing.