Pluralistic: 07 Mar 2022

A tachometer wheel showing the relative speeds of DSL, cable, satellite, and fiber, demonstrating the vast advantages of fiber.

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All (Broadband) Politics Are Local

A Chance for Individuals to Make a Difference.

Farmers and co-op members assisting professional telephone pole installers raise a rural phone pole, with rope and pulleys, 1930s.

“We’re the phone company, we don’t care.” –Lily Tomlin

Even before the lockdown, we all hated our ISPs. Comcast routinely won “worst company in America” polls. AT&T was a trash-fire of endless boondoggles and scandals. Verizon charged you $12/month to rent a modem, and also charged you $12/month to not rent a modem. Everyone hated Frontier for its slow speeds, which were revealed to be the result of the company’s practice of “installing” phone lines by tying them to trees with twine or draping them over shrubs. New York State ordered Charter/Spectrum to leave the state and never come back.

Then the pandemic struck, and terrible internet service became a matter of survival: it was how your kids went to school, how you visited the doctor, how you saw family, how you participated in civics and politics, and, for those of us who were lucky enough to have remote-capable jobs, how you earned your living.

The dismal state of the American telecoms industry, where monopolies divided up the country into non-competing exclusive territories like Pope Alexander VI dividing up the “New World,” suddenly became a lot more important.

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Pluralistic: 03 Jul 2021

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Pluralistic: 15 May 2021

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Pluralistic: 30 Mar 2021

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Pluralistic: 05 Feb 2021

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Pluralistic: 17 Jan 2021

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Pluralistic: 10 Nov 2020

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Pluralistic: 25 Jun 2020

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Pluralistic: 07 Apr 2020

Today's links

  1. Pickled 2001 computer store: Deadstock ahoy!
  2. A farewell to APIs: Greed, spam and entropy killed mashups.
  3. Machine learning model performs butthole recognition: Peak Internet of Shit.
  4. Covid loteria cards: Cabronavirus.
  5. California's fiber for all bill: Tell your senator to support SB1130.
  6. 1978 Doonesbury stereotype: Come for the Indochina political humor, stay for the printer's lore.
  7. LA crime plummets: Down 23% (domestic violence is down 11%).
  8. US stimulus is one week's cash: Deflation ahoy.
  9. Private equity blinks on cuts to health workers' wages: Speeding up slow destruction makes it impossible to ignore.
  10. Virtual greenscreen: Incredible computer science paper from the 2020 IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition.
  11. Landlord changes church's locks: The pastor of Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi, CA refused to stop holding services.
  12. This day in history: 2010, 2019
  13. Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming appearances, current writing projects, current reading

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