Nick Bradbury on River of News.
One of the things I asked Senator Edwards to do at our meeting in Palo Alto in April, was for him to support BitTorrent with non-infringing applications. As you know, I’m a big believer in P2P distribution over the Internet, and we need more safe applications of BitTorrent. I’m told that they will put up their first BitTorrent application tomorrow. Honestly, I didn’t think they’d do it, historically the Democrats have been very close to Hollywood, and they’re scared of BitTorrent. If they actually do it, they deserve our thanks.
Friday’s Ze Frank explains why bad design is so important. I couldn’t explain it better myself.
There’s a lot of construction going on in my neighborhood, so from time to time someone accidentally cuts a wire that knocks out Internet service in my apartment building. When that happens, we go through a silent dance, a sort of virtual lottery — who’s the lucky S.O.B. who gets to call Comcast to report the outage.
You’d think in this modern age they could figure it out themselves, but they require one of their customers to call. So on Saturday, for the eighth time in less than a year, I called them and went through the miserable dance.
First I have to convince them it’s not the modem, because every time they’re absolutely sure it is my modem, even though the seven times before it wasn’t. I ask them to check the other customers in my building. It seems about four times out of five this really pisses them off, because I get a lecture about how I have to make an appointment, and give up a day of my time so they can have a repairman visit, why I don’t know. So I usually say goodbye at that point, and try again. More often than not the second person is sympathetic, and we test the other modems in the building and (surprise!) find out that either they all failed at exactly the same moment, or there’s some other problem that has nothing to do with the modems. Even so, before they’re willing to investigate, I have to make an appointment.
This time I tried a different strategy. I declined to make an appointment. I said that one of my neighbors would likely call in an hour or so, and they could make the appointment. I feel I’ve already made my contribution to Comcast today, as if they were a charity, by giving them an hour of my Saturday morning. That was all I could afford right now. So I went down the street to Starbucks to check my mail (I bet they don’t use Comcast) and when I came home, the Internet was back on. I’m left guessing whether or not it was a random event, or if they decided, while they were waiting for someone else in my building to call, to see if they could find the outage themselves, and reboot some router or whatever.
Now, Comcast has the best TV commercials. I’d pay them money to just keep producing the commercials. But I’d also pay them to get out of the Internet service business and let some other corrupt monopoly have a go.