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Monthly Archives: September 2013

27
Sep
2013

Content Makers Launch Controversial Elementary School Anti-Piracy Curriculum

by Administrator

Content Makers Launch Controversial Elementary School Anti-Piracy Curriculum

In an attempt to make inroads on what some perceive as the long-term threat digital piracy poses to content creating industries, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, Center For Copyright Infringement, Internet Keep Safe Coalition and some of the nation’s top ISPs have banded together to create an elementary school “copyright education” curriculum that is scheduled to be tested within California elementary schools this year. With a unique approach for each grade from kindergarten through sixth, the program hammers home a consistent message: copying content without paying for it is theft.

Critics of the program, which has not been released into classrooms yet, say that the program never once mentions the concept of fair use, and that the concept of a Creative Commons license is not raised until the fifth grade coursework, suggesting that rights holders who grant limited permission on re-use is somehow too complicated. Critics contend that even in explaining the Creative Commons, the lesson says that it’s illegal to make any copies of copyrighted works, explicitly stating on the fifth grade worksheet: “If a song or movie is copyrighted, you can’t copy it, download it, or use it in your own work without permission” which implies that it’s even unlawful to rip your own CDs to your own iPod.

Fair use is not a part of the teaching material because K-6 graders don’t have the ability to grasp it according to Marsali Hancock, President of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, who said the program “is developmentally consistent with what children can learn at specific ages.” Hancock says the group will also develop materials for older kids that do discuss fair use at some point in the future.

“We’ve got some editing to do” concedes Glen Warren, vice president of the California School Library Association – the non-profit organization that helped produce the materials in conjunction with the Internet Keep Safe Coalition and content industry trade groups. Warren agrees that it is incorrect to tell students they can never use copyrighted works without permission, as the fifth-grade worksheet presently does. He stated that some of the package’s language may have been influenced by the rights holders and the Center for Copyright Information. “We’re moving along trying to get things a little closer to sanity, that tone and language, that came from that side of the fence, so to speak.”

 

The final curriculum remains to be seen, but the battle between industry and advocates for a new paradigm of copyright reflect the realities of the digital age and will most assuredly continue for quite some time to come. Digital content and publishing innovation will continue to push popular culture forward for the next generation, and students are being brought online at even earlier ages than ever before – making the evolving concepts of copyright, purchasing content, fair use, and materials safe for kids important for parents and publishers.

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18
Sep
2013

IBM Pledges One Billion Dollars to Support Linux on its Power Servers

by Administrator

IBM Pledges One Billion Dollars to Support Linux on its Power Servers

Historically IBM Power servers have run their own version of Unix, but sales have been contracting as more data centers transition toward Linux. IBM is no stranger to Linux, which it adapted for use on its mainframe products in the past. The company has previously made a Billion dollar investment in Linux during 2000, but now IBM has announced plans to spend another billion over the next four years adapting Linux and other open-source systems for their Power line of servers.

IBM Power servers have long held a reputation for being especially good with heavy-duty computing tasks, such as running large databases, but as more tech business becomes focused on web-based applications, sales of the Unix machines don’t seem to offer the growth opportunities that Linux based equipment is projected to provide. Many of the largest web companies, like Google, are now operating almost exclusively on Linux based machines. Most of the servers on the market are x86 machines, while IBM’s Power servers run a proprietary Power chipset, making it necessary for IBM to fund this investment as a way to develop and optimize open-source Linux software for their proprietary hardware.

“We continue to take share in Unix, but it’s just not growing as fast as Linux,” says Brad McCredie, an IBM vice president of Power development. Linux helped to popularize the open-source model, which allows users to get under the hood and modify the underlying instructions that create a program, allowing for the ultimate in customization and spurring quite a bit of innovation. That the base software is generally available for free is a big draw as well, particularly for those companies that buy servers by the thousands each time.

IBM is going to spend this billion dollars on facilities and personnel to help Power users make the move to Linux. They are also planning to create what company officials describe as a “Development Cloud,” which will be comprised of a large Power server farm operated by IBM that allows customers to use it remotely for building and testing new applications.

Though Linux is most often associated with servers, Linux also underlies the Android operating system, which has become by far the most popular operating system for the smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices that are quickly overtaking traditional computers in the consumer marketplace. IBM formally announced this investment in Linux at LinuxCon, an annual conference for developers and media held this week in New Orleans.

NationalNet uses Debian Linux servers throughout our Atlanta Collocation Data Center for all of our fully managed hosting and fully managed colocation clients. Debian Linux remains the most popular server operating system because it has been proven to be more secure and stable than competitors over a long period of time. NationalNet also locks down your data even further with custom safeguards that ensure only required data packages are installed.

As part of our continuing efforts to provide the highest level of data transfer efficiency for our clients and the growing wave of mobile device users coming online from emerging markets, we are also finding that our Debian Linux servers are much less resource intensive than competing operating systems. That means less memory and CPU requirements, faster throughput and the ability to satisfy your customers everywhere – whether they are using high speed broadband from a desktop in Atlanta, or a lower tier smartphone with a slow data connection from Indonesia and beyond

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12
Sep
2013

Free Smartphones May Push Connectivity and Efficiency To New Levels

by Administrator

Free Smartphones May Push Connectivity and Efficiency To New Levels

Cell phones using bandwidthInternet traffic growth is being driven by mobile devices and emerging markets. Now, as smartphone manufacturers, mobile carriers and forward thinking digital business owners all take notice, rumors are spreading that free smartphones may soon be offered by large players seeking to capture market share. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices already account for 25% of internet traffic. In the first quarter of 2013, tablets exceeded traditional desktop computer conversion rates for the first time according to reports by industry trade groups and Apple announced a new iPhone 5C at a much lower price point to spur growth. Now rumors persist that Amazon may soon unleash a free smartphone to capture market share and the pressure free content has caused on evolving business models may soon be amplified by free hardware providers.

In a recent frenzy of activity Microsoft has bought mobile device maker Nokia, Verizon and Vodaphone announced one of the largest deals in history, Apple released a low price iPhone 5C and now with rumors are suggesting E-commerce heavyweight, Amazon may be getting into the cellphone market by offering free smartphones. Amazon has subsequently denied the rumors with an official statement that “it will not offer a phone this year” and that the phone would “not be free.” However parsing their statement, particularly when there are only four months left in the year, it appears to offer little consolation for their competitors in the wireless space who have relied on wide per-device profit margins.

Unlike Apple or Samsung, who generate income by selling hardware, Amazon and Google generate revenue primarily through e-commerce sales and online advertising respectively, that puts them in position to sacrifice some potential profit on the sale of devices to bolster their primary businesses by increasing usage and expanding their own markets.

Even if Amazon is being candid about choosing not to release a “free” phone, it is still reasonable to expect that someone else will soon be offering free smartphones to the masses in the near future. Facebook has recently launched Internet.org, as previously reported here at NationalNet, to get cheaper or free data service to the developing world, and an ad-based smartphone system similar to what MagicJack or Walmart’s Basic Talk have done to land lines makes a lot of sense.

Given that non-desktop traffic is becoming a larger portion of internet traffic, site owners should definitely see now as the time to get your mobile house in order, particularly as mobile users have no patience for dealing with websites that don’t work well on their devices. In a recent survey, a full 76 percent of mobile users say they that they will leave if your site if it’s not optimized for mobile, and almost a third say they will never return.

Free internet connectivity from the Internet.org consortium seems to be making progress and now a price crash on mobile devices or free alternative appears to be looming on the technology horizon as well. That likely means a much greater benefit for sites that optimize their designs, reliably provide digital services with greater up-time, and efficiently make use of visitor bandwidth to reduce connectivity issues will stand to benefit greatly. What we have seen from free content users is that their expectations of quality and ease of use remain high, and converting them into consumers often means impressing them with the unique value of your product line.

NationalNet continues to evolve all aspects of our infrastructure to provide the best possible user experience for your mobile or traditional traffic because we understand that one day very soon, visitors who neither bought their own connection devices nor paid for their own data plans may become the largest segment of your site’s paying customers.

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03
Sep
2013

Consumer Broadband Connectivity May Be Stagnating In The United States

by Administrator

The Pew Research Center recently announced that only 70% of Americans have broadband internet access, which is up slightly from 66% in 2012, but couched within that number are some distressing statistics.

First, the definition of “broadband” used by the pollsters is anything better than dial-up, with both Pew and the FCC classifying any connection of 4 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads as fast enough to be counted as “broadband,” which is not a very useful metric for the demands of the modern era.

Secondly, the “digital divide” shows no signs of abating, with 89% of college graduates, and 88% of households with more than $75,000 in yearly income, having high-speed internet access at home – while broadband penetration for households of those who did not complete high school stands at a paltry 37% and at just 54% of households with incomes less than $30,000 per year. Suggesting that broadband access is becoming something that fuels economic disparity rather than something that is helping lower income individuals to join the middle class.

Racially, African-Americans and Latinos are far less likely to have high-speed internet access than their Caucasian counterparts, though Pew points out that many blacks and Latinos are starting to mitigate these numbers by utilizing smartphones as their primary connectivity platform, and that among those who don’t have home broadband, approximately 32% have mobile devices, accounting for an additional 10% of Americans with internet access and bringing broadband adoption more in line across racial demographics if one counts smartphones as broadband devices, which many experts consider to be a dubious assertion on its face.

In a recent editorial for Wired Magazine, Susan Crawford, a professor at Columbia University and the Cardozo School of Law, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, observes: “You could say DSL, satellite, and mobile wireless are all “high-speed broadband,” but that’s just like putting your local high-school football team in the same market as the New York Giants. It’s all football, but the two don’t — and can’t — compete.” With the ever-increasing bandwidth demands of the 21st century, Ms. Crawford argues that universal broadband adoption is what is necessary for America to remain competitive in the new information-centric global economy.

While there have been some moves to bring ultra-high-speed internet access to Americans, such as Google’s famed fiber-to-the-home network in Kansas City, there are powerful forces hard at work amongst the incumbent providers to make restrictive metered usage the norm, delivered through their existent “skinny pipes.”

Meanwhile other countries are stepping up, and making the adoption of true broadband fiber connections affordable for their citizens. The government of New Zealand for example, reduced the risk of up-front investment in fiber networks by financing the building of basic network infrastructure. The final connections to homes are built by private business entities, who then buy back the network from the proceeds of user’s subscription costs. As the government’s investment was returned, it reinvested those funds in further expansion of the country’s fiber infrastructure – creating an economic stimulation and a self-perpetuating roll out of a world-class broadband access for its entire population with a very fast adoption of fiber-to-the-home services.

The shifting economic forces of the new knowledge based economy and slow adoption of access by large segments of society may signal a need for Americans to rethink policy with regard to broadband internet access. As always there is plenty of room for American capitalism in the future of connectivity, but that presupposes a responsibility among business interests to produce adequate and affordable options for consumers in order to avoid creating a competitive disadvantage for ourselves as a nation in the global marketplace.

NationalNet continues to invest heavily in the future and takes significant steps each quarter to maintain the competitive advantage our fully managed hosting and server collocation clients have over other companies. Our own efforts are always subject to the greater environmental question of how many people have access to the internet and how robust that access becomes. Bringing modern advancements to consumers requires a modern infrastructure that can be relied on for the speed, throughput and efficiency that digital content, products and services necessitate. Hopefully the governmental and corporate entities in a position to roll out these advancements all understand how vital their contributions are to the future of our great nation

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