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Comment: Well, what did we expect? (Score 5, Informative) 410

by Golgafrinchan (#46828743) Attached to: F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane
Tom Wheeler is Chairman of the FCC.

From his Wikipedia page: "Prior to working at the FCC, Wheeler worked as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, with prior positions including President of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)."

When the FCC chairman used to be a lobbyist for the companies he's now regulating... well, what did we expect would happen? It shouldn't be surprising that he'd be in favor of pushing through regulations that are more favorable to his cronies.

+ - FCC hangs a U-turn on Net Neutrality->

Submitted by kyjellyfish
kyjellyfish (1703658) writes "The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals.
The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers.
The F.C.C.’s previous rules governing net neutrality were thrown out by a federal appeals court this year. The court said those rules had essentially treated Internet service providers as public utilities, which violated a previous F.C.C. ruling that Internet links were not to be governed by the same strict regulation as telephone or electric service.
The new rules, according to the people briefed on them, will allow a company like Comcast or Verizon to negotiate separately with each content company – like Netflix, Amazon, Disney or Google – and charge different companies different amounts for priority service."

Link to Original Source

+ - BitCoin suffers flash crash after MtGox pintpoints bug-> 1

Submitted by Golgafrinchan
Golgafrinchan (777313) writes "MtGox, which on Friday suspended all withdrawals, issued a press release today wherein they discussed a bug they have discovered in BitCoin. MtGox states that the bug is not specific to MtGox; it affects all transactions where BitCoins are sent to a third party. Following the press release, BitCoin plummeted from roughly 700 USD/BTC to 102, before rebounding back to over 600 minutes later.

Below is the non-technical explanation provided by MtGox: A bug in the bitcoin software makes it possible for someone to use the Bitcoin network to alter transaction details to make it seem like a sending of bitcoins to a bitcoin wallet did not occur when in fact it did occur. Since the transaction appears as if it has not proceeded correctly, the bitcoins may be resent. MtGox is working with the Bitcoin core development team and others to mitigate this issue."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Banks were propping up the price on Friday... (Score 4, Informative) 471

by Golgafrinchan (#40065631) Attached to: Facebook Shares Retreat Below IPO Price
This result was expected based on what happened on Friday. It was reported that the underwriting investment banks were propping up Facebook's share price on Friday to keep it above the IPO price of $38, so as to help their clients avoid losing money on the first day. Now that we're past day 1, the banks have stopped buying shares at the apparently overvalued price, which makes sense -- after all, if the banks are buying at $38, then they stand to lose money when they sell at a lower price in the future. In other words, Facebook should've already been trading at something less than $38 on Friday, but it wasn't because the banks wouldn't let it.
The Internet

+ - Comcast to remove data cap, implement tiered pricing 1

Submitted by StikyPad
StikyPad (445176) writes "Comcast is reportedly removing its oft-maligned 250GB data cap, but don't get too excited. In what appears to be an effort to capitalize on Nielsen's Law, the Internet's version of Moore's Law, Comcast is introducing tiered data pricing. The plan is to include 300GB with the existing price of service, and charge $10 for every 50GB over that limit. As with current policy, Xfinity On Demand traffic will not count against data usage, which Comcast asserts is because the traffic is internal, not from the larger Internet. There has, however, been no indication that the same exemption would apply to any other internal traffic. AT&T and Time Warner have tried unsuccessfully to implement tiered pricing in the past, meeting with strong push back from customers and lawmakers alike. With people now accustomed to, if not comfortable with, tiered data plans on their smartphones, will the public be more receptive to tiered pricing on their wired Internet connections as well, or will they once again balk at a perceived bilking?"

Comment: I'm surprised this has never come up before! (Score 2) 489

by Golgafrinchan (#39702811) Attached to: Student Charged For Re-selling Textbooks
Grad students studying in the US have been buying & selling "International Edition" textbooks for ages. When I studied in a masters program some years ago, a majority of Chinese students used International Edition books that they had presumably purchased from another international student within the US who no longer needed the book anymore. These books were generally of lower quality than the regular edition US textbooks (i.e., soft cover, sometimes black and white instead of color, etc.), but the words & graphs were all the same, and for a huge discount you couldn't go wrong. After seeing so many of my classmates using these international editions, I began purchasing them myself (and selling them when I finished the course).

It never occurred to me that selling these could possibly be grounds for a major fine. To me, this is just as bad an idea as region coding on DVD's or disallowing Americans from purchasing pharmaceuticals abroad.

Comment: Re:I hope they get raked over the coals for this (Score 4, Insightful) 235

by Golgafrinchan (#39645579) Attached to: DoJ Files Suit Against Apple, Ebook Publishers
It's an interesting point. But the reason is that to my knowledge, there _wasn't_ any price fixing prior to ebooks. I believe that publishers have always sold physical books to retailers using the wholesale model, and then leave it up to the retailers to set the price paid by customers. As long as the publishers didn't conspire to set those wholesale prices collectively, then there's no price fixing. There may have been some 'tacit' collusion (in that they don't formally agree upon prices, but that they follow each other like airlines), but that's generally not illegal in the US.

The issue in this case is that there _is_ evidence that the publishers collectively decided to adhere to the same pricing scheme. That is illegal.

Comment: I hope they get raked over the coals for this (Score 5, Insightful) 235

by Golgafrinchan (#39645095) Attached to: DoJ Files Suit Against Apple, Ebook Publishers
This was such a blatant price-fixing scheme among the publishers that it's surprising to me that it took the DOJ this long to take action. That said, based on what I've read I'm not completely convinced of the extent to which Apple was involved in this. Yes, they agreed to the new agency pricing model, but it seems to me that they could try to argue, "Hey -- the publishers came to us with this idea. We didn't know they wanted to go that route to reduce competition and put pressure on Amazon! Honest!" But if there's a paper trail mentioning Amazon, I think Apple is toast.

And regardless, I hope the publishers get crushed on this one. While I won't go so far as to suggest that they don't serve any useful purpose anymore (as some people do), they _are_ dinosaurs and need to be dragged into 21st century competition. This should do it.

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