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Submission + - NASA Ames Becoming a Google Social Club?

theodp writes: "Goombas have their corner social club, where they can drink espresso, play cards and enjoy a plate of macaroni. And Googlers and their chums have NASA Ames, where they can ponder The Singularity, run space exploration contests (and toast tax havens), go on Zeppelin rides, fly fighter jets, experience Zero Gravity, be picked-up for the mayor's wedding, fly energy-generating kites, and park their party planes. While the corner social club isn't funded by taxpayers, NASA is, which may explain the rash of Freedom of Information Act filings asking for an explanation of Google-linked deals (here a Google-backed Congresswoman helps grease the wheels for Sergey Brin's mother-in-law's blimp ride). Google is expected to build a new campus on NASA Ames property beginning in 2013."

Feed Techdirt: Is BitTorrent Realizing That Its Advantage Is In Distribution Technology, Not DR (

We were among those who were quite confused last year when BitTorrent (the company, not the underlying technology) decided that its business model would be to give in to counterproductive Hollywood whims and focus on setting up a DRM-protected downloadable movie store. After all, there was plenty of evidence that the market wasn't particularly interested in such things. BitTorrent's advantage had always been in the distribution part of the value chain, and yet here it was basically focusing on things like DRM and e-commerce, where its expertise was minimal, as its business model of choice.

Since then, BitTorrent (again, the company, not the technology) has been almost totally lacking from any discussion about downloadable movies.

So, it's hardly a surprise to hear that the company is laying off a bunch of employees, focusing mainly on its sales and marketing staff. This likely means one of two things: that its business is not doing particularly well, and senior management has decided to scapegoat sales and marketing under the false belief that a new team will somehow magically make things work, or that it's realized this was a bomb of a business model and is about to move in a totally different direction, that requires different skills on the sales and marketing side.

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Feed The Register: Please ignore the net neutrality sideshow haunting Comcast's BitTorrent bust (

Lies, damn lies, and corporate PR

Comment According to narrow-minded ideologues on both sides of the increasingly childish debate over net neutrality, Comcast's infamous BitTorrent throttling is all about, well, net neutrality. But it's not. It's about Comcast lying to its consumers, the press, the FCC, and everyone else with even a passing interest in getting what they pay for.

Feed Techdirt: A Lot More At Stake In TorrentSpy vs. MPAA Email Snooping Lawsuit (

For a few years now, we've been covering the battle between TorrentSpy and the MPAA. While TorrentSpy has given in and shut down on the question concerning the operations of its business, there was a separate legal question that is still being fought in court. As we noted recently, TorrentSpy has appealed the judge's ruling that the MPAA didn't break any laws in gaining access to its executives' emails. As you may recall, the MPAA hired a guy who hacked into TorrentSpy's servers to send copies of all the emails to himself first, which he then sold to the MPAA (he later regretted this decision and confessed to TorrentSpy, which is what resulted in the lawsuit in the first place). When the issue first came up in court, the MPAA played dumb, and pretended that it assumed the guy had legal access to the emails.

While this may seem like just a straight privacy case, the EFF, along with the ACLU and others, have filed a brief noting that there's much more at stake here. Specifically, the EFF is concerned that the court ruled that since the email messages were not technically "intercepted" under the wiretap act, due to the fact that the emails were stored, however briefly, on a mail server before they were copied and re-forwarded. In other words, as the EFF points out, if you have access to any server that handles a message as it travels across the internet, it's not "intercepted" for you to read that message. That has huge and very dangerous implications for any sort of internet wiretapping -- suggesting that as long as the government routed all communications through its own machines, it could read everything without a warrant. This case is about a lot more than a BitTorrent tracker battling the MPAA.

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Submission + - Crucial Net Limiting Issue in New York (

Dave Burstein writes: "(This is much too long, but I wanted to give the editor details.) Biggest abuse of "net neutrality" in the U.S. would be an alternate headline. Frontier, the telco in Rochester New York, is imposing a 5 gigabyte cap, similar to what their only real competition, Time Warner Cable, is proposing. This would limit users to 1 or 2 HD movies per month, a ridiculous limit when Comcast suggests 250 gig and Verizon has no cap at all. Karl at DSL Reports broke the story. (Karl is a friend, but my DSL Prime and his DSL Reports have no business connection.) What makes this so important is that if the telco and cablecos both limit you, most in the U.S. have no other place to go. We all know the lack of competition issues in U.S. broadband — cable and telco working together is the nightmare, now happening here. I'm a reporter in broadband, and believe now that "throttling" is being shot down at the FCC, the cablecos will use caps/bandwidth charges to prevent your watching video from anyone else. I just co-authored a book, Web Video: Making It Great, Getting It Noticed Peachpit August 8, 2008 with Jennie Bourne, so I know how much is happening, and why they would want to stop it. The Comcast wrist slap for throttling is set to come down tomorrow, so the carriers are looking for other ways to dissuade viewers from going elsewhere. Unreasonable caps/bandwidth charges are the way they are going. There's nothing wrong in charging for bandwidth, so long as it bares a reasonable relationship to costs. Tony Werner at Comcast suggests a 250 gig cap, and that's fair in 2008. A large carrier pays 4 to 7 cents per gigabyte, so capping a $40 service at $10-15 of bandwidth is justifiable. Moore's Law will improve things in the next few years. Being able to do anything reasonable you want on the Internet is what the battle is about, not some law professor's definition of neutral. It doesn't matter whether it's Bittorrent throttling or severe limits on video watching with a cap doesn't matter. When the other carriers let you watch video, we know it's practical and reasonable. I can back that up with costs and technology details. Frontier and Time Warner getting together to limit television over the Internet is exactly what the FCC and the antitrust division need to stop. I'm on my way to an FCC en banc hearing in Brooklyn and will have comments later . Dave Burstein Editor DSL Prime"
The Courts

Submission + - Hans Reiser Turned Down Pretrial Plea Bargain (

An anonymous reader writes: What an idiot:
"The judge in Hans Reiser's murder trial said Wednesday that Reiser 'chose to roll the dice' and lost by turning down a pretrial plea bargain that would have resulted in him only serving three years in prison and being released next May. Reiser, 44, was scheduled to be sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman today for his first-degree murder conviction for killing his wife, 31-year-old Nina Reiser, who was last seen alive on Sept. 3, 2006, when she dropped off the couple's two children at his house in the Oakland hills."

Feed Engadget: Comcast backs off BitTorrent, will continue to manage internet traffic (

Filed under: Networking

Although Comcast has been beating around the proverbial bush about its data-meddling ways, it seems the pressure from the recent FCC investigation efforts have forced it to play nice. Reportedly, the firm is getting set to (begrudgingly, we presume) announce that it will "stop targeting BitTorrent on the internet." More specifically, the cable company will purportedly "boost broadband capacity" in order to make things speedier all around, but details on this tidbit were unsurprisingly absent. Nevertheless, BitTorrent has also agreed to make its software "more efficient," but those hoping that Comcast would leave well enough alone are in for even more disappointment. The outfit still plans on managing traffic on the 'net (standard practice, we know), but Tony Werner, executive VP and CTO, noted that it was "working hard on a different approach that is protocol-agnostic during peak periods."

[Thanks, Mike and Kenneth]

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The Internet

Submission + - BitTorrent goes B2B (

An anonymous reader writes: BitTorrent announced a new content delivery service, BitTorrent Delivery Network Accelerator (DNA). From InternetNews: "Already, BitTorrent has its first customer for its newest effort. Brightcove, a video-streaming service that counts Time, CBS News, The Discovery Channel and Reuters among its customers, plans to integrate BitTorrent DNA into its offerings. The hope is to improve delivery speeds for its instant-on, broadcast-quality online video."

Submission + - stoners make better programmers/designers?

mektronik writes: I have recently, albeit belatedly, come across a genera of music calling itself Nerdcore. It is essentially hip hop for geeks with rappers such as MCPlus+. The interesting part to note is that MOST of them talk about getting stoned while programming, this is something that I myself have long indulged in as have many friends of mine. On the other hand I have worked with a lot of programmers that do not. I generally find a strong correlation between stoners and better coders/designers, I have historically put this down to "thinking out of the box", but may in fact be a lot deeper. Am I totally off the mark? what do you think?

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder