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The Internet

Clemson Reverses Policy; Internet Long Distance OK 105

Krimsen writes "Looks like Clemson Universty felt the pressure from angry students being denied free long distance. They are allowing access to dialpad.com."
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Clemson Reverses Policy; Internet Long Distance OK

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  • are there any other similar services out there that provide roughly equivalent functionality to call Holland?

    anybody?
  • university of colorado rioted over a dry campus ... can you imagine what could, (rightfully?) ensue if this remained in place, and/or became widespread?

    [start deeper sarcasm]what could be next? banning MP3s from campus networks?[end deeper sarcasm]
  • Does anyone know of any Free Software projects to make front ends to these services, or to create servers for creating our own networks?
  • With Napster blocked by many University networks because of bandwidth concerns, and now Dialpad, who can tell what will come next?

    It seems that universities will have to seriously look into current policies for network access as more and more high-bandwidth services become available. I guarantee this is far from the end of disagreements between students and IT departments, and I fear where the next big block will be.

    Once Linux gets to be more and more mainstream, can we expect to see a block on .iso files as the traffic just gets to be too huge? How about a block on freshmeat or /.?
  • With all the noise the students made as well as the negative press it is no wonder. The school was being attacked from all sides. Not to mention that they were in the wrong on this one. I just wish this type of public pressure could be applied to other areas of injustice... Say DeCSS?
  • Huh? Why bother with the Grits? Wouldn't you rather just go read the CNN [dorsai.org] article?
  • >are there any other similar services out there >that provide roughly equivalent functionality to >call Holland? how about a Beige Box? ;) /zard
  • It's amazing what a little flame mail will do these days when only a few thousand people send them... all within about five minutes... to a single person...

    Slashdot Flame Mail - fear our 31337 pestering.
  • don't require Windows? (Just wondering. Would like to try one of these things out).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I decided to ditch my long distance telephone subscriber because I don't like the taxes I have to pay twice for both local and long-distance service. Also, the majority of long-distance calls I make are just 1-800 numbers and the telephone company requires I get long distance just to make 1-800 calls. So, when I heard about net2phone, I dumped my long distance provider, my local phone company charged me $5 to do this. And also is charging me $1.04 a month because I don't have long distance.

    In general, in making pc-to-phone calls people say they hear a lot of static with the voice, even though for me their voices are fine. I had to buy an amplifier for my sound card (it's one of those cheap ones) and this is another expense people don't tell you about. Also, I use net2phone on my laptop, and the sound card on my laptops which also required the amplifier. Net2phone only works under Windows, so I'll be glad when it supports other OSes. At this point even though the sound quality is poor, I'm sticking with voice over IP because it's cheaper or free.

  • Any service like this for Canadians?
  • by Mr. Penguin ( 87934 ) <drj@@@trivergent...net> on Tuesday February 01, 2000 @04:42AM (#1315996) Homepage
    Sorry that I didn't get in on the first article that this topic covered, but I would like to say a few things about Clemson that you may or may not know.

    I was once a student at Clemson University, and during that time, I edited one of the campus newspapers (the independent one). Of course, I had my own run-ins with DCIT, and from that I learned a great deal about the way that their organization works.

    First of all, there's no problem with Clemson's bandwidth. Just a few months ago, I could sit in my office in the early evening (5p.m. EST) and download .iso images at around an average of 200k per second, topping out at 400k per second. Much better than I get at my current job, where our bandwidth comes from a pair of T-1s. I don't know what Clemson has now, but it does provide massive bandwidth. I was in front of the firewall, but I know for a fact that dorm access isn't much slower.

    Secondly, Clemson has a contract with WorldCom (formerly MCI) for all of their telecommunications (which I believe includes their bandwidth). If you ask me, them banning dialpad.com (a competitor of MCI) is akin to monopilistic practices.

    Thirdly, as some people mentioned, textbooks are sold on campus. However, the University does not directly profit from their sales. Barnes & Noble rents space in their student union and handles all transactions.

    These are just a few of the things that I have retained and thought that I would pass along. I do agree that it was quite awful for them to ban any Internet site, especially when they can only benefit from doing so. Chris Duckenfield has been a thorn in my side for a long while. If you pay attention, you'll see him screw up again sooner or later.



    Brad Johnson
    --We are the Music Makers, and we
    are the Dreamers of Dreams

  • A not so well known alternative which uses a very low ammount of bandwidth is a program written in 1995' called 'Iparty' developed as a n 'experiment' and given out freely by Intel.
  • According to the intelligent people in charge of our network here at Clemson, FunPhone [funphone.com] provides the same service as Dialpad.com.
  • These schools are going to learn a pretty basic concept of society. You cannot get together a bunch of independent individuals, then mold them to your will with bans and policies. The only way to do that is to have those policies in place before you bring in the people so they know about them ahead of time and can choose if they are policies they agree with. More and more institutions are beginning to learn that you cannot control society, not on widespread legitimate issues like this.


    Munky_v2
    "Warning: you are logged into reality as root..."
  • The other site Clemson banned was funphone.com. Well, as it turns out that site doesn't even offer free LD. The site is a hoax, a leftover April Fools joke. I guess the sysadmins/administration at Clemson never did their homework.

    See for yourself. [funphone.com]

  • Although I haven't tried it myself for overseas calls, Netscape was touting something called Net2Phone. Their site says they do international calls. Domestic calls, while not FREE, only cost one cent per minute. [net2phone.com]
    "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
  • What ever happened to Universities trying to attract students? 5 years ago when I was looking at schools, each school was trying to present reasons for me to go to them. Now, with many places pulling stuff like this, it's a big discouragement to go to them. Look at Slashdot's article on Arizona schools. [slashdot.org]

    kwsNI
  • I tried dialpad.com last night and found it had rather bad quality - unusable in fact
  • I see they have a "Proud to be banned by Clemson" graphic on there. :-)

    However, I need one of these that will let me call my sys admin friend in Switzerland...anybody?


    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And the water was hot. leave Clemenson now, or face this type of treatement elsewhere.
  • I may be completely off here, but you -should- be able to tell your phone company to shove it.

    I thought that it was required that any phone be capable of dialing an 800 number without any fees... Even on payphones one can dial an 800 number without dropping any change in.

    Then again, the extra fees for -not- having long distance service are suspect as well... I wonder what their justification for that is?
  • Sorry, dialpad is windows-only. So much for WO,RA.

    Wish you could moderate the submission queue?

  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2000 @05:02AM (#1316010) Homepage
    This is a result of system administrator stupidity multiplied by their ignorance. This may sound like an obvious flaimebait considering the quantity of software development in some Universities, but that is the way things actually are. Even if there is a development going on in an university those are usually not the people who administer the networks and define policies. They used to be, but they are no longer there.

    The reason for this is very simple. Everything is driven by cost. But not by cost as should (as in economics laws) but by the laws of reverse economics operating in modern academia.

    Namely:

    staff costs are set by almost all sponsors to be a fixed percentage or have a limited percent from overall spending. So as a result academia buys the biggest boxes they can buy to afford staff. And noone gives a fsck about developing anything because development actually drops costs and requires higher personnel expenses instead of new iron.

    I have heard that this trend is becoming popular in the US as well so if I am not correct please correct me, but in EU this is exactlly the way things are going. Tempus and Copernicus projects all operate on a fixed percentage principle for iron and staff.

    As a result of this academic projects or government projects that deal with efficient networking and efficient machine usage never get implemented in the "computing part" of the academia. The "computing part" of the academia is not interested. No food. They are implemented in physics, chemistry, biology, etc where the computing is a secondary expense.

    There are numerous examples to this but there is no point quoting them so I will restrict myself to the a appropriate technology for VOIP, napster, streaming media, etc. This is QOS over IP, either as RED or as Class Based Queing. They have been initially developed as an US government project. Further development has circulated around various universities...

    If this technology was used, the situation would be as follows:

    Who cares about napster, put a limit of 33.6K for the entire university on it burstable to full bandwidth. As a result as bandwidth becomes precious and important it will be forced to accomodate itself in the 33.6. Otherwise it will use only what is available to it.

    Same stands for the free VOIP services, etc.

    The only problem here is that the system administrators will have to use FreeBSD (or Linux 2.2.+) as means to controll the bandwidth. And they do not want this because this means:

    1. They will have to learn
    2. They will not be able to justify the "buy the next big routing iron (usually blue)" project.

    Written by an ex-academia sysadmin...
  • by mccrohan ( 147132 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2000 @05:06AM (#1316013)
    I know this is going to seem like blasphemy to some people, but let's think a little bit about 'free' phone service...or, for that matter, 'free' anything. We all know bandwidth is never free - SOMEONE is paying for it, and if it's not you, then the person who IS paying for it is probably looking for a way to bill you for it. Dialpad and other internet telephony makes itself cheap by reducing the amount of bandwidth it uses (by sampling down the conversation to the point where it's almost unintelligible) and by using bandwidth most of us don't get billed for on a by-volume basis. Was Clemson wrong to ban it? Maybe. I don't have any evidence that it was really causing them bandwidth problems. But their most likely next move will be to raise student fees to cover the additional bandwidth expense. Then every student on campus will be subsidizing the long distance habit of the folks who want to call home every night. In this case, the cost may be minor. But the next time this debate comes around, for some other service, it might not be. Think about it. Free isn't always free.
  • So the net result of this is good: Clemson backed down on Internet censoring, and in the process gave free publicity to the free long distance services. I'll be that many students who had never considered bypassing the traditional phone system are now exploring their options.
  • by Jeff Mahoney ( 11112 ) on Tuesday February 01, 2000 @05:19AM (#1316016)
    As a System Admin for a major technical university, we've been grappling with this on a daily basis.

    I'm a strong proponent of maintaining a completely open network in an academic environment. Obviously key administrative resources, like database servers, need to be restricted access - but you get the idea.

    One thing many people never mention is that Colleges and Universities are NOT ISPs. The primary goal of institutes of higher learning is education. While I'll be the first to shout from the towers that the Internet is a great educational resource, parts of it are not.

    Do sites like Napster foster educational value? It's debatable, but I'd lean towards ``no.''

    High bandwidth connections are NOT free. They're not even close to being cheap, either. A T3 connection for a commercial enterprise is a few hundred thousand dollars per year. Educational institutes usually get a substantial discount on Internet services. However, a T3 is still over $100,000/year.

    Your educational resources (buildings, classrooms, facilities, etc) and your internet connection funding come from the same pool of cash. Since the primary purpose of an educational institute is - education - the appropriate use of funds is clearly on resources.

    When the pipe fills up, do you just get a bigger pipe? No. Any sane network administrator on the planet will tell you that when the network starts to become overutilized - you figure out why it's overutilized before you buy a bigger pipe.

    Is something like Napster a good use of the available bandwidth? Faced with that question, and the knowledge of limited funding - my answer is no.

    While I realize that the topic on hand is the dialpad/Clemson case (which I do think is a valid use of network resources) - I've noticed in the past that people throw up their arms in protest without keeping the simple fact that they're not an ISP in mind.

    -Jeff

  • I realize this borders on redundant, but no one has answered the questions posted previously:

    WHY IS THERE NO SERVICE LIKE THIS THAT WORKS IN LINUX? (Or if there is, please give a URL!)

    I've found dialpad.com to be o.k., not the best sound, but hey, it's free! And good thing Clemson saw the light; I know students here at A&M would be up in arms if the admins tried anything like that!

  • I used it the other day and it worked fine. The quality isn't great, but I'd say it compares well with most digital phones. It's using the same network. There was about a .5 second speed of light delay, but, heh, for free you can't complain.
  • Also I think the issue is respect for the facilities. Having done the uni thing and having friends who now work as admins at them the bandwith is becoming more and more of a problem. My uni guys restrected bandwidth which was good (if frustrating) because even then most of it was taken up with non academic e-mail lists and downloading illegal material. They weren't bothered about small amounts, but most people abused the bandwith and complained when it got cut. Another good example is where at a uni they are allowing students to have their own servers for local distrubition, etc., but someone has used this privilage to post rascist and homophobic attacks to uni chat rooms and around JANET without a trace being possible (they know the box but can not pin point the individual). These are the fist to complain when their extra privilages get revoked, but who are abusing what is primarily an academic resource...
  • It uses "java", but requires Windows and Netscape or IE.
  • Is there a european alternative, or even just within the uk? If not, why? The only reason I can think of is a large phone monopoly stopping it.
  • Now with all the publicity over dialpad.com, even more students will be using it than if they had just kept their mouths shut in the first place.
  • When the pipe fills up, do you just get a bigger pipe? No. Any sane network administrator on the planet will tell you that
    when the network starts to become overutilized - you figure out why it's overutilized before you buy a bigger pipe.


    The problem here is that your technical expertise spans as far as your position - of a college sysadmin. You know how to buy a bigger pipe. You know how to ban. You have no idea how to control and use your pipe efficiently.

    I would suggest you go and read about Quality of Service over IP, Random Early Detection, Classed Based Queing, Ingress Traffic Policying, etc, etc.

    These things are more than 5 years old now. Van Jacobson (yes the same VJ) and Sally Floyd have started developing them in the mid 90-ties.

    Have alook at ee.lbl.gov and learn how to control instead of banning.

    This also means that you will have to change your network design quite a bit. You cannot simply slap QoS on an existing network. The result is shit. You have to design for QoS

  • From what little i've read, I basically agree that what Clemson did is unreasonable. However, Clemson was well within their rights. Clearly Clemson's intent was not to "censor" anyone, they were concerned about preserving network bandwidth. Free Network access, believe it or not, is not an inalienable right--restricting it is not akin to "controlling society". You attend an institution, you pay X dollars to attend, out of that Y% is allocated to networking, do you really expect bandwidth to be infinite? Please spare me with your diatribe.
  • Actually - My expertise expands beyond that, but wasn't relevant for this comment.

    -Jeff
  • What happens when your University *says* it's an ISP and starts charging for dial up access directly (say $12/mo)? I'm aware that most (all?) unis charge a "technology fee" or something similar, and that does not an ISP make. But what if the university is calling itself an ISP? That blurs the line a bit, IMO. I understand what you're saying about "something has to go" and I agree that, say, Napster should take a backseat to, say, research projects (too bad there's no way to nice it down, that I know of ), but....

    OK, I guess I really can't get into this without saying more than I want to say about my ex-University, but let's just say I didn't like what they were doing, so I left. I still feel like I have some obligation to change their behavior, for everyone else, but obviously that's not happening.
  • Everybody go and download Speak Freely from:

    http://www.speakfreely.org [speakfreely.org]

    • It is free
    • It is open source
    • It has strong encryption, and comes from Switzerland
    • You can set the UDP port number so it can't be blocked
    • It runs on Windows and Unix (including Linux) and I'm tinkering with a BeOS [be.com] port
    • It offers a wide choice of voice compression and transmission protocols.
    The only thing Speak Freely can't do is call a regular phone. But if the person you're calling has a computer and at least a 28.8 net connection you're fine.

    It takes a little figuring out to learn how to use it. It's pretty tricky to get it work on Linux but I understand they've done a lot of work to address that.

    Mike Crawford
    GoingWare - Expert Software Development and Consulting
    http://www.goingware.com [goingware.com]
    crawford@goingware.com [mailto]

  • Actually - My expertise expands beyond that, but wasn't relevant for this comment.

    Well, if it does why the hell you are not using it? Highly problematic to limit napster to 2400 bits/s and let it use anything more than 2400 bits/s only if noone else wants the bandwidth?

    I doubt it...

    RTFM (linux kernel docs);
    RTFM (FreeBSD kernel docs);
    RTFM (Xedia docs);
    RTFM (Cisco IOS 12+ docs- there it is actually far from complete);
    RTFM... RTFM... RTFM...

  • My college avoided the debate over long distance carriers by refusing to allow any toll calls. If you wanted to call long distance, you used a calling card. This discussion has started me thinking, though. I had friends in long-distance relationships who could rack up $100+/month on a 15 cent/minute phone card. The average student probably spent $25/month. On a big campus, that equates to over a million minutes every month. Why haven't universities taken that buying power and negotiated five-cent-a-minute deals (or less)? Fewer people would go through the hassle of using IP telephony to save $3.00 on an hour-long call. Solves any bandwidth-sharing problems and saves the students money.
  • Unfortunately, your condescending attitude doesn't seem to match your knowledge of the actual problem.

    The bandwidth sucked down my napster is not to the napster server, it's to other clients. Not only does it change clients, but ports as well.

    So, I suggest you heed your own advice.

    -Jeff
  • This was in everyone's mailbox yesterday morning:

    Subject: DCIT Bulletin
    Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 09:37:22 -0500
    From: DCIT Publications
    To: CLEMSON_STUDENTS-L@CLEMSON.EDU

    DCIT Bulletin
    Vol. 1 No. 7

    Access to voice over internet services is back!

    The group of students, faculty, and staff that is looking into how the university should incorporate internet phone service into its infrastructure will be meeting next Thursday. The study group will recommend policies and procedures related to internet phone service and suggest ways in which the university can optimize its use.
  • Clemson student: [deja.com]

    "Guess what guys, there is a rival to dialpad. its called http://www.funphone.com/."

    DCIT response: [deja.com]

    "Now you've done it. I can't ignore such a blatant challenge to our ability to block access to a website whether we agree with it or not."
  • I haven't seen any, and while dialpad.com apparently uses java, it still requires Win 9X. Is this just lazy programming on the part of dialpad.com, a fault in java, or a fault in the java implementation on linux? It seems that java's "write once, run anywhere" will never become a reality, but rather Transmeta's "build once, run anything" will prevail.
  • Well this just means that you will have to do some additional research and design a solution.

    Otherwise you are likely to expect the emergence of napster proxies or running napster over tunnels very soon. It is a question of demand. The demand is high.

    So in order to control it you will have to use some resources. And it is likely to be more expensive than simply banning it. The difference being that it will last longer.

    Overall:

    Napster protocol is published and reverse engineered successfully.

    So you can actually control it.

    Just two words and after that if you indeed have the qualification you claim to have you should go figure it for yourself. The word number one is "divert socket". The word number two is "dynamically change filters/classes".

    Ah, almost forgot, you have to be able to speak perl or C as well...
  • No need to be sarcastic with the MP3s... To quote the edict handed down last semester: "All sharing of MP3 files across Bentley's Campus Wide Information Network is hearby prohibited. Any user found to be sharing MP3s can be punished by explusion.".... kinda rough huh? ... makes me think twice about my SAMBA mp3 share.....
  • If competition for Napster (or any other high-bandwidth utility) is great, then by doing QoS bandwidth limiting you may be effectively banning it. At many universities peak network usage for non-educational activities (mp3/warez/pR0n) approaches the entire pipe. Restrict this to 1Mbit burstable to half the pipe if available and you will run into complete saturation of this part of the network.

    Sure, you have protected the bandwidth for useful purposes, but if people keep dropping ftp links because of packet loss, etc etc, then the resource is unavailable. This is turn will mean more attempts to access the same content (retries) and more data ultimately transferred (from dropped xfer sessions).

    This will also encourage people to start their downloads in the early morning to take advantage of lower utilization. This sounds like a good thing (and it could be!) but it could also mean saturation for a larger percentage of a given day. Instead of the network being slow at night, now it is slow all the time!

    What is really necessary is bandwidth arbitration on a client-regulated system. However, the technical and financial hurdles to this are beyond the reach of most institutions. Here at UIUC we restrict dorm users to 500MB of traffic per day, which is somewhat effective. However, we have trouble even getting those statistics, and the system does not work well for people that download 500MB in a day. (one ISO)

    There is certainly a problem and nothing short of higher bandwidth is going to solve it. The key is to try to share the bandwidth equally, which is difficult since different people have wildly different usages. Restricting flow in novel ways may help this, but it should not be seen as solving the problem. As I noted above, in some cases it may be tantamount to banning sites or protocols.

    The other, larger, problem, is that it may not be technically feasable to block or limit access to certain sites. At the moment, Napster is defeating blocking systems by being IP-agile. In the future we may see companies employ large cooperative clusters that forward packets to their destinations...with a large IP space companies could trade IPs (their routings that is) back and forth keeping net admins on their toes.

    Alternatively, as PPTP and other VPN protocols become increasingly common and easy-to-use, we might see "anonymizer" gateways spring up. If you first tunnel out to the gateway, there is no way for the campus to monitor where your traffic is going. It would be simple to create an advertising-based revenue system for something like this because the gateway is in effect a pseudo-ISP.
  • I'll agree with you there. From a network admin standpoint, what they did was legit. You have a network with internet access and a few hundred students using it to chat with Mom back home, this is an unnecessary bandwidth hog. My statement was more directed at all of the schools that are trying to institute new unfair policies. /. has not put many articles up about it (except the ASU story, but I think that more and more companies, schools, orgs are all realizing that they cannot over rule an entire community on an issue.


    Munky_v2
    "Warning: you are logged into reality as root..."
  • So, essentially, colleges should pay network administrators to keep up with every non productive, bandwidth sucking application, and how to monitor/limit the bandwidth utilized by these applications?

    Colleges are *NOT* ISP's, and do *NOT* provide network connections as a *right*. The students do not own the network. The school does, and they can do pretty much whatever the heck they want to with it. That includes disallowing certain traffic..

    Now, personally, I'd bandwidth throttle the guys using g/napster, allowing them to continue using such a system, but at a price that doesn't impeed others who are using it for more legit means..
  • As an idea, why not simply identify the high bandwidth abusers, and simply throttle their bandwidth? This would not use nearly as much managment time, and would address the problem on a more local level.

    Heck, if you did some sort of measurments of the average usage, etc, you could script a system that could bandwidth limit things at different times of the day, etc..
  • I've seen your rabid flames numerous times on this article. Have you ever used Napster? Allow me to clarify something...

    All that the Napster servers do is listing. You connect to a server, look for an MP3, and add it to your download queue. Everything else is DCC, over a random port. How do you suggest *that* is handled? You won't get far by limiting the bandwidth to the Napster servers, as not much bandwidth is used on them from the start - it's all in the DCC transfers.

    The only way to prevent the transfers from happening is to block access to the Napster servers so that the transfers cannot be initiated.

    Of course, with the Napster protocol being somewhat reverse-engineered now, I wonder how long it will be until a server clone is written and Napster is no longer centralized... Never mind [freshmeat.net]. :)

    --

  • Then again, the extra fees for -not- having long distance service are suspect as well... I wonder what their justification for that is?

    I'm not sure how widespread this is, but my local telco (Ameritech) charges $5 every time you change your long distance service. So the original poster probably only got charged $5 one time. Some long distance services will credit you $5 after you switch to make up for this.

  • I wouldn't call this a legitimate issue. My school has all the Napster ports firewalled, and although I think its annoying, I completely agree with them. Bandwidth hoggers slow down both the local network and out uplink. It gets to the point where the web is slow as balls. They banned Napster this week. 4 Years from now everyone entering the school will know that Napster is banned and that its school policy. They have to start somewhere.
  • Once Linux gets to be more and more mainstream, can we expect to see a block on .iso files as the traffic just gets to be too huge?

    Something like that happened here at Imperial College London when Debian 2.1 was released. So many people were downloading the ISO images from SunSITE [ic.ac.uk] that the whole of .ac.uk started to get congested. So the bandwidth was throttled in order to give other network users a chance. Unfortunately this had the side effect of throttling bandwidth for the college as a whole.

  • Well said. As much as I enjoy my "free" internet access through my current university, you are correct. Universities are not ISP's. Students should stop whining.

    That said, it is difficult to 'monitor' what's being done with a network and what's a good use. Hey! An experiment just came to mind...let's see if I can use Napster to find educational material...

    ***Fires up Napster, tries to find something of educational value***

    Well, no luck, but I'm new to Napster and may not be searching in an optimal fashion. It is something to think about though. I just put Napster on my home machine over the weekend and most of what I've gotten has been comedy stuff. I do know that a decent amount of "self-help" type stuff exists in MP3 format, and a Stat class I took last semester was done in a distance learning format, so all the classes were viewable through streaming video the next day. It seems like Napster could be used to find educational audio too...if it exists. Perhaps an "Education" channel? Just a thought

  • Take a look at gnome-o-phone [sourceforge.net]. It's a free (GPLed) internet telephone for Linux.
  • While it may cost you something to use services such as Dialpad, cost isn't the real issue here. The issue is choice. If Dialpad can offer its service cheap enough, students won't mind that the quality sucks. It's better than the alternative, which is to pay the school, or ultimately the company that the school made a deal with, for better quality at a higher price. The school decided to remove that choice. They already admitted that they had no idea whether Dialpad was causing bandwidth problems, so I strongly suspect that their motives were much less noble than an attempt to preserve bandwidth for strictly educational purposes.

  • Of course "free" isn't free. Reading Dialpad's privacy statement, one discovers they use an "outside ad company" to throw their banner ads up. Which ads "may contain cookies." Cookies are required to run Dialpad. I wonder whose services Dialpad is using to throw ads? Is it Doubleclick? We all know about them....

    Then, too, one wonders why a Java app requires IE4 or better on WinDoze.... what Mack-truck-sized hole are they exploiting in order to use Java to grab the sound? Perhaps one should nab the code out of their cache and analyze it.... assuming, of course, that the ELUA didn't prohibit such things.... Hey, there's always the "Platform interoperability" loophole, ne c'est pas?

    Maybe for Joe Random WinDoze Jock on a semi-standalone box, this is fine.... particularly if he's only using it for surfing and doesn't have anything of value on it... but this little penguinmeister is going to give Dialpad a wide berth.

    warp eight bot, RHCE
    Goal: No M$, no Intel, no closed source software
    Only Netscape and Real Player left... go Mozilla, go Shoutcast!
  • I must agree here. The primary goal of the university I attend sure seemed to be "to make money". "To provide an education" seemed to come in around 4th or 5th place.

    Even though my university did claim is was an ISP, it did provide internet access to all students. However, that was not covered by tuition; it was covered by a "technology fee" created specifically to pay for the internet access. No student was immune to this fee, whether or not they even touched a computer.

    Even though I paid another ISP for internet access (one that I actually could dial into, as opposed to the university which only provided busy tones), I still had to pay the university for internet access.

    So, not only was the university acting like an ISP, it also had a captive clientele, and guaranteed collection of fees. It sounds like they were much better off that the regular commercial ISP.

    Edward Burr

  • It wouldn't surprise me any. I m currently paying the phone company something around a dollar a month to have them NOT list my number in the phone book.

    Do they have to go back into their databases every month and re-delete my name? Can't hey update their software to remember that I want it to be deleted?

    Edward Burr

  • I know this is going to seem like blasphemy to some people, but let's think a little bit about 'free' phone service...or, for that matter, 'free' anything. We all know bandwidth is never free - SOMEONE is paying for it, and if it's not you, then the person who IS paying for it is probably looking for a way to bill you for it.

    Fine. But the same point can be applied to anything on the web. Dialpad is (from what I hear--I've only used it from school, where it is quite intelligible, thank you) optimized to be usable on a 33.6; it does ask you what sort of connection you have, but at worst it's no different from any other streaming audio/video format, like Quicktime or Windows Media Player--and better than RealPlayer G2 which automatically ups its bitrate to meet available bandwidth.

    The point is, everything on the internet uses bandwidth, and almost all of it is "free"--that is, supported by ads, like dialpad is. The same argument could be made against slashdot: they're profiting--through ad revenue (well, through IPO, but whatever)--on my viewing for free a service--news--that traditionally costs money, all on the backs of poor Harvard University's limited bandwidth resources. Well, boo hoo. Besides, while it won't hold a candle to Harvard's, I'm sure Clemson's tuition more than covers their "free" internet access. The only possible reason for this ban was a kneejerk attempt to save CMU's phone monopoly.

    . In this case, the cost may be minor. But the next time this debate comes around, for some other service, it might not be.

    Indeed, I'm not so sure how I feel about the Napster case. Apparently, at Northwestern, Napster usage was taking up to 25% of their bandwidth. Now, IMO, that means they didn't have enough bandwidth to start with, but there at least you might have a reasonable argument to censor a site. (Not one that would convince me, but reasonable.) In this case, no way.
  • Greed tends to shoot itself in the foot, because it doesn't tend to take the longview. Companies and universities who wish to dominate certain markets (like the evil efollet.com which has practically bought my campus, www.vcu.edu) are always looking for a quick buck and never look at ways to increase the value that they give to the customer.

    Other examples of greed working against itself - microsoft rushing things out the door using the "Hey!!! It compiles!! Ship it!!!" philosophy, companies exploiting the environment ruthlessly to squeeze as many dollars out of people as they can, and employers paying their employees (ie the people who have to buy their products) pathetic wages.

    Hey, it's tradition.
  • hehe, I should have told them to ban www.espn.com or something like that. our sysadmins are huge fsck-ups

    Me letting them in on my joke [deja.com]

    DCIT sysadmin's response my letting him know I knew the whole time [deja.com]
    "Alright... so I didn't go to the site before adding it to the list. Big whoop.... I just did a DNS lookup.. added it to the list and boom, it was gone. See how cool my job is"
  • My school charges $90/semester for ethernet access and about $70/semester for dialup access. If, in this case, they restricted any websites I would be rather pissed because I am directly paying for the access...
  • Granted, colleges and universities are not ISPs. However, I think they have some quasi-ISP obligations. Why? Because students and their families fund these institutions and once the students go there, they are inside a virtual monopoly when it comes to getting higher-speed Internet access.

    Students and/or their families pay taxes, tuition, housing fees, and often technology fees in support of residence halls at public institutions. In that sense, these students are paying "customers" of their colleges and universities. Also, they are called residence halls because students *live* in them. In essence, a residence hall is a student's home that they or their parents have paid for. So, due consideration should be given to students' personal network needs.

    This is especially the case when students desire Internet access faster than 56K dialup for things such as voice over IP. If I am a student living in a university residence hall, my university may very well own both the phone network and the cable system for my room. So, it's not like I can just fork over money to a third party and get DSL, a cable modem, or ISDN. I have no choice but to use the University's network (which I or my family have helped to fund) for higher-speed access in the place where I live.

    Given that students and their families contribute greatly to the expense of campus networks, and given that students have no other easy way to get fast in-room connections, I think students do have a right to use the network for personal ends that are practical and within reason. In my mind, DialPad qualifies.
  • Of course, we have to take into consideration that many schools probably pay by percentage of line used. With this situation, sucking down thousands of mp3's or setting up an illegal software distribution ftp server may cost the university thousands of dollars a month.

    I do not see anything wrong with downloading operating system ISO's, but I support the attempt to limit students stealing music and software. Just because some people rationalize, it doesn't make it legal or right.
  • I was a little unclear about this initially too, but it turns out that dialpad uses a java applet to INSTALL itself on your computer, but the actual application is x86 windows code.

    the idea of a java-based installer is pretty cool tho.
  • Since you need to be connected to the napster server to initiate the file transfer (as far as I know), blocking the napster servers effectively blocks its use. There will, of course, be workarounds (if the napster server doesn't tell the client on the other side that your ip is the proxy -- which would be very hard to proxy dynamically allocated ports), but it keeps the majority from using it. The harder they make it, the more bandwidth they save.
  • I would claim that my University (University of British Columbia) IS my ISP. Although the cost of ethernet access in my dorm room isn't specified, the cost of residence went up when they installed Resnet, and high-speed access was a major factor in my choice to live here.

    Since I am paying for it, I believe that I am entitled to use it for whatever I wish. The situation might be different if I went to a public computer lab that is provided for free, but if you don't want to let me use my resnet connection for whatever I wish, give me my money back and I will get the appropriate service elsewhere.
  • I graduated from Clemson in 1998. I don't know when you were at Clemson, but in my experience they have one of the *WORST* internet connections of any major college. As I recall, their connection at the time was dual T-1's through BBN Planet, which was regarded by myself and my friends as a bargain-basement ISP. I remember comparing BBN's prices with some other major providers, and BBN was by far the cheapest. The quality of the connection reflected this cheapness. We had *GOBS* of packet loss, little available bandwidth, and ping times in the 150 ms range even to cities like Atlanta that are only about 150 miles away.

    I was a member of a semi-prominent Quake clan based at Clemson U., the Fighting Tigers (TGR). Our connection was so bad, other clans would flat-out refuse to play us. We were basically HPB's, but we had to compete with LPB because we had a T-1 connection. Eventually our best players got dial-up accounts with Carolina Online, which is easily the best dial-up ISP I've ever had, and played as HPB's rather than suffer through trying to play over the Clemson network.

    Hopefully the situation at Clemson has improved since my time there, but in my experience bandwidth was a precious commodity at Clemson, and if that is still the case, I can't say that I blame them for wanting to eliminate some network traffic.
  • ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. If the college is providing internet access, of COURSE its an ISP!

    The primary goal of institutes of higher learning is education.

    Depends on the institution. At many schools, the most important goal is to have a good sports team.

    High bandwidth connections are NOT free

    Internet phone calls are NOT high bandwidth connections. If decent compression is used, it shouldn't take up any more bandwidth than a typical hour of web browsing.

    Do sites like Napster foster educational value? It's debatable, but I'd lean towards ``no.''

    But we aren't talking about napster, we're talking about internet phone calls.

    Any sane network administrator on the planet will tell you that when the network starts to become overutilized - you figure out why it's overutilized before you buy a bigger pipe.

    More important than why is who. Lets see, who should we stomp on first: the guy who moves ten gigs of mp3's a week, or the guy who spends a few hours a week calling his parents back home. Hmmmmm......

    I've noticed in the past that people throw up their arms in protest without keeping the simple fact that they're not an ISP in mind.

    And what you need to realise is that if you're providing access to the internet, than you are an ISP.
  • I don't know about ALL colleges, but I'm PAYING MONEY for my internet connection, therefore they're MY ISP. If it were free, sure, they could stick me with a super firewall and only let me have web access. But since i'm paying money out of my pocket to be provided with internet (actually, I'm getting jacked, cause it's not like I can say "oh, I don't want to pay the technology fee, and the athletic fee, and the towel fee") I think they ARE an ISP, and are obligated to service the students as such.

    As for the cost, well just with 3000 dorm students being charged 100 dollars (probably small estimate) for "technology fee", gosh that's 300,000 dollars, well over the cost of a T3 for a YEAR, and this is in ONE semester. So much for it being "expensive", the school seems to have made a hell of a profit. Not to mention the subsidies the government provieds, and the fact that everyone on campus and in the labs is able to access this internet that the dorm residents are paying for. Now the way I see it, the school isn't just an ISP, but they're making a good profit of doing so, and then whining when people try and treat is as such.

    Now, here we're faced with a different situation. The school "privatized" the res-net with cable modems supplied by the local cable company, and maintained (and bandwidth provided by) the school, and eventually the cable company has taken over more of the operation, but the bandwidth is still coming from the University. And I pay 20 bucks a month for it (cheap for cable, expensive I'd say for ethernet) Now in this case my school IS my ISP, quite litterally. I had an "incident" a long time ago where someone accused me of "hacking" (in reality all it was, was portscanning for BO in an IRC channel just to see if anyone had it) and I was almost even suspended from college for something I'm paying monthly charges on. Where exactly can I draw a line between ISP and not an ISP?

    Personally, my thoughts are, if I'm paying money for it, it's mine, I can use it how I like. If they don't like it, well tough.
  • You make it sound like the choice is between hiring more teachers or building better facilities and between providing more bandwidth to the dorm rooms.

    How about instead choosing to have both, and save the extra money by not building that new football stadium?
  • Well, Hellvis, the bandwidth that I sited in my comment was circa September. I agree that Clemson hasn't always been as great as it could be, but I do believe that it's gotten better. To tell you the truth (and I may be mistaken here) I think that at the time Carolina Online had dual T-1s as well.

    Alot of the improvement at Clemson can be contributed to infrastructure. As someone said in a seperate post, they are now using all Cisco routers. I did a traceroute from my ISP (carolina online) and it took four hops, including my side and theirs. Then I did an nslookup on the hop one up from them, but couldn't find a DNS entry, so I'm not sure who they get their bandwidth from now.

    In other news, did you see that Dell is now offering

    Brad Johnson
    --We are the Music Makers, and we
    are the Dreamers of Dreams

  • My University (I won't name them) has disallowed access to http://www.hotmail.com from some of its computer labs.

    However this is largely a waste of time, now that the search engines have got in on the act of free e-mail accounts, as they're hardly going to block Yahoo or AltaVista etc, and students are wiser in this respect than the powers that be care to give them credit for.

  • Issue 1: connection speed - Clemson probably had a 56K/s line 10 or 15 years ago (if they had a connection), now they've got a 45MB/s connection. Surely the bandwith will remain there forever...

    Issue 2: The reason the bandwidth went up so much was those damn students running stupid new tools, especially that infernal one from UIUC, where some moron had the idea of inlining GIF's in a good text-based information retrieval tool. What a collosal waste of bandwidth! It runs on port 80, so you should probably firewall that ASAP.

    Issue 2a: The next great thing on the internet probably won't be developed on a QoS'd connection.
  • I'm a troll for being honest? GAFB (Gimme a fsckin break.)
  • This is exactly the right response. Too many people confuse "proof-of-concept" work that shows that the Internet could carry these bandwidth hogs with "right-of-access".

    Just because someone shows a way to use a packet-based system to show real-time video of a coffee pot does not mean that that system must forever more carry, for free, this sort of traffic.

    Universities are especially vulnerable to these arguments since many of their students are buffered from the real worlds concerns of "who pays for this trash?"

  • Dialpad was NOT written in JAVA, it was written in MS J++. That's why it won't run on Linux. At least, that's what the dialpad web site says.

"Be there. Aloha." -- Steve McGarret, _Hawaii Five-Oh_

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