House releases Broadband Internet Transmission Services working draft

On 15 September, the US House of Representatives released a working draft of a Broadband Internet Transmission Services ("BITS") bill for comment. Interestingly, the Energy and Commerce committee is chaired by Texan Rep. Joe Barton, from one of only a handful of states that tax Internet bandwidth and Internet services (such as web hosting) provided to out-of-state customers. This bill ostensibly levels the playing field for VOIP and traditional telecom, but what about the playing field for digital video? Broadband video can be delivered through wireless transmissions (satellite, over-the-air) or wired technologies (cable, DSL, power lines), and that's before getting into content origination, codecs, digital rights, and carriage. This bill clearly needs fleshing out. Broadband video service providers should download the BITS draft PDF and read through sections 301 - 306, which include provisions for registration of broadband services, franchising regulations, and broadband video carriage agreements.

Gap analysis

Several e-commerce stores belonging to Gap (Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap) which were shut down on 24 August for an upgrade are back online, but have been limiting traffic by only opening to select customers. Details at

Creeping features, bloating scopes, and Dave Barry

We don't need more features; we need to improve the features we already have. I recently purchased a Samsung refrigerator, because it was the only model that improved the basics without adding pointless complexity. I can't imagine why a manufacturer would add buttons for 7 ways to make ice and a television, without first updating the archaic analog temparature dial numbered 1 ("Cold") to 10 ("Coldest") on the inside. Wouldn't you rather know your fridge is at an accurate 34 degrees and your freezer at a safe -10, than choose between chopped and crushed ice? Little has changed since humor columnist Dave Barry wrote an article for Miami Herald in February 1999, "In a war with kitchen appliances, I'm toast". Vermont's Times Argus and California's Monterey Herald reprinted the article today.

LA trips over the power cord, plans Skynet deployment

Our Los Angeles datacenters kicked over to emergency power last week for several hours thanks to "human error" that affected two million customers. The AP article says the power company estimates two weeks to explain why humans make mistakes, but somewhat longer to deploy Skynet so they can Terminate future problems.

Paypall ATM withdrawals double efficiency

eBay/Paypall has sorted a way to double your profits. Just stop by an ATM and withdraw $200. A couple days later, check your balance. Look, there's your $200, and there's another $200 drawn out for good measure. But---they didn't give you an extra $200 at the machine? Time to jump on the forum at eBay and chat about with everyone else having the same issue. More here....

Analyze this

Imagine having to explain highly chaotic events, such as daily market fluctuations? While much easier than predicting the future, it may still present a challenge on a choppy sideways day such as today.