This should stir up the wasp's nest...
FISA Court Requires Bush Administration to Respond to ACLU's Request That Secret Court Orders Be Released
In an unprecedented order, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has required the U.S. government to respond to a request it received last week by the American Civil Liberties Union for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans. According to the FISC’s order, the ACLU’s request “warrants further briefing,” and the government must respond to it by August 31. The court has said that any reply by the ACLU must be filed by September 14.
Source - ACLU
A copy of the FISA court order, the ACLU's motion to the FISC, as well as information about the ACLU's lawsuit against the NSA and other related materials are available online at: www.aclu.org/spying
Tools & Techniques: The opposite of identity theft? Build yourself a credit history from scratch?
Employment Verification Services
Total Access Inc.
Everyone today needs employment to purchase a house, car, etc. You also need employment to rent an apartment or house. The problem is that everyone is not employed. We have a solution for you. We have provided assistance for those whom are not employed but need verification of employment for any purchasing purpose.
... In our database, your information will be stored as an independent contractor under our company name. Your name will be printed on our paycheck stubs as an advance.
-Corporate Telephone Number
Contact us at the number provided to get you started.
Cost Per Stub $55.00
Telephone Verification $25.00
If you thought that was amusing, try this one...
Attention Class Action Lawyers! If an ISP can select the traffic it will or won't carry, and change that selection without notice, shouldn't that void the contract? What if they choose to stop all access to sites ending with “edu” or “gov”????
Comcast Throttles BitTorrent Traffic, Seeding Impossible
Written by Ernesto on August 17, 2007
Over the past weeks more and more Comcast users started to notice that their BitTorrent transfers were cut off. Most users report a significant decrease in download speeds, and even worse, they are unable to seed their downloads. A nightmare for people who want to keep up a positive ratio at private trackers and for the speed of BitTorrent transfers in general.
ISPs have been throttling BitTorrent traffic for almost two years now. Most ISPs simply limit the available bandwidth for BitTorrent traffic, but Comcast takes it one step further, and prevents their customers from seeding. And Comcast is not alone in this, Canadian ISPs Cogeco and Rogers use similar methods on a smaller scale.
Unfortunately, these more aggressive throttling methods can’t be circumvented by simply enabling encryption in your BitTorrent client. It is reported that Comcast is using an application from Sandvine to throttle BitTorrent traffic. Sandvine breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it’s not a Comcast user. This makes it virtually impossible to seed a file, especially in small swarms without any Comcast users. Some users report that they can still connect to a few peers, but most of the Comcast customers see a significant drop in their upload speed.
... Customers on the other hand like to fully use their connection, and don’t agree that traffic shaping is the correct solution. One reader commented: “If you pay for an internet connection, that’s what you should get from your ISP — an internet connection. Not a connection that will let you browse the web and check email, but little else. If an ISP has issues with the amount of data a customer is transferring, then the ISP needs to address that issue with that customer, and not restrict every user in one class of traffic.”
Several articles today on how to use and abuse emerging business models...
Hip Hop Stars Understand The Real Business Models For The Music Industry
from the making-all-the-scarce-goods-valuable dept
It's funny every time we hear someone say that the music industry is in trouble. There's very little evidence that's true. More music is being produced today than ever before -- and plenty of people are still making a ton of music in the music business. What's actually in trouble is the traditional recording industry, which is quite different than the music industry. When we point out business models for musicians, we seem to get a lot of pushback, but there's more and more evidence that artists are successfully embracing the model we've put forth -- and they're raking in the cash doing so. Forbes just came out with a report about how much money the top hip hop artists are making, and they're doing quite well. However, it's not because of just the music, but how they've used the music to sell all sorts of other things.
It's exactly the model we described (though, many could probably do even better if they further embraced freeing their music). The music itself is an infinite good and can be used to the musician's advantage to make scarce goods much more valuable. As Lea Goldman, the associate editor at Forbes who put together the story notes: "they are smart enough to know that it's not just about selling albums. That'll keep you going for maybe two, three years tops. It's about building an empire and plowing those earnings into lasting businesses that will generate income long after the music stops selling." For some artists, that means branching out into totally different businesses. When people attack the business model we've described, they snicker at "selling t-shirts." However, the article notes that hip hop artists are creating full lines of clothing that sell well and sell for a premium because of their association with the artist. Also, the successful hiphop stars all seem to recognize one of the key "scarce" resources they can sell: an association with themselves. Many of these musicians took in millions by doing sponsorships, by producing other musicians albums or simply by appearing on other musicians' recordings. So, can we now set aside the myth that the music industry is in trouble? It's only in trouble if you're solely in the business of selling plastic discs -- and that's because those discs are increasingly obsolete.
Confusing tactics with strategy...
On The Stupidity Of Blocking Firefox Users
from the think-this-through-for-a-second... dept
Ferin alerts us to a story at Slashdot about some new campaign among some websites to block Firefox users. To be honest, it's tough to know how real this is. The actual site is down from the Slashdot Effect, and it certainly hadn't received much attention before. Even if it is real, it seems unlikely that many sites would sign up and take part. Most people just aren't that stupid. However, assuming (big risk here) that the campaign is real and some sites actually are doing this, it's worth explaining why it makes no sense. The complaints are basically that Firefox users "spend less" and sometimes use extensions like ad block to block out ads. Even if true (and it's only a small percentage of people who use ad block), that makes no sense if you understand the bigger picture. First of all, they tell people to go use other browsers -- but if those people aren't going to click on ads anyway, then they're still not going to click on ads from other browsers.
Just like with the full vs. partial RSS debate, people need to get past the idea that every single visitor needs to be monetized. Instead, recognize the indirect benefits of having more users. Even if a Firefox user doesn't buy something or click on an ad, he or she may tell someone else about the site and they may click on an ad or buy something. Word of mouth is an ongoing process -- and even if someone doesn't directly contribute to the revenue of a site, the fact that they potentially could cause others to drive revenue is the key. For example, here at Techdirt, we make our money by connecting companies that need insightful analysis with the experts in the Techdirt Insight Community for collaborative analysis and by providing news and trend analysis to all sorts of companies, large and small. Techdirt, the blog, helps promote those services -- even if the vast majority of our readers never pay for either service. However, they've helped make Techdirt incredibly popular, driving additional brand recognition and helping us sell a lot more from the corporate side of the business. So even though only a tiny percentage of our readers provide revenue, there's tremendous benefit in getting as many others aware of us and reading the blog as possible.
The Underground iPhone Users Of Vermont Trying To Hide From AT&T
from the how-dare-these-people-want-to-give-us-money dept
It's no secret that Apple's new iPhone is quite popular across the nation, with competitors everywhere trying to figure out how to respond. There certainly have been some complaints about some of the limitations imposed by the iPhone, but people everywhere are trying to find workarounds. Tech.Blorge alerts us to the fact that a bunch of iPhone users in Vermont have had to go virtually underground to get and use iPhones. The problem, apparently, is that since AT&T has an exclusive deal to offer the iPhone, they don't want people using it primarily on roaming networks. Right now, you cannot get AT&T wireless service in Vermont -- and AT&T's contract threatens to cut off anyone who buys or uses an iPhone there. Of course, that's not going to stop some people, who are ordering iPhones from elsewhere and even setting up P.O. Boxes out of state where the 300 page iPhone bills can be sent. They know that they're risking being cut off but they just can't help it. For their part, AT&T insists that they will cut off anyone they find who lives in an area not served by AT&T wireless (which is actually a fairly large area), or anyone who uses more than 40% of their iPhone time on roaming networks. This, of course, is a bit ridiculous. These people want to pay money. They're happy customers or both Apple and AT&T -- and the company wants to cut them off. If expense is the problem, they should just charge them more for roaming, but cutting them off completely in the name of an exclusivity contract doesn't make any sense. It makes the iPhone and wireless service from AT&T less valuable, which is exactly the opposite of what the exclusivity clause was supposed to do.
Something for my Web Site class?
Fuzzwich.com - Fun with Animated Shorts
posted 4 Hours 17 Minutes ago by Siri | Visit http://www.fuzzwich.com
Fuzzwi ch lets anyone create animated shorts using a pre-made cast of characters and backdrops. Just drag and drop elements into the screen, change backgrounds, try out different soundtracks ... and presto, you’ve got your very own cute and clever video short.
... It’s really insanely simple—your two year old toddler could whip up something brilliant.
Something to bookmark? The citation builder is interesting...
Schoolr.com - Your School Search Engine
posted 7 Hours 48 Minutes ago by alanjay | Visit http://schoolr.com
On Schoolr.com you can do a Google search, a dictionary search, an acronym search, encyclopedia, wikipedia, thesaurus, an urban dictionary search, a search to help find citings for book reports, a book summary search, text translator and a unit converter; all on the same page.
...for Study Groups?
Wizlite.com - Highlight Online!
posted 4 Hours 44 Minutes ago by madbsas | Visit http://www.wizlite.com
Now that all schoolwork and documents are posted online people are faced with the challenge of annotating and marking important passages without pen and paper.
... Now, Wizlite.com has made it possible to highlight and make notes on online documents. On this site users can also form groups who can work on the same document, but in different colors, to collaborate on projects.