Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We Begin Bombing In Five Minutes

Erik Farseth's We Begin Bombing In Five Minutes came to my attention today. I've read through the introduction and am particularly interested in the conflict between these two quotes:

Fanzines were the blogs of the early 80's. Anything went with the zines; they not only covered music, there was a heavy dose of politics as well... They were truly independent and decentralized, in sharp contrast to the mainstream media I was used to.

--Krist Novoselic; Bassist, Nirvana

On the other hand, I don't think that blogs are zines. Because the thing about zines was that it was underground. You had to find out about it. And I remember, when I first discovered zines, it was like another world had opened up for me. When I was interviewing people about zines, they would use metaphors like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. And because of that, it had a whole other culture surrounding it, a system of signs and morays, which made sense... it had a sort of cultural coherence.

-- Stephen Duncombe; Professor, New York University
Of course, the rest of the subject matter also holds my interest -- the intersection of punk, DIY culture, and publishing. Recommended reading for today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yoko Ono Sues Producers of Expelled Movie

I'm a bit late to this, but the Associated Press reported yesterday that Yoko Ono is suing the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed for the use of John Lennon's "Imagine." From the article:

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, Ono accuses the producers of ''Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed'' of suggesting to viewers that those who guard John Lennon's legacy somehow authorized or sponsored the film.


Ono's lawsuit claims the producers did not ask for permission either because they knew they couldn't get it or because they did not want to pay for the rights. It objects to the way ''Imagine'' is listed in the film's credits, saying it suggested to members of the news media and others that the song's use had been approved.

''Internet 'bloggers' immediately began accusing Mrs. Lennon of 'selling out' by licensing the song to defendants,'' says the complaint, filed this week.

The producers have claimed fair use, but as has already been pointed out at Sivacracy, I think it's unlikely that that defense will hold up. I'm interested to see how this turn out, not only because I'd like for nothing else than the financial ruin of the producers of a film littered with distortions, misinformation, and lies, but also to see the ruling regarding fair use.

I think Ono has a strong case, as the producers of Expelled clearly fail on factor (1) on the US copyright website describing fair use. I also think that Ono could make a case regarding factor (4) considering the negative publicity she has received because of the song's appearance in Expelled.

This isn't the only copyright infringement that has gotten Expelled into hot water, either. As PZ Myers pointed out, several of the animations appear to be plagiarisms of existing cellular animations by XVIVO and PBS. I'm not so sure that the animations infringement claim is strong enough to provide a case for either XVIVO or PBS to file suit, but Ono's case is solid.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No God Tape

I've decided that I will start putting up themed mix tapes on my muxtape page. The first in this series will be the No God Tape:

  1. The Germs - No God (Lexicon Devil 7" EP)
  2. Dead Kennedys - Religious Vomit (In God We Trust, Inc. 12" EP)
  3. Minor Threat - Filler (Minor Threat 7" EP)
  4. Heart Attack - God Is Dead (God Is Dead 7" EP)
  5. Government Issue - Religious Rip Off (Legless Bull 7" EP)
  6. Crass - So What? (The Feeding of the 5000 LP)
  7. Rudimentary Peni - Sacrifice (Farce 7" EP)
  8. Chaotic Dischord - Fuck Religion, Fuck Politics (Fuck Religion, Fuck Politics LP)
  9. Subhumans - Religious Wars (Religious Wars 7" EP)
  10. Icons of Filth - Onward Christian Soldiers (Onward Christian Soldiers LP)
  11. Flux of Pink Indians - Is There Anybody There? (Strive to Survive LP)
  12. Public Image Ltd. - Religion II (First Issue LP)
If anyone has any suggestions for the No God Tape, feel free to leave a comment.

For archival purposes, I'll post my first muxtape here:
  1. Hair Police - Let's See Who's Here and Who's Not (Obedience Cuts LP)
  2. Wolf Eyes - Human Animal (Human Animal LP)
  3. Kilslug - Autopsy Performing (Necktie Party 7" EP)
  4. Mentally Ill - Gacy's Place (Gacy's Place 7" EP)
  5. Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown (Nervous Breakdown 7" EP)
  6. The Germs - No God (Lexicon Devil 7" EP)
  7. Homostupids - Wild Weekend (The Intern LP)
  8. FNU Ronnies - Silver Bullet (Digital Release)
  9. Sightings - Cuckoo (Sightings LP)
  10. Boredoms - No Core Punk (Osorezan no Stooges Kyo LP)
  11. Aa - Manshake (Aa LP)
  12. Lightning Bolt - 30,000 Monkies (Wonderful Rainbow LP)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Little End of the Week Fun

These videos are awesome:

What's even more hilarious are all the comments that don't understand it's satire.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Need That Record!

More information here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Pay-Per-Play Scheme

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post came back to me during a conversation on the train the other day. A friend of mine mentioned that Comcast wants to premiere new film releases by streaming them to subscribers on the day of release. This reminded me of some of the proposals of posters in the Quarter to Three forum thread that making video games a subscription service as a solution to large scale, peer-to-peer file sharing.

The pay-to-play scheme is a content provider's dream. Perhaps most importantly, it removes ownership completely from the consumer, and therefore, strikes out one of the content provider's greatest dislikes -- the doctrine of first sale. First sale doctrine stipulates that once a physical copy is sold that the consumer has the right to resell or give away that copy to another without compensating the content provider. First sale is a leak in the system for copyright holders. Pay-to-play schemes do this by not actually "selling" the consumer a physical product, but by instead "licensing" a copy for a one time use.

Computer software companies have been attacking the doctrine of first sale for some time now. According to the EULA (end user license agreement; that dialog box software users will check the "Yes, I agree" box without reading in order to install the software), computer software is not sold but licensed.

There have been differing court court decisions regarding first sale and software. In SoftMan Products Co. v. Adobe Systems Inc., Adobe attempted to prevent Softman from reselling their bundled software programs separately; however, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that the terms of the EULA did not apply because Softman had never agreed to them (Softman never ran the program -- installation is the only point in which the EULA is presented); therefore, Softman maintained the right of first sale because a physical copy of the software was sold in a single transaction. In Davidson & Associates v. Internet Gateway Inc., the US District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that Internet Gateway had forfeited its first sale rights by checking the "I agree" box.

The two previously mentioned cases appear to uphold the concept that software companies can force consumers to forfeit their right to first sale in order to install their software. But the issue is not so simple because other court cases contradict this opinion. Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus introduced the doctrine of first sale in 1908. In this case, the US Supreme Court ruled that the statute of the right to sell does not also grant the right to limit resale. Bauer & Cie. v. O'Donnell supported this decision and also added that simply calling a sale a license does not make it one.

While the Supreme Court decisions set the precedent of first sale doctrine, the previously mentioned lower court cases are challenging the established law. Specifically allowing software companies to force consumers into an EULA which takes away their consumer rights is only the first step towards a pay-to-play system.

Regarding the suggestions from Quarter to Three posters, the only conclusion I can draw is that many game developers and publishers would prefer this system. There are already precedents -- the most well-known being Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) which is subscription based. Players pay a monthly flat-fee in order to play the game. Players have accepted the idea that such games will be subscription based because the game requires the use of the company servers to play. Furthermore, the game is given constant attention by the company through the release of free updates, patches, and additional content to the game. But many of the Quarter to Three posters want to place all games into a subscription system, or even a pay-to-play system.

Some suggestions mimicked the MMORPG system of a monthly flat-fee. Others were for an hourly-rate, i.e., players would pay based on the number of hours logged into the game. This is basically pay-to-play lite, in that there is still an initial sale of software to the consumer, but that there will also be additional charges to play the game. The next step would be to "license" (for lack of a better term) software to consumers free of charge, but then charge the consumer for each time or for how long the game is played, or charge the consumer based on a subscription fee. This would be much like the arcades of the '70s and '80s. The end result would be that no players would actually own their games anymore.

Such systems would also require 24/7 internet connections, which means that all games would have to be played while the computer is online. Some posters pointed this out as a huge drawback that might cause many players who enjoy single-player games to object to purchasing any future games. Supporters of this system argue that it would be an effective way to combat PC game file sharing. The question is, then, would such a system do that?

If Vivendi Universal v. Jung says anything, the answer appears to be no. In this case, was an open-source software package reverse-engineered from Blizzard's service (Blizzard's online multiplayer service for its games using the company's servers). The software was licensed under the GNU General Public License, and provided an emulation of for players on their own privately run servers. Of note is the fact that circumvented Blizzard's online CD-key check, therefore allowing invalid CD-keys full access to the emulated multiplayer service. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that violated the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) by circumventing the copy-protection of Blizzard's games. Despite being shutdown (the website is now under Blizzard's control and redirects to, other services have popped up in locations that the DMCA does not have influence.

Just as I wrote before, someone will find a way to get around any copy-protection or DRM employed in digital media. The simple fact that in order for encrypted content to be useful for consumers is to hand them the information, decoder, and key will mean that all copy-protection and DRM will always fail at some point. There will never be a hack-proof system that also makes content useful to those who the content provider is trying to prevent certain access.

There are more important reasons than the fragility of such systems for why this is a bad idea. As I have outlined before, these pay-to-play schemes designed to prevent unauthorized copying will stifle creativity and innovation. Users will no longer have access to the content in the same way they would by owning a physical copy. They will be unable to interact with the content to alter or improve upon it. Such limited access cuts a people off from their culture.

Just as the Quarter to Three posters advocate a system of pay-per-play for video games, we see the first steps towards that system with film. Comcast's move to stream new film releases could be the first step in streaming all films in the future. We already have streaming films for a fee via various On Demand services. Adding new releases to the rooster could give the film industry reason to slow, or even halt, DVD/Blu-Ray releases as some point in the future. I don't think it's that much of a stretch.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PC Gaming and File-Sharing

I've written before about my opinion on copyright issues, usually specifically regarding music, but I haven't said much about copyright, piracy, and PC video games.

Over the weekend I bought the game Sins of a Solar Empire, a 4x (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) real-time strategy game in which players create and manage a fleet of spacecraft and conquer different worlds within the galaxy. I went over the the Sins of a Solar Empire forums to get some starting pointers from more experienced gamers and I found this post, which points towards this post by Brad Wardell, President and CEO of Stardock Entertainment (publisher of Sins of a Solar Empire).

Wardell begins by acknowledging the existence of piracy in the PC game market, but dismisses any further discussion on that problem specifically. Instead, he gives a very intelligent insight:

When you blame piracy for disappointing sales, you tend to tar the entire market with a broad brush. Piracy isn't evenly distributed in the PC gaming market. And there are far more effective ways of getting people who might buy your product to buy it without inconveniencing them.

Blaming piracy is easy. But it hides other underlying causes. When Sins popped up as the #1 best selling game at retail a couple weeks ago, a game that has no copy protect whatsoever, that should tell you that piracy is not the primary issue.

In the end, the pirates hurt themselves. PC game developers will either slowly migrate to making games that cater to the people who buy PC games or they'll move to platforms where people are more inclined to buy games.

In the meantime, if you want to make profitable PC games, I'd recommend focusing more effort on satisfying the people willing to spend money on your product and less effort on making what others perceive as hot. But then again, I don't romanticize PC game development. I just want to play cool games and make a profit on games that I work on. [my emphasis in bold]
Sins of a Solar Empire is a game that shipped without any copy-protection at all, but despite this the game was the #2 top selling PC game of all February 2008 releases. Kieron Gillen makes the observation at Rock, Paper, Shotgun that Sins of a Solar Empire is one of the least leeched torrents on Mininova, the largest torrent site on the internet. The point that Wardell is getting at is that game developers should concentrate on the consumer market for games, not the user market -- i.e., make games for buyers, not players.

I don't disagree with Wardell's recommendation, and it's largely because the gaming market is very different from the music market. While research has shown that those who share music files are also the music industry's best costumers, I haven't seen any data to show that those who share PC games are also the gaming industry's best costumers. For example, it was revealed by Infinity Ward that a staggering percentage of online players for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare were playing on cracked/pirated copies of the game. Call of Duty has also been one of the top selling PC games since its release.

Of course, all of this is anecdotal evidence, and I know of no such comprehensive analysis of whether or not PC game file-sharing has affected PC game sales. It's difficult to draw any kind of conclusion with the available data, but what we can see is that sharing music and sharing games are two different beasts.

All of this led me to this forum thread at Quarter to Three, in which Michael Fitch, Creative Director of THQ, offered some commentary about the February closing of Iron Lore Entertainment. Fitch immediately assumes that piracy equals lost sales, though I'm not convinced. I'll get to that later, but suffice it to say that Fitch throws this claim out without elaborating. Here's the take home message of his post:
One, there are other costs to piracy than just lost sales. For example, with TQ, the game was pirated and released on the nets before it hit stores. It was a fairly quick-and-dirty crack job, and in fact, it missed a lot of the copy-protection that was in the game. One of the copy-protection routines was keyed off the quest system, for example. You could start the game just fine, but when the quest triggered, it would do a security check, and dump you out if you had a pirated copy. There was another one in the streaming routine. So, it's a couple of days before release, and I start seeing people on the forums complaining about how buggy the game is, how it crashes all the time. A lot of people are talking about how it crashes right when you come out of the first cave. Yeah, that's right. There was a security check there.

So, before the game even comes out, we've got people bad-mouthing it because their pirated copies crash, even though a legitimate copy won't. We took a lot of shit on this, completely undeserved mind you. How many people decided to pick up the pirated version because it had this reputation and they didn't want to risk buying something that didn't work? Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy.
Discussing file-sharing can be tricky, because it's easy to get backed into a corner of defending theft. That's what happened later in the thread, as poster SirBruce boxed himself in. Ultimately, theft is not the issue, but the copy-protection schemes implemented by developers. Fitch's statement quoted above makes it very clear that the copy-protection scheme used caused a negative side-effect (whether warranted or not) of giving the game a poor reputation. Several posters in the thread hit on this point, and several others seemed to think that solution is more DRM and copy-protection. I'll make my case why this is an incorrect solution.

First, I want to argue from a practical standpoint. I'll need to lay out a quick-and-dry explanation of encryption history to get started. Afterall, that's what copy-protection is -- encryption.

Encryption systems go back a long time in human history. Encryption is used to protect information from being interpreted by people whom the author of the information does not want to give access. For example, say we have two warring nations. The king of Nation A wants to send a surprise attack order out to his/her generals in the field. Obviously, it would not be desirable if this information were to fall into enemy hands -- if Nation B were to get a hold of the message, the attack could be thwarted. So Nation A employs an encryption method -- the message is encrypted and the only way to read the message is to have both a decoder and a key. When the messenger is sent out of the castle gates, s/he is only given the message. Those in command positions will already possess the decoder and key. This makes the information within a closed system -- if Nation B were to intercept the messenger, they would have no way to read the message at all.

But modern digital encryption is quite different. Content producers encrypt their information to prevent unwanted copying; however, all this is for naught. In order for the consumer to be able to use the content, content producers have to provide not only the information but the decoder as well as the key! Using my example above, it is as if Nation A has sent the messenger out with all the necessary components -- message, decoder, and key. In the event of a Nation B interception, the information would surely be in enemy hands.

This is why copy-protection and DRM (Digital Rights Management) will always fail. There is no way to provide useful encrypted content to consumers without also giving consumers the tools to decode and interpret that content. Siva Vaidhyanathan's Copyrights and Copywrongs and Anarchist in the Library discuss this concept at length.

My point is that no matter what type of copy-protection is used, someone will always hack it. Implementing these copy-protection schemes only serve to inconvenience legitimate customers -- i.e., the people who have actually payed for the game. Shitting on your consumer base is never a good idea.

I can relate my own experience with overbearing copy-protection. When I attempted to install my legally purchased copy of BioShock, everything went fine at first. But when I attempted to activate my game through the online activation process, the program was unable to read my disc. I had to contact SecuROM, the company who authored BioShock's copy-protection, to figure out the problem. Eventually, I was forced to manually activate the game through a website they created because of issues like mine. It took days for SecuROM to get back to me. I had even further problems after I updated my computer and had to reinstall the game. This time, the copy-protection was causing some strange problem with my DVD drive -- basically, it didn't like the firmware and refused to read my disc. I am forced to run the game on my other DVD drive (good thing I have two). Again, the point here is that a legitimate customer is being inconvenienced, while at the same time the copy-protection hasn't done anything to stop file-sharing of the game.

The Titan Quest example is different, though, and thus failed for different reasons. The copy-protection implemented made the game appear to crash randomly, which caused the game to earn a reputation as buggy. It was argued that this was not to tip off the hackers about the copy-protection throughout the game; however, it had the effect of bad publicity. In the process of attempting to circumvent hackers, the developers instead turned away likely legitimate customers.

Second, I want to argue this from an ideological standpoint. The idea here is that these types of copy-protection and DRM schemes will do a disservice to innovation and creativity. As Vaidhyanathan also argues, excessive copyright protection in addition to technological quick-fixes will only hamper the people's ability to interact with culture.

Yes, software development is a part of culture. Putting up walls and protecting this information means that interested parties cannot use it for further derivative and transgressive works. I've seen how game developers and publishers will clamp down on modders who alter a game's code to make something different for non-commercial use. There is a much more protectionist attitude in the gaming industry than in music, to bring back my earlier comparison, in that music is more lenient about sharing and reusing information (though, now their are significant licensing fees for samples; see Copyrights and Copywrongs for more on this subject), but that is really for another post. My point in mentioning this here is that games are very protected pieces of culture. People enjoy culture because it is an interactive experience, and so, people will do what they can in order to interact with the culture they enjoy.

Furthermore, we are a democratic society. We should embody and encourage the values of democracy, which includes the free-flow of information. I am not against compensating the developers for their hard work; however, that compensation should only go so far. As with music, these works should eventually fall into the public domain. And considering the incredibly high rate of change within the gaming industry, the current model for copyright extension does not seem appropriate. I'll reference Vaidhyanathan again, as his books offer a unique analysis of copyright law and its effect on creativity and innovation.

Admittedly, this does not directly apply to the situation I've been discussing within this post. However, I add it because many of the posters within the Quarter to Three forum advocate more draconian measures to clamp down on unauthorized copying, while also neglecting to consider the real-world consequences that would have on a culture of open, distributed computer systems. Such measures are likely to increase the barriers to entry of the gaming industry for small, interested individuals. We have seen how such copy-protection has served previous industries, and we can see it in music today -- existing copyright law entrenches established artists while punishing emerging artists.

Finally, I wanted to comment on Fitch's statement that piracy equals lost sales. I'm not convinced of this because it has not been demonstrated that those who have participated in the file-sharing of PC games were likely to purchase the game at all. In fact, Russell Caroll investigated this regarding the casual game genre -- games like Bejeweled and Diner Dash. What he found was that for every 1000 pirated copies thwarted, they only gained one sale. The take-away here is that most people who download games were not going to purchase those games anyway.

This brings us back to the main topic of my post -- that game developers should take Wardell's recommendation to concentrate on making games for those who buy them, not just those who play them. It's a much better solution to the piracy problem than increased consumer inconvenience via draconian copy-protection that can easily be bypassed. Moreover, without the existing protectionist attitude it's likely we'd see more innovation and creativity in gaming titles, because the information to make those games would be available for others to comment on and improve upon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Media Have Failed Us

Required reading from Greg Greenwald:

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to "domestic military operations" within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102

"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079

There's another angle of critique that Greenwald neglects -- it's not just rampant narcissism on part of journalists, but the culture of corporate media.

Journalists are expected to contribute to the bottom line, i.e., turn a profit for the parent company. I wrote earlier about a survey which found that 91% of newspaper, magazine, TV, radio, and online journalists believed their top priority to be to "make [his/her] publication successful by creating appealing content for its audiences." Journalists have internalized the values of their owning corporation in lieu of their commitment, their civic duty, to provide to the public the necessary information to protect our democratic values and form of governance.

So, it's no wonder that the media have largely ignored the Department of Justice memo and neglected to cover of the occupation of Iraq more thoroughly as of late -- journalists think, for their own self-serving interests, that trivial matters like Obama's bowling score are more important to the American people than attacks on American civil rights and liberties.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The New Sound Is Robot Music

I posted earlier this week about an article in Word Magazine and promised some follow-up commentary. The Word Magazine article shed some light onto the other factors, besides the loudness war, that are effecting the way that music is recorded nowadays. I was particularly interested in the the discussion about the practice of cutting and pasting track clips instead of recording a track in one take, as well as the use of Auto Tune.

What does this mean? No mistakes. No variation. No style, period. How can I tell the difference between two guitarists if both are picking the best played riff of their track and looping it throughout the song? Where are the quirks, or slight variations to distance musicians' sound from one another? And with Auto Tune, I'm guaranteed a pitch-perfect sound. This program removes the human-factor in live recordings. I might as well be listening to a sampling machine; musicians might as well just program their songs into Pro Tools. What's the point of a live recording?

I see this new trend of recording, mixing, and mastering as removing the musicians from the picture. The only thing keeping them there, as of now, is the live performance. If fans didn't continue going to live shows there'd be no reason to keep the flesh and blood around. Musicians would be programmers, and fans wouldn't know the difference because they'd just be downloading the music from iTunes to be the soundtrack of their morning commute.

And with this new robotic method of producing records we have the loudness war. Doesn't seem like much of a war to me, though, as pretty much all the mainstream acts and labels are going this way. I mean, who's fighting this at the top? So it's really the loudness trend, since there are no signs of it slowing. In doing further research, I came across this blog post that chronicles the change in sound of Rush records over the years.

A long and informative commentary, especially near the middle of the post where the author makes an excellent point through use of example. The point the author is highlighting is one that has been stated numerous times in the past -- that by increasing the volume, listeners will being to fatigue. That's exactly what happens when, as in the post's example, a reader is subjected to large, bold text in all caps for an extended period of time. The writing is devoid of any form of dynamics, just as the heavily compressed audio file is stripped of all of its dynamics. Too much of this and the brain is unable to process the sounds -- there's nothing left of make any of the sounds distinct.

The music industry only appears to be interested in continuing this trend. Mainstream records are increasingly unlistenable, aside from the actual music, because of the way the sounds are recorded, mixed, and mastered.

Music is no longer something that is listened to alone. That is to say, music is background sounds for many people. People listen to their iPods while commuting to work, walking the street, or exercising. People listen to music more in the cars than at home. The point is that the act of listening is not the primary action taking place -- it is secondary to the other things that people are focusing on.

Not only that, but music now has many more forms of entertainment media to compete with than in years past. Cable/satellite television, streaming internet media, video games, and DVDs are only a few of the new entertainment media that music must compete with for the attention of its listeners. The industry has deemed it necessary to make records louder in order to be heard over all the other noises vying for our attention. This is why I don't think we're going to see dynamics brought back into mainstream recordings.

Fidelity is dead.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


I opened a Muxtape account today -- the link ( will have a permanent place on my sidebar. I'll change my "online tape" from time to time (hopefully, at least once a week), so anyone who's interested in what I'm listening to should check back often.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Program to Check for Bit Torrent Throttling

Torrent Freak reports that some new software, Gemini, will allow users to find out whether or not his/her ISP is throttling his/her internet connection when using peer-to-peer applications.

This comes a little late for me because I had already discovered what Comcast is up to months ago, and I've since switched to Verizon. I've been very happy since -- Verizon's internet connection is much faster than Comcast (I'm getting upwards of 50 times my previous download speed and about 15 times my previous upload speed), and I have not experienced any throttling issues. Still, this could still be useful in the future in case Verizon goes the way of scamming users.

It's just too bad that Verizon wasn't available in my area when OiNK was still around.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008