In February, professor Eben Moglen inspired the creation of the Diaspora open source social networking project when in his speech to the Internet Society at NYU, he said:
Facebook is the Web with “I keep all the logs, how do you feel about that?” It’s a terrarium for what it feels like to live in a panopticon built out of web parts.
And it shouldn’t be allowed. It comes to that. It shouldn’t be allowed. That’s a very poor way to deliver those services. They are grossly overpriced at “spying all the time”. They are not technically innovative. They depend upon an architecture subject to misuse and the business model that supports them is misuse. There isn’t any other business model for them. This is bad.
I’m not suggesting it should be illegal. It should be obsolete. We’re technologists, we should fix it.
Last night, it was the turn of Rob Spectre, community evangelist for Boxee, who dropped by the NYLUG in order to grow the community.
Spectre pointed out that while open source technology is widely deployed throughout the internet from the largest core data centers to the newest cell phones, it is absent from the living. This is due largely to the monolith in the living room, as in, “my god, it’s full of patent lawyers!”
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A widely publicized study by the FCC on users’ perceptions of their broadband speeds (.pdf) found that 80 percent don’t even know what those speeds are supposed to be.
Also, a clear majority believe that the broadband provider should always “deliver the promised speed” — they clearly don’t know that the contract they signed but did not read merely promises a “best effort”.
Only a third of cell phone customers are pleased with the price and speed they get, though a majority are happy with the cell phone as a phone.
It is not clear at this time how or whether the survey will influence FCC policy.