Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some Good Technology News...For A Change

Damn good news, and about damn time.

This article discusses the fact that Time Warner has -- for the time being -- abandoned its plan to meter net usage.

Of course it's good news for those of us who spend a lot of time online. For power users, it's beyond good news. As I discussed earlier (click here for the link if you missed it -- and shame on you if you did), the concept of metering internet usage is a bad move on several scales. It's Draconian, measuring and spying on peoples' use of the net -- and let's face it, we know what we're doing online is already watched to some degree -- but limiting its use is the antithesis of what the Internet is about in the first place. It's the -- in theory -- limitless frontier. So why should we be limited in how we explore it?

Let's also keep in mind that whether or not Time Warner had moral issues with this issue -- which they certainly didn't -- it's clear that the bottom line was, basically, the bottom line. They knew that by putting this practice into place they'd see far more defections than happy, satisfied power-users like me embracing this added burden. They knew that their customers who would be zinged by this futile attempt at overcharging would wind up biting them in the ass, not helping them maintain or improve their network. And frankly, and this -- to me -- is the biggest kick in the ass of all -- most of their customers use far less of the Internet than what their budget expects.

Put another way, if there are "Internet brown-outs" it's not because everyone is going 110% online, it's because the servers need to be properly maintained as per the original subscriber agreements. If I'm online and I have a problem, it's not because 40,000 other people are going to YouTube to see some mustache-wearing woman singing for the's because someone between here and the mustache-woman's video someone screwed something up.

Finally, Time Warner does offer additional options beyond my basic RoadRunner service. I can bump up my existing service -- which hits up to 1.0 MPBS download speed -- to 1.5. Big whoop. I'm mostly satisfied with my service. It's not perfect and I am less-than-thrilled when I am forced to wait 40 minutes to speak with a Level 3 tech. However, if these problems persisted with a plan costing three times as much, just how long do the folks at Time Warner -- or any other ISP -- expect to keep said customers?

Let's put it this way: for every minute I spend on hold, listening to the best of Lionel Richie in spanish, I am considering (depending on the time of day or night) which infomercials to watch, whether I got my mail when I arrived home; and finally, why I am still a Time Warner subscriber.

Paying an extra $100 a month for the same service I have now wouldn't improve my moods over the extended hold times. And it would prolly amp up my consideration of the above topics.

I'm glad they gave up -- for now, anyway -- on this plan. I've already been considering migrating to a new company for some or all of the Internet, cable and phone service to which I subscribe. Today's news, for the time being, allays most of my immediate concerns.

Now about that crappy pixelation on some HD channels after 11PM during the week...

Ah, nevermind. It's not a time to nitpick, it's a time to celebrate ;-)

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