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App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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December 14, 2007 9:45 AM

Broadband Article Roundup - From Jackass to the FCC to India and Beyond

So much is happening in the deployment, adoption, and regulation of broadband it can be overwhelming.

Here's an attempt to pull together some of the more interesting stories I've found over the last week.

Jackass On the Internet
Jackass is a popular MTV franchise that's spawned two successful feature films. It's been a trailblazer for shows about young men doing stupid things, and now it may blaze another trail for young men doing stupid things to take their act online.

Jackass 2.5, the third movie installment, will appear not in theaters or direct to DVD, instead it will have a staggered Internet-only release. On Dec 19th, fans will be able to stream the movie for free through Blockbuster's Movielink service; this offering will be ad-supported. On Dec 26th, the movie will be available to purchase through an array of digital download stores. And then on Jan 1st, the movie will make its way to other ad-supported platforms like Joost.

This initiative is being built up as a potentially very big deal, citing that if successful it could prove the viability of the Internet as a platform for original content distribution instead of just another channel for repurposed video. And success should be more easily attainable due to the movie's reported $2 million budget.

Blandin Explains Why/How FCC Matters
Here's a great post by Ann Treacy on the Blandin Foundation's broadband blog. In it, she highlights the agenda for next Tuesday's FCC open meeting. But perhaps more importantly and interestingly, she takes the time to give an overview of what the FCC is and does and why they're relevant to local community leaders.

I generally feel like there's a major disconnect between what federal and local leaders are doing or intending to do with regards to broadband. Unfortunately, only so much can be done to educate federal organizations about the needs of individual communities, so I think it's incredibly important for individual communities to learn more about what's happening at the federal level. By educating themselves they can be more aware of upcoming decisions and better equipped to contribute to that decision-making process.

Distributed Computing - Not Just About Computers
This Economist article highlights some of the great success of distributed computing, which I've written about before more than once. But this article is not just about uniting a network of lower powered machines to create a virtual supercomputer, it's also about a practice commonly referred to as crowdsourcing.

The idea behind crowdsourcing is similar to distributed supercomputing in that you start with a complex task and then find a way to leverage a broad, disaggregated audience to contribute their time to accomplish your goals. A prime example of this is the Galaxy Zoo project, which gets volunteers to help astronomers classify the shapes of galaxies.

Endeavors like these are rarely bandwidth-intensive but they do rely on the reliable, robust, always-on connectivity of broadband in order to be effective and efficient.

Maybe Net Neutrality Not Such a Good Thing
I'll be sharing my thoughts on net neutrality in much greater detail in January, but for now I wanted to point out this article, which is one person's perspective on why net neutrality might not be such a great thing.

The gist of his argument is one I generally agree with, that we do need to protect free speech on the Internet, but that trying to do so through net neutrality legislation may carry with it the unintended consequences often realized when the federal government tries regulating a still nascent industry they still don't fully understand.

AT&T;'s Setting Down Its Telecommuting Flag
I've been following the unfortunate story of AT&T;'s move away from encouraging telecommuting over the past couple of weeks. This article sums up much of what's been happening, which is that before the merger with SBC, AT&T; was an early adopter of telecommuting. Now, as the two companies meld into one, SBC's less progressive mindset is restricting the utilization of telecommuting by AT&T; employees.

To some degree I don't necessarily blame AT&T; for this. They're trying to combine two massive workforces with two different corporate cultures and processes, and since telecommuting can be very amorphous in terms of how its implemented, it's probably in their best interest to dissuade its use in the short term.

My hope, though, is that this is only a temporary consideration in the midst of a merger and not an overarching mindset that's closed off to the possibilities of how to more effectively use broadband to improve internal efficiency. The irony of this situation is that while AT&T;'s size makes telecommuting overly burdensome to implement, AT&T;'s size also means it stands to benefit more than most companies from the use of telecommuting while at the same time proving the benefits of broadband as a key enabler of telecommuting.

The most recent post to Google's public policy blog highlights a recent speech given by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India, to Google workers in India.

Included in the article is a link to video of that speech, though I couldn't watch much of it myself as the sound quality was mediocre at best. Even still, they pulled a quote out of Dr. Kalam's speech that I couldn't agree more strongly with: "...Industry should lead society's key stakeholders in broadly accepting the Internet as 'the new way of living, the way of learning, the way of trading and business, the way of socializing, and the way of governance.'"

Truer, better words were never spoken.


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