War for the Web

February 2011

25 02.11

Apple is opening a 500,000 square foot data center in the middle of nowhere.

Apple has been working on a massive data center with an eye towards improving their cloud computing offerings. It really highlights the way the physical and the ethereal interact on the Internet. Apple has to build this massive data center in order to offer the services that Internet users take for granted every day. In addition, as several of the comments point out, this data center is going to use massive amounts of electricity, and require it's own fiber optic cable to connect to the current fiber backbone of the Internet. Read more
22 02.11

Korea has the fastest Internet in the world, and it’s about to get even faster.

As the United States lags behind on broadband penetration, particularly in the midwest, and Canadian ISPs introduce metered internet access, the South Koreans are going to be paying $27/month for access to a 1 gigabit network. The least I've ever paid for Internet access is $30/month, and that was a promotion. Korea is anticipating future bandwidth needs for things like video streaming, cloud computing and video-conferencing by building the infrastructure in advance on a national level. Read more

100 GB/s is the future of the Internet

Demand for bandwidth is on the rise, the current infrastructure in the United States, particularly in middle america, is copper based. This is like a one lane highway, it can only support so much traffic. This article, from Gigaom.com, describes the recent upsurge in network building. All of the previously abandoned fiber has been used up, and now we need to build more, particularly as services like netflix and video streaming push increased traffic to the periphery of the network. Read more
19 02.11

The House of Representatives Doesn’t like net neutrality

So, Net Neutrality is a big issue these days, and the FCC has tried to introduce a bill that would prevent internet service providers from treating different customers differently (one of the tenets of net neutrality is that all data is the same, it's all 1's and 0's, and so it it should be treated the same). That is, clients who stream video will pay more for video based data than for email and such. While it's fine for ISPs to charge per usage, like for more data, it isn't really right for them to base their decisions on what that data is, because it all moves through the network in the same way. Well, congress thinks it is ok, and in an effort to prevent Obama from introducing regulation, they are blocking the bill introduced by the FCC to prevent this. Read more
14 02.11

The Cost of Egypt’s Internet Blackout: $110 Million+

Estimates are in on the total cost of Egyptian Pharoah Mubarak's Internet lockdown! While 110 million may not seem like a lot, it represents 4% of Egypt's gross domestic product. The equivalent amount in the US would be over 570 billion dollars. Just imagine, in Egypt the Internet is creating 110 million dollars in wealth every 5 days. And that's a country that isn't even particularly wealthy. Read more

Cuba’s Internet Capacity To Increase 3,000x

A single wire running from Venezuela to Cuba will increase Cuba's Internet capacity by 3000 percent. That's pretty amazing. Read more
12 02.11

The Internet is an open window on the World

CNN has a headline today: "How a Dictator Fell in 18 days." I haven't read the article but I linked to a different article about the Internet, because that's the answer. The article I linked to makes the case that the Internet allows us to see the world, that we're all connected and so public opinion is formed more quickly and without the consent of mass media. That's a great point, because as Gizmodo points out, the major news networks have been waiting for the White House to take a line on this whole mess, which it can't do without really pissing off a major ally in the region; but public opinion has already formed. We all saw what happened because we can all see tons of content all the time online for free. It allows information to flow freely worldwide. Obviously there are exceptions to this, like China and Iran, where the Internet is censored (also certain ISPs in the US, but that's a different story). Overall though, the free flow of information is what allows the world to make up its mind on a story like this, without the spin of the white house. Read more
10 02.11

Can cable block the Google TV revolution?

This is a great article on Arstechnica that outlines the fight between cable companies and companies like google who are offering innovative new products over the Internet. This is a prime example of the innovative ideas that are on the line in the fight for the free web. Read more

The real Internet censors: unaccountable ISPs?

This is a great article about self censorship on the Internet. While the DCMA protects ISPs from lawsuits by copyright holders, it does allow copyright holders to issue takedown notices. While the assumption is that ISPs will investigate the legitimacy of these takedown notices, it is not really in their interests to do so, because of the time and expense involved. Instead, they often simply remove the material, even if the takedown notice isn't legitimate. Read more

The Internet and Dissent

Mubarak is known for being oppressive. It was said that if there were 5 people in the same room discussing a public protest, one of them would work for Mubarak. In the face of that, it's incredible how unprepared he was for the digital age. While he clearly has the ability to turn off the web, he didn't seem to really understand how to control it. As this article points out, a set of young, intelligent, and tech savvy professionals was able to initiate the enormous protests that we're seeing using the Internet. They never had to meet, they never had to expose themselves, because Mubarak's secret police didn't know where to look. Read more