Comcast: The Toll-Bridge Troll

posted in: The Web | 1

The Toll-Bridge Troll cover (cropped)When I was a media specialist (school librarian), I used to read a book called The Toll-Bridge Troll (say that three times fast). It was about a mean little troll that would stop people, usually poor innocent children, at his bridge and demand they pay him a fee for crossing. One smart little boy decided that he couldn’t afford the “penny a day” fees the troll demanded from him, and came up with a plan to use riddles to trick the troll into letting him across.

What does this have to do with Comcast? I’m so glad you asked. The executives of the giant cable company apparently are not satisfied with their large pots of gold and believe they need to charge Internet companies for sending data through their network. One such company, Level 3, is a particularly big blip on their radar, and they are demanding that the Internet media business pay them a toll to use their bridge: your cable Internet service.


News Corp wants to ruin our lives

posted in: Technology | 0

Burn Notice on

Four weeks after Ruper Murdoch tried to kill our fun by announcing that many of the newspapers you (not I) read will soon charge for access to certain online content, his new attack dog (a.k.a. chief digital officer), Jonathan Miller, claims that Hulu will start charging for content as well.

Forget the fact that Miller’s company is only a partial owner of Hulu, along with NBC and Disney, but let us just stop and think for a moment. What was it that attracted people to Hulu in the first place? I will give you a few minutes to think about it.

Give up? It is free! And I use the term loosely since their content still contains advertisements. For those people who had not already ignored Hulu and reconnected their BitTorrent clients, Miller might as well be Hulu’s messenger of death. No silly, people will not pay for your content when they can get it elsewhere for free.

I am beginning to wonder if News Corp and the cable companies are not all in league together in a final desperate attempt to ruin our lives. Nice try. Instead of trying to exploit people to make themselves rich, they should try working for a living like normal human beings. Then again, we all know they are aliens. They told us on national TV.

Beyond Web 2.0 and the Information Age

posted in: Free Software, Libraries, Technology | 0


I can remember turning on my computer, dialing into IndyNet, and opening the World Wide Web inside of a terminal window.  My first web experience was through a text browser.  At $10 a month, that was all I could afford.  Eventually, I learned to hack it and give myself access to the graphical side of the web and my first experience with Netscape Navigator.

Back then, web sites usually consisted of long single pages with mostly text, a few static images scattered about, some horizontal rules, and maybe an animated GIF, if you were lucky.  For those of you too young to remember, I am not reminiscing about the 70s or even the 80s.  It was not until the 90s when the World Wide Web burst onto the scene, drawing people away from their television sets for the first time in a way that nothing else before it could.


Pay for websites? That’s so 1990’s

posted in: Libraries, Technology | 0

Rupert Murdoch has once again made headlines (pun intended) by telling CNN that visitors to the web sites belonging to some of the numerous newspapers that his News Corporation owns will soon have to pay to access certain content. Instead of having free access to the Wall Street Journal or the New York Post, a visitor would have to “pay handsomely”, according Murdoch.

I know the man is old, but is he really that out of touch with technology and the development of new media?  Does he really believe that people cannot live without his newspapers?

When a news organization is failing, as many newspapers are, why would it benefit them to make it more difficult to get news to people who could use it?  Their goal should be to gain readers, not drive away the few they have left.

If a person has to pay to find out a piece of information on one site, they will simply find it on another site for free.  Instead of arrogantly thinking that they can just muscle people into giving them money, they should try earning it.  Give people a real reason to come to your web site.  Come up with something innovative that makes your site worth their time.

We live in an age where media is interactive, collaborative, and, most importantly, open to all.  If News Corporation or any other mega-news conglomerate fails to realize that, it might very well be the last mistake they make.  And maybe the world will be a better, more truthful place without them.