30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for May 8, 2012
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Date: Mon, 07 May 2012 09:27:32 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: email@example.com. Subject: AT&T stockholders vote down net neutrality proposal Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> By Terrence O'Brien posted Apr 27th 2012 4:28PM AT&T stockholders took to the ballot box today at their annual meeting and voted not only to reelect the entire board of directors, but also on a number of measures concerning how the company should conduct business. Chief amongst them was a provision that would have required the carrier to operate its network according to the tenets of net neutrality. Unfortunately for you (unless you're an AT&T exec), the proposal was voted down by a pretty stunning margin. 94.1 percent of shareholders opposed, with only 5.9 casting their voice in favor of true network neutrality. http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/27/atandt-stockholders-vote-down-net-neutrality-proposal/ -or- http://goo.gl/jMRoR -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my address to write to me directly)
Date: Sun, 6 May 2012 20:43:17 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone Message-ID: <20120507004317.GA14894@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sun, May 06, 2012 at 10:44:10AM -0400, Monty Solomon wrote: > > How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone > > By Liat Kornowski > The Atlantic > > At first many blind people thought that the iPhone would never be > accessible to them, with its flat glass screen. But the opposite has > proved true. (snip) > For the visually impaired community, the introduction of the iPhone > in 2007 seemed at first like a disaster -- the standard-bearer of a > new generation of smartphones was based on touch screens that had no > physical differentiation. It was a flat piece of glass. But soon > enough, word started to spread: The iPhone came with a built-in > accessibility feature. Still, members of the community were hesitant. > > But no more. For its fans and advocates in the visually-impaired > community, the iPhone has turned out to be one of the most > revolutionary developments since the invention of Braille. That the > iPhone and its world of apps have transformed the lives of its > visually impaired users may seem counter-intuitive -- but their > impact is striking. There's something that bothers me about this report, and although the need to have a debate on this subject seems obvious to me, I'm going to ask a guest moderator to approve this post before it goes out. These are my personal views, and I think they are germane to the telecom digest, since the iphone and similar "smart" phones are being touted as aids to the visually impaired without debate about why such devices are necessary in the first place. We Americans are a peculiar people, and we're prone to doing things in a way that other peoples find odd at times. We insist that every citizin do certain things for themselves, instead of with the help of others: we take steps to keep things like voting, or statements made under oath, as free from the influence of friends or relatives as is possible. That, of course, is just common sense - but we also do some things that are uniquely American. In the U.S., we think nothing of investing millions of dollars to retrofit public buildings for access by physically challenged persons, and nothing worth mentioning when we order that private property be modified in the same ways. Our society, which prizes individual effort, has decided that all those who can do things for themselves should be encouraged to do so. To that end, we have provided extraordinary measures to further that goal, including extensive - and expensive - governmental efforts to help the hearing and speech-impaired communities reach resources that others take for granted. As an engineer at Verizon, I helped to address problems with the TDD and telephone setups in the Access center at Marlborough, Massachusetts: a place where those whom depend on TDD devices are able to get text-to-speech translation services as well as to deal with phone company bills, services, and sales. Here's the problem, as I see it: many of the government offices and private companies that contract to provide services to the government (parking ticket collectors, for example) have been openly flouting the rules that require TDD's for years, either claiming that their email capability is "good enough", or brazenly lying by claiming that they're no longer required to do so. This marginalization of what I consider a public necessity is reflected in the shift alluded to in the story Monty posted about the iphone being used by the visually impaired. As far as it goes, it's a modern miracle - but it signals, to my mind, a political sea change: a de facto shift away from inexpensive, purpose-built devices that were supported as a matter of public policy - to expensive, privately owned electronics. I try to be realistic about such things: technology can provide help to visually and speech/hearing impaired people with only small investments by the body public, but technology always changes, and sometimes older devices get left behind. However, I'm not advocating a return to Model 15 TeleType machines as TDD's, or that the voters pay for human guides instead of dogs when visually impaired persons need them. What worries me is that our elected representatives might decide that the miniscule amounts currently spent for such assistance could be better used for pet projects or another bridge to nowhere, which would leave taxpaying citizens and residents who happen to be impaired in some way to fend for themselves. If visually-impaired iphone users find that it's an invaluable tool for them, then I have to ask why there is no purpose-built device available. It seems to me like the thing to do. Bill -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly)
Date: Mon, 07 May 2012 11:00:40 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bonomi) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate) Message-ID: <LvKdnYOmQs81bDrSnZ2dnUVZ_jCdnZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pete Cresswell <PeteCress@invalid.telecom-digest.org> wrote: >Per Monty Solomon: > >> Among other things, New York Judge Gary Brown explains in great >> detail why an IP-address is not sufficient evidence to identify >> copyright infringers. > >That sure took a long time. > >Are there implications for other than New York residents? Not directly. Until, and unless, the ruling is (a) appealed, and (b) confirmed by a NYS appellate court, it is not 'binding' on any other NYS judge. And a NYS court ruling -- at whatever level -- is not binding on any court outside of NY. Other courts may consider this ruling, and may find it "persuasive", but they are NOT required to do so. G It is 'likely' that either the instant case (which is contrary to prior NYS court findings) or a subsequent NYS case which finds to the contrary -will- be appealed -- so as to resolve the 'inconsistency' in court rulings, and that there will =then= be 'binding' precedent for NYS cases. All that aside, what the NY ruling does do -- and which does have implications outside NY state -- is lay out a 'roadmap' for defending a case where the 'identity' of the purported infringer is established solely by the IP address in use. I expect that: a) a -lot- of defenses will quote -extensively- from this ruling b) the 'movers' behind these suits will lobby hard or changes in the law. Item b) could get "interesting". IF the laws -do- get changed, ISPs could find -themselves- liable for actions of others who use 'their' IP address.
Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 11:48:55 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Now 4 billion people know the joy of txt Message-ID: <email@example.com> Now 4 billion people know the joy of txt The humble SMS is 20 years old? and a far more important invention than the flashier inventions that have followed it John Naughton The Observer 5 May 2012 Here's a question: what's bigger and far more important than Facebook? Hint: it's very low-tech and doesn't need a smartphone or even an internet connection. And this year marks its 20th birthday, which means that in internet time it's 140 years old. Oh, and it doesn't involve LOLcats either. Got it yet? It's SMS - text messaging to you and me. Or txt msng, if you prefer. Two-thirds of the world's population - that's over 4 billion people - have access to it because that's the number of people who have mobile phones, and even the cheapest, clunkiest handset can send SMS messages. It's had a much bigger impact on people's lives than anything dreamed up in Silicon Valley. Interestingly, Silicon Valley played almost no role in it. SMS emerged on our side of the Atlantic and was the brainchild of the kind of European intergovernmental initiative that drives Ukip nuts. The first mobile phones were analogue devices, and the market was bedevilled by incompatible technologies and protocols - rather like the early market in fixed-line telephony in the United States before the AT&T monopoly was established. But in 1982 a European telephony conference decided to tackle the problem. It set up the Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSM) committee and established a group of communications engineers in Paris. Five years later, 13 European countries signed an agreement to develop and deploy a common mobile telephone system across Europe. The result was GSM - a unified, open, standard-based mobile network larger than that in the United States. The first GSM call was made by the Finnish prime minister in 1991, and the first GSM handsets were approved for sale in May 1992. ... http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/may/06/sms-text-messages-20th-birthday
Date: Mon, 07 May 2012 16:44:41 -0400 From: Curt Bramblett <CurtBramblett@cfl.rr.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate) Message-ID: <email@example.com> One Thu, 03 May 2012 22:21:36 -0400, Barry Margolin <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >In article <email@example.com>, > Monty Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: > > > Judge: An IP-Address Doesn't Identify a Person (or BitTorrent Pirate) > > > > A landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the > > US has suffered a severe blow to a thus far lucrative business. Among > > other things, New York Judge Gary Brown explains in great detail why > > an IP-address is not sufficient evidence to identify copyright > > infringers. According to the Judge this lack of specific evidence > > means that many alleged BitTorrent pirates have been wrongfully > > accused by copyright holders. > >I wonder how this differs from the precedent of traffic cameras that >take pictures of the license plates of cars that run red lights, and >then a ticket is mailed to the registrant of the license plate? They >could have let a friend of family member borrow the car. This may be off-topic, but I think I have a thought herein. Governments actually only have three ways of getting money: taxes, penalties, and licenses. Licenses are sometimes called permits and sometimes called rent (such as for a parking space). This matters in a discussion of red-light cameras. The laws explicitly state that the money charged is not a criminal or civil penalty. Paying the "fine" has no repercussion in traffic enforcement. No points are charged against one's license, nor is there an insurance penalty. So the "fine" is not a penalty. Nor can it be a tax. That leaves licenses. Legally, then, perhaps the government is actually selling YOUR CAR a one-time PERMIT to run a red light at the specific location and time involved. In other words, it matters not who was operating the car. Nor does it matter if you can get your "friend of a family member" to pay the price. This leads to some interesting speculation, but it is the only consequence that results from the facts and philosophies of governmental power involved. Curt Bramblett
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