Tuesday, June 09
In a move to cut spending, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is phasing out school textbooks and embracing online education. Reports the BBC:
From the beginning of the next school year in August, maths and science students in California’s high schools will have access to online texts that have passed an academic standards review.
The governor says digital textbooks can be updated easily - so learning keeps pace with progress.
You can learn more about online education in the IIA Broadband Fact Book.
Yesterday was the deadline for comment to the FCC on the federal broadband stimulus. IIA’s NOI entry is above. And PC Mag has a handy breakdown of entries from industry heavy hitters such as Google, Comcast, and AT&T.
Monday, June 08
Let’s take a trip down memory lane with this relic from 1994, when Joshua Quittner of wired contacted various corporate spokespeople and asked them why their companies weren’t yet on the Internet. Hilarity ensued:
I’m waiting for a call back from McDonald’s, the hamburger people. They’re trying to find me someone - anyone - within corporate headquarters who knows what the Internet is and can tell me why there are no Golden Arches on the information highway.
It’s true: there is no mcdonalds.com on the Internet. No burger_king.com either.
“Are you finding that the Internet is a big thing?” asked Jane Hulbert, a helpful McDonald’s media-relations person, with whom I spoke a short while ago.
Yes, I told her. In some quarters, the Internet is a very big thing.
Hard to believe that was just 15 years ago.
(Via The Agitator.)
Today’s USA Today has an extensive article on the pressing need to connect rural America with broadband. Check it out.
Friday, June 05
Some encouraging news from the Federal Trade Commission:
A rogue Internet Service Provider that recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content has been shut down by a district court judge at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. The ISP’s upstream providers and data centers have disconnected its servers from the Internet.
According to the FTC, the defendant, Pricewert LLC, which does business under a variety of names including 3FN and APS Telecom, actively recruits and colludes with criminals seeking to distribute illegal, malicious, and harmful electronic content including child pornography, spyware, viruses, trojan horses, phishing, botnet command and control servers, and pornography featuring violence, bestiality, and incest. The FTC alleges that the defendant advertised its services in the darkest corners of the Internet, including a forum established to facilitate communication between criminals.
The complaint alleges that Pricewert actively shielded its criminal clientele by either ignoring take-down requests issued by the online security community, or shifting its criminal elements to other Internet protocol addresses it controlled to evade detection.
The Louisiana House of Representatives has voted to place a 15¢ monthly charge on statewide Internet service in order to fund online crime prevention. Reports the Washington Post:
The charge on Internet access would begin in 2010, charged to users on their monthly bill. Public libraries and public schools would be exempt. The dollars would flow into an “Internet Crimes Investigation Fund” for Caldwell’s office to investigate online sex crimes, online child pornography and Internet fraud schemes.
The tax now moves to the Senate. Governor Bobby Jindal is apparently against it.
Bing, Microsoft’s new entry in the Internet search war, has gotten off to a good start—according to StatCounter, it’s currently the second ranked search engine, leaping ahead of Yahoo. And as Read Write Web reports, it’s doing it by taking on the big boy:
What is interesting, though, is that Bing is mostly taking market share from Google, while the stats for Yahoo Search and AOL have remained stable. According to StatCount, Bing reached a 15.6% market share in the U.S. yesterday (Live Search never made it past 7%), while Google’s share was down almost 6%.
Broadcasting & Cable hears word that the confirmation hearing for Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s pick for FCC chair, may happen on June 16th.
Thursday, June 04
The New York Times “Bits” blog landed an interview with new U.S. C.T.O. Aneesh Chopra. The full interview should be checked out, but this section is worth highlighting:
When I asked about his goals for the job, Mr. Chopra walked over to his desk and grabbed one page of what appeared from a distance to be a PowerPoint deck, which he described as “my ‘theory of the case’ document.” It listed Mr. Chopra’s four objectives, as presented recently to Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff. They were:
Economic growth through innovation
Addressing presidential priorities through innovation platforms
Building the next-generation digital infrastructure
Fostering a culture of open and innovative government
Yet more evidence that the Obama administration is serious about bringing broadband to every corner of America.
In far happier—if disastrous for productivity—anniversary news, this week marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of Tetris. Scientific American marks the occasion:
Creator Alexey Pajitnov at the Moscow Academy of Science programmed the iconic falling-block game in June 1984 for a Soviet computer system called Electronika, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Reuters news agency cites June 6 as the date that the first playable version of the game was born.
“The program wasn’t complicated,” Pajitnov told the U.K.‘s Guardian newspaper. “There was no scoring, no levels. But I started playing and I couldn’t stop. That was it.”