January 17th, 2008

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Of Orange Juice and MIS (long)

So Becky and I were trying to explain to Aaron why Mommy is so good at tech support and why the hospital people get on so well with her as opposed to the rest of the MIS Department. We came up with the following analogy that illustrates why users and their MIS departments rarely get on well. I think it has broad applicability.
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The Return of Metered Price Access

Time Warner decides to manage its network sensibly, by piloting a metered use program.

Flat rate in the dial up era was a consequence of, among other things, a peculiar sort of regulatory arbitrage and an ability to leverage an existing network. But it set the standard for expectation in broadband.

There are, of course, likely economic consequences for the internet economy in a move to metered pricing. And it is rational to ask why the rest of the world seems to be doing faster flat rate than we can manage. But for that analysis I need more time than I have at the moment and will probably post on my professional blog.

UPDATE: You can see my professional blog post here:
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Good Ars Tehcnica Piece on Bad Policy


Briefly, Mike McConell, the current Director of National Intelligence, wants access to all internet traffic (without warrants, of course, and merely for the purpose monitoring and "fishing expeditions" rather than based on any specific threat). I rather liked this exchange:
Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer, or Web search. "Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation," he said. Giorgio warned me, "We have a saying in this business: 'Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'"

Sayings like that, says security guru Bruce Schneier, "are why the police aren't in charge; security and privacy are complimentary. Privacy is part of our security against government abuse. If they were really zero-sum, we would have seen mass immigration into East Germany."