How the dream of cheap streaming television became a pricey, complicated mess – The Washington Post

“But there is no real debate about the outcome: The dreams of cord cutters are largely unfulfilled. A transition that some hoped would provide more choice, lower prices and more simplicity instead has delivered frustrating levels of complexity. There still may be more choice, but each choice comes with price tags that, taken together, may well approach the cable bills of old.“It’s not going to come for free,” said Michael Powell, president of trade group NCTA, representing pay television and broadband providers. “People want to watch their ‘True Detective,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Mad Men,’ and that stuff costs a fortune.”

Source: How the dream of cheap streaming television became a pricey, complicated mess – The Washington Post

Three Black Women Pioneers in Technology



By Victor Trammell

In Black Blue Dog’s month-long Your Black Historytribute, our publication has mostly tried to focus on profiling black Americans in history that have contributed to our society in other areas than sports and entertainment.

Today’s edition of our series, which promotes the historical achievements of black Americans features the stories of three women who pioneered key groundbreaking inventions.

Marie-Van-Brittan-Brown1. Marie Van Brittan Brown

Marie Van Brittan Brown was born on October 30, 1922 in Queens, New York. She was the first person in America to develop the patent for closed circuit television security. Brown’s innovative model was a motorized camera that contained four peepholes. The motorized camera could be moved from one peephole to the other while the camera’s images were able to be displayed on a monitor. The camera’s door could be unlocked remotely by using an electrical switch. Brown was able to officially patent her invention in 1969.  Her brilliant invention laid the ground work for today’s closed circuit television system that law enforcement bureaus and private companies use for crime prevention, traffic monitoring, and surveilance.

220px-Patriciabath2. Dr. Patricia Bath

Dr. Patricia Era Bath was born on November 4, 1942 in Harlem, New York. In 1981, Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe. The Laserphaco Probe is used to remove cataracts. Cataracts are an eye disease that can cause blindness. However, earlier surgical procedures used to remove cataracts had numerous side effects. In 1988, Dr. Bath perfected her great invention even further and received the first of four patents issued pertaining to the Laserphaco Probe. Dr. Bath’s modifications to the laser probe for cataract removal made the mechanism more accurate and helped the process of removing cataracts occur much more quickly.

Dr-Betty-Harris-351x4143. Dr. Betty Harris

Betty Harris earned her Ph.D. from the University of New New Mexico. After Harris’ earned her doctorate’s  degree in chemistry, she went to work as a reasearch chemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. While at Los Alamos, Dr. Harris worked specifically in the explosives field. In 1986, Dr. Harris obtained a patent for a mechanism that identified the sensitivity level of explosives. Her contributions were very significant in the field of science. In 1996, Dr. Harris was one of only eight people selected to be inducted in the National Science Foundation’s “Women in Science” profile.

Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution

Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:05

By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks, The Daily Take | Op-Ed


You might want to think twice about streaming that “subversive” documentary about the Weather Underground on Netflix. If Republicans have their way, you just might end up on a watch list somewhere.

This week, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 1988 Video Protection Privacy Act, which forbids movie rental companies from sharing or selling their customers’ viewing history. The Senate is expected to take up the amendment soon.

If this passes, what you watch on Netflix may soon become public information that your friends, employers, and even the government will have access to. Are you regretting streaming the latest Harold and Kumar yet?  Or all those soft-porn chick-flicks?

Netflix favors the law change because it will help them branch into social media and connect Facebook customers to each other based on their similar tastes in films. Unmentioned by Netflix is the enormous profit-potential in selling your viewing history to advertisers who can target specific demographics based on your preference in movies. Also unmentioned by Netflix is just who else might get this information once it’s taken out of the privacy lockbox.

The current version of the amendment does include a provision requiring Netflix to get their customers’ consent before sharing their viewing history. That’s helpful to those of us who are aware of the online threats to our privacy. But the vast majority of Americans, especially younger generations of Americans, are completely unaware that their privacy is in danger when they plug into the Internet. And it’ll probably end up being part of those notorious “terms and conditions” that you check the “I agree” box for, just to get onto the site.

via Netflix Blacks Out the Revolution.

Searching for the Perfect Broadband Regulatory Paradigm | Broadband for America

Searching for the Perfect Broadband Regulatory Paradigm

Posted November 28th, 2012 by BfA Staff

With broadband technologies now the principal platform for 21st century communications and commerce, one of the most important issues facing the U.S. today is whether over regulation of broadband platforms will derail the Digital Revolution that has resulted in unprecedented innovation, investment and economic growth for America. At an event titled, “Internet Everywhere: Broadband as a Catalyst for the Digital Economy,” the Brookings Institution asked a panel of industry and academic experts to discuss the current and future economic potential of broadband platforms to bring the Internet everywhere to reality and fuel the digital economy.

Robert E. Litan, Director of Research at Bloomberg Government and Hal Singer, Managing Director and Principal at Navigant Economics, began the event by giving an overview of their new e-book: The Need for Speed: A New Framework for Telecommunications Policy for the 21st Century. The book examines the role of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the face of a rapidly changing technological landscape. With broadband technologies fueling a new age of telecommunications, next-generation IP-based systems are driving a convergence of once separate communications media. Historically, the FCC has regulated each of these media in a different manner. But Litan and Singer argue that the emergence of an  IP-based world needs a new regulatory approach. The days of communications monopolies are over. Today’s dynamic broadband industry is far more competitive than the 20th century industries it is quickly replacing, requiring a reconsideration of the regulatory framework in which  it operates. If the role of the regulator is to maximize consumer benefit, then it would be prudent to remove the regulatory barriers that impede investment in the next-generation, all-IP networks consumers have been choosing.

via Searching for the Perfect Broadband Regulatory Paradigm | Broadband for America.