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On the First Day of Christmas...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:25

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have the most joyful of holidays as we celebrate the arrival of our Lord in the flesh so many years ago.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2.13-14 ESV)

Cable Trounces DSL According to Netflix

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:33

Those who have heard my recommendations for Internet service often look at me incredulously. People so universally aim hatred at cable companies, they cannot believe I would insist Charter's service is superior to that of AT&T U-Verse. While I've worked with enough installations of the two services to say that Charter's Internet service is almost universally faster and frequently cheaper, many people hate the cable company so much, they insist otherwise. That's why a new ranking chart from Netflix is so interesting.

Netflix does a lot more to stress network connections than almost anybody else as they send “over 1 billion hours” of programming to members per month. The incredible amount of data they send out also gives them a great deal of data about how well different ISPs work around the country. In those rankings, only the two major consumer fiber services (Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber) beat out Comcast and Charter in the performance race, while AT&T U-Verse ranks at a dismal 11th place and AT&T's regular DSL is even lower at the 15th spot.

This isn't surprising from a technological standpoint. Unlike fellow Bell alum Verizon, AT&T opted to save money on its next generation offering by not running fiber to individual homes, instead using traditional copper phone wiring. The same copper wiring that has been around since Alexander Graham Bell. Traditional telephone wiring is definitely showing its age and while AT&T finds itself trying to squeeze every last ounce of capacity out of those aging lines, fiber and cable providers actually have a glut of capacity that should be able to maintain speed increases for years to come.

An example might suffice: Charter's “PowerBoost” allows customers to periodically “burst” at faster speeds than what one is paying for — it isn't unusual for me to see a Charter connection hit 10Mbps faster than its advertised rate, for example. AT&T on the other hand almost never actually achieves its advertised speeds and, even if it did, its fastest package (24Mbps) is 20% slower than Charter's more affordable, standard 30Mbps package.

Food for thought next time you shop for a new Internet package.

Cook on Friends

By Tim Butler | Posted at 18:02

The Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Tim Cook is being widely quoted because of the media's interest in what Apple's CEO has to say, but I haven't seen anyone quote the sage concluding comment from Cook. Asked if he thinks of Steve Jobs often, he replied:

I do, every day. He was a friend, and it’s—I guess the external view of that is that he’s a boss, but when you work with someone for that long, for me anyway, the relationship is really important. You know? I don’t want to work with people I don’t like. Life is too short. So you do become friends. Life has too few friends.

Microsoft Surface with Windows 8

By Tim Butler | Posted at 20:01

So, Microsoft introduces a “full PC” and “tablet” combo that, in many ways, seems to be what the first Surface should have been and officially suggests it will get only about 60% of the battery life of a MacBook Air that has a larger display, includes a real keyboard and offers comparable processors, RAM and ports. Interesting.

The Windows 8 Disaster Rolls On

By Tim Butler | Posted at 16:15

So, apparently Windows 8 has advertisements within some of its core apps, a rather unprecedented move and one I am surprised there hasn't already been a commotion about. Even if you don't care about ads per se, there is a bigger implication than having screen space within parts of Windows 8 dedicated to generating revenue for Microsoft:

We can't talk about the inclusion of ads and not mention the “T” word: tracking. I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not Microsoft's tracking the ads you are clicking on, but if that is indeed the case, we'll find out soon enough. Unlike Windows 7 and earlier, your entire Windows 8 account can be tied to an e-mail account, so it would be rather easy for Microsoft to track things on a personal level - much like how Google does with its search engine, e-mail and so forth. This alone gives good reason to be concerned.

Can you imagine the outcry if the iPhone came out of the box with ads in its Weather or Stocks apps?

HT: Gruber

Tooting My Own Horn

By Tim Butler | Posted at 21:46

Just for the record, I get a lot of predictions wrong, but here's one I got right (at least long term) back before the iPad launched:

But, let's offer a wildcard alternative: fully wireless sync with your current Mac ecosystem. Perhaps this would be extended to some iPhones and iPod touches too — say just the 3GS. I expect Apple to play up sync in general in the future. As iTunes goes, so goes Apple's overall strategy. The introduction of “Home Sync” quietly last year is something I believe will be the harbinger of bigger plans, with Apple returning to sync in a big way this year after pretty much letting its previous strides rust and be forgotten (think of the big push on sync services in Mac OS X Tiger back in 2005 and those features integration with the service then known as .Mac and now christened MobileMe).

Clearly, iCloud is for Apple this decade what iTunes was for Apple last decade.

Outlawed By the Cloud

By Tim Butler | Posted at 14:58

This was the first notice I received from Google:

Hello,

After reviewing our records, we've determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we've found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google's share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the
effectiveness of Google's advertising system, particularly the
advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that
this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and
cooperation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we've taken, how
you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find
more information by visiting
http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

I followed the instructions and appealed, but received only an automated reply:

Hello,

We're currently in the process of reviewing your account with the
additional information that you've provided. Please understand, however,
that there is no guarantee that your account will be reinstated into
AdSense. As a reminder, Google does reserve the right to disable an
account at any time, as stated in the AdSense Terms and Conditions
(http://www.google.com/adsense/terms).

Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

When I had heard nothing after several weeks, I wrote back by e-mail:

Hi,
I just wanted to follow up on this. I sincerely believe we have always remained in perfect compliance with Google's TOS. It appears with the disabling of our account, we've also lost our Custom Search Engines. I'm looking into alternatives to replace them, but would love to keep using Google's services if at all possible. I've always been a big fan of Google, so it is disheartening having to look elsewhere.

Thanks,
Tim

They finally answered a few weeks after that:

Hello,

Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate the additional information you've
provided, as well as your continued interest in the AdSense program.
However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your
feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we're
unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

As a reminder, if you have any questions or concerns about your account,
the actions we've taken, or invalid activity in general, you can find more
information by visiting
http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

I wrote back again hoping to be able to talk to someone who could give a real reason for what was happening. This letter went unanswered:

Hello,
I am very disappointed Google did not follow up on my offer to provide whatever evidence was necessary to restore my account. I did not violate the TOS and don't understand why I am being accused of doing so. As a long time AdSense publisher and fan of all things Google, this is very disheartening and (I believe) unfair. I would really appreciate it if I could talk to an actual human representative about this.

Best,
Tim

I even contacted Google's press relations department in hopes of better understanding the company's policies. But, as it turned out, they had no interest in clarifying them. The best I received was a message from a PR agent who insisted on not being attributed:

Hi Tim —

Sorry for the delay. I can't provide any official comment or provide specific guidance on your questions, but I can offer you some information on background (not for attribution):

We can't comment on specific publishers, but we can say, generally, that we base any decision to disable an AdSense account on the specifics of that account, not on unverified charges from a third-party. Notices of alleged copyright infringement from rights holders are handled differently than typical violations (see [LINK] for more information), but again, we do not remove publishers from the network solely based on an unverified accusation.

Once an AdSense account has been disabled, a publisher cannot use AdSense to monetize content or any other digital assets (such as search results and mobile applications). However, publishers can still use some other Google products and platforms, including implementing a Custom Search Engine on their sites.

Best,
[Name withheld]

In the end I simply had to give up because Google would give me nothing to work with. Shouldn't reasonable companies at least allow their clients the opportunity to prove innocence?

Politically Savvy

By Tim Butler | Posted at 14:10

Conor Friedersdorf reports:

Asked who won the town hall between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Los Angelenos were emphatic. The problem: The event hadn't yet happened.

Frightening and yet seemingly completely in agreement with my own experience discussing candidates with people.

Legends are Born in October

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:18

Last year's slogan for the Postseason seems apropos tonight as the Birds on the Bat managed to again do what they did so memorably last year: reach the final strike on the final out of Postseason elimination and come back in triumph. Not just a repeat though, recovering from an apparently hopeless 0-6 hole gives this team a new legend to chirp about: such a recovery has never been done before in this sort of situation.

The road to 12 in 12 continues onward. I'm excited.

Fonts

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:42

An interesting study:

Results showed male subjects had an easier time recognizing Frutiger and thus spent less time glancing at the display and more time focused on the road ahead. Average glance time with Frutiger was 10.6 percent lower for men, and while that may sound insignificant, researchers say it works out to about 50 feet when traveling at typical highway speeds.

And people pretend that fonts don't matter.

You are viewing page 6 of 196.