Hi, I'm site hostess Cyn.

Beware the Ides of March, but not that oldies music group. If the last issue was focused on relationships, this issue is about recent tech news and how it may impact cyberculture. Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences.

 

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VOLUME 14 NO.8

EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

MARCH, 2015

WHETHER REPORT

NOT LOST BUT FOUND

NET NEUTRALITY NEUTERED

iTOONS

iCAR MYTHS

POST SCRIPT

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THE WHETHER REPORT

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STATUS

Question: Whether the Apple watch will turn into a small, hobbyist revenue segment like Apple TV?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether ApplePay revenues will be massive compared to the Apple watch?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

Question: Whether Beats intragration will revolutionize the streaming music business?

* Educated Guess

* Possible

* Probable

* Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

* Doubtful

* Vapor Dream

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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

 

"I don't set trends. I just find out what they are and I exploit them." - - -Dick Clark.

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EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE

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NET NEUTRALITY NEUTERED COMMENTARY

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to implement new (but unfinished) regulations on the internet. It changed the definition of Internet business from exempt “informational” services to that of being a “common carrier” like a telephone utility.

This ruling has far reaching effects, most of which most advocates and opponents do not fully understand.

The concept of the Internet itself is nebulous. A person who logs onto their email or home web page is sending packets of bytes of instructions to a ISP network server to execute and re-distribute additional bytes across the global network. The Internet is really the communication protocols that allows access to information.

The irony is that the Internet lives in the already regulated telephone and cable systems, as it still takes a hard wire connection from your modem to your Internet service provider. The Internet is the traffic to the wires being the public transportation system, which is already a government regulated toll road.

The alleged problems that the FCC wants to address is consumer complaints about potential service providers throttling customer accounts (upload and download times), create premium fast lanes or discriminate against small business users in favor of large data hogs, such as streaming services.

Except, opponents of the new rules state that these allegations are illusory. The market forces of consumers and free Internet rights groups have kept abuses in check. For example, when carriers tried to corral smartphone users into burdensome data plans, the market pushed new competitors to knock down rates, and push for unlocking phones so consumers could find their own plans. Another example in the cable space was the Los Angeles Dodgers created their own program channel. However, when it demanded more than $3 per subscriber from operators as carry charges, the cable operators balked and refused to carry it. Adding three dollars or more to every cable bill would create a back lash from customers who may not want the Dodgers channel in their program guide. So, in LA in 2014, seventy-five percent of the Dodger fan base was without their baseball team telecasts. But this was a market reaction to an unreasonable business demand.

From a regulatory area, the Internet as a public forum is still the Wild West in cyberculture. There are very few laws, except private contracts (terms and conditions) that control most behavior since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act immunized ISPs against liability for content that ISPs host on their servers. (It is possible that the new FCC rules could be interpreted to be in conflict with DMCA ISP safe harbors since the FCC can regulate just about anything an ISP can do just as it can set rates for telephone operators, enjoin contract tying services or even prohibit certain content such as adult content hours on normal TV.)

It is the vague, limitless power that the FCC has seized with its new rule that has most freedom advocates on edge. The FCC chair indicated that he just wanted to push a few small rules, and not any heavy regulation such as setting service rates. But once the door has been pushed open, any regulation or restriction can be made by the FCC.

The traditional telephone carriers and cable operators have been the backbone for Internet service providers who connect their servers to the highway to push information from terminal to terminal. For the traditional common carriers, they now have been hit with a “second layer” of regulation and compliance. As such, they will challenge the FCC actions in federal court.

A few commentators immediately picked up on this government reality: once the government has the power to regulate, it then has the power to tax (under the guise to pay for the cost of regulation administration.) And once the taxing power has been imposed, it can be manipulated in order to mold public policy and content (as in the television child protection rules against explicit content during certain broadcast hours). Control of the medium can lead to the control of the content itself. Freedom advocates fear that this is the slippery slope that government intrusion has in a channel of commerce to limit or censor free speech.

But there is a more sinister applications that could arise under a new regulatory scheme. The FCC could regulate government “access” to networks and their security protocols in order to gain personal and private information without court warrants. There have been numerous reports that the government, including the NSA, have been trying to hack phone distribution channels without probable cause. The new FCC rules could bloom to create a back door authorization that violates the Constitution.

Another growing problem in the government regulatory system is the rise of crony capitalism. This is where a government agency grants a specific firm special rights in a certain field which stymies free competition. The FCC could implement new rules on broadband speeds to help streaming services at a cost prohibitive cost to the backbone providers. The FCC could insure data speed limits which could lead to civil remedies which would be helpful to the plaintiff's bar collect class action fees.

 

 

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iCAR MYTH ANALYSIS

Wall Street analysts have too much time on their hands. They like to spend public corporations treasuries on products that they'd like to see . . . but if they were such great ideas, why don't the analysts create them by themselves? Because making money is still very hard.

Apple has made a lot of money. It holds more than $172 billion in cash. That is why Wall Street continually barks about Apple spending its hoard on outlandish concepts or ideas.

The latest speculative rumor is that Apple is going to build its own automobile. The basis for the rumor was a modified van wandering off the Apple campus and that apparently Apple was hiring away Tesla Motors battery engineers. Of course, two different facts do not formulate into a real business plan. It sounds more like a crack pipe dream.

Apple is a computer hardware and software company. Most of its revenues are tied to the highly successful smartphone platform, which now is 92 percent of the profits in this space. The acquisition, distribution and storage of information is what has been driving Apple profits. Automotive manufacturing does not fit into this area of expertise.

Before General Motors went bankrupt, it was really a health care and benefits administrator who build vehicles on the side. Decades of expensive union contracts and foreign competition killed GM's business model as the foundational industrial power in the U.S.

To start up a new auto company takes massive capital expenses, a new concept and flawless execution. Elon Musk's Tesla Motors new vision of an electric car is an played as an environmentalist's wet dream, but Tesla continues to fail at meeting its manufacturing goals and profitability expectations. Electric cars are part of the cultural niche of a Hollywood fad in a global petro-based planet. (Even the concept of electricity being one of the most pollution causing industries does not seem to phase electric car proponents). Apple building an electric car will not save the planet, but drain its savings accounts.

Apple has enough legal and regulatory issues to add a new high cost, low return highly scrutinized auto division to its product lines.

But that does not mean that Apple cannot be a vendor in the automotive industry. What is at stake in modern cars? What are manufacturers trying to do to hook car buyers? The discourse usually involves the high tech aspect of electronics inside a vehicle; driver convenience aids are hot like interactive GPS maps. The following items are more probable than Apple building its own vehicles.

Control of the dashboard. There is plenty of space in vehicles for convenience technology. People have become dependent on digital maps that are standard fare on their smartphones. It is possible that Apple is trying to upgrade its mapping technology to appeal to dashboard integration. On the same dependency scale, drivers are subject to significant citation fines for handling a phone or texting while driving their car. The hands free phone connection which is part of the dash controls is a valuable feature for phone addicts, like salesmen who live in their cars while they make their rounds. If Apple can get its iPhone to be the new “base station dock” in cars, then a person will have all their contacts, phone numbers, music and apps at their finger tips (or with the new Mac OS, voice command).

Being a Green Company. Tim Cook has preached that corporations should be respectful to the environment. Apple recently committed almost a billion dollars on solar technology to use at its facilities. Apple has tried to push current technology into new innovative uses. As such, Apple could become an auto supplier of unique, special car parts:

Glass. Apple's new corporate HQ is going to have cutting edge curved glass panels. Since it is on the forefront of new glass technology (including high impact and touch sensitive phone screens), it is probable that Apple could expand its knowledge base to make new curved windshields (with heads up displays) or entertainment console touch screens.

Entertainment. With iTunes and Beats, Apple may be in a position to start a personalized alternative to current radio stations. Apple could try to become the radio-music version of Netflix. One could dock their phone into a dash dock, then the phone could link to the driver's (or passenger's) iCloud account to stream their playlists to the vehicle speakers.

Battery Technology. Batteries are toxic. It is the nature of the science. Even though lead acid batteries have been replaced by lithium ion batteries, there still are issues with batteries - - - cost, efficiency and stability. There is market demand for someone to build “a better battery.” Apple has always tried to improve its product components, including battery technology (as one of the selling features of products is the elusive battery life statistics.)

Design Consultant. Apple continually wins design awards for its products. Early automotive manufacturers only built the vehicle platforms (chassis, engine, drive train) and the customer then took the base frame to a coach builder to complete the body and interior. One famous coach builder was Fisher, who later got bought by GM when car makers decided to integrate and sell complete cars to the general public. Early automotives were luxury items that sophisticated purchasers had some control over their final assembly. Today, car manufacturers, in order to control costs, use feature packages and standard platforms when they sell their cars to the public. There are very few options.

One criticism of modern car makers is that most of the vehicles look similar. There are no true brand identifiers to the casual car consumer. This is because most design schools use the same basic CAD programs so a style is hard wired in every design team. Prior art was that car bodies were sculpted in clay in full size models, which was later transferred into machine dyes to cast parts such as fenders, hoods, roofs, etc.

Since Apple has learned to tap the interactive dynamics and minimal design cache to win loyal fan base. Apple could leash its expertise in designing exterior car bodies to the look and feel of car interiors. With car interiors, there may be a “better way” to interact with dash controls. Apple has a good track record for finding new solutions to old technologies.

There are many more realistic alternatives than Apple jumping off a canyon cliff to build their own iCar vehicle.

 

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POST SCRIPT ESSAY

As a post script to last month's Relationships issue, there has been some feedback beyond the science and cultural aspects of people uniting as one. The one point was that if one is in a relationship, how does one maintain it? Does it entail routine maintenance like changing the oil in your car?

Statistics show that after eight years about one half of first marriages end in divorce. Divorcees on average waited another four years to remarry (with the same divorce rate).

Half of marriages are not doomed from the start. Counselors believe that couples need to push away the fog of new romance and infatuation to truthfully discuss the big issues prior to diving into full commitment. The major issues that couples need to work out (and work on during a marriage) include finances, children, job status, and long term goals (including large purchases such as a house). Partners need to be compatible with their partners' goals, dreams and spending habits. Conflicts, especially early on in a marriage, can fester and grow like a cancer in a relationship. Experts believe that a person should not marry another person with the project that they will change their behavior.

Couples need to stop being competitive and learn to work together to solve problems. In the courtship routine, there is a game that men and women play. There is a competition in the match making market place. Some people feel it more than others. Some people believe that finding happiness is their sole goal in life. But happiness is a two-way street, not a game of wins and losses. You cannot apply a career track competitive behavior to nurturing a relationship.

One needs to respect the other person and their opinions. Respect means always being open and honest with each other and accepting your partner, as is, with all their faults, tendencies and insecurities. Some of the tension in relationships stem from the personal fears of rejection and insecurities (body issues, emotional stress, expectations) that people burden themselves. Being able to sort out what is a real issue to address rather than a fictional worry is part of an open communication process which is critical for success in long term relationships. If you cannot have long, interesting and respectful conversations on serious topics with your significant other, then you are more likely to have communication problems in the future.

If together you can overcome life's various challenges, both parties will thrive in that environment of trust and communication. A healthy, fulfilling relationship takes some effort, because two people no matter how compatible they are or how strong their attraction to each other are going to have issues and differing expectations at some point. The easy way for dealing with problems might include moving on to a new partner, stonewalling (otherwise known as the silent treatment) or keeping separate social circles, but the only way to really resolve relationship issues involves talking things out together and agreeing on a plan. Research indicates that happy couples in healthy relationships communicate openly and frequently. If one waits until there is a problem to [say anything], then the only communication is going to be when something is wrong. Each person also has to listen, though its not simply the act of communicating that is important, but also [hearing and] receiving it.

At times, people forget why they fell in love with their partner. Time and familiarity may temper those initial, mutual emotional bonds. Sociologists believe true love requires willingly giving and taking in equal measures between spouses. Successful marriages are not written on a scorecard of who won more arguments over the other person. Love is not getting your personal needs met. Research has found that one can get pleasure from getting your needs met, but never true, lasting happiness because true happiness requires some give-and-take from both partners. In Eastern cultures, “Love is the wish to make someone happy.”

The best way to make someone else happy is to support them. Real relationship success comes from bringing out the best in each other. Relationships are not competitions; rather, they offer springboards for both partners to become more than they could on their own. In a healthy, happy relationship, each person brings out the best qualities in the other while finding a way for your relative weaknesses to be neutralized and even embraced. Compatible mates are able to motivate each other to reach their full potential as individuals.

Counselors like to ask these important questions: “If you are in a relationship and are trying to decide if its a good one, think about how you feel. Does the person drain you, or energize you? Do you like [this individual] as a person and like how you are [when you are together]?” A great relationship should provide the support each person needs in order to become their best.

A recent article on dating characteristics for women found that women should erase the bad boy persona of romance novels and movies and look hard for love with a simple guy. Simple guys are not dull, dumb or unattractive Hail Mary passes at the end of the game of Biological Clock.

Matchmakers think that many women overlook excellent potential partners become of preconceived, true love, cultural cues. They stress to their female clients:

The simple, nice guy category are the ones who put you first and bring simple laughter to your life rather than more stress. They are laid back and positive. They do not try to consume you. They are the goofballs. They are the guys who have the big hearts and who sometimes say the wrong things, but always come through for you. He is your best friend. He is a good listener. He will give you advice but not tell you what do. He is just a nice guy, and he is great at it. He can win your heart with the simple actions. He gets a lot of enjoyment out of the simple things in life. . He rarely has mood swings. He does not say anything to you with the intention to instill hidden meaning. You have learned not to read into things with him because there is honestly no point in doing so. He comes through for you and you know you can depend on him. He never picks a fight or creates problems where they do not exist. He can make you laugh in literally any situation, even when you did not intend to laugh. He does not hold grudges or draw out disagreements. He would much rather say forget it, then move on to another subject. He does not always understand your girl problems, but he tries to understand. He does not try to take you from your friends, family or career. He wants you to love everyone you love and be happy and never tries to hold you back from relationships with others. He knows what he wants and does not doubt your relationship, even if you sometimes do. He is either in or out, and you know he will tell you either way. He handles difficult situations with brilliant patience. He calmly takes hardships as they come and evaluates situations for what they are. He grounds you when you need him to. He has gotten progressively better at relating to you. He has learned and paid attention enough to not be totally clueless as to how females operate. He does not have any problem spending time with the people to whom you introduce him. He does not cause conflicts with the people you love. He just goes with it and gets along with everyone. He keeps his word. He respects your ability to make decisions for yourself. You know he would always choose you and always have your back. You know hell always bring sunshine to the plainest parts of life. You know he respects your independence and wants whats best for you. You know he wont bring you complications or dramatic affairs. He just brings you hugs that swallow you whole, laughter that makes your stomach hurt and forehead kisses when you feel like the world is tumbling down. Counselors conclude that this kind of man is the real hero that most women are all looking to find.

Those same characteristics are equally applicable to a man looking for the right woman. Those simple personality traits are hard wired into the individual so they will not change over time; they are constants that another person can lean and count on. Each element of character and personality adds to the level of compatibility two people share. The more a couple shares in common, the more likely is that their relationship foundation will be sound and long lasting.

The bottom line is that relationships are complex interpersonal dynamics. Since every person is a unique individual, every relationship itself is unique. But there is an element of common sense to find common ground. If you treat others like you want yourself to be treated, then you will find clarity, honesty and openness that are important cornerstones in any relationship.

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