TechCrunch is a Blog – Let’s Treat it like one

I read TechCrunch almost every day, doing so is one of the best ways to keep tabs on what companies are starting, (and stopping), and general trends in the tech industry.

I don’t always read the comments on TechCrunch, there are a lot of articles every day and I have to work sometime, however, in the comments that I have read recently I’ve noticed a theme emerging. Roughly, the theme is to say something like “This isn’t what your blog is about, so you shouldn’t have written this post” or they say something like “I don’t want to hear about this company.”

For example, last week, Mike Arrington posted Handshaking is so Medieval. Let’s end it. Mike doesn’t like shaking hands. He feels that it spreads germs and feels that we no longer need to show the people that we meet that we are not carrying a weapon. He followed it up yesterday by posting A Revolution Begins: OpenCandy has a Board Meeting and Nobody Shakes Hands, the title pretty much says it all.

After a healthy discussion got going on the original post there started to be some comments like “Geyt over it you stupid queer.” The comments on the follow-up post include things like this:

So the author was thinking “Hmm, slow news day. What should I write about? I know! I’ll write about myself.”

I’ve unsubscribed from your RSS feed. (source)

The editors at TechCrunch also post very frequently about Twitter. This should be no surprise as Twitter is one of the fastest growing companies out there right now, (By the way, you can follow me at @johnbeales on Twitter). With 17 million visitors from the US alone in April, if Twitter does something it’s worth reporting. Again, I find the comment section filled with comments such as:

This just in…TC is still all over Twitters nuts…(source)

ANOTHER twitter story? are you kidding me? What a joke… (source)

And again, we don’t care… (source)

My mother told me on several occasions that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, then I shouldn’t say anything at all, and I am going to paraphrase that for blog discussions: If you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything at all.

TechCrunch is Mike’s blog, so he can post what he wants, and if he, (or his editors), feels that Twitter is worth posting about, then so be it. He has found a place reporting tech news, but please remember that TechCrunch is a blog, not the technology section of a newspaper, and if Mike wants to have fun once in a while with a handshake revolution, or anything else, it’s his blog. For what it’s worth, I think we all need a little fun & distraction every once in a while.

An Open Letter to the CRTC

Re: CRTC 2008-19 (Review of the Internet traffic management practices of Internet service providers)

Dear Commissioners:

As a Canadian who depends on the Internet for my livelihood, I would like to share with you the consequences of your impending review of the Internet traffic management practices of ISPs.

My business, and most of the businesses I service, rely on the internet to provide content to end-users. In many cases this content takes the form of a written website, but in other cases it is video or downloadable files.

If you permit ISPs to use traffic management practices such as Deep Packet Inspection, or allow ISPs to give priority to traffic that is coming from or going to certain destinations, (for example, Google, or the Government of Canada), then you are allowing ISPs to unfairly discriminate against the traffic, (and by proxy, the end users of that traffic), that does not receive this priority treatment. If this priority is established by paying a fee, you are creating a potentially huge financial barrier to competition that small businesses like mine, and those of my clients will likely not be able to overcome. For me to compete against CanWest, BCE, and other major media companies, when my content is transmitted to end-users would be a near impossibility in a priority-based internet. If ISPs in Canada are permitted to decide whose data is transferred first, and whose data is throttled, Canada will not be an attractive place for any company that relies on the Internet to invest, or for an entrepreneur such as I to start a new Internet-based company.

Suppose the priority system is turned around, and it is the end-users that pay a premium for priority on the internet. In these tough times, should a laid-off autoworker be penalized for doing Google searches for jobs, or for visiting a job site such as Monster or Montréal-based StandoutJobs? I’m sure that I don’t have to answer that for you.

Yes, there has been a huge growth in traffic on the Internet, and it will continue to grow as more and more services move online, but the solution is not for ISPs to slow down the traffic on the internet or to limit how much information end-users can access, after all, they are in the business of selling internet access. To throttle internet traffic would be like a busy gas station only allowing you to depress the handle halfway when you are filling your car! The way to deal with more traffic on the internet is to build more capacity. According to the Public Notice that I am writing this letter in response to, 6% more households were high-speed internet subscribers in 2007 than in 2006. Would it not be reasonable to expect that with a 6% growth in subscribers, ISPs would add 6% more capacity to their network? It is quite apparent that as we reach 70% or 80% broadband penetration, ISPs’ existing networks will not be able to handle all of the new traffic, but this is exactly what it seems that ISPs want to have happen.

I am not suggesting that ISPs should bankrupt themselves building new networks, but if ISPs were able to make money in the early days of broadband without traffic management then, with today’s advances in networking technology and lower prices of computer and networking equipment, it should be even easier for them to make money today, still without traffic management.


John Beales

Note: Today is the last day to comment on the CRTC’s net-neutrality hearings. You can Read the full text of the CRTC notice and comment on the issue by going to this page, finding the button that says “pt2008-19-2” (at the bottom, or do a ctrl/cmf-f and search on that text), then clicking the button and using the form provided.

Opportunity in Tough Times

It is the dawn of the 2009 working year.  After spending a few days celebrating the new year, I spent the morning going through my inboxes, answering E-mail, and seeing what some bloggers out there have written over the past few days.  In NetNewsWire, I discovered Goldfish, by Greg Storey.  Greg suggests that in 2009, a year when many good designers, coders, and everything in between are losing their jobs, those of us who are fortunate enough to have more work than we can handle ourself should spread some of the wealth by hiring or sub-contracting to those who have lost their jobs.

In this new year,  it is simply not going to be enough to just meet your bottom line, but to help others who may not be in a position to be so entrepreneurial or carefree.

There in the comments on Greg’s post, there are commenters who are having a rough time and commenters who are still doing well.  To those having a rough time, reach out to those who are doing well, it is likely that they will have some work that needs doing.

I have work that needs doing, more than I can comfortably do myself.  I do a lot of development in collaboration with designers and occasionally take the lead on various projects.  If you are an (X)HTML/CSS, PHP, or Flash developer, give me a shout.  If you are a designer, I may need your skills too, so you should also give me a shout.  You can use the contact link on this page, (look up), or E-mail me at john at johnbeales dot com.

2009 has the potential to be the worst year ever, but it also has the potential to be the best year ever.  Tough times lead to change and opportunity.  Seize the opportunity.

Congratulations to Dropbox & Akoha!

Dropbox and Akoha, which I have been using and enjoying, have both been selected as finalists at TechCrunch50 Conference.  

I wrote about Akoha about a week and a half ago after I went to their party.  I’ve been trying it out since then and I’m impressed.  I still can’t really say much more though.

DropBox is a dead-simple file synchronization service.  There’s a small client program that runs in the background and keeps your “Dropbox” – a folder you designate, synced with other computers linked to your account.  You can also share synced folders within your Dropbox with other people, making a super easy way for everyone in a team to have the latest version of everything.

I highly recommend checking out the presentations by both Akoha and DropBox this week.  DropBox is tomorrow, sometime between 3:45 and 5:00 PM, (I think they’re last in the session), and Akoha is Wednesday, sometime between 10:30 and 11:45 AM, (it looks like they’re second).  All times Pacific.

Akoha seems really cool

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Akoha sneak preview event here in Montréal.  I can’t say much now, but Akoha seems pretty cool, and is something I want to use.

The Akoha folks really know how to put on a party and get a group of people excited about their product.  I’m excited.

I will write more later, when I’m allowed, and have used it for a while.  For now, pay attention, and if you have the opportunity to try it out for yourself then give it a shot.