Music Technology

Gmail/Youtube coming back to Fire ?

Amazon has decided to sell Google Chromecast and Apple TV products again and Gmail, Youtube and Google Play users may be able to access those services through the Fire TV or the Fire tablets again. These products have re-appeared on should be re-appearing on the Canadian site soon.

RIP Net Neutrality

The FCC has voted to end Net Neutrality in the United States with a vote of 3 to 2.

So, what now?

Well, according to a vice president at Comcast everything would be pretty much the same for their customers, making me wonder why they needed to throw the baby out with the bathwater to obtain status quo?

What exactly did net neutrality hinder really? Where are the pro-consumer explanations as to why it had to go, beyond the vague generalizations provided?

What’s to stop the internet providers from striking deals with American companies to slow access to their competitors down now? Where are the rules to protect foreign companies from protectionism?

American consumers will now be beta testing whatever comes along, on their dime, until rules are established. And by then if actions are taken against anyone via the usual class action suits, the consumer will get pennies on the dollar back.

Seriously, what exactly is the average American getting out of this?

Ontario Scalper Bill Debate

The proposed law to regulate ticket scalping and the use of bots is being debated for the last time today in the Ontario Provincial Legislature. But apparently, some ticket companies are complaining that the proposed 50% above ticket value cap will simply drive scalpers to other sites.

As an event ticket purchaser, I can reassure them that I will never go out of my way to find more expensive tickets. And quite frankly I would distrust these rather shady scalpers, as would anyone else, especially if they sold their tickets on unregulated, questionable sites.

I suspect that most of these tickets would be fake so where’s the argument against the 50% cap, really? How exactly would legitimate sites profit by selling these fake tickets?

Steps need to be taken against the utter nonsense that’s happening. And this is simply the first step.

New Tablet

Amazon Canada has just released their 8″ Fire tablets in Canada, enabling people to access Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, Kindle, Prime Music and Prime video for 12 hours on one charge for less than $130.

The device has a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and is available in with either 16 GB and 32 GB internal storage, which can be expanded by another 256 using a MicroSD card. It also has front and back facing 720p HD cameras, though these are 2 MP.

I personally don’t use my tablet for photography so I wouldn’t mind the lower resolution. But I prefer a larger screen, although this compact tablet would be great for those longer train or plane rides. I’d definitely consider one for those trips over my significantly more expensive Samsung tablet, which doesn’t have as much battery life and storage capacity as the Fire Tablet.

Yes, Youtube, Google Play and Gmail will not likely be available via an app on this tablet because of the ongoing issues in-between Google and Amazon. But you should be able to access these services through the tablet’s browser and Plex is available on this tablet, an app that allows people to access media on their personal computer.

Overall, i’d say it’s a great tablet for the price.

Cyber Monday

Looking through the Cyber Monday sales there still appears to be a few good deals to be had from, its international counterparts, Best Buy Canada, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, NewEgg Canada, Second Spin, Sonos Canada and other retailers listed on my previous blog entry so i’ll be busy shopping around today.

I’ve already found a significant drop in price for the Deluxe version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango In The Night” and will be keeping my eye out for other deals. 🙂

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Net Neutrality Still Under Attack

It appears that Americans will have no choice but to subscribe to services dictated to them by their internet providers. And that Canadians will be up for a fight to retain fast access with the states.

That’s right, not only are these Americans limited in regards to their choice of internet providers but these providers will be able to throttle sites that compete with sites they own or have business relationships with, which include Canadian sites.

Although this is being sold as an improvement to the internet by the Federal Communications Commission in their official November 21st, 2017 statement (PDF), most experts know that this is yet another call for deregulation, a process that eventually results in parties imposing themselves on the consumer, without a means for the consumer to defend himself/herself.

In this statement, the FCC claims “the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate” yet nothing is mentioned about the lack of competition is some states or the possibility of fees being placed on accessing certain sites like Netflix, iTunes or even, who also stream content to Americans.

The bill itself calls for the US Government “to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from reclassifying broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service and from imposing certain regulations on providers of such service” with no information on how it proposes to regulate internet providers that currently hold a monopoly on high speed internet access in some areas or how it would prevent some internet providers from blocking certain competitors or redirecting traffic to their sites.

As Canadians we should also be conserved about these content providers because whatever happens in their primary market can determine how much we pay for their services here. And it appears that quite a few of the content providers are spending considerable amounts fighting the so called “Restoring Internet Freedom Act” because it hinders not only their freedom but the freedom of their customers.

In what way is the average consumer having his or her freedoms hindered by net neutrality ?

The claim that access is being withheld because internet providers are unable to fund their infrastructure is made dubious by the amount of profit these companies release every quarter. They can easily afford expanding but won’t because they want to re-direct their customers to more profitable in house services, whose cable television services have been suffering because of the new content providers.

In other words they’re asking the FCC to give them their cable television customers back by enabling them to throttle and block their competition, which could easily include streaming broadcasts from television networks they do not own. This is a rather vague, slippery slope situation that could be so litigious as to cause subscription fees to skyrocket beyond the inflation rate. And the North American Free Trade Agreement talks won’t help either.

If you have American friends, please encourage them to visit Open Media and to contact their local representatives in regards to this issue.

Thank you.