Net Neutrality, Target Audience, and Startup Programs

Hello French Fries!

     I would like to wish a very Happy Erev Hanukah to any Jewish readers out there. I have gotten some feedback that I should clarify who my target audience is with this blog. This blog is mostly aimed towards anybody who is interested in the comings and goings of the tech industry, the politics facing it, and/or anybody in need of a good tech tip. Furthermore, I have intentionally used a voice and language style that is accessible in order to allow this blog to be a resource for those less technologically inclined or who are just starting out in a hobby or career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), or are unfamiliar with the industry as a whole and just want to learn more about it. That is not to say that I’m only targeting newer initiates into the tech world; I welcome any and all readers regardless if they have 60 years or 60 minutes of experience in the great and marvelous world of technology.

     Now, without further adieu, I give you my rant of the day: Many of you French fries may have most likely heard the phrase “Net Neutrality”. For those of you who have not, Net Neutrality is the present governing policy that ISP’s must treat all data on the network equally. This prevents ISP’s from discriminating based on users, content, websites, etc. and prevents them from charging users extra to access a site they don’t like or slowing down connection speeds to sites or services that don’t pay the ISP’s extra. While this system has only been codified into legal policy and enforced in the United States since 2015, a recent period in human terms, time is relative. With the rate that the internet, and ergo knowledge, grows, that’s a long time for the tech industry to be operating under the assumption that Net Neutrality is the underlying policy upon which the industry operates.

    The FCC, which is the organization by which Net Neutrality became the law of the land, is now under new leadership. The new regime is now on the verge of repealing this system. The controversial new head of the FCC is Ajit Pai, a former attorney and lobbyist for Verizon (one of the more prominent ISP’s in the United States). Mr. Pai has a track record of being vocal about his traditional small government, free enterprise conservative views, and backing that up with action consistently. Mr. Pai’s FCC has refused to classify the infrastructure the ISP’s rely on as a utility. Even if the cables and network nodes operate very similarly to how power, phone and water lines do in infrastructure terms, and even though the internet has become as necessary of a tool as phones in the modern era, classification as a utility comes with a whole new host of regulations and rules which runs counter to Mr. Pai’s ideology. For the very same reasons, Mr. Pai is bringing up for a vote a plan to end Net Neutrality in two days time because, in his view, it is a burdensome government interference in the economy. If there is one thing I do admire in this crazy political world that is 2017’s America, it is somebody who has a consistent political philosophy, and sticks by it regardless of the circumstances. However, I must respectably disagree with Mr. Pai’s position to move and end Net Neutrality.

I try not to take sides on many issues that I discuss since I want to remain an objective voice, but as a burgeoning, novice blogger in the infancy of my project here (this is only my 5th post after all), I must rely on net neutrality to allow as many of you French fries as possible to discover my blog, and be able to access it freely. As you may have noticed, this is my first post directly released on my own domain instead of through Blogger (Google’s blogging service). Within the week that I started this blog, I had over 5000 views, which, in my opinion, is a healthy amount for a brand new blog not yet crawled through by the search engine spiders. Because I was receiving what I perceive to be a healthy level of traffic, I purchased the burgerfried domain yesterday and then purchased a webhosting subscription in order to have a more customizable and professional appearance. Now, if Net Neutrality is waived, what is to stop an ISP who has a competitive outlook towards Google to slow or bar connections to Blogger, or to charge extra for viewers to access Google’s services? Maybe they own their own blogging service and want to encourage their customers to use that one, so they charge extra or throttle connection speeds of anyone using Blogger. Furthermore, now that I’m set up on my own domain and website, what would prevent an unregulated ISP to require me to pay them a fee if I want my blog to be accessible on their service? I’m sure you may have noticed, but as of December 12th, 2017, I don’t have any advertisements on my blog, and I don’t charge a subscription, nor do I plan to ever charge a subscription, so I do not profit from this blog (yet).

    I am lucky enough to have a solid day job that pays me well and affords me the ability to finance and run my own blog. However, letting ISP’s write their own rules has the potential to stifle competition and new innovation by basically allowing a pay-to-play structure to be developed. Many individuals or small businesses with an entrepreneurial idea that requires the internet might not be able to afford to stay in business if they have to pay ISP’s to allow their product to be accessible. The Great Recession is still a recent memory and we as a global economy are still in the midst of recovering from it. By allowing the opportunity for big and powerful corporations to charge and basically bully the little guys into paying in order to have a voice, Mr. Pai’s FCC is basically shutting down a major avenue of job and revenue creation for many smaller businesses in a time that we can ill-afford to stifle economic growth. Big ISP’s such as Verizon and Comcast have a fiduciary duty to their stock holders to make as much money as they possibly can while staving off as much of the competition as possible, so there is no reason to expect them not to take advantage of the rule changes if Net Neutrality is to be overturned. Thus, I urge each and every one of you (American) French Fries out there, take a stand, and contact your representatives in Congress, because if Net Neutrality is killed by the FCC (which the odds are that it will be), it will be up to Congress to pass legislation to keep Net Neutrality in place.

   Now, for my tech tip of the day: There are programs we all add to our machines as we customize them to our needs and tastes. Some of these programs, however, like to automatically open up upon startup and slows our booting processes down (I’m looking at you, iTunes). So, if you want these programs to open up only when you tell them to, instead of upon startup, you need to deactivate them in the start up menu.

 

If you are on a Windows 10 machine:

hold the ‘windows’ key, and press the ‘r’ key. then type (or copy and paste) in the following path:

%AppData%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Right click the programs you want don’t want opening upon startup and select ‘delete’

 

If you are on a Windows 7 machine:

In the start menu, select ‘All programs’ and navigate to ‘Start up’

Right click the programs you want don’t want opening upon startup and select ‘delete’

 

If you are on a Mac machine:

Go to System Preferences, and select ‘Users & Groups’

Select your Username, and proceed to Login Items

Select and highlight the programs you want to move, and hit the – button.

 

Well folks, I hope this will help your machines start up more quickly and with less nuisances. If you disagree with my opinions on net neutrality and think it’s regulatory overreach, or would like to share your opinion or continue the discussion, please comment! It’s winter, so bundle up and stay warm! Until next time…

…the ketchup is in the sauce.

 

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