Comcast Is Controlling Your Life, And You Didn’t Even Know It!

It's not like those times you find yourself watching Anthony Bourdain on the travel channel and think "oh, just one more episode," and then suddenly it's two days later. It's more like those times you're trying to share that sweet new Kanye track and you can't. Yeah.

Comcast, the second largest internet company in the country, has been caught totally blocking certain web traffics. Like, well, high-speed subscribers sharing files. What does that spell? Data discrimination, dude. Which totally runs up against ideas of net neutrality. Dude.

The discreet blocking is one of the most gnarly examples of data discrimination by a U.S. internet provider to date, even involving company computers pretending to be users. AND if these tactics were used by all U.S. internet providers, it would totally kill file-sharing networks. Like that.

Comcast's file-sharing blocks are part of a pretty lame way of controlling bandwidth, and it comes in the form of blocking uploads, not downloads. But if nobody is uploading anything, then there's nothing to download, right? Right.

So heres the process:

- go to upload something

- another "user" (a.k.a. Comcast company computer) sends a message to stop communications

- upload stops.

- ta-da!

This could be seen as simply "traffic shaping," which is common, but what Comcast is doing involves overt trickery, only effects one type of traffic (file-sharing), and actually stops uploads, instead of just slowing them down. It's also completely random, so it could in fact be stopping legal OR illegal files. My assessment? Bullshit!

DND Chat Transcript: The iTunion Deearem Freedom Campaign Part Two

GameMaster: As you know from our last campaign, the iTunions freed the EMI Major Labelus songlings from the cursed Deearem, which prevented the songlings from being transferred, burnt, and copied under certain restrictions. This was annoying for the users and has sparked a flame within the capitol.

Indey Labelus: The capitol being the Music Industry?

GameMaster: Correct. Now let me set the scene. Indey, you are at the capitol and you are next in line for the freeing of the dreaded Deearem from your body. You step up to the throne and before you stands Emperor Stevus Jobes. He speaks to you.

Steveus Jobes: By all that is iHoly! It is so exciting to see you before me today! I know that not all of your brethren in iTunia will be joining you, but you represent a large chunk of Indyland, so most of you will be free of Deearem, and I will bless everyone with a ninety-nine centia price tag.

GameMaster: Steveus Jobes casts Deearemfreedomus; he rolls a 17. I need you to roll to absorb the spell.

[Indey Rolls]

[Indey Rolls a 20]

Indey Labelus: Fuck yes!

GameMaster: Dude, don't be lame -- stay in character, no meta-game thinking or speaking! Your character would not say "fuck yes."

Indey Labelus: Least I'm free of Deearem! Oh man, brb -- my mom just came downstairs and told me the pizza is here. I'm gonna go grab a slice.

[Indey Labelus is AFK]

GLOSSARY:

Deearem - DRM, Digital Rights Management. Bullshit pieces of code that
prevent you from fully enjoying music you've legally purchased.

iTunion, iTunia - iTunes

Indey Labelus - Indie Labels

Stevus Jobes - Steve Jobs

GameMaster - Guy who runs Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. Sometimes known as a Dungeon Master.

Songlings - Songs

AFK - Away from keyboard. World of Warcrack players use this a lot.

"By all that is iHoly" - Typical expression when Apple addicts cream
themselves for shit like the iPhone. These same people whip out their
iPhone at every opportune time.

Apostle of Hustle, Hallelujah!

I shifted my weight in the pew, eyes downcast, restless hands folding and unfolding the Sunday bulletin. All around me, aging folk seeking redemption were trying desperately to stay awake. Little boys played with the laces of their dress shoes and teenage girls chewed gum with expressions of uttermost boredom. An old man next to me smiled contently, doing a crossword puzzle he hid between the pages of his hymnal.

My eyes followed the curve of the stained glass window toward the pulpit, when something I'd heard peaked my interest; I listened as the bespectacled priest began to read from a leather bound Bible of foreboding proportion.

"And the Apostle of Hustle shall tour the United States through the months of October and November in the year of our Lord 2007. And with him shall follow those who are honest and good in all that they Do Make Say Think--"

And that's when I offered my soul to the devil in exchange for a pair of tickets and a backstage pass.

* Do Make Say Think

It’s a Mitzvah! Yo La Tengo to Celebrate the Festival of Lights in Grand Style

I have no doubt the boys and girl of Yo La Tengo are cognizant of Judah the Maccabee’s miraculous revolt and victory against the Hellenistic Syrians around 165 B.C.E., and that, when the Temple was rededicated, the one cruse of sacramental oil miraculously burned for eight days. But methinks their decision to celebrate the “lesser” Jewish festival has less of a historical significance vibe to it and more of a gift-giving and pleasure-seeking motive. Yes, for the fifth time in seven years, Hoboken’s dearest will play eight days of shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken at the beginning of December to celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah. The shows have become as much a holiday tradition as sitting around eating latkes and spinning the dreidel due to the motley nature of the band’s daily sets and the variety of the special guests that participate every night. Exactly who these guests will be this year will remain a mystery until they take to the stage. As the band explains on their website and MySpace page:

As in the past, each show will begin with an opening band, followed by some comedy, and then a Yo La Tengo set. And perhaps more. That’s all we’re going to tell you, so don’t ask who’s playing. We can guarantee that it’ll be great, and that no matter what night you’re there, you’ll wish you had come another night instead. That’s just the way you are; there’s nothing we can do about that.” Past musical and comedy acts have been heavy hitters (for example, 2005’s shows included sets by Tortoise, Sun Ra Arkestra, Half Japanese, Eugene Mirman, Demetri Martin, etc.) so if you don’t want to miss an historic concert just camp out in Maxwell’s dumpster and attend all eight days.

Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah tenancy runs from the 24th of Kislev (December 4) to the 2nd of Tevet (December 11). Additionally, the band is playing the Manifest Festival in Mexico City this coming weekend, a one-off show in November with Broken Social Scene at Cornell University, and will play on stage with Buckwheat Zydeco on November 7 in New York in celebration of Todd Haynes’ forthcoming Dylan flick I’m Not There. And there’s also the “Freewheeling Yo La Tengo Tour” which continues in Philadelphia tonight. This tour is “a rare opportunity to see this ever-surprising band in a setting more intimate and interactive than any tour in their 23-year career. A little bit Storytellers, a little bit Unplugged, with a soupcon of their famously varied Hanukkah shows, it will feature the band playing an almost-acoustic set of songs from their entire catalog, with stories about their life as a band, and an encouraged back-and-forth with the audience. Already famous for never playing the same show twice, this fresh look at Yo La Tengo offers rare insight into one of the most important, unique, and beloved bands in American rock.

Couldn’t have said it better myself

10.22.07 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church Sanctuary *#
10.23.07 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere *#
10.27.07 - Mexico City, Mexico - Manifest Festival
10.29.07 - Portland, OR - The Aladdin Theater *
10.30.07 - Seattle, WA - Town Hall *$
11.01.07 - San Francisco, CA - Palace of Fine Arts *%
11.03.07 - Hollywood, CA - Ivar Theatre *
11.04.07 - La Jolla, CA - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sherwood Auditorium *
11.07.07 - New York, NY - Beacon Theatre (playing with Buckwheat Zydeco) +
11.10.07 - North Adams, MA - MASS MoCA, Hunter Center *
11.11.07 - Ithaca, NY - Cornell University, Barton Hall ^
11.15.07 - Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts (2 shows, 6:30 & 9:30) *
12.04-11.07 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell’s

* “The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo Tour,”
# Jack Rose

$ Sir Richard Bishop

% Jonathan Richman

+ I’m Not There: In Concert w/Calexico, Cat Power, The Roots, My Morning Jacket, J Mascis, and many more

^ Broken Social Scene