Data Roads, Sharing Networks, and DIY Movements.

We often stumble around different links on the web to discover unexpected and new items. Yesterday I came across this blog post about installing a DIY barbecue island in a new back patio, written by someone I’ve never heard of before at 231BLOG. A few of the pictures struck me as possible depictions of private data roads installations, shown below.

pipe-lines-for-BBQ

My only criticism of the above design is that a single Cat6a cable could take the place of both the coaxial TV cable and speaker line, and possibly a DC power line as well (if used with the proper Power over Ethernet equipment). Then you could get power, sound, video, and anything else that can be encoded as binary data via a single line. Of course, once you start seeing places to put data cables, they start appearing everywhere. Continue reading “Data Roads, Sharing Networks, and DIY Movements.”

A few different takes on Net Neutrality

Lists like this should all be prefaced with this statement of fact: there is absolutely no legitimate support for ending network neutrality anywhere, and anyone acting against net neutrality has a direct and personal short-term financial interest in fostering network monopolies and online extortion. This is usually because they are being paid directly by the incumbent monopolists and extortionists, either as a lobbyist or another form of political campaign financier.

Network neutrality protects capitalist competition online against corrupt government officials picking crony market winners and losers, so there is no legitimate economic or political argument to be made against net neutrality. The only rational discussion left is about how to act to restore net neutrality in the US and abroad, and how quickly.

Let’s start with a lighthearted and semi-serious take on the issues. Of all main stream media analysis, John Oliver’s new show does the best work on this topic.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) on Net Neutrality

Next up is a similar mainstream analysis of net neutrality, this time with a target audience who frequently plays video games.

Continue reading “A few different takes on Net Neutrality”

Open letter to Los Angeles City’s Information Technology Agency

In response to the City of Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN)
Initiative and related Request for Information (RFI)

An open letter to:
Steve Reneker
General Manager
Information Technology Agency
200 N. Main St. 14th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-978-3311
Steve.Reneker@LAcity.org

On behalf of:
Data Roads Foundation
1793 Northwood Ct.
Oakland, CA. 94611
http://DataRoads.org/

Data Roads Foundation is responding to this City of Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN) Initiative and the related Request for Information (RFI), despite the fact it asks the all wrong questions based on a nonsensical approach to infrastructure investment, as defined here:

http://ita.lacity.org/ForResidents/CommunityBroadband/CityLinkLAProject/index.htm

Continue reading “Open letter to Los Angeles City’s Information Technology Agency”

Los Angeles City gives away yet another monopoly

Los Angeles City officials have figured out yet another way to give an Internet access monopoly away to the incumbent haves, while pretending they’re doing it all for the poor have-nots. They are calling it the City of Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN), even though their stated approach is nothing like the community fiber networks already deployed in much smaller cities in the US — including the Chattanooga fiber network which was cited in the LACBN FAQ. That FAQ also contains the key flaw in the whole LACBN unicorn-hunting farce — both the question and answer in #4:

4) Why wouldn’t the City have LADWP build out the fiber network and offer internet services?

Continue reading “Los Angeles City gives away yet another monopoly”

Should everyone wear camouflage burqas all the time, or just go out naked?

The short answer for your privacy: Yes!

The medium answer: If you care about your comprehensive privacy at all times, then yes you should wear a camouflage burqa all the time. If you don’t, then you might as well go out naked in public.

I hope you’re now curious enough to read the longer answer below.

Camouflage burqas block infrared drone vision.
These burqas camouflage the wearer from infrared drone detection. © 2013 Adam Harvey

Continue reading “Should everyone wear camouflage burqas all the time, or just go out naked?”

Communication Rights Illustrated: Pen Pals Past the Hill

A big reason the Data Roads Foundation needs to exist is that technology and enterprise need to implement and support basic human communication rights, with guidance from regular people. These rights are partially defined in the US Constitution, its First Amendment, Articles 12 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and Articles 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These rights include individual freedom of expression (i.e. a right to public data), a right to privacy (i.e. personal financial and health communications), and a right to anonymity as protection from reprisal (i.e. unpopular public speech and whistleblowing).

These rights are such a fundamental basis of human law and governance that they override laws meant to protect against the harms caused by malicious communications, such as terrorist networks and personal threats. Just governments realize there are better ways to protect our fellow citizens and detect harms than to trample on individual freedoms — public anonymous speech reveals wrongs so they can be corrected, and trustworthy private exchanges deepen civil relationships. Denying these rights for illusory claims of “added security” just make everyone worse off. No government or representative has any monopoly on defining “right” or “wrong” for all humans in all times, so these communication rights are necessary to discuss and refine these definitions among equal peers.

Continue reading “Communication Rights Illustrated: Pen Pals Past the Hill”

Help Me Contact My Heroes

In case you can’t tell by the writing style and sparse dates of all the past blog posts here, you should know I’m a fairly reserved guy. My wife actually bought me a shirt that says “Just shy, not anti-social. (You can talk to me!)”  I’m not always confident the middle part of that shirt’s declaration is completely true, so I don’t wear it very often. It is proof of my passion for human-centric Internet ownership that this blog exists at all, I’m putting my real name on it, and it has gotten this far with fiscal sponsorship and discussions with Internet-famous people.

Every well functioning non-profit needs more than one driver. In fact, before full incorporation and filing, independent 501(c)(3) organizations are each required to have a functioning Board of Directors. Fiscal sponsorees (like Data Roads Foundation) have a similar group called a Steering Committee. It’s usually also best to have a Board of Advisers, if not multiple Advisory Committees. These groups are almost always unpaid volunteers, even though they are all great leaders who would be paid a hefty sum for their services in the for-profit world.

There’s lots of advice out there about how to choose Board/Committee Members. My personal favorite advice is: advancing a shared social cause is a great excuse to contact and join your heroes. In this case, all of our official Steering Committee Meetings will be held online, so geography isn’t a choice limiter.

My list of the greatest heroes of causes related to Data Roads Foundation is below. Each nominee has a point of online reference next to their name, to show why they belong on this list:

The Data Roads Foundation Dream Team

Continue reading “Help Me Contact My Heroes”

What is a “Fiscal Sponsor”?

Starting a nonprofit corporation is the most difficult type of legal incorporation you can accomplish in America today. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revoked 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from hundreds of thousands of charitable corporations, some within just months after they were first granted c3 status due to a computer glitch. This has devastating effects on the basic bookkeeping and survival of nonprofit activities worldwide. The IRS is widely known to be slow to grant c3 status — so slow that their computers immediately revoke it after determination letters are finally sent, because the proper Form 990 submissions are not in their system from the past 2 years (never mind it’s almost impossible to properly submit the Form 990 without first gaining nonprofit status and a corresponding Employer Identification Number)!

In other words: the IRS is so slow to acknowledge innovative nonprofit activity and its worldwide benefits that it makes new nonprofit incorporation nearly impossible, implicitly favoring for-profit activity instead.

For the reasons above, among others, the majority of responses to my early search for nonprofit startup advice can be summarized in one short emphatic phrase: “Find a fiscal sponsor!” So what the heck is that?

Continue reading “What is a “Fiscal Sponsor”?”

An Internet Pioneer Responds!

Vint Cerf Responds!

I always had a theory that the greatest sign of human intelligence is the ability to ask the right questions. I’ve now had that theory confirmed anecdotally by Dr. Vinton Grey “Vint” Cerf. If you don’t know who that is, please go study that name on Google right now, and finish reading this afterward.

Wikipedia article on Vint Cerf:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf

The text below is taken directly from an email thread I exchanged with “Vint” (as he calls himself in his email salutation). I edited it down to eliminate parts of the conversation out of context with the main conversation, and to make this look more like an interview rather than an email thread. I honestly didn’t expect to be the main one talking in this interview! Really!

Continue reading “An Internet Pioneer Responds!”