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Netflix Leads Newsgroup Inquiry on Comcast-NBC Merger
February 8th, 2010

Netflix, the Web’s hottest video service, is voicing the worry that many media related newsgroups have that bandwidth providers could abuse their position as the gatekeepers of Internet access and purposely damage competing Web-video distributors.

With a strong voice coming from USENET newsgroups, Netflix has echoed the cause and is asking the FCC to look a little closer at its proposed net neutrality rules. They warn of a major loophole that would allow Comcast (especially if its NBCU merger is approved and other major cable and satellite companies) a major advantage in giving their own content a delivery edge.

Netflix’s comments to the FCC, first reported by The Washington Post on Monday, is a signal that the company sees a showdown coming with Comcast, Time Warner, and other broadband providers over the distribution of online video. According to the FCC filing:

“Netflix believes that the codification of the existing network neutrality principles, together with the addition of nondiscrimination and transparency, create an effective framework for preserving an open Internet. These rules will allow all parts of the industry — network operators, consumer electronics manufacturers, and edge providers of content, applications, and services — to continue to innovate at a rapid pace, unburdened by the unnecessary intervention of network operators or government regulators.”

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts responded in House and Senate hearings last week that the company has had no incentive to withhold NBC content from competitors. But did not speak specifically about how content would be offered and if (as one competing ISP said) the company would make NBC shows and movies available at such steep prices and conditions that it would be difficult for competitors to lease rights to the content.

Cable companies are seeing services like Netflix, which often are delivered “over-the-top” on devices like Sony’s PS3 and other gaming consoles, on Blu-ray players and, increasingly, on Internet-connected televisions, as a major threat. The recent merger between Comcast and NBC may seem imminent, but getting the ground rules in place for what would be allowed by these two media goliaths could severely impact the content available online in general. USENET newsgroup posts about the matter tend to genuinely disapprove about the move and believe that due to the history of both companies, scrutiny on the details need to be addressed.

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Apple iPad Tablet To Support Newsreader?
January 25th, 2010

ipadThe long-rumored Apple iPad, iSlate, iWhateveritsnameis Tablet PC is widely expected to make its debut in San Francisco on Jan. 27.  Although Apple has never confirmed that such a device is in the works, many Apple/Mac newsgroups agree that the Apple Tablet is imminent. Steve Jobs has recently been overheard and quoted as stating that the Apple Tablet may be the “most important thing I ever do” that further ignites these rumors and newsgroup speculation.

Many Apple newsgroup subscribers agree that Apple wants to change the way television, news, and books are distributed once and for all, and it’s going to use its soon to be unveiled tablet to try and do it. It already has seen this success with both the iPod becoming THE mp3 player of choice, not to mention the grand army of iPhone aficionados. With an Apple tablet, it may finally put the nail in the coffin as the mobile computing device of choice for many.

Lots of guesses are being put forward as a name: iTablet, iSlate, iPad. If it is the latter, Apple has a quick fight to the finish line to win. Whilst a company called Slate Computing — thought to be a front company for Apple — registered the iPad trademark in Canada, Europe and Hong Kong in July last year, Fujitsu still owns the iPad trademark for handheld computing in the U.S., although appeared less than committed to keeping it. Apple has now filed three petitions to extend the deadline to February 28 to take the name away from Fujitsu. Apple has until that date to submit evidence it is the rightful owner of the iPad trademark.

Unique to USENET newsgroups, mac newsgroups have been posting that this would not be the first time Steve Jobs attempted such a thing. Mac communities in nearby parallel universes have been playing with Apple tablets since the Reagan administration. The tablet was called “Bashful,” in reference to the dwarf in the fairy tale Snow White. Bashful was created alongside the Apple extension of the Snow White industrial-design language that Apple used from 1984 to 1990. This past week, Frog Design released pictures of the “Bashful” tablet, which was on the drawing boards in 1983, but never made it to the shipping stage. The Bashful looks like the top half of a PowerBook Duo combined with a keyboard stolen from an Apple IIc; a stylus rounded out the Bashful’s user interface. Variations of the Bashful tablet included one with an attached keyboard and one with a floppy-disk drive and a handle for portability. Some of the tablet prototypes included a stylus. And one concept even had an attached phone. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how the Bashful would have done on the market; Steve Jobs was more interested in another computer called the “Macintosh” at the time, and relations between Apple and Frog Design broke down when Jobs left Apple in 1985.

2010-01-25-170911No matter what form it finally takes, an Apple tablet is likely to have a drastic impact on the media world. Apple’s vision is supposedly of a tablet in every home—a shared device between family members that allow them to quickly check their e-mail or read the news. The device, which will sport a virtual keyboard, could have virtual sticky notes to leave for other family members or user identification using the device’s built-in camera. Although it’s unclear whether these features will make it into the final product, they do seem to have a family-oriented focus. The company has also been working with EA to show off the tablet’s gaming potential. No word on what applications will be able to run with it or if it will even be running an existing OS X operating system. Because of the lack of details of both the software as well as what capabilities of storage leaves little to speculate about a possible compatible newsgroup newsreader for the device.

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ThunderNews Announces 400 Days Retention
May 19th, 2009

ThunderNews.com is excited to announce binary retention is spooling to 400 days! This doubles our previous spooling capacity! Presently, our binary article retention has increased to 275 days with about 200 days of headers. At the present size of the Usenet feed and with projections for its size in the future, our retention will be growing to between 400 and 425 days by the end of 2009.

Our text article retention now reaches back over 1250 days.

We continue to invest in technology and infrastructure to bring the best Usenet has to offer to you, our customers. These service upgrades are brought to you without any additional cost for you. As always we appreciate your business.

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