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Upcoming events[edit]

OpenDataBC this Saturday! Sane location as last time - CGI Victoria; Herb trying for a smaller group but still lots of people are coming.

Awesome Shit Club next week! $800 so far; 16 judges.

Net Neutrality and DPI[edit]

Shaw has DPI well deployed. Telus doesn't.

  • Vince (or maybe Vint) Cerf - worth reading - still working for google. Pro-net neutrality. Notes that Canada is more regulated than the U.S. What will happen here if IPSs unduly throttle traffic? There is regulation on wired-line but Wild West on wireless traffic. Supposedly you can't throttle it unless meet a bunch of conditions.
  • U.S. can apply restrictions to wireless (as opposed to wired-line) e.g. different tiers of wireless browsing. Discriminating on maybe just protocol.
  • problem is metering end users - deep packet inspection was originally just for billing management. Usage-based billing DPI aficionados - Telus does not use DPI; Shaw said usage-based billing is a new revenue source. Economic measures over technical measures. Small IPSs being forced into usage-based billing. For example, execulink out of Kitchener has not laid its own infrastructure, so it's getting hit hard. Having your own fiber better - avoid colocation costs.
  • business model of providing the actual infra vs providing services (e.g. hosting, phone service, content) that uses it. Large ISPs doing it all; maybe better if the infra became a public utility.
  • Cranbrook has two providers - one did their own 4 Gig wireless, the other went with Telus. NOw the city is doing its own tunneling in order to help its local businesses. Cranbrook only has 20-30k residents.
  • What would it take to deploy fiber in Victoria?
  • Maybe will be a good thing for WIMAX
  • Now, not so many small ISPs left e.g. uniserve, islandnet.
  • Chris Parsons is a doctoral candidate at UVIC working in Deep Packet Inspection. If it has to do with digital networks or surveillance, he's in there. Majoring in PoliSci. MA in philosophy (I think) and 7 years in IT. He is dogging Rogers about their traffic management solutions. If encrypted or maybe thought peer to peer, they will throttle or drop the connection. Letter sent to CRTC - Rogers updated their policy. Now they say you must use appropriate known port numbers. You can go to a web page of theirs and see the full list of port numbers and registered programs. As if many end users could do this!

Roger's network management policy

  • Jay noted that at one point Telus was going to embrace PGP for throughput improvement.
  • Comcast maybe moving to P4P. Don't look at any content. Can set up nodes within their own network. Avoids cost, congestion. Maybe is why ISPs still using usenet servers when instead can use something like google groups for messages.
  • Why Rogers such a draconian policy? Ties to media companies. Rogers is at the forefront of pushing triple and quad plate bundles - phone + cable + digital TV + movies. Rogers online is not really too good (small selection compared with e.g. Netflix; streaming instead of download) If you sign up for netflix over Rogers, you will get a hugely higher bill.
  • Bell is at the forefront on protecting phone environment. Wants to choke out DSL resellers.
  • Would be cleaner/better if the business of making and selling bandwidth was separated from the business of selling content - otherwise there is too much possibility of unfair competition.
  • DOCSIS 3.0 would be hugely better - $150 new cable modem per subscriber - don't have to lay anything - it just works. But the large infra-owning ISPs aren't doing this - they'd rather charge for scarcity than increase supply.
  • docsis hacking is a possible way to piggyback on extreme internet bandwidth.
  • Amsterdam city consortium has rolled out its own infra. Any ISP can come in & hook up to the terminators.
  • Ownership of the infra should probably come back to the govt - like public right-of-ways. Need to move away from the facility-based competition. Based on owning infra is the competition, rather than on providing serivce.
  • Usage-based billing will force providers to build or get out.
  • Considering the pipes analogy: IPSs have other ways to make money than e.g. natural gas companies and their pipes. E.g. websitehosting, 10$/month wordpress.
  • Shaw filed a complaint with the CRTC against netflix saying they are a broadcaster.
  • Chris wants random audits of compliance with CRTC terms. Now only individual complaints result in checks.
  • Do the ISPs actually give you what they promise (in terms of bandwidth)? If can prove not, can nail them for false advertising.
  • What he'd like to see:
    • Website showing what the ISPs promise, side-by-side
    • Crowdsource what is actually happening. Needs a tool for this.
  • Maybe the tool could be a hackathon project. Jay will send what he's got for requirements (buried in some long email thread) to Kris.
  • Can you measure and test if an ISP is throttling? Contact Chris
  • Kris did a similar kind of test by repeatedly downloading a large file and timing how long it took. Graphed it out & sent it to his ISP as a complaint as it showed he was not getting anything like the maximums they'd promised and mere days later it was improved 3x. !!!
  • If Chris could get the data, armies of lawyers such as the folks at The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and CIPPIC (mostly lawyers plus Kris) would chase down the violating ISPs.
  • CRTC is pressured a lot by the government (and by interested parties who push the govt to push the CRTC). Small ISPs have complaints; large ISPs are asking for increased permissions.
  • CRTC hearings are interesting in that the system is set up such that the public telcos pay the public advocate costs up to some amount. The net neutrality hearings blew way past the typical amount. Chris gets included in a lot of the work because (a) he's interested and (b) as a student, he's an inexpensive resource.
  • One person asked: Could the ISPs being purposely injecting latency into a particular user's connection? Conclusion was that this is not likely.
  • In North American especially AT&T the problem is signal congestion rather than bandwidth congestion. Apple phones were always calling in their location, then shutting down to conserve battery life. 4.2 upgrade to iphone ameliorates this by calling in less frequently. AT&T claimed victory, but really it was just Apple fixing their OS.


Save Our Net

ISPs having us pay for mild upgrades is like buying a car and having to pay per mile traveled. Or to add a gas tank to your Pinto.

(In regards to net neutrality/DPI ) "You can only cry or laugh or drink" - @caparsons

Music discussion[edit]

Jay A demonstrated his Mondo Wi-Fi Revo

Groove Shark The mystery is how this is legal...


Pho email list

Transit Apps discussion[edit]

BC Transit Victoria is now on Google maps

  • BC Transit recently released their data to Google Maps. Interesting as they did not release it to any local requesters.
  • Vancouver buses have GPS on them; Victoria buses have it, too, but had to shut it down as Victoria doesn't own their own data. Instead it was owned by the companies that installed the GPS units. Some cities use the GPSs to display realtime estimates of arrival time at bus stops. How great would that be!?! Vancouver had 4 digit codes you could type into your cell phone and know when the next bus will arrive. Victoria you can only know the scheduled time.
  • Guelph buses have GPS but it isn't accurate so not useful.
  • Herb likes the "where is your bus" portland/seattle app. Portland is always ahead thanks to a university project that got their transit apps going.
  • one bus away
  • Bus Snap Kris worked on this and there are two neat ideas of his in there. The Vancouver version kept all the data server-side. Try to sync some data up out to cellphones. Kris said he likes to work on apps if one or more of three things is true:
    • It has the potential to be extremely popular; go viral
    • Get rich
    • Does something unique
  • in the case of bussnap, it was (so far) the third element. The unique cool thing it does is do notifications. It uses the GPS on your phone and, as you near your stop, it vibrates to let you know that your stop is approaching.
  • bussnap is not (yet) monetized. Model is location-based advertising - when you get off the bus, local advertisers would pop up.

WordPress & Blogging Software discussion[edit]

Wordpress which claims openness, completely contradicts everything they've said they said they stand for: Read the Wordpress.com/Quantcast stuff in Chris' privacy policy (WPstats uses Quantserve with no notice) Millions of people got roped in overnight with no notice.

Ghostery Tracks all who is watching you. Is how Chris discovered that Quantcast had been added to his Wordpress site. He found a plug-in that blocks the Quantcast plug-in. He can dodge this bullet because he hosts his own WordPress server; most users probably have Wordpress hosting their sites so they are stuck.

Windows Live Writer The best single-user blog client - a Microsoft product!

Microsoft used to have blog hosting but ceased it and pushed folks over to wordpress - so even more people got hit by the Quantcast stuff than might've otherwise.

ATM Hacking, University Patents, and related topics discussion[edit]

Saar Drimer and Steven Murdoch, members of the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, demonstrated in January how they could modify a supposedly tamper-proof chip and PIN terminal to play Tetris using a very old exploit Professors at Cambridge are fighting to allow the student to do what he should be able to do for research. Part of their defense is that it is not his Intellectual Property (IP), it's the University's.

Students can't monetize their innovations, they have to negotiate a deal with a private sector group created by each university so the university own the IP and profit from it as well.

Universities sit on patents as well.

U of T has a patent bank. Companies will donate a wing to get the use of the patent, the student does not get a cut but did get the education.

The academic journals have an even better scam. They create no content, and don't pay the authors anything. They charge for the publishing of papers (including extra for color in online-only journals!) and distribution of the journals. They even charge authors for copies of their own articles. There aren't very many academic publishing houses left, so it's an oligopoly situation.

French news documentary shown in real time the hack on the chip & PIN in an "isn't this cool" context. Banks had known about the problem for 2 years but hadn't fixed it.

Brazil has great security - way ahead of North America - because the smart poor people are very inventive. Chris notes that if you do online banking there, the systems will grab all the information about you - your browser, traceroute, etc. He used a different OS than usual and got a phone call immediately.

ISPI clips privacy related articles and sends them out. Every day there are many many breaches. Distressing.

Millions of dollars are lost, but the culprits are rarely pursued. Instead the banks just eat the loss in order to minimize publicity and the concomitant loss of trust.

Easiest way to do ATM fraud, create a fake ATM (the full thing) instead of carding, but a larger up front cost.

URLs and discussions[edit]

Traffic signal preemption in Victoria?


Missing Wikileaks file for ISPs in Canada

Why won't WINE (windows emulator) run a USB camera? Kris suggests using the free VM software virtualbox instead as a solution. Requires maybe a closed-source plug-in for the virtualbox. Will have to have Windows CDs & install them onto the virtualbox.

Herb's video posted today. Kerfuffle in school boards trying to ban wifi. Ban being opposed by Scientific Victoria. This fabulous new group is trying to increase the use of science in public decision-making. They also support the ban on minors going to tanning salons. (If adults want to give themselves skin cancer, they can go right ahead!) The group's currently being led by a fellow with a background in law enforcement who is marvelously articulate.

Guns don't kill people, knives do!


Social services have been decimated on Vancouver island the last couple years

Is there a way to publicize this?

Motivators aren't always financial; doing good for the community, interesting, fun, exciting, social benefit

Tyler noted that View Royal's public website was much more accessible than any others he checked when trying to pull rezoning data. View Royal -- All RSS

We had a short round of a version of the classic Apple debate - curated garden vs open source. Jay thought Apple should build in open source compatibility. Most folks argued against this. There are open source options freely competing - openmoco, android. MAC OS has a much smaller variety of hardware it must run on, so Apple can afford to produce a better quality UI, and does. Big problem acknowledged is that the Apple curated environment is allowing contacts and geoloc to be sent out. VLC on the iphone? Uses a lot of battery. Ubuntu - multiple monitor support known to be dicey, but once you get all the right drivers and video cards, it is solid.

Doing everything for free (blogging etc) has netted a lot more benefits than being behind a paywall - @caparsons (Interviews, being flown all over for conferences etc) Chris's M.O. is rather like a very successful character in Charles Stross's book Accelerando.

Gene controversy over IP e.g. in Brazil. India similar with crops - ok to ignore IP if needed by their citizens.

Haitian Farmers Reject Monsanto Donation - Monsanto has made some deal with the Haitian government to supply their termination seeds perhaps against the farmer's will and best interests.

OpenDataBC email list Great work being done here!

Open Knowledge Foundation A bubbling cauldron of goodness!

US Supreme Court has just accepted a case that will decide whether corporations are allowed to reject freedom of information requests based on their right to privacy as "corporate citizens."

pinboard a delicious replacement Interesting cost model, based on users

diggo another delicious replacement