2018 January 25

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Albany Pine Bush
Alfred E. Smith Building
Delmar, NY
Delmar, New York
John Boyd Thacher State Park
Swift Wetland Preserve

January 2018
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

One of the most backwards ideas of recent has been net neutrality, which is the concept that it’s permissible to have Internet Service Provider monopolies as long as they are heavily regulated in their operations to sure there is no discrimination in the content they provide. 🌍Net neutrality is a principle that dates back to common carrier principles of A&TT, aka Ma Bell, back when there was only one telephone company who provided all the telephone service in the nation. If you didn’t like the service or the price of AT&T, then too bad. The government had prior to the 1980s decided what a fair service and a reasonable (but expensive!) price looked like for telephone service. The heavy regulation of AT&T didn’t work well, as anybody who made a a call even outside of their local calling zone can attest to prior to the mid-1990s.☎ Phones were reliable thanks to government regulation in the 1960s and 1970s, but they cost an arm and leg to call long distance. Net neutrality is an idea that comes out of an era when oil prices were regulated, leading to lines at gas stations, and when the government set the fares for airplanes that were so expensive, only the rich could ride them.

Regulated monopolies always provide bad service and high prices.🤑 While government regulation of monopolies can offset some of their most negative aspects, they are still plagued by the nature of a monopoly to do the absolute minimum service at the absolutely highest price that government regulators can tolerate. If you don’t like the price or service offered by the monopoly, you have one choice: live without.🚫 Indeed, that’s what I am doing with Internet service. Rather pay the local “regulated” monopoly an extraordinarily high price with lousy service and scammy pricing, I choose to live without Internet at home, walking down to the local public library or park a few times a week to get on the Internet. Maybe at some point, government regulators will get fed up with the price and their scammy tactics, and force price capping and fair terms on the price of Internet Service, but don’t hold your breath. 🕴Even if they were to do this, expect either the government to set the price too low, discouraging investment in Internet infrastructure or more likely set the price too high, making people pay more money then they need for Internet, while padding the profits of multinational corporations that sell Internet access.😡

The solution is not heavy regulation, but break up the Internet monopolies.💔 Every American should have the right to choose the provider they want that best serves their needs at the lowest price. If people want a provider that offers accelerated service to certain websites, then that’s great. Maybe the Facebook and Amazon could make special deals with the provider to make their websites even more dynamic or quicker loading.🖥 That violates net neutrality, but it could lead to very cheap or even free Internet, in exchange for watching more advertising or a preference for sites that have a financial interest in you going there like Amazon. Or for mobile Internet, maybe their websites wouldn’t count against your broadband limit. Such a service might be extraordinarily cheap, because it’s not just you the consumer that pays the whole cost of the service. But what if you don’t want that kind of service, preferring equal speed for all services? Then you should have the ability to choose a different provider. Maybe one that offers a flat price for all Internet services at the same price. Rather then paying scammy year-long contracts, maybe one could buy Internet month-to-month with no installation fees. Or maybe get a very fast connection for a little more money.⚡

Regulators have long seen the benefit to having more competition in providing services. Yet, we got stuck with stodgy regulated monopolies for the telephones for decades because the problem of last mile. It’s expensive and impractical to run multiple fiber optic cables to each house in the neighborhood. ☎That justified the awful solution of utility and telephone monopolies that served communities poorly with expensive service and polluting, inefficient power plants. So what’s the solution? Prohibit cable companies and telecommunications companies that own the last mile fiber optic and cable lines from offering Internet Service. 🔌While everybody might have their Internet connection ultimately wired by Time Warner or Verizon in a single neighborhood, people would have the choice of any Internet Service Provider they wanted, which would secure the necessary bandwidth from Time Warner and Verizon.

Individuals consumers don’t have much negotiation power against Time Warner and Verzion. A multi-national corporation isn’t going to care if one consumer refuses Internet Service. But multi-national corporation which has millions of consumers can demand a lower price from Time Warner and Verizon for the last mile service.🔌 With Time Warner and Verizon out of the business of providing consumer Internet Service, they can shed millions of unhappy customers and know they only have to be responsive to their new customers – the Internet Service Providers. Regulators won’t have to aggressively regulate Time Warner or Verizon anymore, because the Internet Service Providers can negotiate terms that ensure a reliable, fast last mile connection. Time Warner and Verizon can be happy knowing that they are free of government regulation and unhappy individual consumers, while the consumer wins by having access to a wide variety of affordable services from hundreds, if not thousands of Internet Service Providers.⁉ Consumers who hate their service could easily change to another provider by calling them up on the phone. No physical wiring changes are needed. Competition would greatly lower price and increase competition.

This is how the Internet used to be back in the 1990s, before cable modems and high-speed Internet became common.📶 Everybody used to use dial up service, which you could choose from one of many. You might choose AOL, CompuServ or one of the many low-cost Internet providers. Dial-up service worked over the conventional phone lines, where the local phone company provided the last mile service.📳 The Internet provider connected you to the Internet with specialized, centralized phone equipment that had at the switching units of the phone company. With AOL you got preferred content in the AOL universe, which actually downloaded faster then the Internet, due to aggressive caching and compression of the data compared to other websites. It might not have been net neutrality, but it provided a popular service for many years.📞 But it didn’t matter, because if you hated AOL, there was dozens of competitors in the dial-up Internet service business.

Net neutrality maintains a bad system that doesn’t work for average consumers.📛 It should be repealed, and new laws and regulations should be created to prohibit Time Warner and Verizon, and all other last mile providers from providing Internet Service. Time Warner and Verizon should look forward to not have to deal with individual consumers and government regulators going forward, but instead working out fair and reasonable deals with various national Internet Service Providers to provide the last mile.🚫 Consumers get more choice, higher speeds of Internet, and a much better bargain by going with independent, nationally-based Internet Service Providers. Repealing net neutrality and turning over the last mile to competition is a win for all.🖥

Good evening! Mostly clear and 24 degrees in Delmar, NY. 🌌There is a northwest breeze at 14 mph. The current wind chill is 12. It was a somewhat chilly evening waiting out for the bus. It’s nice going home and it’s not already pitch black. 

Tonight will be mostly clear, with a low of 11 degrees at 4am. 🌠Four degrees below normal. Maximum wind chill around 9 at 6pm; Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light west after midnight. In 2017, we had cloudy skies. It got down to 36 degrees. The record low of -17 occurred back in 1920.

Tonight will have a Waxing Gibbous Moon 🌖with 64% illuminated. The moon will set tonight at 1:54 am. The Blue Moon is on Tuesday night with mostly cloudy skies. The sun will rise at 7:15 am with the first light at 6:44 am, which is 51 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 13 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 10 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will be sunny, with a high of 31 degrees at 2pm. ☀Typical for tomorrow. Calm wind becoming southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon. A year ago, we had cloudy skies with some clearing in the afternoon. The high last year was 48 degrees. The record high of 59 was set in 1950. 8.5 inches of snow fell back in 1949.

Right now, a split verdict on the weekend. Saturday, a slight chance of showers after 4pm. ⛅Partly sunny, with a high near 48. South wind 7 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Sunday, a chance of rain and snow showers before 8am, then a chance of rain showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 45⛅💧. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Typical average high for the weekend is 31 degrees.

I noticed that my Christmas Cactus is starting to bloom again. 🌺Last week I moved from a desk with less sunlight to one that has a lot more southernly and westerly exposure to the sun. Not only do I have a great view in my new office of the Catskill Mountains and the Heldebergs, my plant is really loving all the extra sunlight. My new desk is really nice, I get to see the sun set every night. 

Taking an old NOVA bus home tonight but it seems to be running fine. 🚌 Those NOVA busses are old mules, they keep on running pretty good for a long time. Traffic is light on the 787 at least southbound. Not so true going northbound. 

I think I’ve figured out how to move some of the strings in my Arduino display project into PROGRAM ROM flash, which should sufficent ample resources remain to finish my display project.📺 I want to add some code to blink a few LEDs on and off for ambience but I expect to be done shortly. Now it’s just off to building the case this weekend. Once I have a case, I’ll order the Arduino Nano which I plan to use to permanently run it which will be more efficient. I am looking forward to moving on to further projects. 

I haven’t decided whether I will walk down to the library or just go for a walk tonight, but I do want to stretch my legs after dinner.🏃 I may play around with cutting some of the plexiglass tonight. I should bring it in from my truck, it is probably really cold. 🚘

In four weeks on February 22 the sun will be setting at 5:37 pm, which is 36 minutes and 27 seconds later then today. In 2017 on that day, we had rain, partly cloudy skies and temperatures between 57 and 38 degrees. 😮Typically, you have temperatures between 36 and 19 degrees. The record high of 68 degrees was set back in 1997.

Looking ahead, Memorial Day Weekend Starts is in 4 months.🌼🌻 We may be in the dark of winter but it won’t last. I’m looking forward to some nicer days as spring approaches, even if that means dealing with the Black Flies. 🐜

This afternoon I was looking at some of the photos on my screensaver and was thinking I really miss traveling and seeing places. This year if the weather is nice in mid-April I might take a trip to the North County. 🌄 Haven’t been up there in a while. 

Resource constraints often make people re-think how they are using resources.🤔 Poverty is often looked down as a bad thing, as having wealth means you can do more — at least in theory. But wealth has a downside — waste. Often wealth is squandered, producing waste rather than utility. 🗑

🗜Living in a resource contraindicated environment encourages creativity, causing people to rethink how they do things to maximize utility.🎭