January 21, 2009
As for COPA, There Was No Hopa
COPA is finally dead. Ten years of no enforcement, a ride up and down the court system several times, controversial attempts to grab data from search engines to prove the case, and it's come to this. Filters may not be a perfect alternative, but they work well enough for this turkey to go down and stay down. The Supreme Court refused to revive the case. Time for another Congress to start thinking about saving the children one more time. The Third Circuit opinion on appeal is here. The Supreme Court's one line denial of certiorari is on page 10 of the January 21 Order List.
More in PC Magazine.
FCC Blasts Comcast Over VoIP Practices
Kevin Martin's last gasp at the FCC had the agency question Comcast's VoIP practices. It seems that users who consume more than 70% of their alloted bandwidth for more than 15 minutes will hear choppy VoIP calls. Not so if they use Comcast's VoIP service. The FCC wonders if this is a situation where a network provider favors their own services over that of their competitors. Ya think?
Comcast could defend the practice, saying it really is a service that is based on various 20th Century composers. This could be the John Cage effect, where the phone call is reduced to almost silence. Or the La Monte Young effect, where the conversation is turned into screeching noise. We've always admired avant-garde manipulation of sound, a Comcast spokesperson did not say, and we've tried to turn our admiration into practical services to our customers. Sadly, we cannot find a way to somehow apply it to the very same services we sell, but we're working on it. The best part, the same spokesperson continued not say we're still not charging extra for it. Other providers are watching the FCC closely on this one. More in Network World.
Circuit City Not Dying Fast Enough to Lower Prices in Liquidation
Circuit City is starting to liquidate its inventory. The so-called sale prices have not impressed consumers and aren't competitive with what's online, if this story is to be believed. Other than going out of business, has anything changed?
January 19, 2009
Circuit City, We Hardly Knew Ye
Because every time we ventured into a store to comparison shop we were confronted with older technology stickered with a premium price. It didn't help that popular DVDs priced at $14.95 to $18.95 at other stores sold for $24.99 at Circuit City. Even the convenience of having an item in hand didn't overcome those kinds of prices. It was also possible that knowledgeable and friendly staff existed at some stores, though they tended to stay out of sight where they didn't disturb the store's expression of high priced incompetence. So why shop there? There was general agreement on that one.
This is the same company that aggressively pushed DIVX DVD players. These weren't the popular codecs and players found today on the Internet, but special DVD players (about a hundred dollars more than regular players) that played DIVX DVDs (usually at a cost of under $5 each) for an unlimited time within a 48 hour period. The player, hooked up to a phone line, could reauthorize another 48 hours for a fee. The public didn't bite on this one and the format died less than a year after its introduction. All that remains are the ads promoting DIVX stuck forever on old videotapes of the Simpsons and other shows from 1998 and 1999. Now that's nostalgia.
So now its gone, or about to be, for good. Better cash in those gift cards before they are completely worthless. And while we're on the subject, here's a story from the Onion headlined Even CEO Can't Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business.