Show #229: Neut, Root, and Release

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This week Dave and Scott discuss the Net Neutrality ruling, a recent hacking of Lenovo, and the release of ColdFusion 11 Updater 4. They also talk about dev.Objective(), the release of F/W 1, version 3, what it means to be a "developer", and how to store documents outside of the webroot. 

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Lenovo website hacked

ColdFusion 11 Update 4 released

More dev.Objective() sessions announced

FW/1 V3 released

What does it mean to be a "developer"?

Documents outside web root


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3 responses to “Show #229: Neut, Root, and Release”

  1. Chris Laning Says:
    I have to say, editing this episode, especially during the part on Net Neutrality, about killed my blood pressure! Do you know how frustrating it is to hear opinions on a controversial topic and not be able to respond? So I had to make sure that mine was the very first comment for this episode!

    I have opted to put it all in one comment, so those who are interested in this topic, especially in hearing the opposing view on this topic, buckle in. I am going to take this point by point.

    Scott starts off by saying the Net Neutrality is good for everyone who is connected to the internet, unless they own stock in telecoms. I could not disagree with him more! Placing regulatory powers over the Internet (at least access to it in the US) in the hands of the FCC will, and I believe by design, have the opposite effect on its stated goals. It will not increase competition, it will actually make the playing field less fair, and will not neutralize the big corporations like so many people believe. I will get into why as we continue.

    Scott says that basic premise of Net Neutrality is to prohibit companies from slowing down service to sites they don’t like (i.e. Verizon slowing down service to NBC because it is Comcast owned). That is indeed the premise being floated out there. But the idea is of course based off of the original clash between Netflix and Comcast. It is often presented as, and indeed Scott suggests at one point that the telcoms decided they could make more money by charging the people who have the content the public want to access. This is a very short sighted and pedantic evaluation of the situation.

    Netflix accounts for nearly 35% of peak internet traffic (Source: During the debate between Netflix and Comcast, the trouble spot was traced to the third-party provider that delivered Netflix data to Comcast (Source: . That delivery ramp was too small and Netflix felt that Comcast should pay to open that up, not them. But that would mean, I presume, that Comcast would have to pass that cost on to all of their customers, not just the ones clogging the pipes with Netflix movies. So Aunt Sally, who is just using Comcast to send email, check Facebook, and maybe pin a few things on Pinterest, has to pay higher rates so Joe her neighbor down the street can stream HD quality movies 24 hours a day. How fair is that? By Comcast telling Netflix to pay them to cover the costs of connections (actually setting up direct connections and bypassing third party vendors), they were pushing the costs back on those who benefited from it most. I would be willing to bet, though this is just conjecture, that the amount charged to Netflix still doesn’t cover all the costs, and that Comcast isn’t “making money” off of the deal, only lowering costs incurred as a result of Netflix bandwidth hogging. I’m sorry, that is a perfectly reasonable request.

    Scott said that the best analogy he heard for Net Neutrality was that the Internet is a shopping mall. Every store has to pay rent. Some pay more because they take up more space. Some companies have to pay more to get bigger pipe. Without Net Neutrality, that means owners of the mall can charge Macy’s more to use the escalator or to get the elevator to stop at a particular floor. I think it is an nonsensical analogy. Equating the ISP connection to the escalator or elevator is not logical. However, equating it to the mall hallway sizes and locations is. In that case, stores do pay more rent to be in the higher trafficked areas. Which means his analogy proves the case against Net Neutrality. Because under Net Neutrality, the mall would have to charge all stores the same rent regardless of size, location, or traffic. So either the mall would have to set the rent prices so low it became a flea market, or they would have to set the rent prices so high that the mom and pops and the boutique stores would be priced out. Price fixing, even by the government, never ends well.

    Having spent my summers in college working as a toll collector on the NJ Turnpike, I found Scott’s second analogy amusing, if not also incorrect. Scott said if you have a toll road, you are going to charge the customers to get on the toll road, and they are going to have to pay to access the stuff that is off the toll road. So now somebody comes and puts an IKEA along the NJ Turnpike, and the turnpike now wants to charge IKEA money for people getting off the turnpike to go visit the store. When IKEA itself is paying for when it has to get on the turnpike to deliver goods to peoples houses or other stores. Dave called it double charging.

    This analogy has several problems. First off, an IKEA off the Turnpike would by default have customers being charged to get off there as you can’t exit the Turnpike anywhere without paying a toll (with the exception of the rest stops for which the operators no doubt pay the Turnpike Authority PLENTY for the privilege). But make no mistake, IKEA would not even get a permit to build a store right off the Turnpike if the exit was not big enough to handle the anticipated traffic. To get a permit, IKEA would have to pony up money to help the Authority make the necessary infrastructure improvements…...hmmmm….sounds kind of like the whole Netflix/Comcast deal. So, the anti-Net Neutrality side can claim this analogy too.

    In discussion on other parts of the ruling, Scott says the ruling will help municipalities providing their own Internet Services expand beyond their borders which they are currently prevented from doing via state law. In particular, Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC. Scott says FCC says those laws are BS. He bets that the states that have those laws will come under pressure. Because they only benefit Telcoms.

    Forgetting both the huge glaring assault to state’s rights this decision seeks to impose, and the inadvisability of municipalities playing in areas better left to the private sector, there are two key problems with this decision: its unintended consequences and its impending irrelevancy.

    Many of those “BS” state laws are in place because companies had to make huge outlays of capital to bring service to everyone in the area. In many cases, particularly in the rural areas, the outlay of investment capital will never see a return. Early on, and in many cases still, there are areas not being served. State and local governments used these “protective” laws to convince a company to serve most if not all of the customers in the area by ensuring a regional monopoly. This way, the company would be persuaded or required to serve all in the area and could make up for the losses in those rural areas by the profits made in the populated areas. Yes, those laws protected the telecoms, but they also helped ensure even the most remote citizen of the area could get some access to the service. Not saying I am in full agreement with those laws, but suspending them could actually cause many in the rural areas to lose connectivity all together, at least in the short term. That would be the opposite of leveling the playing field….unless you use the destructive definition of leveling.

    But this particular ruling was unnecessary because the problem it is seeking to address is becoming irrelevant. Many areas are already seeing companies come in who are offering wifi based broadband. In addition, mobile broadband keeps getting better and better. These over the air solutions aren’t subject to the same infrastructure protections and exclusivity that gave the big telcos their advantages. So all this ruling does is to try to vainly justify putting control of the US internet into government hands.

    That brings us to the crux of the rebuttal. I was at least one (not sure if there were others) of the people who Scott had a Twitter discussion with over Net Neutrality. Indeed, I said things that are apparently “batsh*t crazy”!. He is entitled to believe that, but I am equally entitled to believe that of him for failing to see the obvious.

    First assertion, Scott says “I’ve heard people say now the government controls the Internet. No they don’t. They don’t control the internet…They don’t want to control the content, they just want to make sure everybody has equal access to the pipe through which the content flows.” Dave follows up with mentioning that last year they did come out with some stuff to try to control content. Scott says he would fight that until they day he dies. He says “Some people think that because I am for Net Neutrality I am for censorship and that is not the case. If you think that is the same thing you’re an idiot.”

    Well first, this “decision” does, without a doubt, place regulatory control of the Internet (again within the US borders) under the control of the FCC. So I am a little unclear how Scott can just simply state “No they don’t.” in response to the phrase “the government now controls the Internet”. By the FCC making a ruling that asserts their regulatory authority over the Internet, they are, by default, saying they are in control of the Internet.

    Second, while Scott denies that they want to control content, Dave tries to support this (oddly enough) by indicating that they did come out with some stuff before about trying to control content, but that it was rousingly shot down. While I vaguely recall this, I was unable to turn any substantial information on this. If, however, this was true, it would be highly probable that those same provisions are hidden in the rules this ruling puts into place. It is commonplace in Washington that if something gets shot down because people fear it, just rebrand it and reintroduce it the following year, this time hiding the objectionable parts. Again, I can find nothing documenting what Dave mentioned, so I can’t speak to that exactly.

    But, this ruling does, as stated in the first assertion, establish the FCC as the authority over U.S. Internet access, and there is nothing that could realistically prevent the FCC from controlling content. Whether it is in the form of “decency standards” or a return of the “fairness doctrine”, from a regulatory standpoint, FCC would now have this authority. Congress could pass resolutions overturning this authority, but it would have to be signed by the President (unlikely since this is his baby) or passed by ⅔ majority to override a veto (also unlikely in this divided Congress). So, yes Scott, the FCC can now control content if they wish. And it is all well and good that you would be against it if that were the case. But there won’t be thing one any of us can do about it at that point. That was why it was so important that this ruling be voted down. The horse is out of the barn now.

    Scott’s denial that they want to control content is not based on anything other than his own projection. He knows he wouldn’t control content, and therefore is confident that they won’t either. However, many were confident just a couple of years ago that the NSA would not be collecting information on the average citizen, unless they had probable cause. But we know now that indeed they have been collecting….well...just about everything on everybody.

    I freely admit that I made the assertion that placing the Internet under FCC control will inevitably lead to taxes and licensing. I realize Scott sees it as crazy to automatically assume that is the case, but one is hard pressed to find anything put under government control that is not ultimately taxed. I made the point, as Scott pointed out, that the FCC when they took control of radio, licensed, taxed, and controlled it. I also pointed out that when they FCC took control of Television, they licensed, taxed, and controlled it. It hardly seems illogical that the next great communications advancement, newly put under their charge, will inevitably lead to the same result. In fact, it seems more illogical to assume that this time it will be different.

    Scott is trying to base much of his belief that it is different on the fact that this is classified under Title II, and while he did not mention it in this podcast, in our Twitter conversation he pointed to that fact that the FCC “forebears” many of the provisions that apply to utilities. First off, just because it is classified as Title II, there is nothing, NOTHING, that prevents the FCC from regulating it as it does radio and television. Second, “forebearing” is not written in stone. Essentially, they are promising that they won’t use certain sections. While I find it commendable that Scott would take a political appointee at his word, I don’t share his optimism. Neither does Ajit Pai, one of the two FCC commissioners who voted against Net Neutrality.

    “Pai, however, contends that the plan still would allow for rate regulation. "The plan repeatedly states that the FCC will apply sections 201 and 202 of the Communications Act, including their rate regulation provisions, to determine whether prices charged by broadband providers are 'unjust or unreasonable,'" Pai said. He also claims that the proposal "opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband." "The plan repeatedly states that it is only deferring a decision on new broadband taxes ... not prohibiting them," he said.

    That fact is, no one outside of the commission has seen the rules. Scott event admits that we have not seen the rules. Dave says the rules weren’t released because of Verizon challenging the decision. That is factually incorrect. Verizon challenged the 2010 ruling. No challenges have been filed to this ruling yet. So why were the rules not released? I contend it is because once the rules are made known only the most ardent of Net Neutrality supporters would still support it. What other explanation can there be? If the rules are so wonderful and “good for everyone” why hide it? Commissioner Wheeler was even called before Congress to testify ahead of the decision, and refused to do so. (Source:

    So let me sum this up. One point of the this ruling is supposedly to limit corporate control of the Internet and level the playing field to increase competition. But, it is taking an area not currently under government control and placing it there. Historically, this means that to get anything changed or fixed one will need lots of lobbying cash rather than innovation. This gives companies with the most money, like Apple and Google (who are both shockingly supporters of Net Neutrality), a legal attack dog to squash up and coming competitors. In fact, historically, most corporate influence and corruption comes as a result of the government regulating an industry. So it is incredible that so many “anti-corporate” people are so in favor of this. Apparently, they don’t look past the spin.

    Second, it attempts to fix the “oligopolies” situation, of one or two big ISPs in an area. But it is because of government that these “oligopolies” exist. So, fixing that with even more government control is illogical.

    No. If you apply reason, logic, and historical fact to the Net Neutrality issue, it is not reasonable in any way, shape or form, to conclude anything other than that the Net Neutrality ruling is bad for all users of the Internet. Its just too bad that so many failed to recognize the naked grab of government control because they were more interested “sticking it” to the telcos, or have a misguided view of what real fairness is.
  2. Scott Stroz Says:

    The FCC will not have 'regulatory control' of the Internet (inside or outside US borders), rather over ISPs and Internet access - a subtle, but important distinction. You keep coming back to the fact that the FCC wants to censor the Internet the way they 'censor' TV & radio, but what you seem to not understand is that TV & radio are not Title II utilities, like Internet access will be when these new rules are put in place. With Internet access being treated as a 'common carrier' under Title II, it would be more accurate to compare Internet access to freight lines and cruise ships than TV and radio. You claim that my belief the FCC does not want to censor the Internet is based on conjecture, yet seem totally justified in using conjecture to keep stating what you believe is absolute truth.

    Yes, government created the oligopolies, but it was to 'protect' the telcos and their capital investment. In essence, these laws exist to benefit, in many places, a single company. One. Single. Company. But, let's not kid ourselves, the telcos were pulling the strings, and would not surprise me if, in some cases, actually wrote the drafts of these laws themselves.

    Only time will tell who is 'right'. But, for now, I feel good in the fact that teclos will not be able to throttle the pipe and that munincipalities will have the authority, in a few places, to offer Internet access without interference from laws designed to protect telcos.
  3. Phillip Senn Says:
    Bravo Chris. I can't imagine how much of your time it took to write all that.
    I am very grateful for the cfhour broadcast.
    I was in another declining technology a decade ago and one of the things that the trade magazine did was start talking about the technology industry as a whole because there wasn't any new news to talk about.

    And I don't think it has to be headline news either, like "this week in ColdFusion" or anything. I am angry/frustrated that programming takes sooooo looooonnnnngggg to do. We really don't appreciate how long it takes to write programs. So tips like (long ago) Scott saying that from now on, he was always going to use bootstrap really helped me. It took me like a week to come up with the $.ajax necessary to post to a cfc and return a query in json format. And in the end, it was only a few lines of code.
    I don't think I've still gotten over that, and that was years ago now. I might think that I'm carrying a crutch, if it weren't for the fact that every new topic is like that in our industry.

    Oh, except for Google's Material Design for Twitter Bootstrap. That was as simple as dropping in a css file and a couple of js files and bam! My site looked like a Material Design site.

    Oh wait, come to think of it - I did have to spend the rest of the afternoon tweeking some margins and paddings.

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