The T-List: iPhone Tethering, BitTorrent Blockage, Phones in Flight

By  |  Friday, August 1, 2008 at 9:48 am

Today’s big stories involve what you can and can’t do with PCs and phones. BitTorrent over Comcast? Okay. iPhone tethering? Not okay. Skype on a plane? On its way to not being okay. List starts after the jump…

Tether Brawl
Whenever anybody asks me if my iPhone 3G has any downsides, one of the first things I mention is that I can’t use it as a modem for my laptop. A solution seemed to be at hand yesterday when NullRiver’s $9.99 NetShare appeared in Apple’s App Store–suggesting that tethering had Apple and AT&T’s blessing as a legitimate iPhone application. But NetShare was quickly pulled from the store, leaving lots of people wondering how it got there in the first place. Assuming that it was Apple rather than NullRiver that yanked the software, it’s a good example of how the iPhone’s App Store-only distribution lets Cupertino render judgment on each and every iPhone program. Even if it’s not clear how NetShare got out there in the first place.

The FCC Sides With BitTorrent
Score one for Net neutrality advocates: The FCC has voted 3-2 that Comcast’s throttling of Internet bandwidth for folks who used the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing network was illegal. It’s the first time an ISP has been found to have violated Net Neutrality laws; Comcast had already ended the throttling back in March, but says that it’s considering its legal options. Me, I’m worried about this New York Times blog item’s statement that AT&T blocks Slingbox’s Slingplayer on its wireless network–you wanna look into that, FCC?
Read more at: CNET, eWeek

The Sounds of Silence
The House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to pass the Halting Airplane Noise to Give Us Peace act–better known as HANG UP–on to the full House for consideration. The law would ban in-flight telephone calls; as airlines such as American and Virgin America begin to roll out airborne Wi-Fi, it’s clear that one way or another, policies on Skype need to be in place. When the feds get involved in telling people what they can and can’t do with electronics equipment, my instinct always to be skeptical. On the other hand, the spectre of sitting next to someone who chooses to spend a six-hour flight yammering about his or her personal life is utterly gut-wrenching.
Read more at: PC World, Engadget, Crave

A Brief History of “We Don’t Suck” Ads
Microsoft’s “Mojave Experiment” ads for Vista, which show it tricking Vista doubters into believing a ten-minute Vista demo involves a wonderful new version of Windows, continue to spur chatter online. I like Gizmodo’s look at past ads from Chrysler, Avis, and other companies whose first goal, lack that of the Mojave ads, was to try to convince consumers that the product in question wasn’t awful. (And I’m still looking for examples online from A&P’s “Price and Pride” campaign, which used a couple of singing fictional grocers to tell shoppers that A&P stores were no longer grimy and soul-crushing.)
Read more at: Gizmodo

A Little More Freedom for Olympic Reporters
The New York Times is reporting that Chinese officials have loosened the censorship tactics that were preventing foreign journalists at the Olympic Village from getting through to sites like that of Amnesty International or ones that discussed human rights in Tibet. The loosening isn’t all that loose: Reporters can get through to Amnesty Internatinal, but not to sites that mention the Falun Gong. The story says that nobody knows whether the changes are permanent or temporary. It’s heartening to see the International Olympic Committee press the Chinese government to live up to its original promise of uncensored access–but once again, I keep coming back to worrying more about the 1.3 billion people in the country who won’t get to go home to a free Internet when the Olympics are over.
Read more at: New York Times

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  1. Nullriver’s NetShare Tethering for the iPhone: It’s Baaaaaaack! | Technologizer Says:

    […] in places where you can’t find a hotspot. Shortly after it appeared in the App Store, it disappeared; that was less surprising than the fact it was there in the first place, since AT&T offers no […]