The Buzz Report
Are the telcos big fat liars?This week, the FCC is finally going to lay down the law, we hope, Sony's imagination may be getting the better of it and there's something exciting and new in the Halo franchise.
Hi, I'm Molly Wood, and welcome to the Buzz Report � the show about the tech news that everybody�s talking about. This week, it's a new way to listen to music, a newly neutral Net, we hope, and more Halo. Thank you, universe. Let's begin with the Gadget of the Week. The Gadget of the Week is brought to us by Sony "Segway" Ericsson ... what did I tell you guys? Who, after much hype last week, unveiled the earbuds to end all earbuds. They're the MH907 Motion Activated earbuds. You put them in your ears to start the music. And then you like, take one out and you can talk on the phone, or when you take them both out, the music stops. There aren't any buttons. These are, yes, in case you were wondering, the accessories that were going to change the way you listen to music forever. And it works! See the difference? Before, you probably would have worn SHOES on a PUBLIC bus. And now for the news. In the big buzz of the week, new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski wants to lay down some actual network neutrality rules with like, with teeth and everything! Right now, the FCC has some general principles that it uses to gently suggest that ISPs and telecoms keep their networks open. Genachowski wants to give those suggestions some regulatory power, and add some new principles that would stop those telecoms from, like, secretly throttling traffic from Bittorrent or competing video delivery services like Hulu ... and would force them to tell people how they manage their networks. In response, Verizon and AT&T said, you know, okaaaaayy, if you have to do this for like, the wired Internet. But ... don't do it for wireless, ok? Because that's where the real money is. Well, AT&T's legal guy called it "the most competitive consumer market in America." But that means, where the money is. See, they say that wireless networks are smaller, and more susceptible to unexpected overloads than traditional wired broadband. So the telcos need FULL CONTROL over those networks, to tier them however they want and keep data-hogging apps like Google Voice off of them. Which ... is sorta true. Except that if wireless is the most competitive consumer market in America? These guys kinda have to start building up that infrastructure pretty quick. And it's hard to buy the argument that Verizon is just trying to protect its network when it regularly disables WiFi on phones to force you to use its more expensive data services. See, the WiFi could help. So ... I'm sorry it's come to the point where you guys can't be trusted to manage your networks in a consumer and innovation-friendly fashion? But you can't. You lost that trust. And now you're in time-out. FCC-style. In other news, this week marks the death of Facebook's Beacon program. Facebook rolled out Beacon almost two years ago, and it basically put everything you bought on a third-party Website, like Fandango, Overstock.com, and Zappos ... in your news feed. And voila! Christmas is ruined. Well, Facebook finally settled a long-running class action lawsuit this week, and the terms of the lawsuit say Facebook has to erase any sign of Beacon and put 10 million dollars into some mysterious fund that helps "promote" online security and privacy. Bonus for Facebook: it gets to keep doing basically the same thing Beacon was doing, except call it Facebook Connect. Yay ... In other news this week, some users report that Apple has contacted them about their iPhone 3GS battery issues and asked them to install battery logging software that reports back to headquarters about how long your juice lasts. If true, that would be remarkable. Remarkable that it took them three iterations of the phone to look into the crappy battery life, and remarkable that they're NOT looking into all the other iPhone 3.1 issues, like "coma mode" and WiFi connection issues, and the phone's intermittent inability to make and receive phone calls. One thing at a time, I guess. But I'm glad I didn't stick around for 3.1! Ouch! And finally, there's a new Halo in town. The latest expansion pack, "ODST" costs 60 bucks, offers somewhere between four and six hours of gameplay and that's pretty much it, and according to Ars Technica, has like, cheesy porno music. But Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin from "Firefly" do voices for it and it's an all new chance to kill things in Halo on an all-new level. And that's a whole different kind of porn. Count me in. And that's the Buzz Report for this week, everyone. I'm Molly Wood, and thanks for watching.