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More on Stormpay – the Clarksville company imbroiled in scandal February 23, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in micropayments, stormpay, StormPay Messages.
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Some more news on Stormpay which is the Clarksville company that’s been in the middle of a serious web scandal.

Meanwhile, the BBB in Nashville, Tennessee rolled out a new report on Storm Pay, the online payment service that froze the 12 Daily Pro account, precipitating this mess. The report is not flattering, highlighting a history of unresolved complaints. With the consent of the people who submitted complaints, the BBB of Middle Tennessee has also shared its information with the FBI’s resident agent in Nashville.

One other thing: When ABC 4 talked with Storm Pay executives on Monday, they claimed that 12 Daily Pro was just a small portion of their overall business; 3 to 10 percent, they said. But a graphic from Alexa.com of web traffic for the two companies seems to indicate a different story. The tracks are almost identical. Both rise sharply through January, and then plummet in February. It would appear that Storm Pay’s fate is more closely tied to 12 Daily Pro than its executives care to admit.

Article Writing and Marketing Blog : Webblogerz Dot Com » FBI leading the investigation of 12 Daily Pro

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Baldness and Broadband – Is there a link? February 23, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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 I knew it.  Ever since my friends started installing the first @Home cable modem I saw the connection.  Phew… calling Comcast right now while its not too late.

 

Overdoing self-manipulation converts too much testosterone into dihydrotestosterone(DHT). High levels of DHT overload the body causing baldness and possible prostate enlargement if blood circulation is poor in the prostate area causing a build-up of the compound. Reducing the frequency of your self gratification will help maintain low levels of DHT and avoid hair loss.

Masturbation, Male Hair loss and You

 

 

User Producers or Producer-consumer ? February 22, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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Telecommunications carriers and service providers are currently planning and deploying access network upgrades to enable delivery of IPTV and other advanced services. In choosing which technologies to use, carriers must consider the growing trend toward user-created content. As consumer-level digital media technology evolves, a new generation of �producer-consumers� has been created, and these users increasingly wish to share their photos and video programs via web sites such as Shutterfly, Yahoo!, ClipShack, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapfish and Blip.tv.

Blueprint: Telco Triple Play

Either way its an interesting way to look at what’s happening now.  If a video User-Producer class emerges that is analogous the creativity found in blogs then cable networks had better start notice.

Bellsouth’s Big Board February 22, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Bellsouth, Pontification.
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Small, innovative companies won’t be able to compete in a pay-for-performance Internet, said Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America.

Yeehaw .. that’ll show them uppidy college educated eggheads a thing or two.

The model of the Internet, until now, has been for providers to charge for access and for innovative companies to provide products people want to use on the Internet, Cooper said at a recent net neutrality forum. You havent innovated anything that you want to charge these customers for, Cooper told Verizon and BellSouth executives.

He’s accusing us of stealing or trying to. Aint that right? He can’t talk to us that way. We have the ‘big board’.

Cooper and some net neutrality advocates say tiered service is acceptable — broadband providers should be able to charge more for 10 gigabit service than 1 gigabit service. But if customers pay for 10 gigabit service, they should be able to run whatever Web applications and services they want, he argued.

Can’t somebody shut this guy up?

Instead of worrying about how customers use bandwidth, broadband providers should focus on bringing faster service to U.S. customers, argued Douglas Van Houweling, president and chief executive officer of Internet2, a consortium providing high-speed access to U.S. universities. Internet2, launched in 1996, experimented in its early days with ways to segment traffic, but found that creating a tiered network was too �complicated and expensive,� he said.�A well-designed, high-bandwidth network does not need quality of service [limits] on advanced services,� Van Houweling said. �We think the best way for providers to make money is explosive growth of the Internet.�

ITworld.com – Fight brewing in Congress over net neutrality

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Bellsouth is a serious company doing serious things February 22, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Bellsouth, Pontification.
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The brain trust is keeping to their tried and true policy of milking it. The managment reminds me of the Slim Pickens character in Dr. Stranglove who YEEHAWS as he rides the bomb to certain destruction.

Yeehaw we can’t provide DSL to much of our service areas including those right next to switching stations.

Yeehaw let’s sue our own customers when they try to install wireless in downtowns that suffer from our inablity or unwillingness to provide even a basic level of broadband access.

Yeehaw, lets overbill our customer regularly to see who is on their toes.

Yeehaw, lets not invest in anything that isn’t going to line our pockets now.

Yeehaw, send out a press release that says we are taking a wait and see attititude to everything.. it sounds so conservative and serious they won’t notice its stupid and shortsighted.

Yeehaw boys, lets add a surcharge to the internet for Google and anything else the customers actually want.

Yeehaw paw screw the peering agreements and break out that jug.

Yeehaw they want high speed internet and video .. give em Direct TV and slap our logo on it. That’ll shutem up.

BellSouth appears to be the only Regional Bell Operating Co. that is looking to continue such a relationship with a satellite operator. Both Verizon and AT&T are spending big to deploy fiber-optic networks that can deliver video to residential customers, and have appeared in recent months to be de-emphasizing their relationships with the satellite companies.BellSouth, meanwhile, has held back on deploying video in the manner that Verizon and AT&T have. While the company already has a small cable operation in a handful of southern states, the company has indicated it is taking a go-slow approach to deploying fiber, in part waiting to see how the other RBOCs fare with their efforts.

TV Week

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Academy Award Humor February 15, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Humor, Pontification.
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Brokeback Mountain shopping list
Weekly Grocery Lists for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist,
Summer, 1962

WEEK ONE
Beans
Bacon
Coffee
Whiskey

WEEK TWO
Beans
Ham
Coffee
Whiskey

WEEK THREE
Beans
Bacon
Coffee
Whiskey

WEEK FOUR
Beans
Pancetta
Coffee (espresso grind)
Whiskey

WEEK FIVE
Fresh Fava beans
Jasmine rice
Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced
Medallions of veal
Porcini mushrooms
1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long
5-6 bottles good Chardonnay

WEEK SIX
Yukon Gold potatoes
Heavy whipping cream
Asparagus (very thin)
Eggs
Lemons
Gruyere cheese (well aged)
Walnuts
Arugula
Butter
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
6 yards white silk organdy
6 yards pale ivory taffeta
Case of Chardonnay

A Bad VCease Spreads February 14, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in assholics, assholism, Pontification, VC funding process.
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I’ve got some strong opinions about the venture capital funding process resulting from direct experience and observation of analogous processes. Its the VCease and while I may sound cynical its not a general criticism of VCs but more of an observation of the way humans organize and execute filtering systems. A filtering system in this example is intentionally designed and organized human based system that winnows out submitted or gathered material through a process of elimination.

Web based delivery makes the need for filtering systems ever more accute. Some lessons and good practices can be learned from prior experience with content related industries.

A few notable and often studied filtering systems would be feature film production, book publishing or record production (i.e.. the various steps involved in song publishing where  a  writer’s work is examined by executives who stand around taking turns urinating on it). We’ve all known people who’ve been either victims or victimizers in this process. Who hasn’t know an aspiring screenwriter / novelist / songwriter or worse actress / actor / model / singer and watched them go through the trials and tribulations of becoming a fill-in-the-blank? They go through identifiable phases that roughly correlate to the various stages of rejection, rejections, more rejection, acceptance, limited success , unlimited mediocrity, and finally creeping assholism. While assholism is a serious problem for these professionals as highlighted by the recent Tom Cruise debacle I’m going to focus only on the process and how the venture capitalist can learn from Mr. Cruise’s example.

I’ve worked in the publishing industry creating Movie Tie-in on the editorial staff of Simon and Schuster as well as the film business where I had several corporate level management jobs directly involved with the submission and rejection of scripts, ideas, projects, people, etc. Notably I worked for HBO in Special programming as an official defender against assaholics who have a tendency to lose their self control and storm the executive suites in search of reasonable explanations why their lives have been destroyed by someone who no doubt didn’t bother to read the script. I was there at the ready to assure them that someone had read the script. In fact I was that someone and could speak with a degree of authority and personal knowledge that their project had been given a thorough reading before I trashed it in the ‘coverage.’

My superiors had seen my raw but unpolished abilities at asshole wrangling while at Simon and Schuster. Possessing a southern accent was still (early 80s) considered charming and reeked of ingenous concern which would immediately give the delusional assholic pause and allow me to divert the conversation to possible ways the project could be improved or other outlets for their art. Often, although I was unaware at the time, my southern charm was not as effective at halting their rage but the belief that I was packing which was a common prejudice against anyone from the south.

Yet I had a secret that was exacerbated by the pressures and enviroment of the entertainment industry. I was young at the time and only a weekend asshole. It was not until years later that my disease progressed.The occasional weekday binging of assholianism inevitably ended in a raging two or three year bender. Blurred and indistinct memories of that time are bolstered by members of my ‘family’ or ‘support groups’ who “help” me to remember  as they tirelessly help all around them with laser like focus on past indiscretions even those that occurred up to 40 years in the past. I’m luckily this way.

Its the process of how these things are picked that we’re interested in now but a bit of background was necessary to establish my expert status and preslap any lurking untreated practicing asshole who wants to leave anonymous comments to the contrary. In fact working at Home Box Office was for armature assaholics (I’m a pro at everything I do) so after a 10 year stint as an entrepreneur and junior venture capitalist I return to entertainment to receive my doctorates in asshole studies at Sony Pictures during the 90s reign of Jon Peter’s and Peter Gubers. Here’s the book version and FYI I’m quoted no less than one time and possibly twice. Every word of it is true.

Continued in PART II – THE PROCESS

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Why Bellsouth’s Tiered Interent is Wrong February 13, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Bellsouth, Pontification.
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The BBC has a good piece today about the the possible emergence of a tierd net or one that favors certain provider’s over other. Aside from being touted by Bellsouth (if they were promoting sunshine I’d scurry for darkness) this idea has a million and one things wrong.

Back in 2004, Michael Powell, at the time chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said that net service firms should support “network freedom” and ensure that their users could access all lawful content and attach whatever devices they want to their network connection without any discrimination.Now some of the big telecoms companies want to be able to sell premium services for things like streaming video or voice over IP, and some people are worried that this will eventually lead to a segregated internet.They include Lawrence Lessig, law professor at Stanford University, founder of the Creative Commons and one of the most significant and influential thinkers about the future of the network we have been building for the past 30 years.It’s a big issue.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Why the net should stay neutral

The biggest single problem it will solve is ….. What? What is the problem such a plan will solve for the average internet user ? The answer is nothing is to be gained for anyone and medium sized web based companies down to mom and pop shops and startups are going to suffer which means (Bellsouth please read this if you all know how) EVERYONE WILL SUFFER.

There is nothing to be gained for you unless you’re the CEO of one of a handful of telco types and you’re short on vision and really don’t give a damn one way or another how it affects the longer term prospects of the internet.

Its an election year and if you care about the net and how it affects your life and work then please make a point to see which politicians are taking money from Bellsouth or lining up behind any regulations and impending legislation that may further the Balkanization of the net.

UPDATE. See this story from Business Week for a good analysis


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Micropayment Mess in Clarksville February 12, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in micropayments, Pontification.
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Micopayments are one of those Slashdot – ‘Web 2.0’ subjects that never die. Or so it seems. Acording to the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle the FBI has taken an interest in one of the other [non Pay Pal] micropayment vendors after thousands of Stormpay customers complained they couldn’t access their money. Stormpay is based in Clarksville and untill now was one of the more viable competitors to Pay Pal.

The scoop is that Stormpay was probably acting in good faith when it froze the accounts of the customers of 12DailyPro.com which is a a web ponzi scheme of the pay for clicks variety.

According to Netcraft Stormpay has been under a constant DDos attack for the last few days.

“StormPay has been mentioned in recent news stories after it froze the payment processing account of 12daily-Pro.com, a controversial service that pays users to view Internet ads. 12daily-pro.com is under investigation by the FBI and SEC, according to a front-page story in today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription site). Many web hosting companies use Stormpay to process payments for recurring services, and its outages have been widely discussed this week on web hosting forums.”

So where are we now with Micropayments? It seems we’ve come so far and yet micropayments seem to be the golden goose that never lays and egg. Is Google going to ride to our rescue?


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Nashville Scene Get My Nomination For Pulitzer Prize with this piece February 9, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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Oral History
Tennessee adult film actress blows away an old record
by Jack Silverman
Photo
Fondly yours Summer Nyte (pictured with Ron Jeremy) wants you

You may not read about it in the Guinness book, but, on April 1, 2005, a new world record was set in Nashville when adult film actress Summer Nyte had oral sex with 249 men in a 14-hour period. The entire event, which was hosted by porn star Ron Jeremy, was filmed for a DVD. We couldn’t help but wonder what would drive someone to such an infamous feat, so Scene writer Jack Silverman spoke with Summer, who lives in East Tennessee, and got the lowdown.

FULL STORY HERE. btw it gets better and Silverman does ask some good questions..Okay he askes the questions I would be embarrassed to ask but really want to know so he did the best he could with a …er slippery subject. I mean..look. I didn’t know this happend here. I’m going to wait a few years and tell my daughter when she turns 15 to show here what a cool town Nashville is and all the great stuff happening here. cough… cough.. ummm