Unfortunately, this is mostly true…
Ever take a photograph? Rochester says “you’re welcome”
Pretty neat site about a few things Rochester played a big part in.
I’m a timelapse junkie. I like creating them, I like watching them, I find (good ones) absolutely stunning. Not sure when this started but it is what it is.
Recently I’ve noticed a whole slew of them popping up on the ‘tubes and I thought I’d share a few of the good ones. You’ve probably seen at least one or two of them. I can watch them all over and over again though, and I’d bet I”m not the only one.
Rochester NY Winter Timelapse by Rochester’s own Mindrelic Photography:
NYC by the same artist:
The Aurora by TSO Photography:
Le Flâneur by Luke Shepard
Time Warner has a few problems.
The first and most important is their bandwidth capabilities. As my good friend Brion mentioned recently, Bandwidth is a measurement of speed, it is NOT a measurement of consumption. It’s a simple fact that the speed you get from Time Warner is shared and therefore even though you pay a premium price for 10Mbps DOWN and 384kbps UP you’ll be lucky if you get half that at prime time.
The plain and simple truth is that Time Warner has oversold the bandwidth they can provide. At the same time they’ve been slow to react to the increasing market demand. Rather than concentrating on decreasing the number of users per node, they’ve concentrated on improving their end user speed ratings, which is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. This has resulted in increasing the demand and a false representation of their bandwidth capabilities. This comes at a time when they should be decreasing the burdon on their network in order prepare for the future.
And that’s only the first problem.
The second problem is that Time Warners’ primary source of revenue is dying. Mainstream media is slowly but steadily moving online. Hulu now provides most of the same content you can get from network television, Netflix now allows you to stream movies and television shows directly to your PC or TV and over the air HDTV is of superior quality and easy to get. Time Warner, and cable TV companies in general, are behind. They’ve chosen to hold on to their old business plan instead of moving into the 21st century. The lack of progress Time Warner has shown in adapting to their new environment reminds me of Kodak’s slow progress in moving into the Digital era. It almost killed their business entirely and it will destroy Time Warner unless they do something.
Time Warner has made their move. They’ve decided to put the burdon on us, the consumer, and carry on business as usual. Everyone is probably aware of their tiered bandwidth plan by now and that’s only the first step.
Time Warner is capitalizing on the direction the world is headed in. They recognize that everything is becoming digital. They recognize that their current business model is dying. Getting their pricing plan in place now puts them in a perfect position to drastically increase their profit margin in the future.
In a time when bandwidth and overall networking costs are shrinking, and the cost of running the fastest network on the planet is only $20 for each household passed…Time Warner is failing to produce. They haven’t announced Docsis 3 for any of their markets and they haven’t decreased the households per node to a reasonable level.
Time Warner Cable’s chairman and chief executive recently stated:
the Internet as it exists today – even our networks … will require an enormous investment … a tiered approach is one way to raise that additional money
It seems to me since Time Warner is posting record profits of $1.07 billion they could already be investing in improving their network, without pushing the cost on the consumer for something they should already be providing.
The effects on your pocketbook WILL be drastic and Time Warner WILL make more money. Lots more. They’ve reported that 14% of the customers in their first test (in Beaumont Texas) went over their limit and were charged overage fees. What they’re NOT telling everyone is that the trial in Beaumont was for new customers only. So, of new customers approximately 14% received overage charges. Of those that received overage charges Time Warner has stated that the average overage was approximately 19 Gig which equates to $19/month (Business Week Article). Remember that this was Beaumont Texas which has a total 44,361 households according to the 2000 Census. Compare that community with the Communities they’re rolling the tests out to now and you’ll have a much different picture. In Rochester NY the numbers will be far higher. The High Tech community is booming here and with the number of Technology School graduates in the area the cost for consumers will go through the roof.
Innovation will be stiffled. Once the usage of bandwidth is being tracked and billed people will think twice about networking every device in their home. They’ll think twice about using services that keep their computers synchronized with other computers outside their network. They’ll think twice about running new bandwidth intensive applications such as new video streaming systems. Whether Time warner likes it or not this IS the direction the rest of the world is going.
Families with kids (especially teenagers) and small business owners will be hit the hardest. These days some teenagers spend more than half of their life online. Sites like Facebook & Youtube consume enormous amounts of their time and their parents bandwidth. Lots of teenagers have turned into minor stars as a result of these sites. If the amount of time they are allowed to spend on these sites is rationed it’s likely some of these emmergent stars would never get started.
Small business owners, specifically those who work from home, such as photographers and videographers need to download and upload hundreds of gigs of data on a monthly basis. Will Time Warner require these people to limit the number of clients they can help in a given month, limiting the amount of income they can generate?
Time Warner has other options they just don’t like them.
To immediately solve the problems they could drop the speed of their average customer. They obviously wouldn’t like this idea because it’s a marketing and public relations nightmare. They’ll get complaints left and right and they’ll be seen as the underdog in a market they currently dominate (fictitiously). What this would do however; is put less stress on their network and give their customers a more consistent speed rather than the rollercoaster they have now.
Rather than tiered bandwidth usage caps they could implement more bandwidth (speed) tiers. Currently they have 2 levels in the Rochester area. Standard (10Mbps) and Turbo (15Mbps). Since the average customer probably wouldn’t even notice, why not place them in a lower tier, say 5Mbps or even another optional 1Mbps? This could temporarily solve their current problems while they take the time to improve their network.
To fix the problem in the long term they need to improve their network. They need to begin the process of rolling out DOCSIS 3. Upgrading is a one time cost. If their billion dollar (net) business isn’t profitable enough to do this, then give the consumers an option to foot the bill themselves. I’d gladly spend a small amount of money to upgrade the connection to my house to the 150Mbps that japan is getting, especially if it’ll only cost me $20. They’re already profitable now, even if they foot the bill themselves they’ll be profitable after.
What to do Now
We need compitition.
Fortunately Frontier is taking the recent announcment of tiered broadband usage caps as an opportunity to push their own unlimited connection. This is good news. It means there’s a chance. The unfortunate part is they are the only competition and they have a few large downfalls. One, you must have a landline. Two, your speed can vary greatly, depending on your distance to the closest node.
To really give Time Warner a run for it’s money we need FIOS. Unfortunately Verizon does not have a connection to the main Internet Pipe in Rochester. Rochester’s telephone network is owned and operated by Frontier and in order for Verizon to setup shop they’d need to spend an extreme amount of money to setup a main hook into the Internet backbone. Essentially Verizon has no reason to set up shop in Rochester at the moment.
One of the best ways we can combat the plan Time Warner has put into place is to get government involvement. Write to the leaders in Rochester, call the Mayors Office ((585) 428-7045). Tell them to sponsor infrastructure improvements, give tax breaks to new providers that come into the area, give breaks to companies that improve their abilities etc. Anything the local government can do to improve the Internet infrastructure will be a long lasting and visible improvement which we can see a real Return on investment, unlike the Renaissance Square (which likely won’t make any more money for the city).
Call and write to Time Warner. Tell them how you feel and that you understand that they need to improve their network, but placing a residual burdon on their customers is not a good way to go and will only hurt them and us in the long run.
Whatever you do, don’t stand for it. If it comes to it, vote with your pocketbook and switch from Time Warner, even if you’re not hitting their highest cap you will eventually and let them know you won’t stand for it by no longer doing business with them.
Visit sites like StopTheCap and get involved!
Whether you think so right now or not, this is important. Internet usage is only getting started.
- By Phone: (585) 756-5000 or toll free 1 (800) 756-7956
- Chat Online
- By E-mail: Go here and click ‘Show E-mail Form’
- Send in your Ideas by E-mail
- Jeff Simmermon (Director, Digital Communications) by E-mail
- Jeff Simmermon on Twitter
UPDATE: Stop the Cap just posted a letter from Time Warners Chief Operations Officer with a lot of useful information. I’ve harvested the contact information from this letter and added it to my list of Time Warner Rescources.
A true Web service is only as good as it’s users make it. I just recently discovered Yelp and luckily they have a Rochester page. I have recently been trying to find a website that lists local restaurants along with ratings. Yahoo and Google business results return too many chains that aren’t of interest to me since they’re available anywhere. I’ve been looking for results that are more locally oriented such as the listings found within a Frommer’s guide.
Fortunately Yelp provides everything I’m looking for in restaurants and even has lots of extra categories such as Night Life, Beauty and Spas and Shopping. I was interested to find they also have a list of romantic restaurants which is always difficult to find in Rochester. In order of highest ratings these are the following Rochester romantic restaurants on Yelp:
- Oasis Mediterranean Bistro
- Tapas 177
- Lucano Ristorante
- 2 Vine
- Max of Eastman Place
The only one of these that Rachel and I have been to is Tapas (which was excellent and I’ll be sure to rate it thus). We haven’t even heard of any of the others. There are a few missing from this list, like the Triphammer Grill, that we have been to but it’s always great to find new ones.
If you’re looking for new restaurants or shops to check out, look no further than Yelp.
We’d been trying to rent ratatouille from redbox for a few days but it was out literally everywhere in Rochester. Finally I found one available at the Perinton wegmans on Wednesday so I rented it online. Yep Redbox now allows you to rent movies online. Well, not streaming or anything unfortunately, but you can reserve it at a Redbox location online.
Ratatouille was a great movie. There was more humor in it than usually is found in the new animated movies. I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. The trailer is below.
So I guess it’s safe to talk about now that I’ve been doing it for a month and a half. I tried riding the bus over a year ago and quickly stopped. This time I did some things different and it has worked out for the best. I’d like to share a few things I did and thought differently this time around that really helped me overcome the dread of using public transportation.
- Live in a big city. For those of you who live here you know that Rochester is by no means a big city. However; it does have regular public transportation and thats a start. In order to be useful, It needs to go close to where you work and where you live. Its best if you can walk from home to a bus stop but driving a short distance is better than driving to work every day.
- Make one change at a time. The biggest two reason I stopped riding last time is I would wake up a bit late and miss it and I felt I had to fit within the bus schedule. It’s true you have to fit the bus schedule, but there are many buses throughout the day. During the normal commuting times they are only 20-30 minutes apart. Missing one is really not that big of a deal. Last time I tried to change my schedule (get to work slightly earlier) and begin riding the bus at the same time. Its best if you can make one change at a time. Stick with it for a while and once you’re satisfied with the results move on to the next item. Determine what time you normally get up and find the morning Bus route that fits with that.
- Set a Goal and evaluate your performance. When I started I said I wanted to ride for 2 weeks and see how it went. At the end of my 2 weeks I evaluated my experience and it had gone so well I immediatly switched my commuter plan at work to the bus pas instead of downtown parking saving a whole bunch of cash.
- Take it With You. I carry my bag with me every day. This means I always have something that can occupy my time with me as well as giving me a place to put things I need to bring to or from work. My bag always includes my: laptop, ipod, book, water bottle, umbrela and camera.
- Utilize your Time. I decided this time around I wanted to maximize my time and get things while riding the bus. It does take me a little more time to get to work, but now that time is spent productively. I could be doing things that would normally take time away from me at home (like posting this blog message) or I could be doing something I wouldn’t normally take the time to do (read a good book, most recently Second Horseman by Kyle Mills). Don’t just sit there like a log.
- Make use of whats there. The buses run with or without you. Whether you’re a tree hugger or not I think you’d agree that its good to reduce your environmental impact. Using public transportation is a big way to do that.
- Save some Money. We all know Gas is expensive, but there are several other ways you can be saving money by riding the bus. You can lower your insurance rates (in my case over $100/6months) simply by telling your insurance company you now drive only 2-3k miles a year. On top of that if you drive and work downtown chances are you have to pay for parking. This is all on top of the general wear and tear on your vehicle.
- Park it and Forget It. Its easy to take little side trips on your way home if you’re driving. Often you’ll buy things you really don’t need. If you ride the bus make it a point that once you get home you don’t leave unless absolutely necessary or if you can, take the bus again.
- Get an Unlimited Ride Pass. It works out almost even for you to buy an unlimited pass. They’re $56 so if you ride them 46 times a month (23 work days) its 1.22/ride. If your employer is like mine, they’ll even contribute a portion to the cost of the pass and you’ll break even long before the end of the month.
- Walk a little. We all need a little bit of excercise. If you can walk to the bus do it. It’ll give you just a few minutes of excercise a day but it’s a few minutes more than you were getting before. If you really want to get some benefit, take the long route and maybe add your bike to the mix once and a while.
While in BestBuy returning a game today, I noticed a new Kiosk for Clearwire. It claimed to offer cheap wireless Broadband access. I was intrigued so I grabbed a pamphlet. After further review their broadband access isn’t that great.
- ClearValue (standard tier)
- 768Kbps down
- 256Kbps up
- ClearPremium (premium tier)
- 1.5Mbps down
- 256Kbps up
While their speeds arn’t that great they’re still a big step up from dial up. The idea is interesting and I knew that companies were begining to offer it in other cities but I wasn’t aware Rochester was on the map yet.
Don’t fret, Rochester is on the map!
One concern I have however is that it appears to be using a proprietary wireless protocol rather than the existing 802.11b/g protocols. What this means is people are forced into utilizing their provided modems rather than being free to roam the coverage area with their mobile devices. Too bad, If the speed was a little faster, I’d completely be willing to switch if I could connect using my existing wireless devices.
Last night I went saw Blades Of Glory with some friends. I give it a 7/10. Lots of good quotes. Some of my favorites:
- you put the bone in zamboni
- Work the Google on the Internet Machine
- Mind-bottling. Like your mind is trapped in a bottle
- It makes my hair shine like the Belt of Orion
Afterward we went downtown. I read this on the wall at O’Callaghans and thought I’d share:
Irish Diplomacy – The ability to tell a man to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to the trip
Ryan came up with an Idea for Guitar Hero. Not going to mention any details but we may be asking for help from everyone so be prepared.
I just read this morning that Michigan is thinking about spending $38 million to buy all of its students IPods? How freaking crazy is that. I’m all for new an innovative ways to teach, but IPods? I don’t get it. When I took calculus it was required that I buy a Graphing Calculator, the state didn’t buy it for me.
Dan’s Video of the day for Friday: Internet Sys Op. Pretty damn funny if you ask me.
Matt introduce me to the New York State Real-Time Transportation Status site. Pretty slick. I can now check to see if it’s worth leaving work or if I should just wait a while until traffic picks back up.