Monthly Archives: September 2008

Is Comcast Your ISP?

Do You Pay Comcast For Your High Speed Internet Access?
If so – pay close attention to their “new” rules effective Oct 1, 2008.

Here’s a copy of the email I’ve received from my account on Comcast.

Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer,

We appreciate your business and strive to provide you with the best online experience possible. One of the ways we do this is through our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP outlines acceptable use of our service as well as steps we take to protect our customers from things that can negatively impact their experience online. This policy has been in place for many years and we update it periodically to keep it current with our customers’ use of our service.

On October 1, 2008, we will post an updated AUP that will go into effect at that time.

In the updated AUP, we clarify that monthly data (or bandwidth) usage of more than 250 Gigabytes (GB) is the specific threshold that defines excessive use of our service. We have an excessive use policy because a fraction of one percent of our customers use such a disproportionate amount of bandwidth every month that they may degrade the online experience of other customers.

250 GB/month is an extremely large amount of bandwidth and it’s very likely that your monthly data usage doesn’t even come close to that amount. In fact, the threshold is approximately 100 times greater than the typical or median residential customer usage, which is 2 to 3 GB/month. To put it in perspective, to reach 250 GB of data usage in one month a customer would have to do any one of the following:

* Send more than 50 million plain text emails (at 5 KB/email);
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song); or
* Download 125 standard definition movies (at 2 GB/movie).

And online gamers should know that even the heaviest multi- or single-player gaming activity would not typically come close to this threshold over the course of a month.

In addition to modifying the excessive use policy, the updated AUP contains other clarifications of terms concerning reporting violations, newsgroups, and network management. To read9 some helpful FAQs, please visit
http://lite.help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Excessive-Use

One of the reasons I mention this is that there’s long been talk about ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) charging customers based on the bandwidth they consume. Until now, ISP’s have been afraid to upset the apple cart and institute a pay as you use service model. Looks like that reluctance is finally gone. Comcast is instituting “bandwidth” control and calling it a benefit for those users who do not take advantage of the system and use excessive amounts of bandwidth.

So… let’s all just wait and see who else jumps on this gravy train. Can Verizon be far behind? Will Comcast users simply sit still and take it or will they rebel and take their internet elsewhere. In the future, will we be paying for every email we send, every video we view or download and perhaps every website we visit? Only time wil tell, but now that Comcast has taken the first step, others are sure to follow.

On a lighter note – Comcast is announcing a new service called SmartZone. This service is supposed to make your comcast.net email experience better with an imporved design, email, voice mail and address book all in one area and get upgraded to 10 Gigabytes of mailbox storage (apparently 40x more then the current account has). Take a sneak peek here:
http://www.comcast.net/smartzonetour/

Comcast has instituted a new Online Security Newsletter for subscribers with a link to a service/site named comcast.net Security. This website is very informational and goes a long way towards helping computer users identify and protect themselves from many Internet threats. Take a look – you don’t even have to be a Comcast subscriber to avail yourself of this resource so take advantage of it while you can.
http://security.comcast.net/get-smart/security-trends/news-and-alerts.aspx?cid=NET_33_78&cmpid=null

Napster and Best Buy Will Soon Make Beautiful Music Together


Napster Inc., the online music community that rose from a dorm room project to became the scourge of the global recording industry, is being purchased by Best Buy Inc. for nearly $127 million as the electronics retailer tries to boost its digital music business.

On Monday, September 15th, Best Buy, agreed to acquire Napster for $126.9 million, or $2.65 a share. The deal, which is nearly double Napster’s Friday closing price of $1.36 a share, has been approved by the company’s board and will be supported by its directors and executive officers.

In a statement, Best Buy valued the deal at $121 million, and said the difference was due to unvested employee stock awards at Napster. According to its most recently quarterly filing, Napster had about 47.9 million shares outstanding as of Aug. 8, implying a price of $126.9 million.

Napster, a once-free file-sharing network, was a favorite tool among college students earlier in the decade. But as the service gained popularity, the company became the sworn enemy of heavy metal band Metallica and along the way fueled a cultural, legal and political debate about copyrights and intellectual property while at the same time helping popularize digital music.

Although Best Buy and Napster have digital music download services, the companies hope the combined service will put pressure on Apple’s iTunes, which currently holds roughly 70.0% on the digital music download market. Best Buy’s relationships with mobile device makers and access to new digital device buyers will use Napster’s well-known brand and Web platform to offer new ways to find and use digital entertainment across a broader range of devices.

Best Buy has been making headway into selling mobile handsets recently, and has been offering a Best Buy Music Store (powered by Rhapsody) for some time. Best Buy will most likely utilize Napster as a means of bundling digital content with its PC and mobile handset offerings.

This deal is also a boon for Napster, which last month reported a loss of $4.4 million, or 10 cents per share, as revenue slid 6 percent. Experts said Napster would likely face more struggles on its own as the popularity of Apple Inc.’s iTunes grows.

The takeover, which must receive regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Remember When?
Napster was launched in 1999 as an online file-sharing service by Northeastern University student Shawn Fanning. Members could access millions of songs stored on other members’ computers without paying a fee. The music industry, through the Recording Industry Association of America and performers such as Metallica and Dr. Dre, claimed copyright violations and attempted to shut down the service with numerous lawsuits.

The lawsuits were effective and Napster, in its original incarnation, was eventually forced to close in 2001. However, it soon reemerged as a seller of fully licensed digital music tracks after its brand and logo were acquired by private concerns. Today Napster has a subscriber base of over 700,000.

Check out Napster’s current site:
http://www.napster.com

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