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Apple's iPad & The Threat To Net Neutrality

Free speech is a precious commodity, yet most people I know—young and old—don’t understand it and don’t fully appreciate it. Further, they don’t seem to understand what happens to us as a society once that speech is taken away. Blocking sites, slowing sites down, stripping sites of content—these are things China does. All the hammering of toll booths along the web will ultimately determine what you can and cannot do or say, and all of your thoughtless typing of names—yours and your friends and family—into the Internet mushroom cloud will, I promise you, come back to haunt you.

Thank God for Samsung.

The predictable success of Apple's fabulous iPad did not unleash a great evil but certainly gave the great evil a huge boost. The great evil is the elimination of something called Net Neutrality, a concept which guarantees internet traffic will move freely whether you are an individual with a cooking blog or corporate monster IBM. On the Internet, content from your blog moves at the same speed as GM or Sony or Johnson & Johnson. But wireless carriers are now pushing to make their own rules for content that streams across wireless networks. Making the argument that Internet access via their wireless network is pretty much like taking a shortcut through their back yard to get to the interstate, Google and Verizon are trying to establish a precedent that they can make up their own rules for their wireless networks, while Net Neutrality is applicable only to what is now being euphemistically called the "Public" Internet. The only problem with that is, more and more of us are accessing the Internet not at home on our desktops but on the go on teeny-weenie little screens on cell phones. Which I, as a web designer, find particularly annoying: that the ever-changing landscape of web "standards," which demands I re-code and re-learn every time some pimple-faced high school kid come sup with the latest version of HTML, are moving again from increasingly wider and bigger back to the halcyon days of 1024x768 as the universal standard for web design (hence the more tablet-friendly narrowing of the PraiseNet for 2011). This ministry, as you may or may not have noticed, is designed for widescreen laptops--1280x800 resolution, and it may or may not be a great experience on that 3-inch screen in your back pocket.

Nowadays, web designers have to increasingly become apps designers. An app is a utility designed for a specific device or operating system. Apple iPhone apps do not run on Google Android operating systems do not run on Windows Mobile operating systems. So you have to design not just a website, but an app for the website to run inside of, and several versions of that app tailored for each specific device or carrier. Additionally, in many cases, you'll also be required to pay these individual manufacturers and/or carriers fees to allow your app to run on their phone and/or be listed in their apps library. Why? Because, without the app, your website won't run. Period. That's because most of these manufacturers and/or carriers refuse to allow Adobe Flash to run on their phones. Why? Because they want to soak you for cash at both ends, at the retail level and then at the content level. Yes, you can surf the Internet but you end up with a bunch of blank screens because so much of the net these days is built with Flash.    CONTINUED

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