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The Net Neutrality Decision and You: What does it all mean?

So there's a lot of people sounding off on the HORRIBLE CONSEQUENCES of the net neutrality vote today, and I want to just drop some real-world knowledge on y'all so you don't sound like morons.


What the end of Net Neutrality DOES NOT mean

  • "Now Twitter is going to start charging you a dollar per DM!"
    Twitter could do that under the old rules. The endpoint can set whatever policy it wants.
  • "You're not going to be able to see some content on your favorite website!"
    Nope, doesn't mean that either. Again, that's an endpoint issue: The site decides what content you receive.
  • "Nothing bad is going to happen!"
    Really, you sweet summer child? You think this is just about traffic shaping to manage network congestion? News flash: It's NOT (your ISP can do that already).
    What this is about is opening up a vast, untapped area of premium-service charges. In the long history of deregulating things and trusting companies not to fuck the customer "Nothing Bad Happened!" has never been the outcome. Don't expect a Christmas Miracle here folks - we ARE going to get fucked, it's just a question of when and whether there will be any lube.


So what DOES the end of Net Neutrality mean?

Basically it means the internet is about to suck as much as Cable TV does.

  • Time Warner Cable can have a contract with Microsoft to favor Bing as their search engine
    They may throttle Google to dial-up speeds so each page of results takes 3-5 seconds to load, or simply block all access to it.
    If you prefer Google or DuckDuckGo don't worry: You can buy the Premium Search package for an extra $19.95/month.
  • Comcast can have a contract with Breitbart to favor them over other news sites
    Want to read the New York Times online? 56K speed.
    Oh, you're going to Breitbart? Your bandwidth limits no longer apply - FULL THROTTLE FIREHOSE BABY!
  • Cablevision is losing revenue because you're all going to Hulu and Netflix rather than using their On-Demand service
    No problem – Easy Fix! Just tweak the traffic shaping and those pesky customers have enough bandwidth to view their Netflix listings, but streaming video isn't going to happen. It's OK you can get the same shows right from your cable box for only $2.99 per episode.
  • Backbone providers can enter into these sorts of deals too
    Your ISP is a small local business. They've got an OC-3 direct to a Level3 POP, and they've sworn up and down that they won't fuck with your traffic, so you're fine right? Nope: Level3 might fuck with theirs. Amazon is paying them a premium to prioritize their traffic over Walmart's, so one giant retail octopus is nice and speedy, and the other… not so much.
  • Ads and Tracking? AbsoFUCKINGlutely!
    You like using OpenDNS or Google's public DNS? Nah fam, you want AdNS - your ISP's proprietary DNS that redirects every NXDOMAIN to this great ad company that is paying us $0.25 per impression. SO much better than being told "That domain does not exist" – instead you'll get free spyware. Or you can pay your ISP $24.99/month for the ability to use other DNS servers.
    (ISPs have been doing this ad shit on their DNS servers for years, but now they can block your access to the competition.)
  • Get your news from podcasts? Not anymore bud.
    Because providers aren't required to treat all content equally anymore you might find your favorite podcasts blocked.
    SSL will save us though right: They don't know WHICH podcast I'm downloading from that hosting platform! OK fine smartass: That whole platform is blocked unless you spend $49.95/month for our Podcast Plan. (This is an effective way of strangling new media and independent voices.)
  • Run your own infrastructure? Life might start sucking for you… well sucking harder.
    The Internet as we know it is based on the premise that all traffic is treated (mostly) the same, but that's no longer required. You may find that your connection to a customer is slow, and it's going to be difficult to pin down why: Is your ISP throttling it, or your customer's ISP, or is it a real network issue?


There's a lot more, but I'm writing this on my lunch break, so you'll have to be happy with what you got.

A new server, and a few more words about LetsEncrypt.


Back in April some jackass promised that there would be a follow-up post about migrating to use the LetsEncrypt CA.
Oh right, that was me.

As usual life interfered, but here's the followup: The server has been replaced with a shiny new machine, LetsEncrypt is still my CA of choice for this system, and a bunch of other things have changed. More below the jump.

Continue reading "A new server, and a few more words about LetsEncrypt."

A few words about Lets Encrypt


Most if not all readers of my blog are probably aware of the Lets Encrypt project, which officially exited Beta this month.  
For those of you not familiar with it, the basic premise is "It's the goddamn 21st century, and there is no reason every website shouldn't be available over HTTPS. We're giving away certificates for free, and giving you an automated tool to acquire and renew them. You have no more excuses!"

Most of you also know I was originally quite skeptical of this project: I'm not a huge fan of trusting third-party programs with my cryptography, and I like to ensure that I'm maintaining control of the impotant bits (like private keys) at all times. The final implementation however appears to be well-designed and reasonably secure, enough so that I have used it for this year's certificate renewal on
What follows is a brief description of the Lets Encrypt process on FreeBSD: Its successes, its failures, and some thiings I may be submitting patches for in the near future.

Continue reading "A few words about Lets Encrypt"

Stop Doing Internet Wrong!

 Scott Hansleman recently posted a great piece on how people Do Internet Wrong - one which I heartily recommend everyone read because really you're all still making a mess of it.

We agree on 8 out of his 9 points:

  • Redirecting a deep desktop link to a mobile home page is BAD AND WRONG
    If I grab my iPhone and go to I damn well want the page about shiny widgets.
    Please don't redirect me to with your crappy designed-for-a-mid-1990s-Blackberry "Mobile site" home page.
    • Corollary: If I'm using a modern smart phone don't EVER send me to your crappy designed-for-a-mid-1990s-Blackberry "Mobile site"!
  • Crippling your site and trying to force me to download your "Mobile App" is STUPID.
    Again, I'm using a modern smartphone. The web page looks great and loads fast.
    Your app? It SUCKS. It takes 5 seconds to load (splash screens are the work of Satan), crashes all the time, and it's harder to navigate than the website. Plus I know my way around the website - I use it EVERY DAY on my desktop and I just want to check that one item quick on my phone.
    Let's not make this hard, OK?
    (Every website out there that uses "TapTalk"? I'm looking at you right now and I'm NOT smiling.)

  • Giant interstitial ads make me not want to use your site anymore
    Scott called out Forbes on this (and they're a MAJOR offender - I cringe every time I want to read a Forbes article), but so many sites do this.
    • Corollary: Modal ads that pop up after 30 seconds are even worse!
    • Corollary: Interstitial or Modal ads that play obnoxious sounds merit the death penalty.
  • Only being able to click the checkbox, not the label? Why do you hate me?!
    Do some of these web developers know how small checboxes are on modern monitors? In Safari they're actually decent-sized, but the label is still so much bigger and easier to stick my mouse over and click on.
    (CMS and "web application in a box" vendors - If your form labels aren't clickable you best be fixing that shit!)

  • Breaking Links Is Bad
    Nuff said? Yeah - I think so too.
  • "Click the flag that represents your language"?
    How about you just auto-detect it you lazy shit. Seriously.
    • Corollary: GeoIP has been a thing for over a decade. Please don't make me tell you what country I'm in. (But DO let me override it if you get it wrong)
  • I'm giving you my zip code. Can't you figure out my state?
    Here's a hint: YOU CAN AND IT'S REALLY EASY. Lazy shits.
  • Using width and height to make the browser resize images is WRONG
    I'll allow a little fudge-factor here - you can scale down by 10% and I won't hate you.
    If you're taking a 6 megapixel image and trying to scale it down to a 3-inch-by-3-inch box on your web page? No. Not acceptable. You can resize that on the server and not waste all my bandwidth, ThankYouVeryMuch.
    By the way you're the one paying for this bandwidth - your users on consumer cable modems and FiOS can suck as much data as they want for a flat fee, but when you get featured on reddit and a million people are downloading that 4-meg JPEG image of your cat you better believe your ISP is gonna be charging you for all the extra transfer.



Continue reading "Stop Doing Internet Wrong!"