FCC, Let the Net Remain Free!

Net Neutrality is a topic that has been trending for months now. As any user of the internet knows, net neutrality is essential in using the internet without major hassles. Currently, FCC per Ajit Pai is intending to have net neutrality repealed.

The implications of the net neutrality will certainly be unfavorable to the average internet users. As a few ISPs dominate the market, there is little the average user can do to exert power over the ISP corporations. If net neutrality is repealed, the ISP can take advantage to the situation and levy any fees to access, speed up, or block any website. Internet costs will predictable rise. The increased burden of cost will affect everyone including current and future businesses and consumers. Businesses may need to account for higher costs to use internet to operate business processes, thus would pass on the costs to consumers. Consumers would see certain sites become inaccessible unless consumers cough up the extra fees if the ISP doesn’t outright block the sites. Future startups would find it difficult to gain traction if regular operations conducted on the net were to slow down unless the startups pay up extra fees or if startup websites become inaccessible to the current and future customers. Innovation would be stifled.

Not only would this repeal affect the economics perspective, but also it would negatively affect politics. If the ISP does not agree to a website political opinion, it could theoretically block the website, thereby censoring content. This would have implications on political and social movements. Think of how many activism rely on the internet to organize and conduct discourse. ISP could silence and hinder social progress. Overall, free speech rights could be effectively controlled by corporations in USA in contrast to the free speech being controlled by the government in China.

For education, many students use the internet for research and help for exams, homework, and projects. In fact, some attributed the internet in helping them finish their degrees. It is easy to imagine on the added hassles of getting help for school if the websites were blocked or slowed down.

It is likely that ISPs would offer bundles based on tiers. Each tiers would carry different websites for each bundles. For example, access to Youtube or Instagram could be blocked unless if the user pays a higher cost for a higher tier. Imagine social media content creators having to factor in higher prices to access their content on sites such as Instagram or Youtube, which would definitely erode Youtube profits.

internettierplans

To protest the potential repeal, one can write or call Congress representatives to urge Congress to stop the FCC since it seems majority of FCC are in favor of repealing net neutrality. Reaching out to followers and representatives directly on social media is another solution. Appeal to prospective startups and small business owners about the business angle while appealing to social justice groups about political censorship would be the tactic. Young people such as students would be more likely to support net neutrality. There was a protest on Dec 7th, which would help spread awareness about net neutrality in real life as many are still in the dark about the current issue. The deadline is approaching, Dec 14th. Battlefornet.com

It will be uphill battle as many congressman sold out the American public for the green and that it appears 3 out of 5 FCC are for the repeal. At this point, I am not certain for the guarantee success in this battle. However, no outcome can succeed without work. While there are several reasons United States is not the land of free depending on personal definition of freedom, United States would definitely not be the land of the free if net neutrality is repealed.

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How to Search on Taobao by Photo Trick

When shopping on Taobao, there is a range of  items you can possibly purchase. It’s similar to eBay / Amazon in that sellers list their products except it’s not auction based. However, the sheer number of items can mean devoting tons of time and effort to narrow the search down to a product you had in mind. Luckily, there’s an image recognition feature in the search bar in which you can upload a photo and the search will load results that would match the photo or similar to it. This is a trick that I’ve delighted to discover since it saves a lot of time and effort by days.

  1. Navigate to Taobao website, not the world.taobao version. If you are on world.taobao version, change your location to China. If you are in Google Chrome, it will translate the text to English. I use a Google translate extension for Safari. Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.13.02 PM.png
  2. There should be a camera icon in the search bar. When you click on it, you will be prompted to upload a picture. For an example, I will be using Ista Mori’s Nameless Poem Op for the photo. Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.15.15 PM.png1-nameless-poem-op-ista-mori.jpg
  3. Search results will load based on the photo you uploaded. From there, you can scrutinize the sellers to determine whether they are reselling the original product or the replica version. It’s helpful to look at pictures the buyers provided to get ideas of what the seller would be actually selling. Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.18.55 PM.png

I do wish Ebay or any other similar sites have a feature like this. Searching by key words can be serious tedious.