Biased for neutrality

Now that Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is agreeing to pay cable TV providers what I consider to be, in essence, protection money, he’s feeling free to criticize the deals. And he should, because the problem has nothing to do with Netflix using up a lot of ISP bandwidth. It’s the inherent conflict of interest that cable providers have by also being Internet service providers.

Cable TV companies collect the money for HBO subscriptions but they don’t collect the money for Netflix subscriptions. That’s what is driving them crazy. Their extremely profitable business model is falling apart and they’re desperate to force Internet video to be part of the old model. They want to sell the Netflix channel to their customers the same way they sell premium cable TV channels. Well, that just shouldn’t happen, because if the argument is that Netflix is using their bandwidth then they will have to charge every Internet service an additional fee for using the bandwidth, whether or not they compete with their cable TV business — bandwidth that their customers are already paying for.

Separating Truth from Fiction

The 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to “A Separation,” and rightly so. This Iranian movie about the collision of the lives of two families, and within the families, is outstanding. We watched it on a Netflix Blu-ray rental, but for now it’s available on YouTube. The drama is compelling and universal, but in the second half it’s obvious that the Iranian legal system is not at all like America’s.

Joltin’ Joe under the weather

Joe Sinnott, Jim Steranko, Mark Sinnott

Joe Sinnott, Jim Steranko, Mark Sinnott

Joe Sinnott hasn’t been feeling well lately, and he even pressed his son Mark into service finishing the inking job on the latest Sunday installment of the Spider-Man syndicated comic strip for Stan Lee. Although Joe checked out fine on Monday he’s suddenly come down with a case of pneumonia and he’ll be at a hospital for a couple of days. Mark’s wife Belinda says that Joe should be okay, dehydration is his biggest problem, and I’m looking forward to hearing that he’s home again and resting and back as his drawing table.

Where have all the papers gone?

Bill Watterson ended “Calvin & Hobbes” at the end of 1995, the year that the Internet revolution began, thanks in great part to Windows 95 with its built-in support for TCP/IP. It was the beginning of the end for newspapers — which had been predicted as far back as 1972 — so Watterson got out when the getting was good.

There’s a documentary about the future, or the lack of it, for syndicated newspaper comic strips. It’s called, naturally enough, “Stripped.” Bill Watterson drew the poster for it, his first published cartoon in almost twenty years.


Wait! No! Sorry. That’s Violante Placido. Here’s the Watterson drawing.

Watterson Stripped

And here’s the trailer for the documentary. The video is available only on iTunes, which means I won’t see it until it’s on Amazon or Netflix.