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Net Neutrality: The Frenzied Search For The Perfect Metaphor

In This Issue:

1. Editor's Note: Net Neutrality: The Frenzied Search For The Perfect Metaphor
2. Today's Top Story
     - TCS Set To Launch Chinese Operations, Counts Microsoft As Investor And Customer
Related Stories:
     - Five Questions For Jerrold Grochow, VP Of Information Services And Technology At MIT
     - Certification Programs Arrive For IT Architects
     - Managed Services Market In 'Complete Chaos'
3. Breaking News
     - Phishing Via VoIP On Rise
     - Red Hat Upgrades Enterprise Linux Desktop
     - Microsoft: Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 Is 'Feature Complete'
     - New JotSpot Software Aims To Make Wikis Less 'Nerdy'
     - 5 Ways To Button Up Internet Explorer
     - In Slaying Legacy IT Costs, The Data Center Is A Good Place To Start
     - Microsoft Embraces Open-Source Xen To Run Open-Source Linux
     - Personal Tech: From Flying Mice To Bluetooth, Here's How To Cut The Cord
     - ERP Gets A Complete Makeover
     - 6 Steps To Protect Your Wireless Network
     - YouTube Growth Continues To Soar
4. Grab Bag
     - For Women Consultants, Business Is Booming (Inc.com)
     - Kazaa, Skype, And Now 'The Venice Project' (BusinessWeek)
     - In The Race With Google, It's Consistency Vs. 'Wow' (NY Times - reg. required)
     - Washers And Dryers Air Messages To PCs, TVs, Phones (USA Today)
5. In Depth: Chips
     - AMD Takes Graphics Chipset Plunge With ATI Acquisition
     - Intel Core 2 Duo Launch Set For Thursday
     - HP's Memory Spot Chip Brings The Bits-To-Atoms Connection Closer
     - Weak Microprocessor Market Dampens Earnings Picture
     - Intel Overhauls Chip Lineup, Shuffles Executive Ranks
     - Chartered Execs Remain Hopeful, Stick To '07 Financial Plan
     - TI To Meet Q2 Forecast, Says Analyst
     - New Approach Could Lead To Self-Powered Silicon Laser Chip
6. Voice Of Authority
     - Did Intel's New Processors Fuel AMD's ATI Acquisition?
7. White Papers
     - Top 10 Insights For Backup Consolidation
8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quotes Of The Day:
"Without metaphor the handling of general concepts such as culture and civilization becomes impossible." — Johan Huizinga

"A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on." — G.C. Lichtenberg


1. Editor's Note: Net Neutrality: The Frenzied Search For The Perfect Metaphor

Listening to last week's lively audio debate on net neutrality between Vint Cerf and Dave Farber, I was struck (again) by something.

Net neutrality. What a terrible name for such an important issue.

As Arianna Huffington pointed out in her blog, using the net neutrality phrase to describe the now-dormant bill of the same name was "dead legislation walking" because it failed to convey any valuable information, much less evoke an "instant and passionate gut reaction."

Which is probably why so many people have been reaching (and over-reaching) for metaphors to describe exactly what net neutrality means.

Good metaphors pack an enormous emotional punch. They convince and persuade. Small wonder that both sides of the net neutrality issue are struggling to define their positions through metaphor—with varying degrees of success.

Let's start with some negative examples. There's Senator Ted Stevens' (R-Alaska) famously (or infamously) uninformed mixed metaphor when he said—and I quote—"[The Internet] is not a big truck. It's...it's a series of tubes." Even Jon Stewart of The Daily Show couldn't resist that one.

By far the most common metaphor used by both sides compares the Internet to a highway (or superhighway). Those for net neutrality call the telcos' plans for imposing premium access surcharges the equivalent of putting up toll booths that would hinder the free flow of information. The telcos use the same metaphor to argue that they aren't negatively impacting the current infrastructure—in fact, they're adding more, faster lanes.

In one of the more widely disseminated metaphors in the blogosphere, Art Brodsky says what the telcos are trying to do is "boil the frog." The metaphor goes like this: If you throw a frog into boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog in warm water and gradually raise the temperature, it will slowly become used to it until it's completely cooked. If no net neutrality bill is passed, Brodsky argues, consumers will be gradually cooked through the deviously incremental eradication of everything we currently take for granted about the Internet.

Think these metaphors are just attempts to be witty? Think again. Who controls the metaphor defines the argument—and goes a long way to winning the debate. Indeed, so important is metaphor in this discussion that commentators are ceasing to argue about the issues as much as to argue about the comparisons being used.

A case in point: The Washington Post devoted a highly placed article to lambasting the cable vs. broadcast television metaphor. And Om Malik, in his blog, argued that people are too "married" to the metaphor of the Internet as a public space—and that clinging to that metaphor clouds their vision of what is economically feasible.

The clash of metaphors goes on and on. Make sure to check out James Surowiecki's well-argued piece in The New Yorker's Talk of the Town, in which he rejects the superhighway metaphor in favor of one that compares what the telcos are hoping to do to the practice by supermarkets and bookstores of charging fees for better placement of products. His pessimistic view of how it will all turn out is also expressed metaphorically: He believes the Internet ultimately won't resemble a superhighway as much as a "collection of Safeways."

What do you think? Do you have a metaphor of your own to describe net neutrality? Submit it by responding to my blog.

Alice LaPlante
Alice.laplante@gmail.com


2. Today's Top Story

TCS Set To Launch Chinese Operations, Counts Microsoft As Investor And Customer
The Chinese operations will employ about 5,000 workers by 2010 and focus on providing offshore services for companies in banking, financial services, and other specialized industries.

Related Stories:

Five Questions For Jerrold Grochow, VP Of Information Services And Technology At MIT
Jerrold Grochow spent decades tackling technology challenges for the financial services industry before returning to his alma mater in 2003, this time as an IT executive.

Certification Programs Arrive For IT Architects
It may not be enough to call yourself a technology architect. To get that $100,000-plus salary, you may soon have to prove you deserve it.

Managed Services Market In 'Complete Chaos'
A new study shows that 98% of companies are in chaos or in a
reactive stage, and only 2% are delivering true managed services. But market potential is still expected.


3. Breaking News

Phishing Via VoIP On Rise
Voice phishing—or "vishing"—is particularly dangerous because although most Internet users won't click on a URL in an e-mail, they're quite accustomed to entering their credit card or account numbers through a phone keypad.

Red Hat Upgrades Enterprise Linux Desktop
The new version of Red Hat's desktop Linux offers better graphics; supports Open Office 2.0 and the OASIS file format, in addition to a new Access-like database application; and improves compatibility with Microsoft Office, the vendor says.

Microsoft: Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 Is 'Feature Complete'
Microsoft also issued a beta of its Forefront Security for Exchange Server, the first in its new line of security software. Both products are slated for official release by early 2007.

New JotSpot Software Aims To Make Wikis Less 'Nerdy'
JotSpot Wiki 2.0 makes wikis behave and feel more like a Microsoft Office application, which could help propel them into the mainstream.

5 Ways To Button Up Internet Explorer
We sniffed out five tools for Internet Explorer that can help lock down the browser and make online time at least somewhat safer.

In Slaying Legacy IT Costs, The Data Center Is A Good Place To Start
Companies typically spend 80% of IT budgets on maintenance. Attacking data center costs can let companies shift more of that spending to new projects. You know the drill—you're spending way too much on maintenance, not enough on what really matters. Here's one way to get on the innovation stick.

Microsoft Embraces Open-Source Xen To Run Open-Source Linux
With x86 virtualization gaining ground, Microsoft wants to ensure Windows remains the boss.

Personal Tech: From Flying Mice To Bluetooth, Here's How To Cut The Cord
As computers begin to move into the living room, consumers are paying more attention to wireless accessories for reasons of convenience and style.

ERP Gets A Complete Makeover
Three major business-application vendors are in the midst of development projects to rewrite their software suites. Given the problems of the past, the improvements need to be more than skin deep.

6 Steps To Protect Your Wireless Network
It doesn't take a lot of extra work or money to secure your network.

YouTube Growth Continues To Soar
Despite YouTube's phenomenal growth in page views and visitors, some analysts have questioned whether the video-sharing site can transition from a free service to one that can make money.

All Our Latest News

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Microsoft competes directly with iPod and iTunes, rumors abound of an iPod cell phone, and another Vista delay will cost Microsoft money.

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Laurie Sullivan With 'Hollywood's F/X Fix'
Nicholas Cage and Tobey Maguire talk about their upcoming movies at Comic Con.

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4. Grab Bag

For Women Consultants, Business Is Booming (Inc.com)
Consulting firms headed by women are on a roll, with a whopping 45% increase in revenues over the past five years. The reason? An uplift in spending on consulting services and innovative new marketing strategies.

Kazaa, Skype, And Now 'The Venice Project' (BusinessWeek)
Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the creators of Kazaa and Skype, are developing a way to deliver TV shows and other video content over the Web.

In The Race With Google, It's Consistency Vs. 'Wow' (NY Times - reg. required)
A Google executive says the firm eschews battling with competitors by adding "copycat" features to its products and services, favoring instead to release projects that have a distinct "wow" factor.

Washers And Dryers Air Messages To PCs, TVs, Phones (USA Today)
Washers and dryers that link wirelessly to Internet-connected home networks are being tested by consumers who are receiving updates on their dirty laundry via cell phones, computers, and TV sets.


5. In Depth: Chips

AMD Takes Graphics Chipset Plunge With ATI Acquisition
The deal will let AMD offer integrated microprocessor and graphics processor platforms in competition with rival Intel.

Intel Core 2 Duo Launch Set For Thursday
The desktop Core 2 Duo processors, also known as "Conroe," will mark the debut of Intel's cleanest dual-core design to date. Two distinct cores communicate with each other over a front-side bus.

HP's Memory Spot Chip Brings The Bits-To-Atoms Connection Closer
The chip joins technologies from RFID to smart cards in bridging the gap.

Weak Microprocessor Market Dampens Earnings Picture
Mixed signals abound, from Intel cutting its capital spending outlook for the second half of the year to AMD expressing cautious optimism that second-half sales and earnings would show what the company defined as "seasonal improvement."

Intel Overhauls Chip Lineup, Shuffles Executive Ranks
With financial and market share numbers sliding, Intel looks to a new chip lineup to turn things around.

Chartered Execs Remain Hopeful, Stick To '07 Financial Plan
Despite an "unexpected" slump in the electronics sector, executives at Chartered Semiconductor hold fast and refuse to downgrade company forecasts for the year.

TI To Meet Q2 Forecast, Says Analyst
Wireless, as expected, is the main growth driver.

New Approach Could Lead To Self-Powered Silicon Laser Chip
A UCLA scientist applies solar cells to remove heat and electrons from optical computing systems.


6. Voice Of Authority

Did Intel's New Processors Fuel AMD's ATI Acquisition?
Darrell Dunn points out that Advanced Micro Devices could have stayed on its current path and likely continued to gain share in the x86 processor market. But instead it took a leap of faith and bought—at a hefty price—ATI Technologies.


7. White Papers

Top 10 Insights For Backup Consolidation
Advanced remote data management and movement technology, such as that incorporated into Pillar Data Systems' Axiom File Replicator, now cost-effectively solves the challenges of managing data at remote offices. This paper discusses the approaches to effective remote data management, with an emphasis on remote data protection and backup.


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