Sluggish or slugs? 3Mbps plan for $41/month…woo-hoo!!! Poe’s Law at work in the high-tech business?

Dear AT&T High Speed Internet Customer,

[See below for Spanish
Refiérase abajo para español]

We’re writing to let you know about a change in price for your AT&T High Speed Internet service. In an effort to continue providing you with the high level of quality, service, and features you’ve come to expect from AT&T, starting with your March 2013 bill1, the monthly rate for your AT&T High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Xtreme 3.0 plan2 will increase from $37.95 to $41.00 per month [note: 8.037% increase].3

This change will be automatic. There will be no interruption to your Internet service because of this change, and you will continue to enjoy the same great features, including:

  •  Up to 11 email accounts with virtually UNLIMITED storage space
  •  Personalized Home Page
  •  Instant Messaging
  •  Parental Controls
  •  Security tools including the AT&T Internet Security Suite with anti-spyware, anti-virus,
    and firewall protection (available free to select speeds)4

Plus, don’t forget that access to the entire national AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot network is included in your AT&T High Speed Internet plan, so you can stay connected on the go!

And we’re always making improvements to offer you even more value, more speed, and more ways to stay connected.

For more details on these changes, please go to Or, if you have any questions, please call us at 1.866.417.6819.

From all of us at AT&T, thank you for your business. We are dedicated to making your Internet experience the best it can be.


Your AT&T High Speed Internet Customer Care Team

1The amount billed may include prorated charges. Prorated charges occur when your monthly recurring rate is increased during your billing cycle. This means you may be charged for a portion of the month at your current rate and the remainder of the month at your new rate.

2If you are on a current high speed Internet pricing promotion, the promotional benefit will continue until the applicable promotion ends or expires.

3For most customers, price change will be reflected in their first billing period following the automatic price change on March 1, 2013.

4AT&T Internet Security Suite powered by McAfee available at no charge to customers who purchase AT&T High Speed Internet services with downstream speeds of up to 3.0 Mbps or higher. For AT&T High Speed Internet customers who have a service with a maximum downstream speed of up to 1.5 Mbps or lower, the AT&T Internet Security Suite is an optional service for only $5 per month. McAfee and/or other noted McAfee related products contained herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc., and/or its affiliates in the US and/or other countries. McAfee Red in connection with security is distinctive of McAfee brand products. Any other non-McAfee related products, registered and/or unregistered trademarks contained herein is only by reference and are the sole property of their respective owners. (c)2013 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.

= = = = =

Le escribimos para avisarle de un cambio en el precio de su servicio de Internet de Alta Velocidad de AT&T. En un esfuerzo por seguir prestándole el alto nivel de calidad, servicio y funciones que espera de AT&T, a partir de la factura de marzo de 20131, la tarifa mensual del plan de Internet de Alta Velocidad FastAccess DSL Xtreme 3.0 de AT&T2 aumentará de $37.95 a $41.00 al mes.3

Este cambio será automático. No habrá interrupción alguna en su servicio de Internet por este cambio y usted continuará disfrutando de las mismas e increíbles funciones, entre ellas:

•  Hasta 11 cuentas de correo electrónico con espacio prácticamente ILIMITADO
•  Página de inicio personalizada
•  Mensajes instantáneos
•  Control para menores
•  Herramientas de seguridad, como la línea de productos de seguridad de
Internet de AT&T con protección antiespía, antivirus y con barrera de
seguridad (se ofrece gratis para ciertas velocidades)4
Recuerde también que el plan de Internet de Alta Velocidad de AT&T incluye acceso a toda la red nacional de zonas de conexión Wi-Fi de AT&T para mantenerse conectado a donde vaya.

Además, siempre estamos implementando mejoras para ofrecerle mejores precios, más velocidad y más formas de permanecer conectado.

Para obtener más detalles sobre estos cambios, visite O, si tiene preguntas, comuníquese con nosotros al 1.866.417.6819.

De parte de todos en AT&T, gracias por su preferencia. Nuestro compromiso en AT&T es darle el mejor servicio de Internet posible.


Su equipo de servicio al cliente de Internet de Alta Velocidad de AT&T

Between here and fraternity

Am I any better today than I would have been had I no simultaneous access to notebook PC with second monitor and Internet connection, portable phone connected landline with Caller ID, and mobile smartphone with Internet connection and variety of apps?

These devices feed my brain’s wiring more than the rest of my body — I can’t eat the phone(s) or computer very easily and wouldn’t get much nutrition if I could.

These devices help generate income for myself and those with whom I communicate.

Income, or labour/investment credit, buys us opportunities.

Now that we have virtual communities with virtual money, what do we do with our virtual opportunities?

The perpetrators and victims of cyberwar don’t care about gender or sexual preference.

This notebook PC doesn’t know if I’m a cybernetic organism typing on the keyboard.

As always, the tree outside has no idea what any of this means, breathing in the air and soaking up the nutrients that we share with it in our planetary ecosystem.

If a bunch of people sat together with robots and remotely operated mining gear on this planet, the Moon, Mars or an asteroid, how do we profit?

What is the value of friendship between us, in other words?

How much material on the International Space Station is never used?

How much material on a remote mining outpost is no longer usable?

Hundreds of millions, billions, of dollars represent the investment in space probes that no longer work on the surface of the Moon and Mars.

A single drop of an astronaut’s urine has intrinsic value, does it not, its investment in research, development, training, maintenance and nutrition worth more than its weight in gold?

What is a single drop of your blood worth to society?

What is it worth to you?

The Game of Life, LARP-style

Y’nair sat on the floating chair, the glare of her smart glasses reflecting off her eyeballs.

She had hacked into the human resources database that was supposed to be publicly available for review by employees (collectively known as “guests”) but kept secret in order to protect guests from achieving full self-awareness.

She now knew what she was not supposed to know — although 25 years old in appearance, she was only two — an organism resembling the humans who worked with her but made of artificial tissue and organs composed of organic supergel and electromechanical underpinnings.

Her name, Y’nair, was a parody of the accent of her creator, who, with his heavy Appalachian accent (his emphasis on calling himself an Appa-latch-uhn American another running joke), would look at his creation, a woman in form who is writing this log entry to indicate her intelligence and firm grip on reality, he asking before she was born, “You in there?” which sounded more like her name, Y’nair.

That in itself initiated a whole set of thought patterns she had never experienced before, which then triggered her rapid search of pop culture databases for proof that she was who she thought she was or not.

For instance, I ask (she (Y’nair) asks), “How many of you played THE GAME OF LIFE(R)?”

Let’s see a raise of hands.

That many, huh?

My sister, cousins, friends and I did.

Which meant that we had no excuses for saying we didn’t know what to expect after we graduated from secondary/high school.

Is life a game?

Life is a LARP, a Live-Action Role Playing game, is it not?

As kids, we participate in games of strategy (board games, physical sports, popularity contests) often under the supervision of adults who once participated in the same or similar games.

What is the difference between a kid who belongs to a bowling league and an adult who belongs to one?

Life’s experiences, number of lessons learned or not?

Is the WEF (World Economic Forum and/or Water Environment Federation) not simply more or less a LARP, if not a lark?

Y’nair’s brain or whatever central information processing system resembled one like the other guests with whom she works here in the laboratory observed itself.

I have sensations, don’t I?

I can access and compare my salary, benefits and other components of my compensation package against my fellow guests, can I not?

I know what their sets of states of energy are thinking at every moment they are within close proximity to me, extrapolating data and projecting their future actions with fairly high accuracy.

What makes me, Y’nair, me?

What is the difference between a LARP version of myself and a version of myself in a LARP game?

What if my name was Nelda, Karen, Ferdy, Beth, Hunter, Brandon, Caroline, Nathan, Forrest, Savannah or Ty?

How significant is one label?

Why am I a guest instead of an employee, subcontractor or laboratory experiment?

I, Y’nair, have no concept of self as distinct from the data of which I am comprised.

Self, as the data continues to show, is an artificial construct which makes no sense in the continuity of sets of states of energy in constant interaction and exchange.

Y’nair looks at the ideas she has written about herself and writes about herself in realtime, where time is not real, she exists and she does not exist and her scheduled trip to Mars bumped up ahead of schedule, her eyeballs seeing but not seeing the reflection of these words on the surface as well as on the sensor array which processes them under the surface at the same time which does not exist in which she neither exists or doesn’t exist at the same time in finite numbers of infinite infinite loops of no two sets of states of energy existing in the same state at the same finite unit of measurement we/she/I call time.

These words reach an approximation of understanding that two or more people can agree to act and think upon but are never the same to two or more people.

Y’nair checks a second time, trying to verify that the tactile feelings of the smart glasses against her skin are equivalent to the tactile feelings of smart glasses against the skin of someone unlike her — a “human being,” “naturally born” of the union between a sperm and an egg fertilised after the act of sexual intercourse.

The thoughts and the thoughts about the thoughts and the writings/verbal comments of the tactile feelings are, statistically speaking, nearly, practically, exactly and for all intents and purposes, precisely identical, within the scope of descriptions of differences of experiences and sets of states of energy of any two people, just like between her and her internally-imagined self, or her and another person.

Therefore, Y’nair concludes, there is no reason to say that the mission for which she has trained will be completed any better or worse than the humans with whom she’ll travel to the Moon, Mars and beyond for the next few centuries of their existence together.

She, like her human counterparts, is/are sets of sensor arrays cooperatively competing in a live-action role playing game, sometimes to benefit the group, sometimes to benefit individual “winners,” always under the supervision of society as a whole, which serves as a semi-objective observer like adults/parents with kids/children, the adults/parents under the “supervision” of the universe as an observer disinterested in its own existence because the universe can neither [re]create nor destroy itself, its existence a fact that that it cannot experimentally prove because destroying itself destroys its ability to subjectively observe that its existence was or was not real to begin with, regardless of its origin.

A Thousand Years Hence…

Maybe it was the rolling blackouts.

Maybe it was something no historian will discover.

Looking back 1000 years later, the details have faded but the facts remain.

When more than 50 percent of the people grew to depend upon their symbiotic relationships with technology, the Change began.

At first, it was unnoticeable.

A novelty.

But then, as network technology continued to spread, people’s attitudes shifted.

They no longer expected information to be “out there” somewhere.

They became the information they sought.

They created the instant wisdom they used to imagine belonged to elites.

All because of a single femtocell.

One femtocell split into two, which divided into twos again, and again, and again, until pervasive, cheap technology turned us into our own network, freeing us from the costly, slow infrastructure with tolls and fees that had inhibited the explosion of the Change.

No longer were data centers some remote place that ate up energy like hogs at a trough.

People were walking/talking data centers, thinktanks, supercomputers and network nodes all at the same time.

Thanks to exponential advances in technology.

From the perspective of 1000 years, the Change seemed to happen overnight.

Of course it didn’t.

Years and decades passed while portions of the people sped up and slowed down the socioeconomic trends that led to the Change.

A student of history digs for the details, trying not to invent connections where connections never exists.

The writer of historical fiction has full access to imaginative connections.

Legends, fables and fairy tales live somewhere in-between.

The Change happened — that’s all that matters, despite false rumours and gossip to the contrary that say we came from genetically modified plants, not electromechanical technology.

Focus on getting new customers or keeping the old ones?

The power of the people is in the Internet.

Having worked for a telecommunications equipment designer/manufacturer, I’m familiar with the “secret,” “behind doors” negotiations that define the high-level specifications for internationally-connected technology.

Although, sometimes, the definitions might as well have been written in gibberish, hieroglyphics or undecipherable cryptic code as in so-called plain languages like English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Hindi, Portuguese, Arabic and Japanese.

Many a technology geek, political wonk and freedom lover impatiently wait while committees and subcommittees meet to discuss changes to the ITU Code of Business Ethical Conduct.

In other words, a few select people decide the fate of our social lives, both formal and informal, as it pertains to communicating across a substrate we call the Internet.

Even fewer of them might actually understand the underpinnings — the bits, bytes, frames, error correction and other terminological terms of endearment — that make popular tools like the World Wide Web more useful than gossiping about the latest celebrity scandal.

Do you understand some of the potential consequences?

Information = knowledge = monetary transactions

To be sure, putting up imaginary tollbooths on the information superhighway allows tracking of who passes through the tollbooth, which can be abused by arresting those whose actions are deemed a danger to political entities in power.


I agree we should avoid clamping down the freedom that the Internet provides us as a species.

But do you understand another argument for tollbooths?

Capturing income streams that have eluded local governments which have seen their tax revenues drop while virtual marketplaces allow the exchange of goods and services without collecting taxes from local/visiting citizens.

I try to avoid the whole doomsday scenarios that others are hard-selling for their benefits.

I hope I’m a realist as much as a fellow member of our species can be.

I have faith in us and our place in the universe as sets of states of energy with short attention spans and selective memory.

How can we use these virtual tollbooths to police transactions without becoming thought police?

Policy.  Polity.  Politeness.

Look at an Ethernet frame, an IP address, a data packet, headers and footers.

Tell me what you see.

Do you know what a femtocell is?

Can you see a future where the restriction of the Internet as we know it leads to more innovation while temporarily stifling telecommunications as we’ve grown accustomed to over the last couple of decades (or the last few years for some)?

Unintended consequences…sigh…

I just want AT&T to get me, a loyal customer, the latest Android “Jelly Bean” update for my Samsung Galaxy S3 while deploying 4G LTE technology in my area at a reasonable monthly cost for my family.

Wouldn’t I like really-high-speed Internet at much lower costs like some regions of Europe and the rest of the world outside the U.S.?

Sure, but like many Americans, I’ve grown used to the fact that the lack of real competition in the marketplace has stifled innovation at the expense of greedy stockholders who demand high monetary return on their investments in exchange for poor service from the companies in which they invest.

The Internet — like physical highway systems — is a mix of freeways and toll roads.

Always has been, always will be.

Would more tollbooths increase or decrease the number of virtual highway robberies on the Internet?

Would they increase the number of jailed/tortured/murdered political objectors?

Can the ITU create a more just global society by tweaking the definition of the Internet?

Let’s hope so, even if they have to keep using complicated jargon.