December 2011 archive

Looking for last-minute tax donations? Why not support the open Internet?

As 2011 draws to a close, are you looking at what donations to make to charitable organizations for tax purposes?

Here in the USA, this is something that many of us think about in these final days. It's a last chance we have to make tax-deductible donations that can then be used to potentially lower the taxes you pay to the US government when we go through all that fun over the next few months.

Now, there are admittedly a zillion great causes and organizations out there to whom you can give donations. Local organizations, global organizations, relief organizations, churches and religious groups, arts organizations, environmental groups, sports groups, school groups, cancer and other research organizations... so, so many...

In the midst of all that, I'd also encourage you to think about possibly making donations to organizations helping in the fight to maintain an "open Internet".

2012 promises to be a challenging year for the Internet... not just with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and it's PROTECT-IP cousin here in the US... but with similar legislation cropping up all around the world. With various governments seeking to put restrictions on the Internet in their country. With upcoming global telecommunications treaties and discussions. With various industries who have been severely disrupted by the Internet. With large companies wanting to lock people in to specific platforms and systems. With... with... with... the list goes on and on...

The Internet has now become a critical communications medium with so many players out there now believing they should play a role.

We need to ensure that the Internet remains open for "permissionless innovation"... for access to the services and applications we want to use... for access to everyone all around the world...

And unfortunately, the powers that would like to close and restrict the openness of the Internet are also powers that have a ton of money and a ton of lobbyists, lawyers and more.

So if you are looking for a way to help make a difference in 2012, may I suggest please helping out some of the organizations that are out there fighting to keep the Internet open?

There are again, many such organizations fighting the good fight for the open Internet, and I'm sure all of them would welcome the contributions. If you aren't aware of any such organizations in your region, here are four I personally believe are doing valuable work:

And yes, I'm now a staff member for the Internet Society but I've been a donor to ISOC for several years prior to joining as a staff member in September. There are also many other groups helping in local areas throughout the world.


Or even more than one! If you're in the US, you have a little over 24 hours to make those final contributions.

We've got a wonderful resource in the open Internet we have today... let's keep it open!

P.S. The four organizations I list above are all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations under US tax law. If you are looking at other organizations you will want to just check to ensure that donations to them are in fact tax-deductible (if your point right now is donate for tax purposes).

P.P.S. There are, of course, many others working in complementary ways... the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is doing great work on critical privacy issues. I love all that the Sunlight Foundation is doing for open government and there are so many more. All of them could use donations!

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My 3 Words for 2011 – How Did I Do?

2011So as 2011 enters its final hours, it's time to take a look back and see how I did with my "3 Words For 2011". As a reminder, they were:

Well, to start with, they - and most all my plans for 2011 - were rather subsumed by an extremely unwelcome fourth word that dominated my year:


Yes, indeed, the defining thread of 2011 has definitely been my wife's diagnosis and subsequent battle with breast cancer. It truly did consume the entire year - she had what was otherwise a routine doctor visit in January that started raising questions... and then her last chemo treatment was in early December.

In between, of course, were horrific months dealing with tests leading to the diagnosis in May, then the operation in July with the long recovery, and then the pathology reports of invasive breast cancer and then the start of chemotherapy in September and all the nastiness that followed.

She's not "done" now... next month she begins five years of a daily hormone therapy called Tamoxifen as well as one year of an every-three-week infusion of a drug called Herceptin.

But in theory we're through the worst of it. We hope.

So looking at 2011 through the cancer-colored lens, just surviving was a beautiful thing... but how did I do with the words that were to guide my activities? Let's see...


My big goal was to increase the amount of actual writing I was doing across my blogs and other sites. Unfortunately I don't have a count for 2010 to know how my writing exactly compares, but I know that I did write more this year. My total was:

Given that I was manually tracking all those entries across several different blogging platforms, it could certainly be off to a certain degree... but it's probably in the general area. Through the first half of the year I was writing more and averaging out about 2 to 3 posts each day. I had aimed to get at least one post out every day of 2011, but that goal feel by the wayside in March and then with all the cancer happenings it never really became a goal again.

Still, I'm pleased with a good body of work out there for 2011. Some of it shorter content... some of it the longer, deeper pieces I love to write. There's still a ton of stories left untold that are sitting in my queue... but I did get a good bit out.

Add to that, I believe, 51 podcast contributions to For Immediate Release. I seem to recall Shel & Neville taking one show off... and I don't think I missed any of the weeks. (And if they didn't take a week off this year, then it was 52 contributions.)

Plus, I published another book, this time with O'Reilly, "Migrating Applications to IPv6". The idea was that this was to be primarily an "ebook" that could then be frequently updated... which, given everything else going on, didn't happen (updates), despite my best of intentions. I'm looking forward to making some updates in 2012.

Where I had hoped to do more in 2011 was with photography and videos. My camera traveled with me a good bit... and I shot lots of photos... I just didn't have a whole lot of the curation/post-production time to then get photos online. 2012! Ditto video.


I made some progress on this... I haven't really publicized it yet, but I've been aggregating my content from across various blogs into a new site at:

It's my attempt to bring together all my content into one central site. There's still much I would like to do with that and it's still not working the way I want, but it's a start.

I never did move my main blogs off of TypePad... perhaps 2012 will be the year I finally make that happen. And I still would like to improve how this site ( presents me...


This is one where I did make serious progress. I had wondered a year ago if running would be something I really continued.

I did!

In fact, I ran 5 miles yesterday morning and will probably go for a similar run tomorrow. (Today's a resting day.) Over the course of 2011 I probably ran 400 or 500 miles... hard to know exactly as I'm not tracking all my running (such as on the treadmill).

I also ran in 6 actual races, including my first-ever half-marathon in September.

2011 also marked the time when I brought my running gear with me on every business trip and speaking engagement - and actually RAN!

Wellllll... except for the trip to Orlando where I left my shorts back in New Hampshire! On every other trip (including multiple trips to Orlando), I managed to get out and run at least once if not more. New York... Miami Beach... Toronto... San Francisco... Orlando... Virginia... Austin... I was quite pleased with this, actually, because it's so easy NOT to run while traveling.

So yes, running has become part and parcel of who I am.

Outside of running, there were some other lifestyle changes, too. Some tweaking of what we eat. Trying to do some more of the offline things I enjoy. Adding curling back into my life. Continuing to try to find that balance between the work I love and the family I love... The sudden job change from Voxeo to the Internet Society also brought some lifestyle changes, too.

Outside of the cancer chaos, or perhaps because of the chaos making me think more about priorities, 2011 was definitely one of thinking about - and acting on - lifestyle changes.

More changes to come, I hope, but this was a big part of 2011.

What's on tap for my 3 Words for 2012? Well... I'll write about that soon... ;-)

Video: How A Curling Stone Is Made

Here's a pretty cool video from the Science Channel showing how a curling stone is made. I had heard that there were only two quarries in the world that supplied all the curling stones... this video gives a bit more insight into the whole process...

Are You Following the WordPress Development Updates Site?

If you use WordPress for publishing content online and are interested in how the platform is evolving, do you follow the "WordPress Development Updates" blog found at:

It is the "official blog for the core development team" and is regularly updated with news of their meetings, activities and other projects. For instance, for those of us interested in WordPress Multisite (as I am), there was a recap of a recent meeting focused on ideas for improving Multisite. There was also a thread earlier in the month about adding images to plugin pages on, which explains why many of the pages have now added photos. And there was discussion of what would be in a "TwentyTwelve" default WordPress theme.

All good stuff to monitor for those of you heavily using WordPress. You can, of course, subscribe via RSS... and an email option is also provided.

Kudos to the core development team for keeping us all informed on what they are doing (or thinking about doing).


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3 Great Posts to Read About Why Windows Phone 7 Hasn’t Taken Off…

Windows Phone 7

Jumping online this morning I noticed this trio of great posts yesterday about Windows Phone 7 and why it hasn't taken off. The discussion was started off by Charlie Kindel, a former Microsoft general manager:

MG Siegler weighed in on his blog with:

And Robert Scoble posted a comment on Charlie's post that led then to his own post:

The comments on both Charlie Kindel's and Robert Scoble's posts are also worth reading. There were other articles on this theme, but these were the three I found most useful.

As to my own opinion, I'm definitely in Scoble's camp (to which Siegler also agrees):

It's ALL about the apps!

The device formerly known as a "mobile phone" is now a device to access all sorts of services, information, games, Internet sites and to send messages to people... and, oh yeah, it can make phone calls sometimes if you really want it to.

It's all about the apps... and until Microsoft is able to truly foster a strong application developer ecosystem it will remain, like RIM, a minor player in the mobile market.

Image credit: microsoftsweden on Flickr

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The Remarkable Success of Sean Quigley’s Little Drummer Boy Video

The tools we have today to unleash creativity are utterly amazing. Recording a version of the classic song "The Little Drummer Boy" is not terribly remarkable... but... creating your own arrangement, playing all the instruments and singing, recording and editing a really fun video, and then getting 1.4 million hits on YouTube... and all at the age of 16... THAT is remarkable!

If you haven't seen it yet, just watch 16-year-old Sean Quigley's video:

As a result of the amazing interest in the video, the high school student in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, (note the red "Canada" gloves in the video) has now been on the major Canadian TV and radio networks and has been receiving attention from around the world. As articles in USA Today and on CTV News can attest, he now has an agent and is in fact selling copies of his song online.

This interview on CTV News back on December 2nd gives a bit of the background:

Of course, at that time, the number of views was still only in the thousands. Now, as I'm writing this post, the number of views is closing in on 1.4 million... and I'd expect it to probably go even higher.

What I find so cool about this all is that Sean Quigley did all of this himself with the help of a few friends.

He shot it all using a basic DSLR camera. He recorded all the instruments and vocals into a computer. He did the editing/post-production - I don't know using what software but there are many inexpensive choices.

No fancy commercial production houses. No extra producers.

Just a talented individual able to make use of tools he had available.

He didn't need to ask permission of anyone to upload the video.

He just did.

It's awesome to see... and he and his family and friends certainly have a good bit to be proud of... I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll do next!

And I'm looking forward to the continued creativity to come out of all the people in this world with the easy access to tools... and an open Internet on which to publish their work...

P.S. Those interested in following what is next for Sean Quigley can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Voxeo Imports Snow… Into Florida??? (Video)

Kudos to my former colleagues at Voxeo for a great Holiday Letter and a truly fun video showing the making of the holiday photo. A large part of why I enjoyed working at Voxeo so much was just the wackiness that leads to doing crazy things like having a snowball fight in Florida! Keep on doing crazy things, my friends... it's awesome to see what you are doing!

P.S. And I imagine that this little bit of snow may have been more snow than a few of those Floridians had ever seen! :-)

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SIP Co-Author Henning Schulzrinne Appointed CTO of the FCC (Featured Blog)

In a move to be celebrated by many of us with a VoIP background, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today the appointment of Henning Schulzrinne as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As the release indicates, Henning's role as CTO will be to: the FCC's work on technology and engineering issues, together with the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology. More...

5 Critical Facts You Need To Know About Jan 12th Launch of New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)

Are you aware that on January 12, 2011, a fundamental change to the Internet's naming infrastructure is beginning? Are you thinking about what it means to your company or organization?

What's going on?

On that date, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) starts taking applications for new "generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Here are five critical facts:

1. The gTLD process may result in 10s or 100s of new top-level domains

A "top-level domain" (TLD) is the final part of a domain name. Originally there were only eight TLDs:

.com .edu .gov .int .mil .net .org .arpa

ICANN was awarded the contract to manage the DNS system in 1998 and engaged in two rounds of domain expansion in 2000 and 2004 that resulted in the addition of 15 more domains (see the ICANN agreements):

.aero .asia .biz .cat .coop .info .jobs .mobi .museum .name .post .pro .tel .travel .xxx

Additionally, there are 250-ish two-letter "country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)" that are handled by each nation. (And some of those ccTLDs are available commercially to anyone such as ".tv". ".me", ".co", etc.)

This new round of domain name expansion happening comes after about an 18-month process by ICANN to engage many different stakeholders in the process. It will allow anyone who can meet the criteria to establish a "registry" for a new domain name. ICANN created a video that explains the program:

2. These New Domain Names Will Most Likely Not Be Out Until 2013

On January 12, 2012, the application process will start for entities that want to apply to register a new gTLD. As explained in the Applicant Guidebook, the process is quite lengthy and involves a significant amount of both technical and business due diligence. It also costs $185,000 USD just to apply, plus the additional costs of setting up the business, technical infrastructure, etc.

The application process closes on April 12, 2012, and given the lengthy process the earliest that new gTLDs would most likely become available is early 2013.

3. You Need To Watch The gTLD Applicants To Ensure No Trademark Issues

ICANN has stated that "approximately 2 weeks after the close of the application window, ICANN will post the public portions of all applications that have been received on our website. At this time, the formal objection period will begin and will last for approximately 7 months." (See Section 4.1 of ICANN's gTLD FAQ.)

ICANN has stated that at the current time they will NOT be notifying brand name / trademark holders of applications using their brand/trademark (see Section 1.12 of the FAQ), so you need to pay attention to what is being proposed.

4. There Is An Opportunity Here for Brands

If your company/organization has both the financial and technical capability to operate a gTLD registry, there is a great potential here for carving out your area of the Internet. For instance, Ford Motor Company could register ".ford" and then start using domains such as:

The beautiful thing about operating your own gTLD is that:

You do NOT have to let anyone else use it!

It can be your own top-level domain name that no one else on the global Internet can use. gTLD operators set all the rules for how the domain is to be operated - and can choose to not let anyone else use it... or set specific criteria for people wanting to use the domain.

Again, it's very definitely NOT an easy process to get started, but it is something that some larger brands certainly may want to consider. (There is also no guarantee that consumers would accept these new gTLDs and might keep trying to tack .com onto the end!)

5. Communicators Will Need To Monitor These New gTLDs for Defensive Registrations

Once these new gTLDs start appearing in 2013 or so, communicators will of course need to monitor the success (or not) of these new gTLDs and consider whether or not they want to defensively register their brand/name/etc. in the new gTLDs.

This has been the harshest critique of the new gTLD program - namely that it creates a massive problem for brand/trademark holders and will create additional cost for them to register in each of these new domains. There have even been hearings in the US House and Senate related to these concerns and numerous editorials and online articles about this. (one example - and an ICANN response)

However, all current signs are that the launch of the application process WILL go ahead as planned on January 12, 2012. The application process does require each new gTLD to have a "Sunrise" period where entities can register new domains with specific brands/trademarks in advance of the open public registration... but that again will be something communicators will need to monitor.


ICANN has established a section of their site specifically about the generic Top-Level Domain program:

Of particular value may be the FAQ: (direct link in English)

For those seriously interested or wanting more of the details, the Applicant Guidebook is critical:

There has been a great amount of discussion about this ICANN program in various parts of the media. One site I have found extremely useful has been CircleID and their specific page tracking TLDs is here:

Now, the reality is that this entire gTLD program could completely fail. There may not be enough applicants... or consumers may simply not accept any of the new domains. Certainly some of the already-approved gTLDs have not found widespread acceptance.

Still, this new expansion of top-level domains seems pretty certain to move ahead - and as communicators we all need to stay on top of what is going on here and understand what we may or may not need to do.

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2 Insanely Simple Steps to Completely Bypass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

How completely BROKEN is the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) be?

Here are the two steps ANY consumer can take to COMPLETELY bypass the DNS filtering proposed in SOPA:

1. Find The Computer's DNS Settings

On a Mac, go into System Preferences, then Network, select the network connection being used (typically "Wi-Fi" or "Ethernet") and then click on the "Advanced..." button in the lower right corner. On the resulting screen, click on the "DNS" tab to see a screen like this one:


On a Windows computer, go into the Control Panel and look for "Network and Sharing Center", find the adapter being used, right-click it and choose "Properties". Next click on "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" (or IPv6 should you use that) and press the "Properties" button. Microsoft provides step-by-step instructions on their website for changing these properties.

On mobile devices, tablets, etc, the same kind of screen can generally be found in a "preferences" or "settings" area. Linux systems likewise may have a graphical control panel/settings area or may requiring editing of a file.

2. Enter In Addresses for Public DNS Servers OUTSIDE The USA

All someone has to do is search for "list of public DNS servers outside us" in Google or other search engines. They can look at the OpenNIC list of public DNS servers or any of a zillion other web pages.

Choose one or more DNS servers outside the United States and enter them into the computer's DNS settings.

Apply those settings and... ta da... the consumer is no longer subject to any DNS filtering that is proposed as part of SOPA. (Because they are no longer using DNS servers that are subject to US law.)

That's it!


Could the entertainment industry seriously be lobbying for a filtering solution that can be defeated so easily?

Yes, it is... and yes, they are.


YES! Pretty much everyone who knows anything about the Internet has explained to SOPA proponents that this proposed mechanism will not work.

White papers have been issued, statements have been received from organizations charged with cybersecurity, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent a letter to Congress...


Good question. Ask them. Perhaps they think US consumers are too dumb to follow simple steps like these above. I don't know.

Beyond simply not working, consumer's bypassing normal DNS settings from their ISP can potentially make the Internet LESS secure because consumers could be using DNS servers set up my malicious entities (and then promoted to people looking for pirated content) who could then send people to sites that download malware, engage in phishing, etc.

This is just one more reason why SOPA should NOT become a law!

Please note that this blog post represents my personal opinion and has no connection whatsoever to any employers or other organizations, either past or present.

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