The DQYDJ Weekender (Week of 12/12/11)

December 17th, 2011 by 

Check it out - a year from now will be 12/12/12!  That's got to be lucky in a year.

Carnivals and Links

What carnivals featured our stuff?  What crazy folks linked back to DQYDJ?  Here's the list!

Featured Links

How do you get featured here?  Suck up, know one of the writers here, or write interesting stuff!  Here's what we've got for you this week...

A Nod to Stock Picks!

There is a stock picking contest over at Money Pros... here's your change to toss your hat into the ring with Don't Quit Your Day Job.  The rules are simple: pick 3 equally weighted stocks you think will do well in 2012.  After that?  Wait until 2013.  We fully expect to win with our picks of:

  • EBIX, Inc.
  • Vascular Solutions, Inc.
  • Neutral Tandem, Inc.

I don't currently own those stocks.  In fact, I bought stocks not currently on my watchlist.  I reserve the right to purchase them at some time in the next year - but I'll try to keep you posted if I purchase one or more and become biased!

A Brief Rant

Tell me - does a rant have to be long?

So this web site is on the internet.  You like the internet, right?  Yeah, me too.  Here's the thing - the internet works perfectly well in its current state.  Businesses based on the online economy start and die daily, which is generally regarded as a Good Thing.  All of this in the lightly regulated "Wild West" of the World Wide Web.

The Internet has a problem - and that problem is creeping regulation.  Last year, the FCC received powers to police 'Net Neutrality'.  Sounds like a good thing, right?  Well, give any government agency a loosely defined term to achieve and it's like throwing red meat to a pack of wolves.  Okay, fine, net neutrality - great, let's give them that one.  Let's talk about SOPA - the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Again, on the surface, the title hearkens to the pirates of real life - raping, pillaging and plundering on the high seas (oh no!  We have to do something!).  However, the devil is in the details.  The Digital Millenium Copyright Act allowed sites to form organically, so long as they complied with any takedown notices from copyright holders.  SOPA removes that protection.  It will allow some entity to either shut down sites (through a mechanism like removing DNS entries) or pull advertisers.  Note also, that they define pirates as not just sites that host content... no that would make too much sense.  It would also define a pirate as a site linking to a pirate site.  How does that affect user driven content or search engines?  You tell me - what search engine doesn't link to pirated content?

And therein lies the problem.  You get a few entrenched interests, like the MPAA and the RIAA and on the other side of millions of tiny sites with no political clout and a few hyperlinks to shady corners of the web.  The danger isn't so much in the law - it's what is guaranteed to be selective enforcement.  Selective enforcement is demonstrated by the sheer number of rules around something... take driving, for example.  There is little chance you can drive and not break some regulation.  The police will let it slide, unless they don't like you for some reason.  At that point they're sure to find you were speeding, driving in the left lane when the right lane was open, or some other infraction that usually is ignored.  Get on the wrong side of a powerful industry?  Guarantee some piece of this law will stretch to fit you.  Google, Yahoo, and the big sites?  They can fight, no problem.  The tiny sites?  I doubt they have much chance in a protracted legal battle.

This is what happens when you let an entity like Congress make laws about something they don't understand.  Seriously, former Senator Ted Stevens even tried to liken the Internet to a series of tubes.  Don't forget that Stevens was on the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.  I hope the irony doesn't escape you - it's the Dilbert Principle to the extreme.

So, there you have it.  We'll see what happens when an entity that knows barely anything about the Internet decides to fundamentally change its balance...

Don't Quit Your Day Job...

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