As Per Whatever

BlackBerry was down in the Southeast on AT&T?


San Francisco – AT&T’s wireless data networks in the Southeast and Midwest U.S. were down for several hours on Thursday, causing BlackBerry and iPhone users to be without data services.

The EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) and UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) services in those regions began having problems around 6:30 a.m. EST, said Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman. Voice calling was not affected, but people trying to use wireless data services may have had difficulty, he said.

Can’t say I saw any symptoms of this outage…the BlackBerry was churning right along this morning and all through the day. Odd.

In Brief

While I’m on a cell phone kick

AT&T announced their plans to expand 3G access to Charleston Wednesday. It’s looking like early 2008 for that to come online. Maybe, a year after I got my 3G BlackJack, I can finally take advantage of its power. :P

The Monday(s)

Stuff for today…

  • The Web group has been doing a “refresh” of the College of Charleston homepage over the last month. That culminated with its launch today. It was nice taking a site that was done in a tabled layout and literally chopping about 500 lines of HTML off. I didn’t necessarily design it — the look was mocked up by the Marketing department, and I brought it to life in code. Needless to say, we’re thrilled that it’s up. It’s the first major work that’s been done on the homepage in several years. Take a look!
  • The Subway on King Street finally reopened a few days ago, and I went there for lunch today. It looks great inside. I haven’t had Subway since my Atlanta trip in February because it just wasn’t convenient. I’m so happy it’s back.
  • I’m now watching Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel. My housemates have me hooked. It’s nice that I have a laptop, too, so I’m able to watch it while blogging. This show — specifically, Bear, the guy who parachutes into the forest with little more than a knife — is insane.
  • This weekend, Tom had his BlackJack switch back and forth into 3G mode, specifically after he booted his phone up. I have rebooted my phone like a madman, hoping to cash in on some accidental New AT&T 3G goodness, to no avail. This is a good sign though — is a 3G launch in Charleston imminent? If so, I will feel 100% justified in eschewing a Blackberry in favor of the BlackJack. C’mon AT&T, just flip the switch…

Today was a high value Monday — here’s hoping Tuesday is similar…

As Per Whatever

Death Stars and other trivia

Last night at about midnight, I officially joined the Cult of AT&T, as my cell phone no longer reflects “Cingular” as my service provider. The last gasp of Cingular is the branding that was screenprinted on the bottom of the phone. That was a good brand…a lot more hip than “AT&T,” which just screams “giant corporate behemoth.”

And now, a random note that has nothing to do with AT&T or Death Stars: I don’t talk about my professional life much on here outside of the limited freelancing I do, but for the last month I have been the interim webmaster at CofC. It’s been quite exciting — definitely one of those “never a dull moment” kind of jobs. This has had a lot to do with the slowing of my blogging pace, because quite frankly, it’s just tough to get on a computer when I get home after I’ve been on one for close to eight hours a day.

I’m wondering if it’s going to rain on Charleston in a couple hours. There’s a cell that appears to be holding together as it traverses its way down the coast. It’s been quite the rainmaker, dropping a radar-estimated three inches of rain on portions of upper Charleston County. It’ll probably rain itself out before it gets here, but then again, you just don’t know. The clouds were fairly ominous this morning.

Back to the grind…

The New AT&T: Team Hollywood, Internet Police

News is traveling quickly of AT&T’s intent to filter copyrighted content on portions of the Internet it controls. It’s been repeated a million times before, but briefly: The New AT&T wants to transform itself into a content provider, serving up Internet TV. Obviously, people trading copyrighted television shows for free over the Internet(s) is a direct contradiction to that business model. Conveniently for The New AT&T, they also have a stranglehold on much of the Internet backbone in the United States. Thus, they’re going to use that capacity and attempt to start filtering out content that doesn’t pass muster as legit.

In other words, The New AT&T is sacrificing itself as a neutral network provider — really, how could they be expected to provide neutral network services and be a content provider at the same time? Where would the incentive be, besides drawing the ire of regulators, to permit competitors on their network? When I say competitors, think YouTube — Alex Curtis believes they could be the first target of a joint Hollywood/AT&T hit. I’m only scratching the surface, too — there is much more to this than just the business angle. What about consumer privacy? (It’s bad enough that they forward traffic to the NSA.) Does AT&T, and only AT&T, reserve the right to regulate what is and isn’t acceptable on the public Internet? The answers to these questions will have a lasting effect on the Internet as we know it.

One thing is for certain: The New AT&T sure seems to be just as sinister as the old one. I hope the regulators get on the horn to AT&T and find out what the deal is, because so far to me this flies in the face of the provisions that were set when AT&T acquired SBC and later BellSouth. I guess they just haven’t learned their lesson from the first time they were broken up…


AT&T to kill the Cingular name

Over the next few months, The New AT&T will be phasing out the Cingular brand and replacing it with — guess what — AT&T Wireless. Yes, the same AT&T Wireless Cingular bought out a couple years ago. This is a terrible mistake. It’s going to take some creative advertising to make the AT&T brand resonate as well with the youthful demographic as Cingular does now…


EFF spying case vs. AT&T to move forward

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against AT&T will move forward after a judgement issued today to deny the motions to dismiss on behalf of both AT&T and the federal government. This delivers a tough blow against the government and AT&T, who tried to get the case dismissed for the ever-convenient “national security reasons.”

Here’s EFF’s press release for more information.

As Per Whatever

Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth bought by NSA to hand over phone records

“In other words, one end of the communication must be outside the United States.”
President George W. Bush, on the NSA phone monitoring program


USA Today is reporting that the NSA phone monitoring is far broader than previously acknowledged. Apparently AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth have been, since just after September 11, 2001, complicit in permitting the NSA to create a massive database — possibly the largest database, ever — of phone calls made inside the country (despite the Administration’s consistent reassurances that one end of any monitored phone call is outside the country) for the purpose of attempting to identify terrorist activity by calling patterns. While no voices were recorded, and no customer names and addresses exist in this database, it’s hardly trivial to pin the gathered phone numbers to a person. The same article also reports that the three companies were paid by the NSA to provide this information. More interestingly enough, Qwest Telecom refused to join the program, because of fears over fines and privacy concerns. Bravo.

I’m just starting to wonder what would happen if General Hayden is confirmed as the CIA head. CIA agents working domestically to gather intelligence, much as they would do overseas? We probably already have that too.

Needless to say, I smell a giant lawsuit against these three companies for a gross and willful invasion of privacy. The Fourth Amendment is still valid in the Constitution, right? Or was repealing the 4th yet another secret clause in the “Patriot” Act that no one read? You just can’t make this stuff up anymore. Orwell would be shocked. I, for one, am pretty disgusted.