Sunday, January 25, 2009

The flaw in stimulus packages

Am I the only one that sees the fundamental flaw in these tax cut stimulus plans? For years now, the Republicans have been doing the same thing that the democrats are now proposing - they base the stimulus packages on AGI, not on need. See: Democrats unveil $825 billion in stimulus spending

By phasing out the tax cuts based on income, they complete ignore the massive differences in cost-of-living across the country. A family making $75,000 in the Bay Area might be on the verge of foreclosure. Similarly, a family making $75,000 in rural Iowa might be living in a 4BR house that they bought with cash. If you mail each of these families a check for $500, who do you think is going to spend it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Streaming the inauguration

TechCrunch reported that yesterday was the day that live web video streaming failed, with unprecedented demand for the inauguration that exceeded the capabilities of the major CDN's out there.

I'm pleased to say that I watched the entire speech streaming live to my 3G iPhone on my drive in to work. Yes, I realize I was probably breaking several laws in doing this, but trust me, I had my eyes on the road most of the time! I propped my phone up on the instrument cluster and only glanced at it for brief moments of context.

So, how did I do this, and why wasn't I impacted by the problems that faced the major web streaming portals? Well, I was using a Slingbox SOLO at my house that was streaming video directly to a beta version of the SlingPlayer software running on my iPhone. This is a direct stream from my house, over the Internet, and over AT&T's cell phone network directly to my phone. The Internet wasn't choked yesterday, just the major streaming portals. I still had a solid audio/video stream that only glitched twice over the 25 minute speech. Both of these times were during portions of my commute where I know AT&T's network is a bit weak because I sometimes drop voice calls as well. Both times, the player recovered flawlessly and the Slingbox buffering worked well enough that I didn't miss any of the speech.

For those of you that got cut off, you can always watch a replay on's special inauguration site. And, next time you want smooth streaming performance, get a Slingbox!