This article was first published on February 19, 2015 as the cover story for that week's Reader. On February 26, 2015 "As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new net neutrality regulations. . . " On December 14, 2017 the FCC will vote to replace the "current Open Internet or net neutrality rules, which prevented Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking or throttling legal content users sought to access, as well as preventing ISPs from accepting payment to prioritize some data.".

On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be voting on rules that would reclassify broadband Internet as a public utility. The stated goal is to give the commission the authority to enforce what's called "net neutrality."

Unless you're a rare breed, I've already frightened (or bored) you with a topic you're certain is arcane, technical, obscure, and confusing. You might also think it's irrelevant.

So to goose your interest, I'll note that John Oliver - the host of HBO's Last Week Tonight series - recommended replacing the dull "net neutrality" with "Preventing Cable Company F---ery."

My goal is to present a simplified (and in some cases over-simplified) explanation of net neutrality as a public-policy issue, specifically in the context of the FCC's impending vote. The proposed rules won't be made public before that meeting, but FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has sketched out the broad strokes - no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization.

Reader issue #593
The
idea has immediate appeal. Anybody would be able to use a laptop
computer anywhere in the city, making it attractive for tech-savvy
(or tech-dependent) people and businesses who might want to visit or
relocate there.

That
was an idea that Dick Klein brought earlier this year to the
Bettendorf City Council, which then formed a task force to look into
the concept. That six-member task force has met twice already, and is
expected to report back to the council in the next few months.

Klein
said his vision was for the city to use a wireless network to make
city services more efficient, with the savings underwriting free
wireless Internet access for citizens.

But
don't expect Bettendorf to become the Quad Cities "most wireless"
city. Although it has reached no conclusions, several members of the
task force said that private-sector initiatives in the area of
wireless networks would make any municipal effort redundant.

A couple of years ago, the
people who are continually stretching the edge of the Internet
envelope began talking about Web 2.0. Wikipedia, the user-created
encyclopedia, defines Web 2.0 as "a term often applied to a
perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection
of Web sites to a full-fledged computing platform serving Web
applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected
to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes."

That's happening.

Remember the book Chariots of the Gods? by Erich Von Daniken? Published in the early '70s, it was the first book to introduce the shocking theory that aliens had visited ancient Earth. Von Daniken supposedly unearthed thousand-year-old navigational charts, landing strips from ancient Egypt, and giant spaceports in the Andes.

Revolutionaries seldom survive long enough to see their visions realized. Crispus Attucks found this out in 1770. Attucks became the first casualty of the American Revolution when he was shot and killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre.

There's currently a syndicated game show called You Don't Know Jack on which host Troy Stevens, played by Paul Reubens, asks contestants a series of satirical and irreverent questions based mostly on pop culture.

Travel, if you will, back in time. Madison Square Garden. March 8, 1971. Joe Fraiser, having launched a left hook from somewhere near Buenos Aires to fracture the jaw of Muhammad Ali, won the first bout of their classic boxing trilogy to successfully defend his heavyweight title.

Remember TV in the late '50s and early '60s? Forward-thinking social scientists inundated us with tales of what our lives would be in the year 2000. According to these guys, by now we'd have colonies on the moon and sidewalks that moved, and we'd all use jet-propelled backpacks to go from point to point.

Like many of you, I'm still buying last-minute gifts and re-wrapping presents I don't really want given by people I don't really like. Which means that if you're on my Christmas list, there might very well be a Mr.

I remember the first time I looked for a job - which was, incidentally, just like the last time I looked for a job. Hauling out a 5-pound Sunday newspaper in one hand and a yellow highlighter in the other, I underwent the laborious task of searching through manual-labor, nurse, and the all-encompassing sales openings to find something remotely in my field.

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