Today Is The Day of Action to Help Save Net Neutrality


Today is the day MANY websites across the internet including Geek Alabama will participate in the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  Yes, there have been protests before, but this one is the most serious protest yet as the FCC will vote on removing Net Neutrality rules in only a few days!

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on Geek Alabama, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing.

Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with.  Net Neutrality means an Internet where businesses, products, and ideas thrive or fail based on their own merit — not on whether they have a preferred deal in place with a broadband service provider.

Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong Net Neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports Net Neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party.  Want to learn why Net Neutrality is that important, watch these two videos below from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he explains in great and funny details why Net Neutrality is that important!

Net Neutrality says we get the *entire* web without interference – no gatekeepers, no tollbooths, no slowlanes.  You don’t like sitting behind a slow poke on the highway who won’t move over.  Without Net Neutrality, you can expect to sit behind the digital slowpoke on the internet highway.  This is why it is considered the First Amendment of the Internet.  It protects our free speech in the digital age.  Without strong protections, Cable and phone companies like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Cable One would be able to:

  • Slow video streaming sites, causing your videos start and stop unexpectedly.
  • Add you new fees to your Internet bill. Imagine paying extra for YouTube!
  • Censor videos or content they don’t agree with, like political blogs.
  • Throttle any new sites or apps they don’t own or invest in.
  • Make your connection painfully slow, and charge you more to make it work again.
  • Force streaming sites like Spotify into a slow lane, causing them to buffer constantly.
  • Slow online gaming. Call of Duty would lag and glitch without paying more to your ISP.
  • Charge big sites special “prioritization fees” and slow down everyone else.
  • Take you out of the driver’s seat, and control what you see and hear online.
  • Make the Internet look a lot more like cable TV.
  • And, worst of all, become the first gatekeepers of the Internet in US history.

Net Neutrality is not a partisan issue.  Regardless of your political views are or who you voted for, everyone who knows what Net Neutrality is supports it.  And poll after poll confirms this across party lines.  Without Net Neutrality, the government will give cable and phone companies free rein to shake down Internet users and websites for more money. And the ripple effects will be felt for years.  An entire generation of innovators have built their careers on the open web. With Net Neutrality in place, you just need a good idea and a decent connection to reach millions.

Without Net Neutrality, the Internet would look a lot more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your cable provider is paid to put in front of you.  We all know how much we hate dealing with the cable company over cable TV, now imagine hating your cable or telecom company over horrible internet speeds.  This could become an reality if the Net Neutrality rules go away.

Cable and telecom companies are lobbying the FCC and Congress to end Net Neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.”  This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy.  Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose Net Neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

To help fight these greedy idiots who wants to control the internet and make it worse forever, today (July 12) is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality.  Many websites from Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Automattic, Vimeo, Thinkgeek, and many more sites are participating in this Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in!  And it’s very simple to add your voice in support of Net Neutrality!

Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/#bftn-action-form and fill out a simple form that will send an letter to the FCC and your local Congressman.  You can even customize your letter and say whatever you want!

You can also submit your own letter to the FCC website which will be public record.  Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-108)) and click on new filing on top to submit your letter on supporting Net Neutrality!

The FCC will decide the fate of Net Neutrality in only a few days!  We the internet can have a say on helping to stop the stupid removal of these rules.  Even if the FCC decides to strip Net Neutrality, there will be a LONG court fight ahead to keep these vital rules.

Here is the letter I have submitted to the FCC:

I am writing to the FCC to express my concerns about Net Neutrality. Let’s get straight to the point, allowing the internet providers with ways to charge websites to allow a so called “fast lane” will be very bad for consumers, businesses, and everyday people. You know what is going to happen if Net Neutrality is taken away? Our internet will become like cable, and we will have to pay money to access news sites. Pay more money to access our social media sites. Pay even more money to access our video sites, and so on.

The internet providers are only looking for ways to make even more money and become greedier, like what they have done with cable. Just like in cable TV, an internet provider could get into a contract dispute with a website like Facebook or Twitter, and if a deal is not reached, the internet provider can block the site. And in many communities, you only have one choice for an internet provider, so if Facebook or Twitter is blocked, you are out of luck!

I run a popular website in the south called Geek Alabama, which is run off of WordPress. If Net Neutrality is taken away, I do not have the money to pay the internet providers to get on a “fast lane.” And many blogs, websites, and small businesses don’t have the funds either. I am asking you keep and continue to re-classify the internet providers as a “public utility” and keep the internet open, free, and fast for everybody, no matter how much money each person has. America needs to get back to their helping others, small business roots, and quit catering to very large companies who only cares about making a buck. Thank you for reading!

-Nathan Young
GeekAlabama.com

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An Recap Of Annicon 2017 With Pictures And Video


Last weekend the Public Library of Anniston – Calhoun County held the 6th annual Annicon.  This event held at the Anniston City Meeting Center is free and is a diverse celebration of all things Asian including music, costuming, manga, anime, food, history, and cultures presented by the library.  But don’t worry, plenty of other geeky and nerdy things ranging from comics, gaming, cosplay, TV shows – movies, and more were also represented!

Before I get started, the local newspaper in Anniston did a small article and a few pictures.  What you are about to see blows away the coverage they did!  Yep, for someone like me who the newspaper does not like and deletes any comments I make on their social media, I think I did a good job!  And it does not require paying because I would never charge to access my pictures, video, and articles!  Being an Aspie rocks!

Yes, the folks who put together Annicon can use my pictures and video!

So, when I arrived I went to the event table where Hanrong Wang, who works as a librarian at Jacksonville State University, was painting people’s first names in Chinese writing!  So, here is what Nathan is like in Chinese!

Next, I took some shots of Chef Bob from Isshin Asian Cafe in Jacksonville where he showed how to make and roll and Asian favorite, Sushi!

Next, I took some shots of the Judo demonstration done by JSU Judo.

Next, I took some pictures and a short video from The College of Phoenix Rising.  An educational society focused on learning about and recreating pre 17th century European Culture.

Next, here are a few pictures from Dina Lawson who did a bellydance performance!

Next, it was time for the Annicon Cosplay Contest!  Here is a video and a lot of photos!

Next, here are some pictures featuring Asian artifacts from the Berman Museum of World History.

Next, here is photos and one song on video from the local band Guardian of Troy.

Next, I have video and lots of pictures of guest Caleb Hyles.  Caleb does cover songs of just about anything on YouTube.  In the video, I ask him a question about Facebook video and using other social media to promote your YouTube channel.  Also in the video, Caleb does cover songs from My Little Pony and Steven Universe!

Annicon also had a gaming area where you could play board games or take part in tournaments like the Super Smash Bros. tourney.

To wrap things up, Annicon also had the Tommy J’s J-Pop Dance Party!

And here are some general photos I took throughout the day!

Overall, the people at Annicon really had a good time.  The volunteers estimate around 2,000-3,000 people arrived for this free event!  Other guests such as John Swasey, Hillary Wilson, Veenacos, and more were great as well!  So, I will be back in 2018 to cover the next Annicon event.  Maybe I can hold a panel or speak in 2018?  We will see!

Learn more about Annicon at: http://www.annicon.com/

You can also find photos on the Geek Alabama Facebook page, Google Photos, and on Flickr too!

Videos can be found on the Nathan Young (Geek Alabama) YouTube channel and most videos can be found on the Geek Alabama Facebook page too!

Catch The Comic-Con Trailers To Justice League And Wonder Woman


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During Comic-Con in San Diego, we got to see trailers to movies that come out in Summer and Fall 2017.  The first trailer is a peek at the new Wonder Woman movie coming out in Summer 2017.  The movie will be set during the early 1900’s around the WWI period.  And as you can see, Gal Gadot who is playing Wonder Woman is very strong and powerful!  The movie comes out in June 2017.

And as for an bonus, director Zack Snyder dropped some Justice League footage on the Comic-Con attendees.  In this intro reel we see Batman and Wonder Woman trying to assemble a team of superpowered individuals.  We get to see glimpses of Cyborg, Aquaman, and The Flash.  Enjoy this footage now, because we have to wait until November 2017 for the Justice League movie!

Enjoy All Star Trek On The Heroes and Icons TV Digital Subchannel


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If you are a geek and/or nerd like me, you probably liked one or more of the five Star Trek TV series that aired in syndication.  There’s nothing like the original Star Trek, but I really liked Star Trek: The Next Generation.  If you loved those series including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise, than I’ve got something for you!

Heroes and Icons TV (H&I) is an digital subchannel that you can get mostly over the air by hooking up an antenna to your TV.  If you are lucky enough, your local cable operator might also carry the channel.  Anyways, H&I has started something new called All Star Trek.  That’s right, H&I is airing all five Star Trek TV series starting with the first episode from each series.  This is the first time in the history of the franchise that all five series are airing on the same TV channel.

And H&I will air the original Star Trek series, uncut!  As you know through the years the original series has had scenes cut out for commercial time and to fit a 60 minute broadcasting period.  H&I will air this All Star Trek event six nights a week.  On Sunday night, the event begins at 7 pm Central with the original series and goes until 11 pm Central with Enterprise.  That’s five hours straight of Star Trek!

On weeknights, here is the schedule:

  • 5 pm Central: Star Trek: The Original Series
  • 6 pm Central: Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • 10 pm Central: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  • 11 pm Central: Star Trek: Voyager
  • 12 am Central: Star Trek: Enterprise

Along with All Star Trek, H&I also airs other cult favorite shows like Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Kung Fu, and more!  All Star Trek does not air on Saturday nights, probably because H&I is an offshoot of the popular subchannel MeTV, and on Saturday nights they air the original Star Trek series and other classic geek/nerd shows like Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Batman, Lost In Space, and more on their Super Sci-Fi Saturday block.

In Alabama, H&I is available in Birmingham on channels 40.1 and 33.1.  In Montgomery on channel 17.6.  And is also available on AT&T U-verse and several cable operators.  If you want to learn more, go to: AllStarTrek.com.

Check Out The Vikings Season 4 Midseason Comic Con Trailer


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Another popular show with the geeks and nerds is the History Channel show Vikings.  Season four has been split into two 10 episode halves.  The first 10 aired during the Spring, and the fans have been twirling their thumbs wondering when the other 10 episodes of season four will air.

Well, Vikings will return sometime this Fall, no firm date yet.  But I am willing to bet Vikings will come back in mid to late September or early October.  Today at Comic Con, a trailer to the rest of season four premiered.  Yep, expect a lot more battles and death, something that happened often during that time era, enjoy!