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Netflix Is Also Paying A Toll To Time Warner Cable To Improve Speeds To Users

The latest Netflix speed data shows that TWC downstream speeds improved after it quietly reached a paid-peering deal with Netflix in June. Meanwhile, FiOS still sucks, in spite of its peering arrangement with Netflix.

The latest Netflix speed data shows that TWC downstream speeds improved after it quietly reached a paid-peering deal with Netflix in June. Meanwhile, FiOS still sucks, in spite of its peering arrangement with Netflix.



Months after Comcast and Verizon allowed Netflix data to bottleneck so badly that the streaming video company had no other option but to pay for a more direct connection to end-users, Time Warner Cable has confirmed that it too is now collecting a toll from Netflix.

The folks at Gigaom noticed a traceroute of a Netflix signal to a TWC customer in New York City skipped directly from Netflix to TWC’s data centers, rather than going the traditional route through and intermediary bandwidth provider.


TWC then confirmed that a so-called paid-peering deal was reached with Netflix earlier this summer and recently began to roll out. That could explain the slight bump in Netflix speeds over TWC’s network in the last month.


Netflix is responsible for the largest chunk of downstream Internet data in the U.S. Until mid-2013, most of that data was carried by bandwidth providers who would hand off Netflix content to Internet Service Providers to carry the “last mile” to customers’ homes. When peering points — the connections between ISPs and bandwidth providers — would become congested during times of heavy use, it was customary for ISPs to open up more connections to alleviate the congestion; much like a supermarket will temporarily open up extra checkout lines to keep customers moving.


But a little more than a year ago, Verizon and others decided to take a hands-off approach to Netflix data, allowing it to bottleneck during times of heaviest use and resulting in substandard streams for Netflix customers.


The ISPs argued that Netflix was taking advantage of their networks by sending so much traffic without paying a toll. Netflix — and many of its customers — contended that ISP customers paid for a certain level of broadband service and Netflix was not to blame for the ISPs’ failure to improve their networks.


But in the end, Netflix capitulated, coming to an agreement with Comcast shortly after the nation’s largest ISP announced it was trying to merge with TWC. Speeds instantly began to improve, but Netflix still maintains that it’s data is being held hostage by the ISPs.


Netflix later made a deal with Verizon, though according to the latest speed data from Netflix, FiOS speeds are still well below the 3MBps that you’d need to stream an HD video. The two have also engaged in a lot of finger-pointing as to why FiOS speeds are still sub-DSL months after reaching a peering deal.


In June, the FCC announced it was going to investigate paid-peering arrangements to see how they affect competition and consumers.


“Consumers pay their ISP and they pay content providers like Hulu, Netflix or Amazon. Then when they don’t get good service they wonder what is going on,” wrote FCC Chair Tom Wheeler at the time. “Consumers must get what they pay for. As the consumer’s representative we need to know what is going on.”




by Chris Morran via Consumerist

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Organic Peanut And Almond Butters Recalled For Possible Salmonella

MaraNatha is only one of the brands included in this recall.

MaraNatha is only one of the brands included in this recall.



It’s time to head to the pantry and check your jars of almond and peanut butters. Products sold under the brands of Arrowhead Farms and Maranatha, and private-label products sold in Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods stores may be contaminated with salmonella, and consumers should dispose of them and seek a refund or replacement.

We may learn more about this possible contamination later on, but for now what you need to know is that you should check the brands, varieties, and expiration dates of any “natural” nut butters in your house against this list maintained by the Food and Drug Administration. Jars that may be affected were distributed nationwide, as well as exported to Canada, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, and the Dominican Republic.


You can return the product to the store where it was purchased, or simply dispose of it yourself and call nSPIRED Natural Foods, the company that produced these products, at 1-800-937-7008 for a refund or replacement.


Salmonella can develop into a very serious illness, but in healthy adults usually leads to a few days of vomiting, diarrhea, abominal cramps, fever, chills, and a headache. Sometimes, people have no symptoms at all, but infection can also be fatal.


Salmonella contamination also caused The Great Peanut Butter Recall of 2012, which ended with the bankruptcy of the peanut processor behind the products and the tragic waste of 25 tons of un-contaminated peanut butter.


nSPIRED Natural Foods, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Certain Retail Lots Of Arrowhead Mills® Peanut Butters, Maranatha® Almond Butters And Peanut Butters And Specific Private Label Nut Butters Because Of Possible Health Risk [FDA] (Thanks, Blaine!)




by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

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Some Terrible Person Is Stealing Books From Libraries, Selling Them Online


Public libraries are an amazing resource where you can access books, music, movies, and even e-books without having to pay. However, there’s a criminal somewhere in Pennsylvania who isn’t checking books out from local libraries: he or she is evading the anti-theft systems, removing new books and best-sellers from the library, and selling them.

How many books are we talking about here? From just one library, Cooper Siegel Library in Fox Chapel, PA, books about $6,000 are missing. That’s their replacement value, not necessarily what the alleged thief will be able to get for them in online book markets?


Would customers know? Not necessarily. Libraries get rid of excess and no longer popular books all the time. Sometimes they’re sold in book sales, sometimes recycled, sometimes given away. If the thief has a stamp that says “DISCARDED” and stamped up the stolen books with it, as libraries do when they purge their collections, no customers would suspect anything.


Library books usually contain concealed magnetic or RFID anti-theft devices, and the thief is either removing these or leaving through an alternate exit.


The good news is that law enforcement is on the case: there is a suspect, who they hope to arrest soon. Just be careful if you’ve bought any used books online lately that originated in a library in Pennyslvania.


Thief Takes $6K Worth Of Bestsellers From Library, Sells Online [CBS Pittsburgh]




by Laura Northrup via Consumerist

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