Amsterdam Internet Exchange broadens its foothold in the US

The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is partnering up with Telx to establish a new internet-access point inside Telx’s NYC2 data center, according to an announcement  by the companies. The new point of presence (POP) comes just a few months after AMS-IX opened up another access point in Digital Reality’s San Francisco facility.

AMS-IX’s new POP is another step towards entrenching the European internet exchange model in the U.S. Instead of having internet service providers (ISPs) or data-center operators determine the cost structure of an internet exchange — which are basically the data-center locations where content providers, ISPs, telecoms and others link up and exchange traffic — the European internet exchange model operates a bit more like a commune in which all parties are owners and have equal say.

Advocates of this type of model claim that it hampers the ability for any specific entity, typically a telco, to monopolize the internet exchange and game the system for its advantage.

Netflix has been a big proponent of the European internet exchange model and made a splash in December 2013 when it signed on as AMS-IX’s first customer in New York. As Gigaom’s Jeff John Roberts reported, ISPs like Verizon and Comcast want to charge Netflix and content providers a premium because of the enormous amounts of network traffic they generate.

Neflix and others claim that these broadband providers have retaliated by not upgrading key internet ports, which resulted in bad network service for Netflix and other content providers.

With the new POP in Telx’s NYC2 data center, AMS-IX and Telx said that customers will now have more peering opportunities with organizations not only housed in the NYC2 data center, but also members of the Telx’s NYC1 and NYC3 data centers, which make up “The NYC Trifecta” in Manhattan, the release states.

The announcement also coincides with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler explaining in a Wired op-ed his case for settling the argument over net neutrality and which Gigaom’s Stacey Higginbotham dissected. Wheeler did not share the specifics of his plan in the Wired piece, but expect to see them emerge soon.

Apple relents, and an unplugged Kickstarter is back on

The 1,000 backers of a cancelled Kickstarter project got an early holiday gift: Apple has revamped its Lightning adapter guidelines, and the POP device charger is now a go. The POP uses Apple’s own 30-pin interface as well as micro-USB for charging phones and tablets.

Simplifying Email

atsignAs web workers, we are often asked to help friends and relatives fix computer problems. For me, the majority of these problems seem to be related to email. It’s ironic, as email is now less popular than social networks.

So why is email such a hassle?

  • It’s more than 30 years old. Email has come a long way, but its underlying protocols haven’t changed much since the 1970s.
  • It’s really three different systems. Sending (SMTP) and receiving (POP or IMAP) are totally separate functions, and are often handled on different servers. That’s why I often hear comments like “I can receive, but I can’t send” from clients.
  • It’s being used for a lot of things it was never designed to do, like send images and attachments, highly formatted messages, signatures and calendar entries.
  • It’s been overrun by spam, and even well-designed spam filters aren’t perfect, and cause unwanted side effects, like messages that get misidentified as spam, or just go away.
  • Email software is too complex. These programs that were originally built for offline use; that is, they were set up so that users could read and write messages without being connected to the internet. Sending and receiving would happen in batches. That made sense when internet connections were slow, expensive and charged by the minute. Now that most people have always-on connections like cable or DSL, that process is less necessary. Desktop email client software is a pain to set up and use; as someone who helps many people with email, Outlook is the bane of my existence.
  • Many of us connect to the Internet in more than one place — at work, at home, and on cell phones. It can be very frustrating to realize that we’ve left the message we needed to reply to at the office.
  • Many of us have more than one email address. I try to keep my work and personal email separate, plus I have a series of email addresses that I use when registering on websites that might try to send spam. And I have several email addresses that were given to me, such as the ones that are automatically created when signing up for instant-messaging services like Yahoo, AIM and Windows Live/MSN.

What can be done to overcome these problems? Here are some tips that might help you and your clients and friends be more productive. Read More about Simplifying Email