Tag Archives: Fair Use

Photostream – a salutary lesson

Photo Stream Icon

If you’re working on a big photography project, shooting raw with a reasonable camera and use Apple’s iCloud Photostream feature you might want to turn it off before you start.

Any big project – like shooting King Lear – produces learning experiences. If it doesn’t you’re either very good at what you do or just not awake.

The biggest take home from this year’s Dartmouth Shakespeare week was the way I had to modify my workflow in order to accommodate using a Nikon D700 as the main camera. If you’re interested the various issues are detailed in another post. The biggest change/shock was what iCloud Photostream can do to your bandwidth, and the impact on your bill if you happen to use a broadband provider that applies the “fair use” principle.

Dropbox icon

My projects usually involve quite a bit of web-based work. There’s the trivial stuff, eMailing folks, coordinating, etc., these are all done through eMail, or things like Facebook groups. Some of the coordination gets done using Dropbox (for my contacts who can handle/value this wonderful resource) or by means of the excellent (free) WeTransfer service. These move the large ad hoc files effectively. There’s usually an element of research as well (thanks Google).

It’s not unusual for my bandwidth use to spike during a project. I shell out much more than the average broadband customer in order to never have to be bothered or surcharged by my provider. Except this year, with Photostream turned on, very early into the month warnings/threatening eMails arrive telling me that I’ve used more than 50% of my monthly “fair use” allocation. After the usual, small period of denial, I ran some network diagnostics, looked at the blinking lights on the comm’s kit and quickly worked out that something was beating the hell out of the upstream broadband and nearly saturating the local WiFi. Ten minutes later it was obvious the cause was Photostream. It was diligently trying to sync thousands of raw (24 MP) photos to iCloud and thence to all of my Mac OS and iOS devices. Action – disabled Photostream on everything including Aperture. Network traffic dropped through a hole and the coms kit lights reverted to their normal sedate rate.

All’s well that end’s well?

Not quite. Although the timely warning from my broadband provider made me remedy the problem, Photostream burned more than half a month’s bandwidth in a couple of days. The process of getting photos out to various stakeholders, publishing and updating this site, and related Facebook sites have taken me to point where less than 5% of my allowance remains. I expect I’ll get screwed for violating “fair use” this month. My opinions on “fair use” are the subject of a separate post.

Icons used in this post are © their respective owners.

Posted in Inn Theatre, King Lear, Messing with cameras, Theatre Also tagged , , , , , , |

Broadband “Fair Use”

Hey BT Broadband. Rebate users when they stay well within their bandwidth allowance.

When the internet was young and the marketeers were busy working out how to take the most money from the most users for least cost, some bean counter came up with the tenuous notion of  “fair use”.

At the time some users, paying the same as the rest of us, would camp on the net 24 by 7, continuously downloading, streaming, spamming and God knows what else whilst the rest of us got on with occasionally checking eMails and surfing the web for photos of cats dressed in dolls clothes. The hogs slowed everything down but rather than throw more resource at the demand broadband providers decided to sanction the hogs and “fair use” was born.

Originally “fair use” was a ill defined. Broadband providers were pretty hazy about what they actually meant and even less clear about the sanctions they would impose.

Some broadband providers still advertise “unlimited” packages and hide a “fair use” term in their t’s & c’s. Others like my provider (BT) are now more upfront. Stating what you get for the package you’ve signed up for.

I confess this is a whinge/rant, but what really grinds my gears is that once or twice a year I produce large amounts of material which in a microscopic way enhances the web, and print journalism. Each time I do this I get warning eMails explaining what a sinner I am and how much I will be surcharged if I dare to go a KB over my package. I’d like to know is why don’t I get a reward/credit for the 10 or so months I effectively buy four times more bandwidth than I need?

I’d happily switch providers if

  • they really can provide an unlimited service at reasonable speed
  • their charges as no more than my current BT contract
  • they don’t expect me to sign up to a contract term longer than 12 months



Posted in Broadband, Technology Also tagged , , , , |