My Thoughts Exactly

Ted Turner rails against FCC and big media

John here, pretending he’s Harold, with a link to a story about the FCC and big media. It’s by Ted Turner of CNN fame, & published in

The Washington Monthly.

His line of reasoning will be familar to loyal readers of Harold’s Tales of the Sausage Factory but it is refreshing to see it coming from the pen of a wildly successful media mogul.

Some tidbits:

Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see–and what we don’t see–will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life.

Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next.

I’ve included one more teaser in the extended section, but you’ll have more fun if you skip that and just follow the link to the article. It’s well written with Turner’s trademark directness, and it’s scary stuff from somebody who knows what he’s talking about.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Book Swap Musings

I’ve published two books that I wrote. Since doing that I’ve developed an appreciation for self-publishers and self-published books. (Would now be a good time to mention that my Acts of the Apostles won Writer’s Digest’s National

Self Published Book award, first in a field of over 300? No? It wouldn’t?)

Anyway, from time to time reports of various self-published books have caught my eye, and I’ve written to the writer/publishers to suggest a book swap. In this way I’ve grown a collection of about 20 self-published books. Some of them have been awful, none have been great, but a few have been not bad, not bad at all.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a technoparanoid thriller about nanotechnology gone amok, written by a guy about my age in Wisconsin.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: MAP Summer Fun Kit

Whose up for a summer of social activism on media and telecom policy? A show of hands please? What if I told you it would only take about 15 minutes using the equipment you are using to read this webpage?

I’ve pegged four FCC proceedings that will benefit enormously from an injection of real world information. My pitch letter for why you should care, along with links to summaries of the proceedings and instructions on how to file, given below.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Got a Lot in the NYT

The NYTimes has a couple of interesting articles worth discussing. You need a free subscription, and the links will probably die in a few weeks.

This doesn’t need much discussion, but I can’t help but point out another dig it my good buddies at Clear Channel. Similarly, while anyone who has read my thougfhts about media ownership won’t be surprised, I enjoyed the article on Sunday about the new documentary/video op ed by Robert Greenwald, Outfoxed. But this article also highlights the problems that come from the continued erosion of the fair use doctrine.

But the most pernicious piece is this article, which asks Are Used Bookstores Napster? Oh my stars! Have we really come to this, where folkks in the book industry have no shame about saying this stuff in the NY Times? I occassionaly joke to my son that we need to go to libraries before they become illegal. Ho ho.

On the other hand, I really wish the book industry would try to “fix” this “problem.” It might finally wake the rest of the public up to what’s at stake.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Good FCC Order on Unlicensed Released

The FCC has now released the Order it published last week on allowing higher power outputs for “smart antennas.” A copy of the Order in word is available here, and pdf here. My extremely limited analysis below. Headline version: the FCC sidestepped some bad ideas and the order will generally improve the ability of equipment manufacturers and network providers to use unlicensed spectrum more efficiently and at slightly higher powers in existing bands. So call it a good day at the FCC.

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General Exception

Royal Technoparanoia

Yesterday, Prince Charles published a letter in the Independent urging caution on nanotechnology.

Maybe John should send him a copy of The Book…

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

What's Japanese for “Big Brother?”

I came accross this on one of my numerous update lists.

JAPANESE SCHOOLCHILDREN TO BE RFID-CHIPPED

Japanese authorities have decided that tracking children

with RFID technology is the best way to protect kids. School

authorities in the Japanese city of Osaka have decided the

benefits of using RFID chips on kids outweigh the

disadvantages and will now be chipping children in one

primary school.

http://networks.silicon.com/lans/0,39024663,39122042,00.htm

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My Thoughts Exactly

Thought police technology

Here it comes. (Link to story about implanted electrodes in monkey brains that can read thoughts and predict behavior.)

Now, maybe this won’t scare most humans, because their thoughts and behaviors are more complex and harder to predict than are monkeys’. But I, like, Homer Simpson, basically never experience thoughts on the higher-than-simian level, to this story bothers me.

On the other hand, it at least gives me a nice technoparanoid story to post on wetmachine to celbrate the end of my vaation

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Important Conference on Spectrum Policy and Community Networking

I’m actually cutting short my vacation to Pennsic to give the Keynote address at the 2004 National Summit for Community Wireless Networks on August 20-22, 2004. This conference is a meeting of folks deploying community wireless networks, policy wonks like yours truly, and anyone else who cares about revolutionizing spectrum policy and setting networks free. the goal is to educate each other and develop ways to move forward in a coherent movement that promotes positive spectrum management reforms. The announcement is reprinted below. Please circulate widely. Hope to see you all there.

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General Exception

Patriot Missle Coverup

This article over at the Register implies that there has been a cover up over the death of two British pilots who were shot down after mistakenly being identified as an Iraq scud by the Patriot missle system. It seems that the military is reluctant to criticize the missle system, given that billions of dollars in sales to foreign governments are pending. Acknowledging its major flaws could be bad for Raytheon’s bottom line.

Hmm… I dimly seem to recall some half-remembered president that nattered on about the threat of the industrial-military complex to American freedom. Or something.

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