Inventing the Future

Sony Capitulates on One DRM Case

Good news. I’d be happier if there were a legal decision that established a precedent. But the settlement sounds good just the same.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Of Folk Tales and Intellectual Property

As the year winds down, I’ve been thinking how a traditional folk tale illuminates the folly of expanding copyright, trademark and patent rights. In particular, I find this explains why I find the lawsuits against Google Library so annoying and wrong-headed.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Senate Confirms Tate and Copps

Late last night the Senate confirmed Deborah Tate and Michael Copps for the FCC Commissioner slots. I’d like to think it was my eloquence shaming them into sanity, but I doubt it anyone on the Hill reads this blog (Wonkette this ain’t).

My congratulations to new Commissioner Deborah Tate and reconfirmed Commissioner Michael Copps. Sad for me, I will have to work for a living in January after all.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

What we can Learn from the “War on Christmas”

The latest effort by social conservatives to rally their troops around the so called “war on Christmas” teaches us many valuable lessons for the season. Notably, we can look forward to more ugliness in 2006 as the conservative sound machine ramps up the volume to try to drive its troops out for what (for now at least) look like pretty dismal ’06 by-election for the GOP.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

The last wireless believer has left the Federal Building

Michael Gallagher, the Assistant Secretary in charge of the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) is leaving. It looks like a bleak year for those who believe that more spectrum made available to the public will bring greater economic propserity and freedom of speech for all.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

A 2-1 FCC?

Unbelievably, the vote on confirmation for Deborah Tate (the new Republican replacement for Kathleen Abernathy) and Michael Copps (Dem) (to sit another 5 year term) is delayed. Why? Because Senators act like 6 year olds.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Hallmark Channel to Show Documentary on Low Power FM

I’m posting an announcement for a documentary about low power FM (LPFM). As regular readers probably know, I represent United Church of Christ, which made the documentary, at the FCC on LPFM issues.

LPFM: The People’s Choice“ to air on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, January 8th at 7 am EST and 7 am PST.

There’s a new sound on the air and it’s emanating from a source deep in the hearts and minds of Americans across the country. ”LPFM: The People’s Choice“ chronicles the extraordinary story of a low power, low cost radio service that withstood the rigors of Capitol Hill and special interest attacks. Today, LPFM is sending out a loud and clear signal — Freedom of Speech has a new ally, and it’s LPFM. ”LPFM: The People’s Choice” is more than a documentary- it is a rallying cry to build community around locally owned media. The film chronicles how low power FM radio is bringing diverse people closer together and giving new life to disadvantaged communities, new strength to neighborhoods and new voices in the marketplace of ideas. This program is not a debate about the merits of LPFM vs. the radio industry. Rather, it is meant to educate the audience about the possibilities for finding a new voice with LPFM. The film was produced by the Office of Commmunication of the United Church of Christ. For more information, please visit us at, or call 202-263-2576.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Keep an eye out for Jerry, please

My friend and former coworker at Laszlo Systems, Jerry Tang, has been missing since the end of November, last seen in his home city of San Francisco. Jerry, a father of two young children, has a seizure disorder and is believed to be without his medications. He has lived in Philadelphia and in Framingham, MA.

More information, including what to do if you see Jerry, can be found here.

<%image(2/20051213-jerry_tang.jpg|355|300|Jerry Tang)%>

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Farewell to Abernathy

Last Friday, December 9, marked the departure of Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. The FCC therefore briefly drops to a 2-1 Democratic majority. But the Senate should confirm Deborah Tate, a Republican Public Utilities Commissioner (and neighbor of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist) before it adjorns, bringing the FCC back to 2-2.

A few reflections on Abernathy and some thoughts about the likely new Commission below.

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Inventing the Future

Them's Fitin' Words, Craig

When I first heard about the $100 laptop project, I didn’t get it. Sure, I saw the value in having one laptop per child worldwide – I’m not stupid or mean – but I didn’t see why it wouldn’t just happen on its own. Prices are falling all the time. To make this project happen, it didn’t require a world-class engineering team, it required a team of world-class shoppers, I thought. My mother-in-law should run this project. I even argued with Alan Kay about it, to the point where folks had to come take him away before I was able to understand why so much effort needed to be poured into this right now.

I was wrong, and Alan was absolutely right. (Big surprise, no?) I have been convinced by these dismissive remarks by Intel Chairman Craig Barret.

More links: UN, tech and good discussion, historical background, interview.

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