My Thoughts Exactly

Roland the Robot explains how publishing works today

I met Roland Denning in the comment thread of an article that Cory Doctorow had written in the Guardian (UK) about “Why free ebooks should be part of the plot for writers.”. I wrote to Roland proposing a book swap: one of my self-published technoparanoid dystopian novels for a copy of his self-published technoparanoid dystopian novel The Beach Beneath the Pavement.

When his book came in the mail, I read two chapters & then set it aside for later, as I was in the middle of a few other books at the time. I haven’t finished reading beyond chapter two yet. All of which context will only make you laugh harder (and cringe more) when you watch Roland’s alter robot ego as he follows the path that leads him to self-published stardom.

Part 2 below the fold. This is simply the best thing on publishing and self-publishing ever. Watch it and cry. Watch it and weep. Watch it and laugh your ass off. Watch it and go buy a few copies of Roland’s book, and then a few of mine.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

As Maine Goes . . . .

Damn. The Question 1 fight in Maine is turning out to be a real squeaker. So I’m posting a link here to the Courage Campaign Equality Program.
http://www.couragecampaign.org/page/content/321CountdownForEquality/

There are ways to help campaign to save same sex marriage in Maine and show that there are places where a majority of the people understand the need to defend the rights of others as well as their own rights. To borrow from John Donne:

All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

So too the rights of all. I am straight and happily married. No one in my immediate family is a same sex relationship or lives in Maine. I have no personal stake in the outcome.

Except that I am not truly free unless all are free. Any person’s oppression diminishes me, because I am involved in humankind. And while I have no delusion that I shall see the end of injustice, cruelty or oppression until the End of Days that does not absolve me of my duty to do all I can, when I can, how I can.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Speaking This Thursday At Arts & Labs

For anyone interested, I’ll be participating in a panel at this event sponsored by Arts and Lab. Should be an interesting and robust debate about the upcoming evolution of networks. My panel also features Rob Topolski, Richard Bennet, and Dave Farber.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

McDowell Forgets He Already Voted That FCC Has Authority To Enforce NN Rules.

I recently complained that no one else ever seems to follow the record on the network neutrality stuff. But Commissioner McDowell took the prize for failure to remember what he had previously voted for in this very proceeding back in March 2007 when the Commission voted out the Notice of Inquiry that started this whole thing. Mind you, McDowell should not feel too bad, given that nobody else at the FCC seems to remember this stuff either. Not when they wrote the Comcast/BitTorrent Order, nor even when they wrote the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last week. Despite the fact that both items are actually in the same blasted docket. Because good God almighty, how hard is it for the staff at the FCC to actually know the friggin’ docket? It’s just the basis for this entire proceeding. And the entire collective agency cannot remember that it voted as settled law by 5-0 that it has authority to regulate and enforce network neutrality rules. And that McDowell not only voted in favor, he explicitly concurred!

I swear, it’s enough to make a poor obsessed policy wonk tear out what’s left of his hair and beard.

More below . . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Only You Can Save Creation Science

Listen, I know that there’s a pretty good chance that you (yes, you!) are some kind of policy wonk who only reads Wetmachine for the insight & analysis of all things FCC/Net Neutrality/media hegemony/First Amendment provided by the inimitable Harold Feld.

And there’s also a pretty good chance that you don’t give a care about Harold Feld’s wonky analysis, because you read Wetmachine for Howard Stearns’s stunning and out-of-nowhere insights into software development in general and 3-d collaborative virtual-world software in particular.

Or maybe you’re a Gary Gray groupie. Stranger things have happened. Maybe you even come here to see what I might have to say.

Or maybe, like those men who were busted at the suburban New Jersey bordello a few years ago, you just happened to be here because you pulled your car into the driveway to make a U-turn & got trapped when the fuzz showed up. Maybe you were googling for “Ted Williams’ Frozen Head” and wound up reading this instead.

I don’t care.

Wetmachine readers come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, even non-policywonk walks of life. Whatever. All is cool here. One love.

But you all should click on the above video, dammit. And you should chip in at least a buck to support Creation Science, the nifty new novel by moi, the Ur-Wetmechanic. I’ve been bringing you this site for 8 years now. Ain’t that worth nothin? Show me your love! At least watch the flippin video! It’s short!

N.B. Even if this is your first visit to Wetmachine, you can still show me your love. Click on the video! Join the family!

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

More Good News From Canada, This Time On Copyright

Via Techdirt. When comedy shows start mocking your insistence that you need more copyright controls, you are losing the propaganda war big time.

Happily for the MPAA, such things will never appear on American shows like Saturday Night Live (owned by NBC Universal) or Colbert (owned by Viacom).

Stay tuned . . . .

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General Exception

Going to court against the mini-robots

If John Sundman and John Grisham were to collaborate, this court case (which is summarized here) would be the main feature. A man, faced with an evil chemical spewing tree-climbing army of mini-robots, runs to his fax machine and files a lawsuit to save humanity. It’s sorta like The Terminator meets Erin Brockovich.

Hmm… wait, forget I said that… anyone have a phone number for someone in Hollywood? I do believe I have a movie idea to pitch…

Posted in General Exception, I Fear These Things | Tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Canada Adopts Comcast/Bitorrent Standard For Network Management

On the eve of the FCC’s upcoming Network Neutrality rulemaking, Canada has now settled its definition of “reasonable network management” and set rules for traffic throttling. Amazingly, the rules the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) settled on for “reasonable network management” look a lot like the standard our own FCC settled on in the Comcast/BitTorrent Order, but even stronger on the notice and transparency side. Hopefully, the FCC is paying attention here as it considers its own rulemaking on the definition of “reasonable network management.”

You can read the CRTC press release here and the detailed order here. The CRTC also says that it will sue this new framework “to review practices that raise concerns or generate complaints.” i.e., it will treat this as the equivalent of the Internet Policy Statement and entertain complaints like the Comcast/BitTorrent complaint.

While this means I will no longer have my realtime experiment to see if unrestricted traffic shaping screws up broadband, it does make the FCC look less like whacked out nutbars who don’t understand engineering and threaten the entire internet and more like foresighted regulators who are ready now to move on to a formal rulemaking rather than merely rely on a framework.

Moe below . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why Don’t Broadcasters Become “Spectrum Innovators?” Because They Like Being Broadcasters.

Can’t help but take a brief break from the Net Neutrality craziness to be mildly amused at Adam Thierer over at Tech Liberation Front. We have an increasing number of reports that Blair Levin wants to bribe broadcasters to get off their spectrum as part of the national broadband plan. Adam is very excited by this and, of course, brings up the usual Libertarian argument that because property solves all problems, we should just make the broadcast licenses property of the broadcasters and let the endless innovation begin.

The problem with argument is that broadcasters could already do this. Under 47 USC 336(b), broadcasters can use their digital spectrum to provide “ancillary and supplementary services.” In a series of orders, the FCC has said that as long as full-power broadcasters provide one free over the air digital channel, they can do whatever they want with the remaining spectrum — including lease it out in the secondary markets to someone else. Under the statute, broadcasters need to pay a fee for any such ancillary services that would be the functional equivalent of what the broadcasters would have paid for the spectrum at auction (47 USC 336(e)), which the FCC has fixed at 5% of any annual revenue from the ancillary services.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Creation Science has been Kickstarted

So there’s this site called Kickstarter, and it’s supposed to be used by artists and writers to raise money to support specific artistic endeavors. Because I am out of my mind and don’t have a brain in my head, I have undertaken to write another novel, this one another thriller along the lines of Acts of the Apostles. It’s called “Creation Science”. So, today I launched a Kickstarter project to try to raise some $$ to support me as I do it.

As I documented in my kickstarter project blog, I’ve already had a near encounter with Murphy’s Law, but for the moment, (with some help from Wetmechanic in chief Gary Gray), things seem to be back on track. (Thanks, Gary!)

Below, my project description. But please do go to the kickstarter site, and if you have any love at all for me or even for Wetmachine, chip in a dollar or two. Even better, chip in a dollar or two & help me spread the word.


Creation Science, already about 1/4 written, is a technothriller about scary science– like designer DNA, brain hacking & mind control, computer viruses and biological viruses. It’s about the phony politics of the so-called war on terror, it’s about fundamentalism and anti-science, about transhumanism and hypercapitalism and other modern delusions, and it’s about decent people trying to save humanity from itself.

In it you’ll find the stuff of all great thrillers: conspiracy, duplicity, double-crosses, dispensational Christian fascism, misunderstandings, confusions, car crashes, megalomaniacal villains (in and out of government), explosions, gunplay, Russian Mafias, neuroscience, coincidence, mysterious islands not far from Cape Cod, information theory, disease cowboys in Central Africa looking for the cause of Lassa Fever in the 1970′s, Jane’s Addiction, Mission of Burma, love, regret, remorse, nostalgia and sex. So Creation Science is a thriller. But it’s not just a thriller. Like many writers of thrillers, I get the science right and I get the technology right. But unlike most writers of thrillers, I aspire to create literature.

This is what Andrew Leonard of Salon said about my book “Acts of the Apostles”: “it’s also a book infused with a sensibility that you don’t normally expect a ”hard science fiction“ novel to have: real emotions, real heartbreak and a real sense of the craziness at the core of the human condition.” And that’s exactly what I’m going to try to put into Creation Science too.


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