My Thoughts Exactly

Book Trailer: Going West, by Maurice Gee

I’m thinking that my little trailers of me looking into the camera, etc, are not exactly state-of-the-art. Now, here’s a book trailer that made me immediately go look to find out more about this author & book:

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Tagged | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

On Highest Authority from Soviet Russia: Sundman Novels “not shit Dan Brown”

So, checking my Wetmachine referer logs this morning, I found that this livejournal entry has already sent me 54 visitors. Since the page is what appeared to be (and in fact is) Russian, I turned to Google Translate, which provided this wonderful text:

A good example for the present writer can become a success John Sandmena.

This is a modern writer, he wrote great novels of an action and distributes them for free. About how this is done you can ask from him, look at the website or call in at www.wetmachine.com kickstarter.com.

In place of, say, Lukyanenko, I have started to click links kickstarter.com. Sandmen requested for the next novel 5 000 dollars. Who? Yes to all. “Kick” it just for this purpose and is intended to collect money from the crowds of internet users in all sorts of interesting initiatives.

John had something to show his readers:

novels “Acts of the Apostles” and “Developing Obama”[Ed: ????] is not shit Dan Brown. “If Brown was Sandmenom, according to Jeffrey Zeldman,” he would have realized that this thriller is far from absurd, flat and one-dimensional. “

Credit confidence Sandmenu from the Internet community for the next novel, ”Science works” expressed in the amount of U.S. $ 8 059. Slightly more than requested by the author. And how much money you need to write this novel?

Note — my final Kickstarter tally was not quite as great as the amount pledged — about $900 did not clear when presented to credit cards; plus, Kickstarter.com and clearing house Amazon.com each take cuts (including on that $900, by the way). But still, not half bad. Or as we say in Russian, according to Google Translate, недурно.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why Eliminating Handset Exclusivity Drops the Price of Cell Phones; or “How Is A BlackBerry Like A Pill?”

Back in February, I bought a Samsung Omnia and regretted it almost immediately thereafter. So when my touch screen finally died, I resolved to get a BlackBerry Curve 8330, as my wife has one and recommended it. Yes, she is on Sprint and I am on Verizon, but you can get the same model on both networks.

I was totally unprepared for the sticker shock. $450. Why? Because I was not eligible to buy new equipment. Did I want a replacement Omnia? No, I decided I really did hate my Omnia $450 worth. Out of curiosity, I asked how much it would cost if I were getting a new contract. Answer: $150, plus a $100 rebate.

Verizon claims here in policy land that this represents a subsidy, which they can only do if they have handset exclusivity. Mind you, this model is not actually exclusive, but let that go. Could it really be that Verizon subsidizes my phone $400? That seems an awful lot. So I decided I would look on Best Buy, assuming that it would represent the actual unsubsidized retail price. So I went to bestbuy.com and plugged in Blackberry Curve 8330. Sure enough, the price for the Verizon phone was $499, close enough to $450 to make Verizon’s subsidy claim feasible.

Then I noticed something odd. The same model phone, but for Alltel, cost $680, for Sprint, $750, and for MetroPCS, $400. Why should the same model phone, purchased at the same place, have such a wild swing in price? Remember, these are the prices without the subsidies for buying a new contract, so it can’t be the difference in what the companies chose to provide. The Best Buy price should reflect the unsubsidized retail price. The only difference, in theory, is the plan, (unless we are pretending to make the same model available to every provider and really aren’t). How could the wireless plan make such a difference?

Then it occurred to me where else I’ve seen this dynamic. Go to the drug store and you can see three people getting exactly the same prescription. But one pays $10, another pays $120, and the third pays $500. How is that possible?

Before elaborating below, I will first make it clear that I am rather short on critical data because most of the critical data is proprietary. So what I’ve got is a tentative hypothesis based on observed facts rather than something I can say with certainty. But it is enough for me to say: “Hey! FCC! Go and use your regulatory powers to get the providers to fork over the necessary data to see if I’m right.”

More below . . .

Read More »

Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Be the Geekoid Novelist's Guest on Martha's Vineyard

Over on on Kickstarter, I’m seeking backers for my new project, a biotech thriller called Creation Science.

I’ve just added a new “reward”: You and a friend can be my guest for a weekend next spring or summer at my house on Martha’s Vineyard. Join me and my wife for three days and two nights at our tiny but friendly house in Vineyard Haven. You’ll stay in our guest room & we’ll provide breakfast; we’ll give you a guided tour of the island, lend you one of our cars for up to five hours, let you borrow our bikes, and you’ll be the guest of honor at a dinner party for which Dear Wife Betty will prepare a meal of at least 5 courses.

See the Creation Science page on Kickstarter for details.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

The beatings will continue until morale improves

7.5 days left on this project. Please check it out if you haven’t done so already. By supporting this project you support Wetmachine. In a kind of round-about way.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

FCC “WiMAX Auction” Already Over — Not a Surprise, But Still Impressive.

Some of you may recall that last month fellower Wetmachiner Greg Rose and I published our first industry report on the FCC’s Auction 86. We dubbed this the “WIMAX Auction” because the band at issue, the 2.5 GHz band, is the focus of major WIMAX activity in the U.S. and the report described the current state of the industry (including coverage maps for Clearwire and Sprint and the most extensive private database yet of who holds what in the band), likely outcomes in the auction, and what the behavior of bidders in the auction would tell us.

One prediction we made, that the auction itself would attract very little interest because it was an “ash and trash” auction of the leaving in the band, held up pretty well. The auction opened on October 27, and closed Friday, November 6. In other words, the entire auction lasted a week (4 bidding days) — which in FCC terms is greased lightning (the 700 MHz auction last year, for example, went on for 38 bidding days covering over 2 months). Total haul was $20 million, which will hopefully serve as a reminder to folks that spectrum auctions are not all multi-billion dollar gold mines.

As promised, we will release a post auction analysis available with the spectrum maps and databases for $799 within the next few months, once we (meaning Greg) have a chance to crunch the numbers and the round by round results. (Those who pre-ordered at the reduced rate when they bought the earlier report do not need to re-order). If you order now (the report is available through Muniwreless.com and through BroadbandCensus.com), you will not only pre-order the post-auction updates, but will get a copy of the original report with its industry analysis and coverage maps.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Further Adventures in Self-Publishing

In days of old when knights were bold, I wrote an article for a site called Kuro5hin article about my adventures in self-publishing. At the time, I had been a self-publisher for about two years. In it I wrote, “I recommend self-publishing for anybody whose temperament and objectives resemble mine. All others should beware.”

That’s still pretty my much point of view.

Below the fold, I’ve updated & revised that original story & added some additional reflections based on the eight years of self-publishing experience I’ve amassed since then (including six years of making my books available for free download under Creative Commons license).

[This is a cross-posting of a very similar version I put upon Kuro5hin yesterday.]


Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Losing Maine: An “Elijah Moment” For The Same Sex Marriage Movement.

Things looked good early in the evening November 3 for those who opposed Maine’s Question 1 — the referendum to overturn the state legislature’s redefinition of marriage as between two consenting adults rather than between a man and a woman. As the first state to pass such a law through its legislature without a court order, Maine represented a potential turning point for the movement. If Question 1 were defeated, it would provide further momentum and show that a legislative strategy could succeed. By contrast, a majority of voters in Maine voting to pass Question 1 would be a devastating blow not merely to same sex couples in Maine, but to the movement as a whole.

The “No On One” folks had run an excellent campaign. Unlike the campaign against California’s Proposition 8 last year, which was slow to recognize the substantial resistance to same sex marriage opponents would tap, the No On One folks ran a substantial ground game, ad campaign, and mobilization strategy. Voter turnout was heavy, which was thought to favor No On One, and early returns — from urban areas — looked very good.

Then things went sour. Enthusiasm on both sides was very high. Rural districts went overwhelming Yes on One. By the end of the night, it appeared that a majority of voters in Maine had rejected the state legislature’s effort to eliminate discrimination in marriage. You can read Adam Bink’s liveblogging (which I find heartbreaking in its straightforward reporting) here. Nate Silver (who had predicted defeat for Question 1) has some analysis here, including speculation on the possibility that there may be a “Bradley Effect”-type phenomena wrt same sex marriage. Others blame Obama for declining to invest his own political capital. But whatever the reason, the loss on Question 1 in Maine creates the possibility of what I call an “Elijah moment” — based on Kings I 19:1-14 — for the many people who have invested so much of themselves in the movement to provide the fundamental right of marriage to all.

More below . . .

Read More »

Posted in How Democracy Works, Or Doesn't, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | 5 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Will Comcast/NBC Need FCC Approval? And How Would That Play Out?

The industry news is abuzz with the upcoming Comcast/NC Universal Deal. According to recent reports, Comcast would buy 51% of NBC Universal (assuming Vivendi, which owns 20% at the moment, agreed with the terms). But beyond this general framework, it’s unclear whether all the assets held by NBC Universal would be included in the deal. Whether or not the FCC has jurisdiction hinges on this question.

The FCC does not have general jurisdiction over deals pertaining to content. NBC Universal owns lots of radio and television stations. Transfer of the licenses to the new Comcast-controlled entity would require FCC approval. But if the deal does not include the licenses, the FCC would probably lack a jurisdictional hook. Review of the deal would lie strictly in antitrust — at either the DoJ or Federal Trade Commission (FTC). From an antitrust perspective, the deal raises some concerns given the concentration of content and Comcast’s position vis-a-vis other existing subscription television providers (e.g., FIOS, DIRECTV) and potential new competitors (e.g., Netflix and other “over the top” video providers)). It may also concern broadcasters, both NBC affiliates worried about the change in management and other broadcasters worried how this would impact Comcast’s retrans negotiations. Much of this will also depend on whether the deal includes the movie production studios, prior existing content, and a host of other details that impact the universe of content distribution these days.

Assuming the TV and/or radio stations are included, it’s not entirely clear what happens. The D.C. Circuit eliminated the FCC’s existing ban on cable/television cross ownership (which applied only to broadcast licenses in a cable system’s franchise area) in 2002 on the basis that the D.C. Circuit didn’t like it (Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FCC, 280 F.3d 1027 (D.C. Cir. 2002). That decision does not directly impact the FCC’s general obligation under Section 310(d) to ensure that any transfer of a license serves the public interest. Comcast and NBC will certain push the Fox Television decision for all its worth, arguing that the DC Circuit decision to vacate the rule means that there are no circumstances under which the FCC could prevent a broadcast/cable cross-ownership rules. Opponents will argue that while the D.C. Circuit vacated a per se rule that any cable/broadcast combination was contrary to the public interest, that has zero impact on the Commission’s responsibility to resolve the question of whether transfer of these licenses to this cable company serves the public interest. I expect much confusion and argument on this point. Assuming the FCC has jurisdiction in the first place.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in Media Ownership, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Support Net Neutrality!

    The Internet Strikes Back

  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

    Email Updates

    Subscribe with just your email address To get updates for all Wetmachine posts. Want more control? Log in using your Wetmachine account (or with your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account), or register for a Wetmachine account.

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register