Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update: House Drops Broadband Stimulus Cuts

A quick update on my post at the beginning of the month on the effort to rescind $600 million in broadband funding.  The House voted to preserve the current broadband stimulus funding levels.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory, The Stimulus Package (ARRA) | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

“I felt like I was in Church”

That’s a line attributed, if I recall correctly, to Eddy Vedder when asked about how he felt the first time he played with Neil Young (whose “Cortez the Killer” is playing through my headphones right now, now that you mention it, as it often does when I’m digging into basso philisophico depth of my own poor over-mined skull).

I didn’t feel like I was in church when I met uber-scientist George Church in his Harvard Med School lab/office six weeks ago, but I did feel a little bit awed and of course impressed. Turns out Church is a nice guy and we had a lovely chat. (How we met & what we talked about is a story for another day; all you CCD buffs might want to brush up on The Bremser Spam; that’s a hint.) I left behind a set of my books, and, somewhat to my surprise, he read them, and what’s more, liked them, and we’ve since become email buddies and we talk about this and that — subject to time constraints, of course, inasmuch as I’m an unemployed sometime novelist and he’s a world-famous scientist in charge of several important projects at various laboratories, not to mention being on the boards of too many companies to count, so sometimes I don’t have as much free time on my hands as he does. Read More »

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Why We Care About Broadband Policy, Not Competititon.

I’m back from my week of travels, where lousy broadband connectivity prevented me from blogging my trip to the NARUC Summer Conference and trip to Netroots Nation. Hopefully, I will get to fill in some of the blanks. NARUC (the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) passed some good Telecom resolutions supporting the FCC’s reclassification of broadband back into the Title II telecom box (although reminding the FCC that states have an important role to play and therefore to use preemption sparingly), and urging the FCC to address early termination fees for cell phone services.

So to get the ball rolling, here is a reprint of my opening remarks in the “framing debate” between myself and Ray Gifford from our Wed. morning NARUC Telecom session. As regular readers know, I’ve argued that things like Network Neutrality are right as a matter of economics (that is, they promote a better economic outcome for everyone: see economists make this argument here and here), that it is critical as a matter of First Amendment freedom and to prevent “virtual redlining.” Below I add an additional argument, what Ray characterized (and I agree) is a “progressive era” argument for why we care about broadband policy.

Read More »

Posted in Series of Tubes, Tales of the Sausage Factory, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Imagination Sinkhole

Come On

I have writer’s block, so I’m just going to tell you some random stories from life in order to keep myself limber in the event that my muse one day returns.  Ready?  Today’s theme concerns moments of intersection between vice and innocence.

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Posted in Imagination Sinkhole | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Wetware and Hard Science

Who Let the President Have a Cell Phone?

This is so Sundman that I’m not sure I didn’t already read about it in one of John’s novels are this here Wetmachine.

MIT researchers have shown that a magnetic field applied to a very specific part of the surface of the brain can suppress moral reasoning, influencing the person to coldly judge other people’s means based only on non-moral “facts” such as a description of the ends achieved (or to be achieved?).

The specific area of the brain is right behind the right ear. Gee, do I recall that they gave Mr. Obama a specially modified Blackberry?

Posted in I Fear These Things, Inventing the Future | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

My Travel Schedule For The Next Two Weeks

I haven’t had a lot of time to post a lot lately, which actually bums me out a great deal. It’s been an insane time here in telecom land, for all that we seem to be running in place. Eventually, I will get to blog about things like the Comments we filed in the FCC’s Third Way Proceeding, and the 40–gajillion things going on in spectrum (NONE of which are the White Spaces Proceeding. Damn! When is unlicensed gonna actually see a little love?) Meantime, however, I am doing a bunch of travel an speaking appearances in the next two weeks, and would love to see anyone whose schedule coincides with mine.

On Monday, I am flying out to Sacramento for two-days at the Summer Committee Meetings of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.  I will be speaking on a panel about the National Broadband Plan at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20 The next morning, I’m going head-to-head with Ray Gifford of PFF about the virtues (or lack thereof) of the FCC’s “Third Way” Proceeding. While summer in Sacramento with a hotel full of regulators and policy wonks is probably not most people’s idea of a fun time, I hope that those who do come and who read this blog will look me up and say “hi,” as well as show up to cheer me on at the panels (or cheer Ray on, if you you are so inclined).

After NARUC, I am proceeding on to Netroots Nation, where I will be preaching the Progressive Telecom gospel (and why other progressives should care when there are sooooo many other issues demanding attention.) I’m not on any panels, but I am definitely planning to attend the one on Protecting Rights In The Digital Realm on Thursday, July 22, at 10:30 a.m.  A bunch of folks are also organizing an informal social event around Net Neutrality and Title II, details as soon as I have them.

Again, I’d love to hear from anyone who reads this blog who will be there. I’ll be there from Wed. night to Friday morning, so hopefully I’ll see some of you there.

Finally, July 29 I will be going to SuperNova — Kevin Werbach’s amazing conference on future trends. I’ll be speaking with Rick Whitt and Rebecca Arbogast on “The Broadband Challenge,” at 1 p.m. July 29. That one is in Philly, so at least it does not require changes of time zone.

I expect to be tweeting these events (assuming my phone holds out). You can follow me on Twitter at haroldfeld. Or on Facebook . Hopefully, I will also be able to get some decent substantive postings here, on the PK Policy Blog, on HuffPo, and on TMCNet (for someone with no time to blog, I have a lot of places I’m not blogging).

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in General, I Fear These Things, Tales of the Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

SXSW Dreaming

The deadline for submitting panel proposals for South by Southwest Interactive kind of snuck up on me. I learned just before midnight last Friday that the deadline was midnight on Sunday. It turned out that I had a bunch of stuff to do on Saturday and Sunday, so only spent a few hours Sat & Sun evening working on my panel proposal. The hard limit for the proposal was 1,500 characters. My first draft was twice as long. So as the clock ticked towards midnight Sunday I took out my trusty machete and started hacking.

I’m not really happy with the final proposal I submitted, but I thought the 3,000 character draft wasn’t that bad. In any event, it’s a panel that I would like to be on, or, failing that, attend.

So anyway, below you’ll find longer draft, the “before machete” version. Soon enough, I hope, you’ll see my “after machete” version on the SXSW website & I’ll bug yzall for your votes. Thanks.

Self-Publishing Novelists 2011: A Report from the Trenches.

We’ve been hearing for a while that new technologies for authoring, designing, printing, publishing, marketing, distributing and consuming books will disrupt the traditional book publishing business model and empower the everyman self-publisher.
Read More »

Posted in Hardware, My Thoughts Exactly, Software, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Defcon Leaning

Looks like I’ll be heading to the mother of all hacker conferences, Defcon 18 in sunny Las Vegas 2.5 weeks from now. I’ll be attending parties and tech sessions, trying to not get hacked, and, mainly, selling my famous geekoid hackerific novels from a table in the vendor area.

I’ve got two reasons for wanting to attend: (1) I’m writing another hackerific novel, Creation Science, and I want it to feature either some action at Defcon or at the least, some characters (white & black hat) who are Defcon types. So I’ll be doing passive research & keeping my eyes open. (2) I want to sell books and get some notice for my books. If ever there were a target market for them, I think Defcon must be it. Maybe with a little luck I’ll get some notice as the author of what may well be the ultimate hacker book.

Any of y’all as have been to Defcon or who plan to attend this one, I would appreciate your saying hello in the comments. Any advice on how I can meet my two objectives would be especially welcome. In particular, what’s the best way for me to get the word out to the Defcon crowd about my books before I get there?

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Methane Gas bubble Doomsday Scenario courtesy Deepwater Horizon

Scary.

History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of man.
Godzilla!

Posted in I Fear These Things, My Thoughts Exactly | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Ass over teakettle and a farewell to free ebooks

About three weeks ago I had freak accident on my bicycle. My chain froze as I was pedalling up a hill. I went ass over teakettle and performed a lovely three-point faceplant in the weeds (2 hands + 1 face = 3 ), spraining eight fingers & two thumbs and bloodying up my left cheek, which led to two visits to the emergency room and one to my doctor who told me that much of the symptoms in my hand were coming from my neck, where CT scans revealed “moderate to severe arthritis.”

As I picked myself up off the ground, in shock at the gross betrayal of me by my insubordinate bicycle and angry at gravity, and with my hands hurting ferociously and tingling in equal measure, and later, after calling my daughter, who was off in our family’s only working car, to ask her to come drive me to the hospital, I realized that I was not Cory Doctorow. Even after my daughter had picked up my wife who took me to the emergency room at Martha’s Vineyard hospital & I had heavenly dilaudid pumping into my vein I still was not Cory.

I’m mostly all better now. I even rode my bike a lot yesterday, despite the heat, right down to the Tisbury Street Fair, where I served strawberry shortcake with the guys in the Firefighters Association. It’s been three weeks since my bike mishap & I’m still not Cory. Consequently, I’ve stopped giving my books away for free.
Read More »

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