Tales of the Sausage Factory

Congrats to Adam Thierer! PFF to Get Needed New Blood and New Ideas (But Don't Worry, We'll Still Disagree On Most Things).

Adam Thierer, long-time friend and opposite number in the Libertarian Camp, has just been named President of the Progress and Freedom Foundation, replacing Ken Ferree. Frankly, I hope Adam will bring a dose of new thinking tp PFF, since Ken Ferree has pretty much spent the last several years explaining at great length why everything the Powell FCC did was wonderful, rational, and the epitome of all that was right in public policy whereas Kevin Martin was a revisionist wanker and traitor to the Neocon Revolution. Much as I’m sure this was amusing for the participants, it did get old after a bit.

I expect Adam and I (and PFF) will continue to disagree on most things regulatory. But I have found in the past that Adam is an intelligent and engaging person willing to actually listen to what other people have to say before responding — and generally sticking to substance rather than the ad hominem or mindless talking points favored by too many here in DC. In other words, he is the sort of Free Market enthusiast/anti-regulatory advocate who makes me work for a living and is a necessary counterpoint to make any system work.

I wish him luck, but (if you will excuse me) not too much success.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Libby Beaty Memorial Fund

Last June, Libby Beaty, the Executive Director of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers (NATOA) passed away. Libby was a tireless fighter for local government and the public interest, and someone I was pleased to regard as a friend and frequent ally at the FCC.

NATOA has now set up an education fund for her two children, Jonathan and Nicolas. To quote from the announcement:

Contributions to the fund can be mailed to the Libby Beaty Memorial Education Fund, c/o NATOA, 2121 Eisenhower Avenue, Suite 401, Alexandria, VA 22314. Checks should be made payable to the “Libby Beaty Memorial Education Fund” (please DO NOT make checks payable to NATOA) and we thank you for your support and donations, in remembrance of Libby and all that she embodied as NATOA’s Executive Director.

I hope that everyone who follows this field and wants to honor the memory of a worthy advocate for an important cause, will consider making a contribution.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Update: Apology to Craig Settles

I owe Craig Settles an apology for my snarky aside in my piece on what the broadband stimulus does. Craig has written his own rebuttal to the NY Times piece, in which he explains that the reporter lifted a single quote from a 30 minute interview out of context. In private correspondence (as well as in a comment on the original post), he has shown himself an advocate for rural broadband and certainly not a tool of industry. He also gets high ratings from Jim Baller, one of the real heroes of munibroadband and broadband policy generally.

I’ve amended the original post to take out any reference to Craig and the out-of-context quote.

Stay tuned . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

American Radio Relay League v. FCC, Why A Good Case Will Bring Confusion And Bad Results

I should be overjoyed with the D.C. Circuit’s latest case: American Radio Relay League v. FCC. First, it affirms the right of the Commission to balance between unlicensed Part 15 users and licensed users, even where operation of Part 15 certified devices/services will cause occasional interference to traditional Sec. 301 licensees. Second, it requires the FCC to publish staff reports on which it relies in their entirety, rather than merely including in the record the parts with which it agrees. Third, it requires the FCC to address proposals by commenters with something more substantive than “well, we’ve always done it this way, so we see no need to change.”

All good news, yes? As a legal matter, absolutely. But as a practical matter, I expect it to slow down movement on the FCC’s white spaces proceeding. Why? Because it was a reversal and a reversal almost always causes the good folks in the Office of Engineering and Technology to go into paralysis for a few months while they try to figure out what the new legal standard is now. That the court actually affirmed the critical part on respecting the FCC’s balance between Part 15 and traditionally licensed services is likely to get lost in the noise — especially as we can expect NAB and other white spaces opponents to dwell on the reversal aspect and ignore what the court actually said. And, in the short term, OET now has to figure out how to issue a report on the WSD testing that conforms to the D.C. Circuit’s standard of disclosure. While I, lawyer and advocate that I am, consider this simply an exercise in “tell the truth and shame the devil,” we can expect that opponents will press their own reading of the case and that OET (and FCC’s Office of General Counsel) will now have the difficult and potentially time consuming task of deciding on the proper interpretation.

So a good case in fact, but more delays while the agency digests its implications.

More below . . . .

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Inventing the Future

component programming

Marshall McLuhan said that the interesting thing about a medium is what it makes the user become in order to use it.

What does Croquet make people become? Rick McGear, a Croquet advocate at HP, says that using Croquet makes us become programmers.

What is programming? The classic definition is of computational processes, but object-oriented programming seems to take a different view. And Croquet’s TeaTime architecture describes objects in terms of a mapping between message histories. I’m not finding process to be satisfying.

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Posted in Brie, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)
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