My Thoughts Exactly

Revolutions and Resolutions and Revolutions

I was reading once, I think it was in an article that Douglas Hofstadter (“Doug” to us intimates) wrote, in the New Yorker of all places, about the art of translating literature from one natural language to another. At least, I think it was Douglas Hoftstadter, but maybe that’s just my fixation shining through. Maybe the article was by Dan Hofstadter, or by somebody else altogether. Puns, of course, present a great challenge to translators, and I remember the clever instance sited therein: in a translation of Alice in Wonderland, a pun on “axes”, as in, the earth spins on its axes–speaking of axes, off with her head– was turned into a pun on revolutions: each day the earth makes a revolution– speaking of revolutions, off with her head. Now that I check my Project Gutenberg, however, I can find no such instance, so maybe, like Alice, I was dreaming.

But that’s got nothing to do with Wetmachine’s being a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards!
The 2008 Weblog Awards

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My Thoughts Exactly

“Online Free Expresson Day” from Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders has a nifty little consciousnes-raising “virtual demostration” going on today, sort of a SimCity Second-Life kind of deal.

“Today, the first time this day is being marked, we are giving all Internet users the opportunity to demonstrate in places were protests are not normally possible. We hope many will come and protest in virtual versions of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Cuba’s Revolution Square or on the streets of Rangoon, in Burma. At least 62 cyber-dissidents are currently imprisoned worldwide, while more than 2,600 websites, blogs or discussions forums were closed or made inaccessible in 2007.”

Today they’re also releasing a helpful, newly-revised Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents.

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My Thoughts Exactly

2008 Revolutions

Well, the new year is upon us and I’m already 3 days late with my new year’s revolutions. But I have a good excuse: I got laid off from the OpenLaszlo project on November 16, and so I’ve been very busy with the day job and the holidays. No, wait. I don’t have a day job. I must have been busy with something else. Perhaps I was busy thinking. Or raking the leaves. Or thinking while raking the leaves. Let me check my notes and get back to you on that. Rather, I suppose I should resolve not to bore yzall with formulaic blog posts, so let’s drop the whole subject. I hereby resolve to not resolve.

Resolutions aside, I do have a Wetmachine goal for 2008, and that’s to increase readership by at least a factor of ten over 2007. While leaf-raking, I came up with some startling ideas about how to do that–starting with a free toaster for every single one of you who clicks on a “Read More” link, and including:

* an upgrade of the Bonehead Computer Museum to Croquet 3-D space
* podcasts of my novels as radio plays featuring William Shatner, Kay Parker, and Tom Hulce
* “Bloggers of Wetmachine” swimsuit calendar
* switching to lolcat dialect for all entries about software or writing
* Videoblogging Harold Feld vs Kevin J. Martin in steel cage ultimate boxing match

Stay tuned, as somebody around here said. This is going to be the best year yet, for you, and you, and you! Amen.

P.S. Details on that toaster coming soon.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Verizon Open Platform: Looks Like A Big Bid For C Block and A Shout Out To Tim Wu

Tearing myself away for a moment from the drama and bitter disappointment of today’s cable vote, we have an announcement from Verizon that it will offer an “open platform” option for its wireless services. According to the news reports, starting in 2008, VZ will publish a standard for connecting to their network, host a conference for developers, work with developers, set up a testing lab to ensure that devices meet the standard and won’t harm the network, and allow devices to connect to the network. They also promise not to interfere with any application running on the device.

They pledge to make this available on the whole network. Not “just on a portion of the network, or a piece of spectrum that may become available after 2009.” For tech support, if you are a “bring your own device,” you can call VZ to make sure your device is connected but you are otherwise on your own.

Verizon says they are doing this in response to market demand. Rumors that this is an effort to head off regulation or declares an interest in C Block are baseless speculations of undisciplined internet bloggers like yr hmbl obdn’t. But they do stress several times on this press call that this is all about the market working, just as terminating early termination fees had nothing to do with regulatory pressure, so there is obviously no need to regulate.

Maybe. But while I’m certainly glad to see Verizon come around to my way of thinking that openness is the ultimate “killer app,” I think credit is due to three other events that helped Verizon see the light on openness: Tim Wu’s incredibly important paper on wireless Carterfone last February; Kevin Martin’s decision to put an “open devices” condition on the 22-MHz “C Block” licenses in the upcoming 700 MHz auction; and the iPhone hearing last July, where Congress made it clear they didn’t like the idea of locking desirable devices to a single provider.

Why? See below . . . .

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Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

What Digby said

All hail Digby.

If you’re not familiar with Digby, by all means, do yourself and the cause of democracy a favor and get familiar.

Those of you who are among Digby’s regular readers know that until recently very few people knew whether Digby was a man or a woman, and still today, even after Digby’s speech, only her close friends know her name or what she “does for a living.” All I know about her are (as of a few days ago), (a) what she looks and sounds like, and (b) that she is and for some while has been the best writer writing about current events in the USA. She is passionate, informed, funny, angry, brilliant, and a magnificent prose stylist.

This is the first, but it will certainly not be the last of time that John of Wetmachine joins the exponentially growing phenomenon of bloggers putting up posts entitled “What Digby said.” (Meaning, of course, “I hereby emphatically endorse what Digby said.”) Digby, the Tom Paine of our era.

That is all.

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

hardly working?

Inspired by John’s observation of a slow news period, I checked the activity of Croquet bloggers. Except for my 9 day old announcement, the average posting is 22 days old.

I guess everyone’s hard at work. Come on guys, tell us how it’s going!

Posted in history: external milestones and context, Inventing the Future | Also tagged | Comments closed
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