Tales of the Sausage Factory

Really Getting Away From It All for Bit.

I’m off for my annual escape from the 21st Century. Don’t look for me until after August 10. Sadly, this means I will miss the conclusion of the Comcast bittorrent complaint on Friday, and will no doubt miss a ton of other really cool and important things. Such is life. Frankly, if y’all think I’m a snarky SOB now, you should see me if I didn’t get some vacation.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Econoklastic

700 MHz: When Will it End

E Block reached its reserve price in round 44 on Thursday and the FCC announced that it was going to six bidding rounds per day beginning on Friday, Feb. 8.

However, while D Block is probably permanently stalled below its reserve price for Auction 73 and will likely have to be reauctioned, there is still sufficient activity in the auction to expect that it will continue for as much as two more weeks, depending on whether the FCC decides to further accelerate the number of rounds per day. The following table shows the rates of convergence to full clearance over the past six and the past three rounds. These rates are consistent with an auction conclusion in the last week of February or the first week of March if previous auctions are a reasonable guide. However, there have been sufficient anomalies in auction performance in Auction 73, notably high amounts by which A and B Blocks have exceeded their reserve prices and the speed with which these prices have been obtained, which caution us not to rely too much on previous auction behaviour. The FCC has been gradually upping the number of bidding rounds per day and I expect further increases, as the agency seems inclined to press the auction to conclusion.

On the basis of these facts I would estimate at least two, perhaps three more weeks of bidding, primarily in E Block, before we see the end of Auction 73.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Alien, (or was it Aliens?) in Alabama

According to this article in the Montgomery Advertiser, “To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama”.

You must check out the photo.

When you do I think you’ll come to the same conclusion as did Pvt Hudson and Ripley: “Blast off and nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

SHOUT OUT TO GARY GRAY: This was your story, man. I saw it on the ex-of-Curl list, which I know you read too. So where was you? Ping below to let us know you’re OK, OK? Because this is a Gary story if ever there was one.

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Inventing the Future

Intellectual Property Is Not An Enforceable “Right”

Internal problems in Brie. Some nasty, some trivial, all annoying. We’ll work ’em out, but time to think of something else for a while. How about huge cultural paradigm shifts?

Clearly, something’s going on in the area of intellectual property. The old models are not serving. Everybody’s got something to say. (Here and there are some current MIT community examples.) On the one hand, Apple tries to sue companies for using a Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointer (WIMP) look-and-feel that they themselves didn’t invent, and they won’t let me rip the songs I legally bought from them. On the other hand, they want to use the name “Apple” despite clearly being in competition with Apple Records in the music business, and they produce a variety of devices in the new-cultural rip-mix-and-burn chain. Are they schizo, or is it just opportunistic business? I think it’s another data point towards the conclusion that we’re waiting for Thomas Kuhn (in a broad sense) to point the new way.

How can we understand intellectual property rights in a digital age? I propose that we try to get at what we really mean in terms of some established axioms.

Read More »

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