Inventing the Future

On Writing

I’ve been bumming about my postings (or lack) lately. I want to write about cool possibilities and what they might mean, but most of what I do can’t be talked about until it is released. It seems like it shouldn’t matter whether you write about what you’re doing versus what you’ve done, but I think it does. I feel like everything I write about the latest cool thing my colleagues or I did ends up sounding like an ad. Not an effective and entertaining thing, but just that it sounds like I’m trying to sell something.

Sorry about that. As far as I am aware, I write to sort out ideas. I was taught that if I can’t name something or talk about it effectively, then I don’t understand it. And I write to to document my journey. In both cases, I should be discussing work in progress. But even the entries I made while working at the University of Wisconsin all seem to be about actual working results, rather than projects that I was still designing. And I’m not sure why, but it feels like the out-of-sync aspect is getting worse. There is a commercial relevance. For example, way more than a year ago I had been very happy when a new reader told me what a delight it was to find my blog, and he offered some interesting comments. But it turns out that this fellow was from a ginormous company that is now a (hopefully) happy repeat customer. While I don’t clear anything I write with anyone at work, I can’t pretend that I am unaware of any potential commercial impact. Not sure what to about all that.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Do it yourself publlishing — R.W. Ridley style

Last week this fellow R.W. Ridley started following me on twitter after I tweeted about kindlizing The Pains. He’s a writer with a horror series called The Takers aimed at young adults. Turns out that like me, he’s a self-publisher. Like me, he’s won the Self-Published Book Award from Writer’s Digest magazine. Like me, he’s got a blog & is experimenting with kindle and various other ways of getting the word out. Unlike me, he seems to have good portions of his act together. For example his blog is streamed to his author page on Amazon. (How do he do that?) And he has a couple of other neat things, like a youtube video for his books. I have never met the fellow and haven’t read his books & so have no idea of how well he’s doing sales-wise and whether the books are any good. But I was impressed by this little audio book sample. It’s well read and well written and creepy, with nice sound effects. Check it out. And check out his website, there’s some other cool stuff there.

I also note with interest his blog posting about how this year print-on-demand titles outnumbered traditionally published titles. Wow. And then consider, there are lots of self-published books, like mine, that are not POD. (Mine are traditional offset books.) Things sure are changing in the publishing world. And so it goes and so it goes and so it goes, as the man said, but where it’s going, no one knows. . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Wetmachiner David Newsom is not a Doctor of Geek-Ecology, but he plays one on television

I just got some friendly spam from fellow Wetmachiner David Newsom about his new TV series. I hope he’ll tell us more about it eventually in his own post, but in the meantime, here’s the message:

I’m very proud to announce the launch of Discovery Channel’s new network:
Planet Green, and the series “G-Word”.

“G-Word” is a one-hour environmental news show covering a vast sea of green
innovations and technologies around the country. I’m quite pleased to say
that I am part of the huge cast of correspondents and producers who brought
this show to fruition and I really hope you can check it out.

“G-Word” will launch on June 4th @ 7:30 PM. After launch night, “G Word”
will settle in to its normal 7 PM slot on M-Th, as well as 10 PM on Mondays.

Check local listings for channel. NOTE: PLANET GREEN is replacing DISCOVERY
HEALTH. So you will find it at the same channel.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

It's Always Nice When The FCC Listens

A few months ago, fellow Wetmachiner Greg Rose and I wrote a wrote a white paper on how to improve the FCC’s processes, make FCC rulemakings and proceedings more accessible to the public, and generally increase the legitimacy and reliability of FCC decision making. As one relatively easy change, we suggested the FCC post the agenda for open meetings far enough in advance that people can come in and make their last pitches to the agency before “Sunshine” (the period when communications stop under the “Government In the Sunshine Act”) kick in. As we explained, providing the agenda at the last second often advantages insiders who hear when an item is likely to go on the agenda, who therefore rush in while those who don’t know the item is going on Sunshine will lose their last chance to rebut arguments or press their case.

So it was pleasant to see Chairman Martin announce that from now on he will publish the likely agenda 3 weeks in advance. That should be a big help to everyone — including the other Commissioners, who will not suddenly find themselves with a week to digest an agenda of a dozen items.

Yes, it is a relatively minor change, but it is important in two ways. First, practical details really do matter. That sometimes gets lost in the fight over specific substantive issues. Second, it demonstrates a willingness by Martin to listen to criticism and take action — at least on the low hanging fruit. Such things deserve notice and suitable (although not overly elaborate) praise. Remember, public policy is made by human beings, and you get what you reward.

Stay tuned . . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

NEWSFLASH! West Coast Dilettante David Newsom to join Wetmachine

Never let it be said that nagging never pays off. For years I’ve been importuning my pal David Newsom, that matinee idol, photographer, award winning movie producer, etc, etc, to start a blog, preferably here on Wetmachine. He’s a great storyteller, as you’ll see shortly, and I’ve been looking for another voice to balance out the glorious wonkery from Harold, Greg, and Howard. I mean, I love FCC policy & sofware geekery as much as the next fellow, but sometimes I think our little wessle lists a bit to starboard, if you will. So I’m delighted to announce that David has tired of telling me to buzz off, and as of this instant is an official wetmachiner.

(David, is it OK that I announce that your new gig is as a producer/reporter for planetgreen? Gee, I sure hope so!)

As soon as our colleague Gary gets his attention back to mundane things, he’ll be setting up a sub-blog for David to be called [notes or dispatches or null] [from a] West Coast Dilettante.

In the meantime, I’m taking the liberty of posting his innagural contribution to Wetmachine main page, which I’ll do sometime later today when I get a sec.

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My Thoughts Exactly

if u cn rd ths u cn lrn bobblespeak

If there is a funnier, more astute commentator on political discourse than culture of truth in the bobblespeak translations, please don’t introduce me to him or her. For if I laugh any harder with that ol’ rueful laughter of the horrible truth, I may just die. And I ain’t prepared to do that yet, George Bush’s presidency notwithstanding.

By they way, I met CoT at the convention of Dirty Fucking Hippies known as Eschacon in Philadelphia last weekend. About which I will endeavor to blog at some point, if only to get cred for proving that I was indeed there. And I just want to say that for the reincarnation of Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl, Culture of Truth is certainly a mild-mannered, unassuming fellow.

Posted in infotainment, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

The Treachery of Images

< %image(20080327-Howarde_Avatar.jpg|230|201|Ceci n'est pas Howard)%>There’s a photo of me in the current Information Week. Only it isn’t a “photo,” and it isn’t “me.”

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Posted in Inventing the Future, metaphysics | Also tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Econoklastic

700 MHz: More Evidence for Success of Anonymous Bidding Rules

I’d like to reiterate what fellow Wetmachiner Harold Feld wrote yesterday: the telecoms incumbents’ claims of problems arising from anonymous bidding are nonsense, part of a campaign to sow disinformation lest Auction 73 (700 MHz) and its success persuade the FCC to permanently adopt anonymous bidding rules for its auctions.

I call your attention to this table, which compares the number of bids on each license in B Block in rounds 1-26 of Auction 73 to the number of bids on each comparable CMA in Auction 66 (AWS-1) in rounds 1-26 of that auction. Note that in general the smaller the CMA number, the larger the population of the CMA (e.g., CMA001 is New York City and its immediate environs, CMA002 is the Los Angeles area, etc.).

What is striking about the data presented in this table is threefold. First, significantly more bids are being placed in general in rounds 1-26 in Auction 73 than in Auction 66. Second, extraordinarily more bids are being placed on the smaller and intermediate-size CMAs in Auction 73 than in Auction 66. Third, a much smaller percentage of licenses are receiving no bids in the first 26 rounds in Auction 73 than in Auction 66.

I am hard put to find an explanation of this extraordinary increase in competition, particularly for the smaller and intermediate-size licenses, which does not involve the effects of anonymous bidding. I suggest that the data, even though they do not disclose bidder identities, are entirely consistent with a more vigorous presence of new entrant and non-incumbent bidders who are protected from retaliatory and blocking bidding by large incumbents by anonymous bidding and are, therefore, more willing to engage in strong competition.

The telcos and cablecos can wail and moan to Communications Daily about the “risks” of anonymous bidding to the FCC, but the principal risk of anonymous bidding seems thus far to be the risk that fat-cat telecoms incumbents won’t be able to get all the spectrum in this auction by their usual bullying and exclusionary tactics. There’s no risk at all to the treasury — revenue from the auction is already wildly exceeding pre-auction projections — and there’s no risk that competition will be wan, as the data presented here amply demonstrate.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Chutzpah, Thy Name Is Wireless Incumbent.

So here we are in the middle of the most intensely competitive auction ever. As you can tell looking at the recent postings by fellow Wetmachiner Greg Rose this auction has dramatically pushed up the amount of money paid by bidders for licenses and has created more intense competition for a broader group of licenses than previous auctions, strongly suggesting that — as Greg and I predicted when we first started pushing anonymous bidding in March 2006 — anonymous bidding eliminates all kinds of targeting, collusion and retaliation that typically held back smaller bidders and allowed larger bidders to pick up licenses for a song. An utter smashing success (at least from the perspective of those who favor using auctions for distribution of licenses), right? Who could have a bad word to say about it?

Answer: All the people who hate anonymous bidding BECAUSE it eliminates the ability to signal, retaliate, and collude and thus makes the auction more competitive. i.e. The incumbent wireless licensees (other than Verizon, which wanted anonymous bidding to avoid being targeted).

More below . . . .

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Inventing the Future

Spontaneous Usage

bloggingfrominworld

One success metric that I’ve been shooting for is that I want a user to do something in Croquet that was not specifically intended by the authors of the space or software. It’s very cool to create something that is ideally suited for a particular usage, but it’s really something to create a meta-tool whose usage exceeds the sum of its designed parts.

This fellow Laurence apparently created his blog entry from within the Collaborative.

I had expected and hoped the first such spontaneous use to be something based on collaboration, or on usability or scalability. This was not. It was done because it was fun to do. That’s pretty cool, actually. Shows what I know…

Posted in Inventing the Future, KAT | Also tagged , , | Comments closed
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