Tales of the Sausage Factory

Genachowski's Secret $15 bn Piggy Bank, or T-mobile Triumphs Over M2Z.

I’ve been rather pressed for time, hence have not had much chance to blog on the FCC’s recent spectrum policy announcements for D-Block and the broadcast migration offer. Combine these two speeches with Genachowski’s recent statement in an interview that the NBP will finance the $25 billion via existing programs and it is clear that the FCC will adopt the T-Mobile’s “asymmetric auction” proposal for the AWS-2 and AWS-3 band, leaving M2Z high and dry. The only question is whether or not there will be spectrum caps to keep AT&T and Verizon from snarfing the good stuff, but do not expect the NBP to touch something as “controversial” as spectrum caps even by veiled implication the way the DoJ did in its comments.

Mind, this is another example of the “spectrum auctions are the crack cocaine of public policy” problem. The thirst for revenue pushes all other considerations out the window. I’m not convinced the T-Mobile approach is wrong (especially if subject to spectrum caps), and I think the D-Block finesse was extremely clever. But when revenue sits in the driver’s seat, policy invariably takes a wrong turn somewhere along the road. But it is difficult to imagine how Genachowski could resist a $15 bn secret cash cow to fend off accusations that Democrats are once again writing checks against our children’s future blah blah blah.

I unpack all this below. . . .

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My Thoughts Exactly

Thoughts on the impending demise of Sun Microsystems: part one: the Death Coffee Brick

News Item: IBM withdraws offer to buy Sun Microsystems; Sun’s fate unknown.

When I joined the “East Coast Division” of Sun Microsystems in January, 1986, Sun was a swaggering three-year-old enfant terrible based in Mountain View (Silicon Valley) California, and the East Coast Division, located in Lexington, Massachusetts had about fifteen people in it. Within two years Sun was a worldwide powerhouse with a new subsidiary company opening once a week (or so it seemed), and the East Coast division had about 250 people, 30 of whom reported to me. We moved to a larger facility in Billerica, MA, were we designed and manufactured a whole new line of Sun computers. We were like a mini-startup within Sun itself, with a classic start-up feel–hardcore geek shit.

Starting about 1988 or so, we had a coffee club in Billerica. Sun provided free coffee, which sucked, but some coffee lovers got together and provided alternative good stuff at $.25/cup or so.

Mostly this was Peets coffee, which Martin Hardee, a guy in my group, brought back from the west coast on his occasional forays. This was back in the old days, when finding anything better than Dunkin Donuts coffee on the east coast was a real challenge.

One day some poor fellow who was not a caffeine junky drank the Peets when he thought he was drinking the Sun-provided crap and got palpitations.

So, Martin got a brick, a regular old red brick, and got out his acrylic paint set and decorated it with the words

WARNING!
DEATH COFFEE

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My Thoughts Exactly

Internet killed the newspaper star, Internet killed the newspaper star (or not)

A lot of talk lately about the future of journimalism, especially of the newspaper variety. In The Nation, John Nichols and Robert McChesney say that newspapers & journalism are vital to democracy, so newsgathering organizations should be supported by taxpayers. Their article doesn’t strike me as totally idiotic; only somewhat Quixotic. David Sirota, in SFGate says that newspapers’ wounds are self-inflicted, because they insisted on giving us stupid crap instead of journalism–and television & internet are just inherently better media for delivering stupid crap. As captured & discussed at Crooks & Liars, CNN had an interesting discussion (also featuring Sirota) about newspapers in decline. If newspaper-style reporting is to continue (and we’re fucked if it isn’t, they say), local reporting has to be the core. Over on First Draft, Athenae has been posting some good stuff about how greedy scumbags, not the internet, killed journalism. (Athenae has lots of cool postings on this topic.)

Meanwhile supercool meta-ironic emerging-intelligence socio-observer & collective wisdom trendspotter Cory Doctorow Clay Shirky (seriously, who can tell those two guys apart?) sayz, like dig it, cats, this Internet thing is so far out that none of you squares can begin to grok its significance, but the newspaper is dead, man, so be cool & get hep to what’s happenin’, OK?

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My Thoughts Exactly

iPhone and OpenLaszlo

Over on the OpenLaszlo project blog, David Temkin has an interesting post about OpenLaszlo, Safari, Ajax, iPhones, and all kinds of good stuff like that there.

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Inventing the Future

Ramble On…

My heart broke the day Julian left the University of Wisconsin: 11/1/05. We were struggling to get anything out the door. An amazing technology entrepreneur (and Lisp guy!) named Greg Nuyens was trying to hold startup Qwaq together with both hands. I knew it was going to be a tough time for Croquet.

Fast forward.

I have left the University of Wisconsin Division of Information Technology to work at Qwaq, Inc. Sweet!

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

The GAO Makes the Case for Community Broadband

Not that you would know it either from the headline or the general coverage, but the the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm, issued its own report that makes a strong case in favor of community-based broadband and against more regulatory goodies for the incumbent telcos and cable cos. Not that the GOA intended to make that case, and they word their conclusions carefully. But dig down into the actual report and you find a lot of good stuff beyond discrediting the FCC’s rosy numbers on broadband penetration and competition.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Welcome Boingers and Sundry Wetmachine Virgins!

Step right this way!

If you’re looking for what Cory Doctorow calls my “gonzo hacker novels”, you are almost there. Click on the images on the top left of this page.

The creator of the illustrations for The Pains, Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming, is selling prints of the illustrations. Check out his site too!

Speaking of Cory, check out the podcasts of his interview with me:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

If you care about holding onto democracy and yer constitutional rights in today’s modern digital-futuristic world of today, check out Harold Feld’s Tales of the Sausage Factory. He’s written a lot of good stuff lately — on net neutrality, on the new FCC chairman, on collusion in FCC auctions, on municipal wireless & democracy. . . When Harold writes something it’s usually well written, informative, funny, and very important.

If you’re a software geek, check out Howard Stearns’ Inventing the Future. Howard is one of the lead developers on the Croquet project.

Speaking of cool web n+1 software, isn’t about time that you checked out OpenLaszlo?

In conclusion, let me beg for money. Please buy one of my books (or make a paypal donation as a token of value received for the free downloads).

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: FCC on Wireless–Mostly Snooze But Some Stuff I Can Use

Lost in all the hoopla last week on the Multicast Must Carry Vote (which I can explain in a future column) was the FCC’s Broadband Wireless Report. It’s conclusion – Wireless Broadband Is Good. Policy recommendations: Stay the Course.

Well, it’s a _bit_ more than that, but not much. See below….

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Of Open Access, Kicking Butt, and Why Arbs Don't Know Jack

The Ninth Circuit has given us another win in the fight to make cable plants open their facilities to independent ISPs (aka “open access” ). Winning feels good, especially when you predicted it over the odds given by the “experts”. The experts here are the industry analysts and arbitrageurs (or “arbs” ). What does it mean, and why are the experts so often wrong? See my opinions below.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Tales of the Sausage Factory: I Am Now on the Sh–list of the Wall St. J. Editorial Board. Go me!

Well, actually my boss, Andrew Jay schwartzman, and my organization, Media Access Project. But since MAP has only three attorneys and one admin staffer, I think I’m entitled to crow a bit.

The WSJ is a pay site, so I can’t provide a link. And copyright prevents me from reprinting the editorial — which appeared in the print addition of the WSJ on Dec. 30, 2003.

But to see my more detailed comments, see below.

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Posted in General, Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)
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