Inventing the Future

If 100 people watch a PowerPoint together on the Internet, is it still boring?

My last post referenced a movie of a “talk show” in Second Life, prompting John to ask about the relationship of avatar richness to the experience. I think there’s a simple trick that’s worth making explicit.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Did Morgan OBrien and Cyren Call Kill Frontline?

I’m getting a number of folks from different walks of life coming forward with the same story: Morgan O’Brien was the direct cause of Frontline’s investors pulling out.

Of course, there is no way I can actually confirm this on the record because the people in the room either can’t talk about it (due to the anticollusion rules) or won’t. Nevertheless, having confirmed this with sources I find reliable and who could not have coordinated with each other, I feel I need to come forward here and put this on the table. D Block and the public safety partnership are far too important to end up falling victim to the combination of insider baseball, manipulation and greed that appears at play here.

I have absolutely not talked to anyone at the FCC about this. No one at the FCC can legally respond to any of this, and I would not ask them to do so. Similarly, in my discussions, I have been at pains to avoid any conflict with the anticollusion rules. Nevertheless, the sources I have are, I believe, reliable, and I have therefore made a decision to go forward with this story. I must also add that because I am on sabbatical, I have not had any discussions about this with my employer, Media Access Project, or with anyone at Media Access Project while developing this story.

Details below . . . .

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Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

i finger gadgets

Damn, I thought I had found a Christmas gift for my wife that was not a gadget. You may love a gadget. You may tell your friends. You may keep using it for a year. Or not. But to me, a gadget is defined as something you don’t immediately replace when it’s lost. Gadgets aren’t game-changers that permanently alter how you live.

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Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

The Collaborative For Croquet

We’ve got a bunch of Croquet stuff going on. We have the KidsFirst project in early education. There are a few folks who would like to work with the KidsFirst project as educators, academics, etc., but who need an entity to work with. We also have a fairly traditional open-source development project for the software used by KidsFirst, called the KAT: KidsFirst Application Toolkit.

And we REALY, REALLY, REALLY want a place that people can just connect to and try Croquet. To interact with others through Croquet. To come back another day and have some hope of finding the same 3d world, evolved though it may be, but still maybe having some of the same things that had been put there in the previous visit. A little open-source 3D-direction-manipulation real-time collaborative place on the Internet.

And so we have formed “The Collaborative For Croquet”.

Check it out at: CroquetCollaborative.org.

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

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Handicaping This Week’s Big Spectrum Auction

And what a long strange trip its been to get here! In 2004, Congress passed the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA), which required government users to vacate some choice spectrum so the FCC can auction it. You can see the FCC’s official page for this auction here. You can see my recent general musings on this auction on the Public Knowledge policy blog here.

But none of this tells the whole story. After two controversial rulemakings, a pending legal challenge, and the appearance of a host of new bidders, FCC Auction 66: AWS-1 is ready to start this week on August 9. A look at the list of who has come to play signals an auction of unparalleled visciousness, determination, and probable manipulation by sophisticated bidders because the FCC wussed out and did not adopt anonymous bidding.

For those interested in my handicaping what a report from the Center for American Progress describes as a corrupt means by which incumbents keep out competitors and what I have called “a really wonky version of Worlds of Warcraft,” read on!

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Posted in General, Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Anonymous bidding and not so anonymous shakedowns at the FCC

Say what you like about Martin in other areas, but he is (so far) sticking to his guns on whether to require anonymous bidding for the upcomming AWS spectrum auction. MAP has actively supported this proposal, because it will make the auctions work better and facilitate entry by minority owned businesses and new, disruptive competitors (I’m stuck with them by statute, so I may as well try to get them to work right).

In perhaps the most telling evidence that anonymous/blind/sealed bidding (in which the identity of the bidder is not disclosed during the action) is a good idea, every incumbent (except VZ Wireless, which has been “targeted” in certain auctions) is lobbying fiercly against it. My favorite little tidbits of when the Sausage Factory turns nasty below.

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Inventing the Future

Transparent Computing

In What Is It About Immersive 3D?, I claim that being immersed in among the application components allows and encourages us to mix and match among bits and pieces of different applications. That is, we’re getting rid of the idea of having separate “applications” on a computer.

I forgot to mention the other aspect of immersive 3d: that we want to get rid of the computer. Well, actually, that we want to make using each application object feel like a real world object, not a computer thingie. The direct manipulation feel makes it easier to work with stuff, and the lack of indirect abstractions and symbols makes it easier to understand.

A few examples below the fold.

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Posted in Brie, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

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)

Inventing the Future

Inventing the Future: no names, please!

In this information-laden world, who really wants to deal with addresses, ss#’s, a bevy of phone numbers, even more account numbers, part numbers, and on and on? It seems we sometimes need the precision afforded by (usually non-mnemonic!!!) names, but we don’t like it. What if it’s not necessary?

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

Wetware and Hard Science

Nature's take on Bush V. Kerry

By Nature, of course, I mean the the magazine. In a (mostly) free area the position of the candidates on various scientific issues is discussed, from stem cells to climate change to nuclear waste and weapons. Also, they rehearse the Bush administration’s apparent manipulation of science for its own ends.

Those needing additional grist for the mill can find it in the specials – us election page.

Posted in General, Wetware and Hard Science | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)
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