Econoklastic

700 MHz: The C Block Minuet

The fact that the C Block has dangled on the precipice of reaching its reserve price from round 13 to the close of today’s bidding action in round 16 has led to speculation that Google never intended to go seriously for the spectrum, but was merely trying to goad Verizon or ATT into committing on the Block. I grant that we have almost no intelligence on who the C Block bidders are, and it is very, very early to speculate on the auction’s ultimate outcome. However, I have a theory, grounded in an understanding of game theory and the auction rules, which calls this latest conventional wisdom into question.

There are at least two, and possibly three, current bidders for the bulk of C Block. Two have been trading off the lead for the 50 state package (REAGs 1-8), let’s call them A and B: A in the first round (1 new bid), B in the second (1 new bid), A in the third (1 new bid), B in the fourth (1 new bid), A in the fifth (1 new bid), B in the seventh (1 new bid), A in the eighth (1 new bid), B in the tenth (1 new bid), A in the twelfth (1 new bid), B in the thirteenth (1 new bid). B has been the high bidder since the thirteen round with no need to raise its bid. In the sixth round there were also mid-range bids placed individually on REAGs 1-8. Either the individual bids on REAGs 1-8 in round six were B’s response to A’s bid on the package in round 5 or another bidder, C, forayed at that point.

B can sit indefinitely on its current bid, waiting for the minimum acceptable bid (MAB) to converge on the reserve price of the Block without requiring activity waivers (the FCC historically reduces MABs in the presence of bidding inactivity). That would allow B to obtain the package for almost $122 million less than the current MAB for round 17. A must bid on REAGs 1-8 either on the package or individually in round 17 or lose eligibility, since it has had to expend three activity waivers to avoid bidding in rounds 14, 15, and 16. That is what we know.

I hypothesize that B is Google, that it is sitting just below the reserve price, and will continue to do so unless another actor bids, until just before the close of the auction, when it will bid the reserve price and save roughly $122 million. I grant that it is also possible that B is Verizon or ATT or some other bidder which I don’t know and haven’t mentioned. But game theory and the auction rules explain why B is sitting pat. A has to bid in round 17 (the MAB for the 50 state package in round 17 is over the reserve price of the Block, and the sum of MABs for REAGs 1-8 individually in round 17 is equal to the MAB for the 50 state package), or B’s strategy is likely to win.

Posted in Econoklastic, General | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Wetware and Hard Science

DNA, it's not just for genetics any more

Technology Review has an article about a paper in Public Library of Science Biology titled Solid-State, Dye-Labeled DNA Detects Volatile Compounds in the Vapor Phase. In other words, DNA is being used as just a polymer, not the Stuff of Life. Why is this cool?

No self-respecting molecular biologist would have thought of this. Instead, a systems neuroscientist working on creating an electronic nose was thinking on the problem of sensor development. The nose worked on biological principles, identifying odors not by specific sensors (as with a CO2 sensor), but rather by the patterns of activity on an array of sensors. They were working with sensors made of polymers doped with compounds with fluorescent properties that would change in the presence of specific, target odorant molecules. Developing new sensors has been a completely empirical process for anyone in the electronic nose business. How to speed it up? DNA.

.

Read More »

Posted in Wetware, Wetware and Hard Science | Also tagged , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Network Model Security

Last week I described the network model we’re building for Croquet, and was asked about some security issues. I think the main security weaknesses to what I have described come from the ability to misrepresent oneself as the Introducer or as a machine responsible for a World, or to deny others access to a World or the Introducer by sending a bunch of messages to it that demand its attention. Part of the answer in both cases is to distribute the roles of Introducer and of Worlds among many machines

Read More »

Posted in General, Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

I was just thinking of you…

I just had one of those damn computer things, where I send an email to someone who I couldn’t reach by voice, but just after sending it, I get an email from that person that changes the conditions of what I was writing to the person about. Arghh.

I’ve written before about how Croquet fosters both synchronous and asynchronous communication, like combining chat and email. Here’s how it plays out in this particular scenario. I go to the special space that Alice and I have created (with a few clicks or voice commands) for the stuff common to us. (Or maybe common to a group of three or more. It doesn’t matter.) I create a message in that space – voice, text, or video. The idea is that Alice will see that message (and possibly be notified) and will review at her leisure. Alice starts to do the same thing, but since each of us has a presence (an avatar) visible to anyone else in the space, we see each other. Then we just start talking, directly. While we do so, I can even point at the paragraph that I was just composing. Alice can edit it, too, so that she or I can then bring over the collaboratively revised version to Bob. No mail client. No telephone. No chat client. No whiteboard. No filenames or email addresses. No server.

OK, this isn’t that different in principle from the little colored balls in Macintosh Mail that tell you which addresses belong to people who are in your buddy list and available for iChat at this moment. But maybe it’s enough different to actually be useable.

Posted in Inventing the Future, metaphysics | Also tagged , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register