Tales of the Sausage Factory

Incumbents Bring Tea Party Tactics To Title II Reclasification Fight.

I have never accused the incumbents of being overly subtle, especially when they feel threatened. But this new 14-page letter from the major cable and telco trade associations — as well as from the three biggest ILECs and Time Warner Cable (Comast shows unusual, perhaps merger inspired, diplomacy by sitting this one out) — hits a new low on the “Lack ‘O Subtlety Meter.” Given that the only one actively pushing reclassification these days has been yr hmbl obdn’t blogger, I should take this as a tribute to my personal skill. But it seems more likely an extension of the “shock and awe” tactics used by the incumbents to try to derail NN from the beginning.

Of course, this goes well beyond network neutrality. As AT&T’s previous lengthy exercises trying to justify Universal Service Fund reform under Title I (as well as AT&T’s less-than-direct acknowledgment that eliminating the phone network in favor of an IP-based network would eliminate interconnection requirements and complicate public safety access) attest, the question of FCC authority over broadband and what it can or can’t do under Title I impacts every area of the National Broadband Plan agenda.

Most of the argument in the letter is pretty standard, boiling down to “the universe is great under Title I dereg, don’t mess it up,” “Title II will impose horrible regulation, kill investment, destroy jobs, strangle puppies, etc.” with an additional “the FCC has no basis to change classification because nothing important has changed since the FCC reclassified last time.” Two things, however, require attention. Sadly, they mark the introduction by major players into the realm of “Tea Party” tactics similar to the Death Panels and mud slinging that have infected the health care debate and the financial reform debate.

More below . . .

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Posted in Series of Tubes, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

The Virtual Gets Real

I figure there is no technology on earth to which the Chief Technical Officer of Intel Corp doesn’t have access. Today he chose to talk about Qwaq and Croquet during his closing keynote address to the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco’s huge Moscone Center.

< %image(20070920-smallhall.jpg|166|124|The auditorium at the Moscone Center.)%>< %image(20070920-virtualauditorium_sm.jpg|174|124|The virtual auditorium in Qwaq Forums, showing Intel's Miramar desktop on one virtual screen, a movie about virtual surgery on another, and in between is a model of the patient.)%>

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Posted in Inventing the Future, Philosophical business mumbo-jumbo | Also tagged , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Inventing the Future

Evocative Performance vs. Information Transmission

An interesting thing happens when a medium has enough bandwidth to be a “rich medium.” It crosses a threshold from merely being an informational medium to being an evocative medium.

Consider radio, which was initially used to carry Morse code over the wireless tracts between ships at sea and shore. The entire communications payload of a message could be perfectly preserved in notating the discrete dots and dashes. Like digital media, the informational content was completely preserved regardless of whether it was carried by radio, telegraph, or paper. But when radio started carrying voice, there was communication payload that was not completely preserved in the context of other media. The human voice conveys more subtlety than mere words.

Thus far, the Internet has been mostly informational. We do use it to transmit individual sound and video presentational work, but the Internet platforms in these situations are merely the road on which these travel rather than the medium itself. (My kids say they are listening to a song or watching a video, rather than that they are using the Internet or that they are on-line. The medium is the music and video.)

So, what happens when an Internet platform supports voice and video, both live and prerecorded, and allows individual works to be combined and recombined and annotated and added to and for the whole process to be observed? Do “sites” become evocative? Do presentations on them become a performance art? Do we loose veracity or perspicuity as the focus shifts to how things are said rather than what is said? Here’s a radio performance musing on some of this and more.

I think maybe this is the point where the medium becomes the message. If a technology doesn’t matter because everything is preserved in other forms, then the technology isn’t really a distinct medium in McLuhan’s sense.

Posted in Inventing the Future, meta-medium | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Book Swap Musings

I’ve published two books that I wrote. Since doing that I’ve developed an appreciation for self-publishers and self-published books. (Would now be a good time to mention that my Acts of the Apostles won Writer’s Digest’s National

Self Published Book award, first in a field of over 300? No? It wouldn’t?)

Anyway, from time to time reports of various self-published books have caught my eye, and I’ve written to the writer/publishers to suggest a book swap. In this way I’ve grown a collection of about 20 self-published books. Some of them have been awful, none have been great, but a few have been not bad, not bad at all.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a technoparanoid thriller about nanotechnology gone amok, written by a guy about my age in Wisconsin.

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