Inventing the Future

We have an industry

I just turned 44, which kind of sucks, but as they say, it’s better than the alternative. I think I’ve been old for a long long time, but now I have to admit it. Virtual World have been growing up, too, and my feelings are somewhat the same. Despite reports by Gartner and Forrester, articles in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Information Week, and even popular press like the LA Times, I still hadn’t quite caught on to the idea that we now have an industry. But when I saw Christian Renaud’s blog, I had to admit that “Virtual Worlds” is an industry category, and I’m in it. None of these articles are about the technology (what I do), but about what people do with it and how businesses make money with it. I guess it’s better than the alternative. OK, it’s pretty cool, but kind of weird. This stuff isn’t household technology or household names yet. The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet. It’s an interesting life-span inflection point.

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My Thoughts Exactly

I am shocked, shocked that Bush continues to build Total Surveillance State

Yesterday, in the still pre-Murdoch Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Gorman brings us the deeply disturbing but unsurprising news:

NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows
As Agency Sweeps Up Data
Terror Fight Blurs
Line Over Domain;
Tracking Email

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My Thoughts Exactly

An expensive way to learn elementary-school civics

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece the other day, called The Lessons of Iraq, by one Erik Swabb, who, according to the journal, “served in Iraq as a Marine infantry officer.” Here’s the lede:

While the improved security situation in Iraq is changing views about the chances for success there, one common belief has remained unchanged: that the war is eroding U.S. military capabilities.

It is true that repeated deployments have caused considerable strain on service members, equipment and our ability to respond to other contingencies. These problems, however, only tell half the story. The Iraq war is also dramatically improving the military’s understanding, training and capabilities in irregular warfare. Since this is the preferred method of Islamic extremists, the experience in Iraq is transforming the military into the force required to help win the Long War.”

The article goes on to make the case that the war is not all bad for the fighting forces, because now they really “get it” that they’re not in a big war against Soviet armoured divisions on the plains of northern Europe.

As a former Peace Corps Volunteer, I find this embarassingly thin gruel. In fact, it borders on noxious.

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Econoklastic

Well, Yeah, Actually, I Am Gloating…

I try not to gloat, but it’s impossible not to take a certain amount of satisfaction in the Wall Street Journal‘s confirmation on Nov. 16 that Google intends to bid in the 700 MHz auction in January, regardless of whether it has partners in a bidding consortium. This confirms my prediction back on August 2 in Econoklastic that Chairman Martin’s refusal to impose a wholesale open access condition on the C block would not prevent Google from bidding, despite naysayers in the press and on Wall Street.

The underlying reality is that Google needs a third broadband pipe to escape imposition of monopoly rents by the wireline and cable carriers, since net neutrality provisions with real enforcement teeth are nowhere to be seen on the horizon: that means do it themselves or get someone to do it for them. That reality hasn’t changed, and the guys at Google clearly recognise this fact. I am equally heartened by assurances from Google counsel Rick Whitt at a conference in NYC week before last that Google still intends to implement its full wholesale open access business plan over any spectrum it obtains in the 700 MHz auction.

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My Thoughts Exactly

Would somebody please taze the WSJ?

Well the so-called journalists of the Wall Street Journal are back to their usual practice of making shit up in the name of capitalism and Victory! and Freedom! and A Pony — or whatever it is they’re arguing for.

Call me a dreamer, but I kinda like the idea that editorial boards of extremely prominent media outlets would do at least rudimentary fact-checking before racing off to their foregone conclusions.

I can hardly wait until Rupert gets hid 48-point Helvetica-Bold hands on this paper. The editorial page, already the next best thing to an acid trip for those who don’t chemically imbibe, will likely become the apotheosis of truthiness, kinda like Alan Greenspan talking about geopolitics under the influence of Atlas Shrugged and some of that bad windowpane that was going around at Woodstock.

By the way, I really am not asking anybody to taze the WSJ. Nor do I want anybody to shoot the WSJ in the face. We’ll leave those kinds of things to people in uniform and Vice Presidents of the United States, respectively.

Posted in infotainment, My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged | Comments closed

Inventing the Future

Don't call me, I'll call you…

I just got a phone call. It was Fox News calling to tell me “shocking news about Hillary Clinton.”

I wonder who they had to pay to get around the fact that I’m on state and federal “do not call” lists.

And these guys just bought the Wall Street Journal.

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", Inventing the Future | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

700 MHz Endgame Part I: Martin Tries To Redefine “Open Access” With A PR Offensive

Martin has opened the endgame on the 700 MHz auction rules with some strategic press leaks to frame the debate and the circulation of his draft Order. According to USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, Martin’s draft proposes including a network attachment/wireless Cartefone rule on two blocks (the “C” and “D” blocks). At the same time, Martin is redefining “open access” to mean network attachment/wireless Cartefone (the issue popularized by Tim Wu with the help of the iPhone) rather than the wholesale obligation pushed by Frontline and the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC).

What makes Martin’s proposal particularly problematic is that it does actually do some good on issues I (and other folks in spectrum and media reform) care deeply about. It does represent a step forward. But it represents such a baby step, and deferred so far into the future, that it becomes useless for the near term (as Google argued in this recent filing (worthy of a post of its own)) and may actually take the pressure off the FCC to do something real like grant the Skype Petition or do something real on Network Neutrality.

Still, it presents a real challenge for the Democratic Commissioners as they enter into negotiations. Do they hang tough and risk losing everything on a 3-2 partyline vote? Do they accept a compromise, recognizing the political risk?

Worse for the Ds (and supporters of open access generally), the pressure from Congress has gone fairly hard against wholesale open access in recent days. The Republicans in the Senate and the House have bombarded the FCC with letters against wholesale open access. While some Ds (notably Kerry) have supported real open access, the Dem leadership and most Ds have remained on the sidelines. Still, tomorrow’s House Commerce Committee Hearing on Wireless Innovation will offer Democratic leaders to weigh in — if they so desire.

This Is long, so I am going to break it up into a couple of posts. First, the difference between Martin Open Access and Real Open Access . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Sausage Factory: a partial index to date

Here’s a nearly complete list of Harold Feld’s “Tales of the Sausage Factory” articles here on Wetmachine. Real Soon Now I’m going to get organized and use the blog software to keep track of this stuff so I don’t have to manualy copy and paste to generate lists like this. . .

On the Nader copyright case

Justin/Janet part 2

Justin/Janet part 1

The ICANN Train Wreck

Unlicensed Spectrum Access

Why Disney/Comcast Merger Sucks Rocks

On RFID

CBS Caves Again for Bush

Yet more on Fileswapping

Fileswapping — whither to in ’04

ABA article:“More than a Toaster with Pictures”

On making the Wall Street Journal’s Shit List

Golden Globes, Former Presidents, Media Ownership”

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Posted in General, My Thoughts Exactly, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

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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