July 12, 2002

Yeah Baby! Warchalking in the NY Times!

In the "pinch me, I must be dreaming" department, Glenn Fleishman has written about Warchalking for the NY Times. (Right on Matt!)

Who Killed Net Radio?

Newsweek's Steven Levy explains how the CARP rates will probably mean the end of independent webcasting:
Labels to Net Radio: Die Now
You’d think the record companies would love Internet tunes—instead they’re trying to kill them.

The record industry, with the help of Congress and the Copyright Office, may indeed make a shakeout inevitable. But I doubt that Jim Atkinson and his fellow independent Webcasters find the prospect of their extinction terribly desirable. Nor do the 77 million Americans who have at one time tuned in to Web radio and perhaps found something not featured on the lobotomized playlists of broadcast radio. If enough of those outraged listeners stream their objections to legislators, maybe Internet radio can be saved.

July 11, 2002

New Song: James and Marybeth

I've written and recorded a new song asking the Librarian of Congress (James H. Billington) and the Register of Copyrights (Marybeth Peters) to reconsider the recent CARP rulings regarding the rates and terms for webcasters (and to also please protect our rights against the detrimental effects of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, since it does not contain adequate fair use provisions).

What does this all mean to the average person? Well, the average person will be greatly affected in the long run in terms of what kind of programming options will be made available in the future.

Less overhead in compulsory licensing fees means that more webcasters can afford to operate, and that means more channels and more selection from a larger, more diverse content base. It seems like this is a very important time in our history to have as many different voices being heard as possible.

All that I'm asking is for James and Marybeth to either reopen the CARP process afresh, or postpone it all together for another few years in order to enable webcasting services to flourish (much in the same way that cable television was allowed to develop in the 1980s).

So so sad when I listen to my radio
So sick and tired of what I'm watching on tv
There's so much more that I could see and learn and know about my future
James and Marybeth, can you help bring this to me?

I just want a chance to try it twice
I just want a chance to roll the dice
I just want a chance to get it right
I just want the right to stay and fight

I just want the right to search and find
I just want the right to my piece of mind
I just want the chance to know what's mine
I just want the chance to know

oh how I hope you're listening
because the clock is ticking

James and Marybeth, can you find a place for me?
James and Marybeth, can you help me to be free?

Can Cheney Count On Americans To Forget?

A CNN Internet Survey shows that American's are sick of Cheney's double talking bullshit and are generally ready to see the guy fry for his criminal activities -- just like you or I would be punished.

The results from the survey come as no surprise, of course, but let's see if these same Americans can remember not to vote for the guy in 2003. Sheesh! We knew all this stuff about him during the presidential campaign three years ago, and lord knows nobody seemed to care then.

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that the lawsuit it brought on behalf of Halliburton shareholders against Vice President Dick Cheney, the other involved directors of Halliburton, as well as Halliburton and the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, for alleged fraudulent accounting practices, enjoys overwhelming public support.

Cheney Exposed - One Word Says It All: Halliburton

Well I hope Dick Cheney enjoyed being president for a few hours last week during Bush's colonoscopy, because it might be the last he sees of either presidential office after all of the facts surrounding his stint as Chairman and Chief Executive of Halliburton come to light.

Now Cheney's being accused of defrauding shareholders -- something even rich people don't take too kindly to.

The public is also being reminded of Cheney's strong ties to Arthur Andersen, courtesy of a recent emergence of a promotional video where he personally vouches for Andersen Consulting.

Here are some BBC stories with more details:

Anti-corruption group sues Cheney

Cheney accused of corporate fraud

Accounts probe at Cheney firm

David Reed's Comments to the FCC On Open Spectrum

David Reed has posted his usual brilliant and thoughtful analysis of Open Spectrum in a single comprehensive and wonderfully-footnoted document for the FCC. Thanks!

Comments for FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force on Spectrum Policy.

Now let's hope somebody over there is paying attention. (Michael? Are you listening?)

I argue in this note that the foundation of a sound economic and regulatory approach to managing radio communications in the US and worldwide cannot and should not ignore fundamental advances in the understanding of communications technology that have been developed in the last few decades. Those advances are just beginning to reach the point where they can be fruitfully applied in the marketplace, at a time when the need for a huge increase in communications traffic is beginning to surge.

It will be crucial for the continued growth and leadership of the US economy, and for its security as well, to embrace these new technologies, and follow them where they lead, in spite of the potential negative impact that these technologies may have on traditional telecommunications business models. There is a “new frontier” being opened up by the interaction of digital communications technology, internetworking architectures, and distributed, inexpensive general purpose computing devices. This new frontier cannot be addressed by a model that awards the telecommunications operators exclusive rights (such as “spectrum property rights”) that can be used to “capture” the value yet to be produced by innovators in underlying technologies[1] or applications.

My argument is based on a simple but crucially important technical fact: the useful economic value in a communications system architecture does not inhere in some abstract “ether” that can be allocated by dividing it into disjoint frequency bands and coverage areas.[2] Instead it is created largely by the system design choices – the choice of data switching architecture, information coding scheme, modulation scheme, antenna placement, etc.

The most important observation about the impact of systems architecture on economic value is this: there exist networked architectures whose utility increases with the density of independent terminals (terminals are end-points, such as cellular telephones, TV sets, wireless mobile PDAs, consumer electronic devices in the home, etc.) Network architectures provide tremendous gain in communications efficiency on a systems basis – I call this cooperation gain, because it arises out of cooperative strategies among the various terminals and other elements in a networked system. (It should be emphasized that cooperation gain is not available to non-networked systems at all). Cooperation gain is discussed below...

[1] New technologies such as spread spectrum, smart antennas, ultrawideband radio, and software-defined radios create more capacity that cannot be known accurately until there has been broad practical experience and an industrial learning curve that reduces their costs. The FCC has consistently tried to base regulation on accurate forward looking prediction of the economic value of new technologies and new services, but those predictions have been consistently wrong. That isn’t surprising given that the value is established decades later.

[2] The confusion that led pre-20th century physicists to postulate a “luminiferous ether” which carried radio and light waves has persisted in the economic approaches that attempt to manage communications capacity as if it were an “ether”. Just as Einstein pointed out, counterintuitively to most, that there need be no “ether” in formulating Relativity Theory, recent results in multiuser information theory show that counter to the intuition of spectrum economists, there is no “information capacity” in spectrum independent of the system using it.

Homer Explains the Benefits of Multi-regional DVDs

<tangent>Wow. There's a whole generation that is going to be more familar with Homer Simpson than Homer the Bard.</tangent>

See the story by Andrew Orlowski for the London Register:
Fox recommends hacked DVD players for The Simpsons.

Here's the Simpsons UK FAQ excerpt in question:

Q: What does Regional Coding mean? Do I need a Multi-regional player? Homer: "I have no idea whatsoever what regional coding means. But it is essential that you buy a multi-regional player. Do it now. Don't worry, we'll still be waiting here when you get back."

Tracking Eye Movements For Human/Computer Interaction

Eye tracking devices will soon be helping us to operate and interact with computers and each other.

See the BBC story by Alfred Hermida:
Replace your mouse with your eye.

July 10, 2002

Community Pho List Gets Intrusive? -- False Alarm.

Jim Griffin, his royal phoness, has assured me that email subscribers are not required to subscribe to the new Pho features to continue receiving the list.

Email from Jim:

Dear Lisa and others:

I did not write the paragraph in question, but I can tell you that the pholist website is an additional offering, not mandatory for phosters.

There will continue to be a pho list, just as there is now, and if you do nothing you will continue to be subscribed to it. I highly recommend the pholist web site -- JP's building it to supplement and enrich the Pho experience, and like any summer shakedown cruise it's likely to have its moments, like these, but stick with it and give it a chance.

The pho list will continue as is and there is no requirement with which I am familiar that requires any current pho list participant to register with the web site. Over time it may well prove a good interface to which we can migrate, but I can't imagine ridding the list of people who choose otherwise. My servers at onehouse.com will continue to operate this list as always, and John's web site as I understand it seeks to offer a more enriching community experience, which I support wholeheartedly.

Jim

I'm totally bummed. My favorite mailing list now has a terms of agreement and wants me to login and accept a bunch of cookies just to continue participating on the email list. Why does everything simple and useful have to get complicated and intrusive once it gets popular. It just doesn't seem fair. (John Parres, pho list admin, clarified a few points later: "Some of you are going to have fun with the legal page. I bet I can predict who you will be. Nothing is set in stone. The language has yet to be 'pholosophised.' I am not a lawyer. If some of the eagles want to help tighten/clarify things I will be most appreciative for the assistance. Please know that Jim and I have the utmost respect for your privacy and are making best efforts to ensure that this always remains true.")

To learn more about the new Pholist features, check out a text file of E-mail sent out to phosters this morning.

Excerpt from above email that started all of this (that Griffin refers to above.):

No one is required to list any information on the site, however, everyone is required to activate their account as a condition of remaining on the Pho list. Yes, the site utilizes cookies so this function must be enabled in your browser for the site to work for you. Please don't complain, that's just the way it is.

July 08, 2002

My Blog Is One Year Old!

Happy Birthday to the Radar!

(You may now go back to your normally scheduled activities.)

Partisan Gridlock All Over Again

Looks like it's the same old story on Capitol Hill this year: nobody wants the other side to get credit for doing anything before this fall's elections. The answer: do nothing at all.

Sure this might stop a lot of the stupid legislation we've been watching getting thrown around this year from being passed anytime soon, but it's going to stop anything useful from being done either. Bummer.

Read Declan McCullagh's piece for CNET (he left Wired News!) that explains the situation and also provides a nice breakdown of the various dopey tech bills and the one piece of legislation that is most likely to pass -- Homeland Security:
Much ado about nothing.