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Last Build Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 12:17:18 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2004

Policies vs. Politics

Thu, 04 Nov 2004 12:17:18 -0500

Virginia Postrel hits on something interesting in a New York Times article based on a paper by a group of Harvard economists. The paper is about religion in politics, but she draws two broader conclusions:

Yet abortion rates show no significant change with the party in office, while tax rates rise significantly under Democrats - the opposite of what the political rhetoric promises. This result suggests that politicians move away from the social center mostly to get votes ("strategic extremism") and diverge from the economic center because they actually prefer those policies ("nonstrategic extremism").

Since the success of extreme messages depends on keeping your supporters better informed than your opponents, the model suggests that changing news media could be as important as changing social groupings.

Sounds right to me. The second point is intriguing because it suggests that getting the "liberal media" out of its elite, coastal shell might actually hurt the cultural conservatives who complain about it.

The Next Billion Users

Thu, 04 Nov 2004 11:28:09 -0500

Two billion mobile phone users worldwide by 2006, with numbers continuing to grow, according to Nokia.

Not surprising, but still mind-boggling when you stop to consider it. Two billion human beings walking around every waking moment with a networked communications device.

Moral Values

Thu, 04 Nov 2004 09:09:21 -0500

OK, Bush won. I don't like it, but it's a fact. He won with all the legitimacy his election lacked in 2000. But the way he won re-election scares me, even more than last time.

I can tolerate four more years of smirky George W. Bush in the White House. I can tolerate a foreign policy I consider dangerous, but which is rooted in a geopolitical vision that I can respect. And I can tolerate economic policies I consider ill-conceived and selfish, but which will benefit people like me in the short run.

What I can't tolerate, as a religious person, is the notion that God took sides in this election.

The New, New Werblog

Wed, 03 Nov 2004 09:29:48 -0500

Well, I finally got around to reinstalling Movable Type. The blog seems to be working again. Next step is to import all the old posts. Shouldn't take too long. Bear with me.

Like, umm an information superhighway?

Tue, 30 Mar 2004 12:05:13 -0500

"That's what broadband technology is. It means we'll open the highways of knowledge -- new highways of knowledge."
-- President George W. Bush, March 26, 2004

You'd think he would at least give Al Gore credit for the metaphor.

Bush's call in the speech for universal broadband by 2007 has gotten press attention, but not the second half of his sentence:

"We ought to have a universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007, and then we ought to make sure as soon as possible thereafter, consumers have got plenty of choices when it comes to purchasing the broadband carrier."

The good news is that Bush acknowledges that only with competition will broadband be affordable and a platform for innovation.  The bad news is that he's for monopoly broadband by a date-certain three years from now, and competitive broadband "as soon as possible."  Why do I suspect his administration will do more to achieve the first goal than the second one?


Get well soon, Stuart

Tue, 30 Mar 2004 09:36:56 -0500

Stuart Buck, author of a great paper
on spectrum commons, is in the hospital after suffering a stroke last
weekend.  Stuart is 29 and was in apparently great health, so this
is quite a shock.  The note on his blog from his wife is
encouraging.  I wish Stuart a quick and full recovery.


I'm still here

Tue, 30 Mar 2004 08:18:03 -0500

Just going through another one of those busy periods. 

I'll have some interesting news about my future to report soon.


Chicago Tribune on open spectrum

Wed, 24 Mar 2004 08:19:09 -0500

The Chicago Tribune has an article about
the FCC's various proposals to open up more wireless capacity, with
several quotes from me.  The different aspects of open spectrum
get a bit muddled, such as the distinction between current initiatives
like the FCC's broadcast underlay proceeding and long-term proposals
like my supercommons idea.  Still, it's good to see the big idea of open spectrum getting play in a mainstream newspaper.


Treo all better!

Mon, 22 Mar 2004 10:22:32 -0500

As suddenly as it appeared, my Treo problems have suddenly
stopped.  I brought it into my office this morning, and when I
took it out to call the replacement service, it was working fine. 
I'll keep my fingers crossed that whatever happened has corrected itself


Treo woes

Mon, 22 Mar 2004 06:46:00 -0500

My beloved Treo 600 is suddenly on the fritz.  It makes and
receives calls, but whenever I turn it off and on, it locks in the
keyguard mode.  Shutting off keyguard didn't help, nor did soft
and hard resets.  This is something serious.  Time to call
the equipment replacement program, which fortunately I signed up for.


CNet Acquires EDventure

Fri, 19 Mar 2004 12:24:57 -0500

My old boss, Esther Dyson, just announced
that she is selling her company to CNet.  Reportedly, she and her
business partner Daphne Kis will stay involved.  Even for someone
as prominent as Esther, it's tough to make it as an independent
publisher.  I hope the merger works out well for everyone. 
If nothing else, it will be a good topic for conversation at PC Forum,
which starts on Sunday.


Gathering of the Treos

Thu, 18 Mar 2004 07:08:52 -0500


The Treo 600 was definitely the "in" device at this year's SXSW conference in Austin.  I've had mine for five months, and I still love it. 


Internet Commons Congress

Wed, 17 Mar 2004 10:41:28 -0500

I'm speaking next week at the Internet Commons Congress
at the University of Maryland.  The name is a bit over the top,
and I was hoping the organizers would be able to get more of the
thinkers defining the "commons" vision (like Yochai Benkler, Larry
Lessig, and Elinor Ostrom).  Still it's an excellent group of
actvitists involved in the various battles to preserve an open and
vibrant digital commons. 

The topics couldn't be more important.  And registration is free.


SXSW Wrap-up

Mon, 15 Mar 2004 10:36:19 -0500

I had a wonderful time at South By Southwest Interactive
There was an unusually high concentration of people I know virtually or
have spoken with by phone, but had never actually met before in
person.  It was an incredibly fertile environment.  And kudos
to Hugh Forrest, Jon Lebkowsky, and the other organizers for giving
significant attention to open spectrum and other topics that aren't yet
widely appreciated. 

Despite all this, I was disappointed by two things at the
conference.  The first was the odd hostility of the venue to the
freewheeling, interpersonal networking that should be the hallmark of a
conference like this.  There was the bizarre prohibition on
using power outlets (later rescinded), and a large number of volunteers
in every hallway whose job was to prevent you from walking into another
part of the conference.  That's right, the "interactive" people
weren't allowed to talk with the "film" people.  It often wasn't
obvious which rooms were in which territory, and at one point I
couldn't get to the speaker green room because it was on the wrong side
of the line.

SXSW has complicated multi-tiered registration rates, and evidently the
goal was to prevent people from getting more than they paid for. 
Still, there's a little thing happening called "convergence." 
It's odd for a tech-savvy festival about film, music, and interactive
communication to be erecting barriers between people. 

My other disappointment was that most of the sessions just weren't that
exciting.  The panel discussions didn't always do justice to the
people involved, and many of the topics felt a bit stale or cliched
(aka, How to Make Money with Blogs).  Maybe I'm just jaded, or too
far ahead of the mainstream.  There were some great sessions,
including the keynote by two of the organizers of MoveOn, and I had two
leave half-way through the four-day event.  I just expected more,
given the reputation of the event and the people who were there. 

Anyway, I hope to be back next year.  And I left with a bunch of ideas for cool things to do at Supernova.


650 million cameraphones a year

Mon, 15 Mar 2004 09:35:18 -0500

Alan Reiter points to
a research report suggesting that 150 million camera-enabled mobile
phones will be sold this year, growing to 650 million by 2008.  At
that point, there will be something like a billion people sending
photos and video back and forth among mobile devices.  And people
are wondering what all that Internet capacity will be used for?