Joho the BlogFebruary 2008 - Page 3 of 9 - Joho the Blog

February 25, 2008

[fccboston08] FCC hearing: Commissioner Copps

Copps is one of the two Democratic commissioners. He begins by effusively thanking Markey. (If it’s not obvious, I am not non-partisan on this issue.) He’s glad that the FCC is getting outside the Beltway. Of course, the day will consist of panels of experts chosen by the FCC.

Copps says that the network operators are today making decisions about how Americans communicate. He says that until the FCC opened these hearings today, those decisions were being made in a black box. E.g., in 2007 we learned that one of the wireless providers rejected a text message as too controversial. US carriers hae required manufacturers to disable wifi access in some cell phones. Standard contracts contained provisions prohibiting customers from criticizing them. He says we don’t know that choices like these are unlawful, but they are determining how we communicate. We need a principle of non-discrimination. It would allow for reasonable network mgt but make it clear that the network operators cannot “shackle” the Internet. There ought to be a process for adjudicating claims of discrimination.

Copps makes it clear where he stands: We need to be suspicious of the carriers because they have a history of being devious and manipulative [my summary]. (Commissioner Adelstein, the other Dem, is nodding.) [Tags: ]

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[fccboston08] FCC hearing: Chairman Martin

Kevin Martin points to the Four Principles that his predecessor (POwell) propagated. He adds that these are subject to “reasonable network mgt,” which refers to footnotes he added that vitiated the principles. E.g., you can connect any device … so long as it doesn’t “harm” the Net.

He’s addressing the weasliness of thee “reasonable” exceptions he introduces. He says the FCC takes seriously allegations that the carriers have misapplied the exceptions. He says the FCC is willing to step in to correct behaviors.

Good. [Tags: ]


[fccboston08] FCC hearing: Ed Markey

NOTE: I am live-blogging. Not re-reading for errors. There are guaranteed to be errors of substance, stand point and detail. Caveat reader.

Rep. Ed Markey opens it. He’s been one of the staunchest and most reliable defenders of an open Internet. He recalls his long standing on the Internet’s behalf. He asks us to keep users in mind, preferring their needs to that of the carriers. What a concept!

He says that the carriers should not be thought of as providing Internet services. They provide access. [Right on.] He’s making a nose-in-the-tent argument: If we let the carriers use Net management as an excuse to manage content, they will take this as permission to manage content overall.

He would rather that we have genuine competition and/or sufficient bandwidth. If the lack of bandwidth is making problems, then the Commission “would do well” to examine policies to open up competition.

Oscar reference: We should look back from the future and see that this is no country for old bandwidth. (Better, says Markey, than saying “There will be blood.”)

The beauty of the Internet is its chaos, it’s ability to reinvent itself, he says. He takes a swipe at media concentration — protestors outside are picketing the meeting because of the FCC’s unseemly insistence on permitting massive consolidation.

BitTorrent should not be turned into BitTrickle, he says, to applause and whoops. [The crowd is trying to figure out if they should be holding their applause for the end.]

Attaboy, Ed! [Tags: ]


NFAIS panels

I spent yesterday at the NFAIS conference. After I spoke, Lee Rainie of the Pew Internet group gave an interesting, informative and funny talk, and then there was a kick-ass panel on Web 2.0 in the edusphere. Steve Sieck has done an excellent and pithy job blogging both Lee and the panel (Chris Willis of and Bryan Alexander


February 24, 2008

Neverending links

At the end of his very entertaining talk at the NFAIS meeting, Bryan Alexander put up the usual slide with his email address and blog site, and said lightly, “It is of course required by law that the very last thing in every presentation be a URL.”

Nice observation. And behind it is, I think, the sense that we no longer want to announce finality, as if what we just said wraps up the topic in a nice bow. Now it’s not done unless it points to what’s more.

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Hooked on Twitter

Howard Rheingold explains why he’s hooked on Twitter. Nice list.

To it I’d only add:

Entertaining: Some people are pretty consistently funny, insightful, two degrees left of comprehensible…

Revelatory: There’s this guy who in the real world is boring enough that people make up excuses to avoid sitting next to him at dinners. But on Twitter he is sharp-edged, pithy and delightful. It’s odd that people can reveal in 140 characters what is hidden at greater length.

Intimate: I’m keeping up with some people I otherwise wouldn’t even get the annual Christmas newsletter from. Hearing the details creates an intimacy that wasn’t there before.

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Clay Shirky to talk at Berkman

On Thursday at 6 pm, Clay Shirky is going to give a talk at the Berkman Center (well, actually in the Austin West classroom in Austin Hall a few buildings over, but Berkman is sponsoring it) about his new book, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.” Clay is one of our best thinkers and a great presenter (for example).

See you there! (Details of the event are here. And here’s a Categories: Uncategorized Tagged with:  •  Date: February 24th, 2008

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February 23, 2008

Me on Net neutrality in the Boston Globe, and the FCC comes to Berkman

The Boston Globe today is running an op-ed by me on Net neutrality. (It grew out of conversations with David Reed and Yochai Benkler, but they are obviously not responsible for what’s wrong about it.)

* * *

This Monday, the Berkman Center is hosting an FCC hearing on Comcast’s blocking of BitTorrent. It’s a series of panels that look to be composed of matter vs. anti-matter. Some fantastic people are on board. I hope the panel format works for this.

Immediately afterwards, there is likely to be a Berkman-led discussion among those in the audience, since there’s no room in the hearing schedule for public comment.

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Million dollar idea: Butter paint

I give you yet another Million Dollar Idea for free: Color butter substitute so that it can act as a palette, enabling diners to create masterpieces on their toast.

I can't believe it's butter paint

Van Gogh on Toast
Vincent Van Toast [Tags: ]


February 22, 2008

Thank you, Hillary

I can’t remember a primary like this one.

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