My friend Tim Wu is a legal/regulatory scholar who writes amazing, lucid papers that frame debates about hard regulatory questions in ways that totally blow my mind (and clarify my thinking). His Copyright's Communications Policy changed the way I think about copyright forever.
Now Tim's breaking fresh ground with a paper on broadband regulation that once again has opened my eyes to a whole new way of understanding the debate:
In the communications world some technologies attract what you
might call a high chatter to deployment ratio. That means the volume of
talk about the technology exceeds, by an absurd ratio, the actual number
of deployments. ''Videophones'' are a great historical example, as is
''Video-on-Demand'' and, of course, the glacial sixth version of the
Internet protocol (IPv6). In the 1990s, the technology named Voice over
IP (VoIP) was a starring member of this suspect class. The technology
promises carriage of voice signals using Internet technology, an attractive
idea, and in the 1990s and the early 2000s it was discussed endlessly
despite minimal deployment.
The discussion usually centered on the question: when would
broadband carriers deploy VoIP? And the answer was always, ''not quite
yet.'' There were reasons. Many within the industry argued that VoIP
was not a viable technology without substantial network improvements.
Engineers said that the Internet Protocol was too inconsistent to
guarantee voice service of a quality that any customer would buy.
Industry regulatory strategists, meanwhile, were concerned that offering
voice service would attract federal regulation like honey attracts bees. As
for the Bell companies, the main Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
providers, there was always the problem of providing a service that might
cannibalize the industry's most profitable service.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]
How do Google and YouTube really work? It turns out, Python kind of runs things around those parts. And with this bootcamp, you’ll get whipped into shape and ready to start programming yourself. Whether you’re a Python pro and just want to sharpen your skills, or a total tech newbie with little or no coding […]