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OpenMarket: Tech and Telecom

  • The Simpleton's Guide to Net Neutrality

    March 8, 2007
    Wayne has just alerted me that Scott Cleland of The Precursor Blog has linked to our recent short video on net neutrality. In this installment, our resident know-it-all Prof. Scammington brings you the basics on NN and its implications. Thanks to Scott for calling it "wonderfully succinct." [youtube]SFurcOLYAjk[/youtube]
  • Thou Shalt Play All of Grand Theft Auto

    February 15, 2007
    Yesterday, CNET Reported the following:
    Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) on Tuesday reintroduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, first proposed last September. It calls for requiring video game rating organizations to play all games "in their entirety" before issuing labels and prohibiting game developers from withholding any "hidden" game content from raters. It would also punish ratings groups that "grossly mischaracterize" any game's content.
    CNET's Anne Broache goes on to explain that one of the primary motivations for this revision of the ratings system is that ...
  • Amazingly efficient merger approvals, cont.

    December 8, 2006
    Congress leaves town today, with just two appropriations bills completed (that can be a good thing!). Agencies aren't going anywhere, but there must be something in the water here preventing the tying up of loose ends. We've spilled lots of ink on the importance of liberalizing telecommunications; the latest iteration is the attempt to finalize the AT&T and BellSouth marriage so that procreation can begin, and there will be many more telecommuncations upheavals in the future communications landscape, and that's a good thing. But several times now, the FCC has postponed a vote on the AT&T/BellSouth merger, given disagreements over net neutrality (see one of our many cautions on this concept) and the recusal by Republican Robert McDowell. The remaining two Democrats and two Republicans leave the situation deadlocked,...
  • Look out Mars, the Humans Are Coming

    December 6, 2006
    Today NASA released a series of satellite photograps of Mars, which strongly reinforce the theory that there is (or very recently was) liquid water on the planet's surface. This is exciting.
    Water on Mars?
    So, thanks to NASA for taking the photos, but let's look forward now to private investors taking the next step of actually settling Mars. A recent article from The Space Review examines how this could happen:
    If the private sector is to capitalize on Mars from the earliest stages it must start sooner rather than later. There are many nations and...
  • Creative Destruction, The Musical

    December 5, 2006
    Alex Singleton's LibertarianHome blog (go bookmark it) today highlights a new Economic Research Council report on the British pop music business called Creative Destruction In the Music Industry: The Way Ahead. The report's author is Andrew Ian Dodge. This study is yet more confirmation that the radically changing universe of digital content requires new business models and drastic liberalization of spectrum and airwaves--policies worthy of tomorrow's torrent of broadcasted, narrowcasted and self-casted content. Protection won't even save the recording industry in its current form since the industry is a middleman operation that must adapt given the increasing cheapness of both recording...
  • Fly Me (Privately) to the Moon

    December 5, 2006
    Like an old boyfriend you stopped calling months ago, NASA has decided it wants to re-capture America's heart with a bold new proposal. The aeronautical engineers we love so well are officially taking America back to the moon, this time to a permanent lunar base, likely to be located on our natural satellite's south pole. If you are a U.S. taxpayer, this will, of course, require some of your money. How much? Well, NASA's managers have clearly learned their lesson from past cost estimates - those multi-billion dollar figures that gave an unintended double meaning to the term "astronomical." According to Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein, "NASA has refused to estimate a price tag for the project." I knew those rocket scientists were smart people.
    ...
  • A Graphic Display of Government Power

    December 1, 2006
    Word from /. has it that the Justice Department's Antitrust division just found a couple more potential tech victims: graphics chipmakers Nvidia and AMD received subpoenas this week.
  • Antitrust at the Speed of Government

    November 27, 2006
    Microsoft met a November deadline imposed by EU officials for sharing "interface' and "compatibility' information about its operating system to workgroup server market competitors who want to build for it. Since markets are incapable of something known as a "contract" or a "deal" or consumer rejection of overly exclusive behavior, regulators insist they have a role in helping competitors hitch their wagon by forcing Microsoft to provide a government-approved technical manual. The original ruling came in 2004, addressing as well as server software issues. Record fines have been handed down on both counts, as well as a directive that Microsoft sell a version of Windows without Media Player software. Now the company seems to have complied with the latest commandment, but we'll just have to wait and see, won't we? The European Commission said (excerpted from the Wall Street Journal...
  • Painted Portraits: The YouTube of the Fifteenth Century

    November 22, 2006
    German media tycoon and art historian Hubert Burda has a fascinating essay titled "How People See Themselves," about the history of portraiture and what it has meant to be able to visually represent oneself to the rest of the world:
    Nowadays anyone who wants to draw attention to themselves can. The Internet enables us to become multi-media media producers. Since it started up a year ago, over 50 million people have already uploaded personal short videos onto the video platform YouTube.com. The portrait which enabled the new middle-classes of the 15th century, following their rise in status, to fulfill their desire for representation...
  • Keeping an Eye on the CBS Legal Department

    November 21, 2006
    CBS is appealing new FCC indecency regulations (and fines) in court, arguing that the new rules run afoul of the First Amendment. Which, of course, they do. Hopefully the executives at CBS and other broadcast stations will remember this when reporting on other FCC intrusions into what we are allowed to see, hear, download, upload, talk about or even buy online. And just in case you were wondering what depraved indecencies have been getting the FCC's knickers in such a twist over the past few years, check out a pile of them here.

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