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FCC's Chairman Powell Starts Blog 118

The Importance of writes "And he wants to hear from the tech community. 'I am looking forward to an open, transparent and meritocracy-based communication -- attributes that bloggers are famous for!' Powell said on his blog. But does he really get blogging? He says he 'need[s] to hear from the tech community as we transition to digital television.' Perhaps we could discuss the broadcast flag? If you want to leave some comments on his blog, I suggest you do it before Howard Stern mentions it on his radio show."
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FCC's Chairman Powell Starts Blog

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  • by cynic10508 ( 785816 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:04AM (#9665371) Journal

    "Dad keeps calling me all the time. It's always 'Iraq' this and 'Iraq' that. He's so annoying sometimes. I swear. Ooo! On another note, I did get my belly button pierced this past weekend! It is soooo cute!"

    • "I know it's not 'cool' to want to be like your dad, but I really do! All my manipulation and grandstanding in front of congress about that stupid boobie thing is just practice until I can do it just like dad! *sigh* I want to mislead the UN and start a war, too..."

      "Dad is so cool, I sometimes dress up in his old army clothes, they're rad! Oops, if you're reading this, don't tell him that, he'd be mad, might even ground me :( "

      "I wish the State Dept. had a 'take your kid to work day', that would be so coo
    • Wow, just imagine if he allows anonymous replies from readers:

      "fr1st r3ply!"

      "1. Generate red tape 2. ??? 3. Profit!"

      "Netcraft confirms it, analog TV is dead."
  • Buisness blog (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obli ( 650741 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:04AM (#9665375)
    Meh, I thought blogs would be personal, it's a lot about his company there instead :/
  • by chrispyman ( 710460 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:05AM (#9665381)
    Who'd have thought the day would come when the government asks for a slashdotting!
  • by Reorax ( 629666 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:07AM (#9665383)
    "The GNAA are in full support of the broadcast flag."

    "1) Remove the broadcast flag. 2) ??? 3) Profit."

    "I wanted to post something on your blog about beowulf clusters, but couldn't think of anything."

    "The FCC sucks."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What, you do not welcome our new overlords with the broadcast flag?!

      Oh, and in Soviet Russia, the flag broadcasts YOU!
  • by 778790 ( 778790 )
    If Chairman Powell has any acumen, he'll eventually need to have his emailed moderated so he can read acutal insight. But I did hear that he was invited to a Lemon Party!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:11AM (#9665393)
    ..if you don't want a broadcast flag, DMCA, Patriot Act, etc etc etc.
    • by frankie ( 91710 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @08:23AM (#9665698) Journal
      From the Desktop of Michael Powell:
      Ever get the feeling you're running in circles? I do all the time. I opened this week's commission meeting, and once again Pinky had forgotten his notes. As usual, he asked "Hey boss, what are we doing today?" And as usual, I replied "The same thing we do every day, Pinky: try to screw over the consumers."
  • by Temporal ( 96070 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:12AM (#9665398) Journal
    If you want to leave some comments on his blog, I suggest you do it before Howard Stern mentions it on his radio show.

    It would also probably be a good idea to do it before this gets mentioned on Slashdot.

    Oh, wait...
  • He is opening a blog? That is like opening the gates of hell in reverse...
  • by node 3 ( 115640 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:32AM (#9665446)
    Eric's got a song on his site about the FCC: The FCC Song []
    • Here's a little number I wrote the other day while out duck hunting with a judge.

      Fuck you very much the FCC
      Fuck you very much for fining me
      Five thousand bucks a fuck
      So I'm really out of luck
      That's more than Heidi Fleiss was charging me

      So fuck you very much the FCC
      for proving that free speech just isn't free
      Clear Channel's a dear channel
      So Howard Stern must go
      Attorney General Ashcroft doesn't like strong words and so
      He's charging twice as much as all the drugs for Rush Limbaugh
      So fuck you all so very much
  • by caryw ( 131578 ) <carywiedemann&gmail,com> on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:41AM (#9665458) Homepage
    His "blog" is pretty interesting but right now talks more about digital TV than anything pertinent to the internet. Still a nice outreach, we'll see how often it gets updated...
    In related FCC news, they just passed an order lessening the restrictions on the unlicensed 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz frequency bands.
    The news release [] (pdf) says that this order removes roadblocks keeping deployment of next generation (longer range) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices.
    There is also a statement [] from Chairman Powell himself (more pdf)

    Fairfax Underground []: Where Fairfax County comes out to play
  • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:45AM (#9665469) Journal
    Rarely do chairmen or other heads of government agencies make themselves as accessible as Mr. Powell. Watching him with Leo Laporte on TechTV was always interesting and revealing - one probably shouldn't be surprised to see the chairman of the FCC actually understand what his agency is regulating (or not regulating), but it seems too many agencies are "the blind leading the blind".

    Unfortunately, expect Mr. Powell's blog to be spammed by every idealogue around. Already some pointless jabber about the FCC's "indecency" issues have popped up, some merely wrappers for political bashing. If only that was the worst that it will get..

    • If only that was the worst that it will get..

      Yeah, where's the GNAA when you need them? Wait, what?
    • Unfortunately, expect Mr. Powell's blog to be spammed by every idealogue around. Already some pointless jabber about the FCC's "indecency" issues have popped up, some merely wrappers for political bashing. If only that was the worst that it will get..

      Yeah, because anybody who can handle seeing a naked tit on TV and who dislikes the obvious restrictions on free speech made with stupid excuses like covering those hemispherical mammary glands up is obviously just a jabbering idiot who is really just after s

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah, 'cause it was soooo much harder to explain to my 8 year old about a women's breast (like mom's) than what erectile dysfunction is or the point of a horse fart is.

        Well, ok, the 8 year old got the horse fart.....
    • Unfortunately, expect Mr. Powell's blog to be spammed by every idealogue around.

      If Powell actually follows the posts, Internet idealogues won't be the only ones posting: expect paid lobbiests. Readers (and Powell) will want to carefully consider the backgrounds of any regular, articulate, well-versed commentors. Of course, if such people do post, the public will be well-served: maybe we can personally examine the lobbying process. That would be a wonderful.

      Now if only I could get paid for posting on slas

    • An example of an excellent blog from someone in power is that of Mark Cuban ( who owns the Dallas Mavericks. Very open and candid discussion of his business past, his dealings with the NBA and his team, etc. A great read, IMHO.

    • People bitch about the FCC's "indecency" rulings because they are CRAP.

      It's ok to have a human ripped to pieces under a bus and have her arm come off and shatter the windshield of a passing car (CSI this week) but a breast will get you fined.

      It seams to me one is worse than the other.
      • >> People bitch about the FCC's "indecency" rulings because they are CRAP.

        Perhaps so, but spamming every attempt at a discussion on other things won't achieve anything.

        • Please forgive me. I didn't know that talking about FCC actions wasn't allowed on a thread about the FCC.

          Please provide an email address so I can clear my /. posts thru you in the future.
          • Way to get confused and look like an idiot.

            The topic at hand was Powell's blog, not this thread.

            • No, the topic at had was what every the mods haven't down moded. /. isn't a place where the discussion is limited strictly to the posted article.

              HINT: If you don't like what I say, don't respond to it. You don't have to read it, just mark me as a foe and you will not have to see what I post anymore. It's that simple. You may not of know this, you being new and all.

  • Entries (Score:5, Funny)

    by gr8fulnded ( 254977 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:50AM (#9665475)
    Sample entry: Monday, 7/5/04: "Well, this morning my wife made *beep* for breakfast, except the *beep* burnt the *beep* toast!"
    Tuesday, 7/6/04: "Had a meeting with *beep* who's skirt was a little higher then it should've been, showing off her *beep* and making me want to *beep* *beep* her all night long!"
    Weds., 7/7/04: "Took the *beep* for a walk around the *beep*. Cashed a check at the store and purchased *beep*, *beep*, and *beep*. Thought the missus might like that!"
  • by Bill_Royle ( 639563 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @05:54AM (#9665482)
    Calling that page a blog seems a bit far-fetched to me - it seems more like a news site. On news sites that I know of, people that write opinion pieces are called "columnists" or "contributors" normally. It's called an op-ed, not a blog entry.

    Does anyone else question the way this is being termed? After all, if I contribute maybe 10 articles to a news site, does that make my work there constitute a blog?
    • I guess you can attribute that perceived confusion to two reasons.:

      • Ambigious Terminology

        Many terms lose their meaning over time, or take a new meaning altogether. This is most often seen in Corporate Marketing speak, and in Politics. Someone will use a catchy term to mean a new thing they are trying to push (for economic or political gain). Think about "user friendly" for instance, or "N-Tier" in the marketing of IT. In politics, linguistics is also used this way, as Chomsky and others pointed out.

    • The people who run always-on are obsessed with the idea of 'blogs' just about as much as they are with money. Really quite stupid, and it's disappointing that people with so little sense could have much money. These are the people who caused the dot com bomb. There was a guy on there a while ago advising people not to buy google, because he wanted to, and everything he ever invested in lost tons of money...

      Kind of entertaining, and it's not surprising they'd have Michael Powel on there.

      But yeah, these
  • by Hackie_Chan ( 678203 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @06:26AM (#9665527)
    I hope we abstain from posting messages such as "PLZZ DOOD WHY YOU INCREEZ SIZE FOR MEGACORPS?? YO HANDZ IN POXET OF COMPS YO NOOB!!!!" please. It's like the Mac-community's knowledge of Steve Jobs email, we all know his email adress but we must only use it when we are civil in fear of to not lose the chance of using it in the future.
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Sunday July 11, 2004 @06:41AM (#9665548) Homepage Journal
    ...Stop pandering to the centralised media producers. We are already doing them a big favor by granting them a monopoly over the airwaves, why should we grant them further control by denying us the freedom to exercise our fair use rights over digitally transmitted content, a freedom we have had since 1984?
    • What are some things that the FCC does to pander to centralized media producers? What exactly is a centralized media producer? That term brings to mind the BBC or the ABC.

      • The FCC tried to unilaterally ease ownership rules, meaning large media companies could get larger. This met with quite a bit of resistance, culminating in Trent Lot touting a petition, if you can believe that. Powell came up with some idiotic justification like "Well, if the ACLU and the NRA oppose it, how can it be partisan?". Of course, it wasn't partisan, just bad. Bush Supported Powell, but the republican controlled congress attached a zero-funding measure to a huge spending bill, which wo
  • by An dochasac ( 591582 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @06:59AM (#9665568)
    So my way of influencing a public servant whose salary is paid by my tax dollars is by signing onto a private website? No, thank you. I'll take my chances that I might influence someone here to write their congressperson, or vote him/her out! The FCC has lost sight of some core principles:
    1. The airwaves belong to the people.
    2. Content belongs to the creator. If my first steps were recorded in analog video, the government should not impose a law which would make such content impossible to view. When I create a DVD of my baby's first steps, I should have the right to control and sign that content. I should have the right to make it available to others and transcode that content to whatever the format of the day is in 2021.
    3. Government belongs to the people. All content created at taxpayer expense should be in an open format, not subject to proprietary licensing.
    4. Government should not play favorites. If Howard Stern profits from our airwaves with junior high mentaility, then everyone capable of expressing a junior high mentality should also have this right. If World Harvest Radio uses our airwaves to convince the world that Americans are all right-wing extremists and cultists, than other kooks should have that right.
    5. Consumers should have the right to not see Howard Stern or listen to World Harvest radio. They should have the right to not expose their children.
    6. Consumers should be able to select from the thousands of public programs available at the Library of Congress and produced by other governments (BBC, RTE, NHK...) without running into a region code "iron curtain".
    7. A broadcast flag is a stupid simpleminded idea. It won't work and it will violate many of the above principles.
    • A few great points there. Please allow me to play the Devil's Advocate, just for fun:

      The airwaves belong to the people.
      Yes, and don't you think that the best way to be sure that the people have reasonable access to the airwaves, without clutter and interference, is to provide some rules (regulations) for access? The roads belong to the people, but without traffic lights, things would be a mess.

      Government belongs to the people. All content created at taxpayer expense should be in an open format, n

      • Microsoft, regardless of what some /.ers think, doesn't throw me in jail if I don't invest with them.

        And MSFT has to have it's books audited and keep the according to GAAP.
      • Government belongs to the people. All content created at taxpayer expense should be in an open format, not subject to proprietary licensing.

        Consider this alternative view: Being a taxpayer is like being a shareholder in a company. Just because you invest in Microsoft, even though you're an owner, that doesn't (and shouldn't) give you the right to use all their software for free.

        The analogy is slightly flawed. As a shareholder of Microsoft stock, I benefit from the profits made by the company. With

      • Yes, and don't you think that the best way to be sure that the people have reasonable access to the airwaves, without clutter and interference, is to provide some rules (regulations) for access? The roads belong to the people, but without traffic lights, things would be a mess.

        Good point, but your road analogy is slightly flawed [].

    • by daBass ( 56811 )
      The airwaves could still belong to the people. AM/FM, ClearChannel, et al do not start stations, they buy them. Anyone who can prove that a channel is still free to use can and will quite easily get a license.

      The problem is that some of the old independents started to use research and play to the lowest common denominator. And people actualy liked it, so more followed and soon the people that knew how to play this game best bought more stations. And more people tuned in. And more independents decided to ca
    • The airwaves belong to the people.

      Right. However, the airwaves are also a public good -- it's not very feasible to isolate radio waves within a particular region on any kind of a large scale.

      Generally, the way we deal with public good problems (clean air, littering in a park, etc) is by establishing rules and regulations that enforce universal cooperation (and thus makes all members of the system win out), which is pretty much what the FCC is for.

      Content belongs to the creator. If my first steps were
    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @09:59AM (#9665946)
      Consumers should have the right to not see Howard Stern or listen to World Harvest radio. They should have the right to not expose their children.

      You already have those rights. Turn the fucking TV or radio off, or, change the channel.

      Please, don't encourage the government to "protect the children".
      • Yes, turn it off, was a quick and clever answer a few years ago. Now television has invaded our school. SPAM, telemarketeers, and popup advertising are subjecting all of us to content that no one asked for.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Television has invaded your school? Start going to schoolboard meetings and tell them what you think. Get other parents involved. Find out what they're watching, and why they're watching it and then talk to other parents about it and see if anyone else agrees with you. There are lots of people that get involved with the school system. You should be one of them if you really give a damn what happens in the schools.

    • Are you confusing World Harvest Radio with WWCR? WHRA/WHRI tend to broadcast music and more standard Christian programming. WWCR 1-4 tend to broadcast Brother Stair, Dr. Gene Scott, and Glenn Hauser.
  • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @07:01AM (#9665571) Journal
    While the idea of running a blog is interesting -- I'm facinated by the idea of alternate and potentially more efficient communication to policymakers -- I'm not sure that the blog format selected is appropriate. You're producing all comments dropped into a page, with no hierarchy, moderation or anything. It's like trying to suck down the contents of a firehose. The advantage of electronic forums is not only one-way communication with the forum owner, but also allowing other people interested in relevant issues to interact with each other and to share ideas and information.

    There are a couple of format changes that I'd suggest.

    First, threading is just plain going to be necessary for any forum of this size. It's not reasonable to expect people to track interleaved discussion -- and it's efficient to allow the public to correct errors in posts and to associate related information, instead of forcing readers to skim through many, many comments that comprise a series of interleaved discussions.

    Second of all, moderation, or some similar system could be helpful. Slashcode is a popular codebase to allow moderation, but the structure only partly deals with moderation abusers -- those that attempt to moderate up viewpoints that they agree with, rather than those that they believe to be correct. Slashcode has a good deal of popularity mostly on forums with communities that generally agree with each other on overall issues. I don't believe that there are any forum moderation systems that try to identify "clusters" of posters that moderate each other up (perhaps this is a research project waiting to happen, if no companies are already working on such a thing). Instead of all posts being assigned a global scalar value representing "goodness", there'd be N identified clusters, and "goodness" from the point of view *of each of those clusters*. Doing so would be interesting, as it might be easier to find the "best arguments" for a particular side, and could deal better with more lobbying-oriented environments like this.

    I'm not sure whether the "let's slap some viewpoints on a blog" idea is directly from Mike Powell or whether it originated with a staffer -- I find it exciting, and a good sign when it's coming from the FCC. Thanks again to whoever originated the idea, and to Mike Powell for trying it out.
    • Here are my issues with your suggestsions. Number on is the threading. Not all people easily thing in threads. The non technical user prefers the simplerformat and will just quotew text to indicate what they are replying to. Also with a threaded discussion you cannot easily reply to two points made by two different authors with a single post. SOmetimes you have to take two seemlingly non releated posts and join them together with your own opinion. This seems non logical when programming, but makes snse in t
  • am i the only one terrifeied by the phrase "chairman powell" ?
  • So I'll just post my comment to Mr. Powell's blog here:

    Dear Mr. Powell:

    Like many Americans, I take great exception to your recent punishment of broadcasters like Howard Stern. I don't care for his show at all, but I'm rather more apalled at the idea of a bureaucracy deciding what anyone may or may not say on the air, than any of Mr. Stern's infantile, scatalogical utterances.

    Your commission has vastly outlived its usefulness. Why don't you get a real job?

    John Randolph,
    Cupertino, California
    • ...than any of Mr. Stern's infantile, scatalogical utterances. Your commission has vastly outlived its usefulness. Why don't you get a real job?

      Yeah, that'll work. Actually, thank you for not registering to the FCC site and posting. Your's isn't the sort of response we need.

      • Yeah, that'll work.

        What do you mean by "work"? It's an expression of an opinion. You know, the sort of thing his bureacracy is trying to suppress.


        • What do you mean by "work"?

          You directed your comment theoretically at Powell. After a quick analysis I concluded it would not work, meaning it would score no points for your side, and utterly failed to present your opinion as that of a reasoning being.

          It's an expression of an opinion.

          Freely expressed, and worth every penny, BTW. I love how people who get huffy about expressing their opinion can't handle it when someone expresses an opposing opinion.

          I dinged you for calling Stern infantile, and then

  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @08:59AM (#9665775) Homepage
    I'd think someone as high-profile as the chairman of the FCC could, oh, maybe beg? maybe pay? to get the golf advertisment removed from the middle of his blog post. Oh, wait, this is the FCC here, no? Never mind. ;)
  • by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) * on Sunday July 11, 2004 @09:21AM (#9665822)
    Mood=Censory. I got a new CD this weeked, all of the bad words hurt my ears! And no, not even I know what the broadcast flag is for! :P
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Michael Powell has never met a monopoly he didn't like and never misses an opportunity to REGALate the incumbents.
  • Hah. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShadowRage ( 678728 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @09:36AM (#9665883) Homepage Journal
    this is just a move by the fcc to "relate to the public"
    specifically the internet community, the ones who protest against the broadcast flag the most, think he's gonna listen to you? no.
    Think he thinks you'll listen to him? yes.

    Pretty much doing this to "make us understand and accept" the broadcast flag more than likely.

    The first blog post is pretty much about the FCC itself, so he's prolly trying to get people to see the fcc as a buncha good guys who are trying to protect people from themselves and any questionable material that may make them question their corporate overlords and the government, and to ensure that we pay our dues to them as well.

    I might sound paranoid, but just looking at the first post, it's gona be nothing but a propaganda blog to try to make those who read it go with what the fcc wants to do.
    • This is ridiculous. Let's face it. The FCC is as close as it gets to the US's version of mind control. "Control what you see, control what you say. Control what you say, control what you think. Control what you think, control what you feel."
  • So here are some handy quotes for him to use.

    "It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion."

    -Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

    "The rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious."

    -Joseph Goebbels - Nazi Minister of Propaganda

    "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly . . . it must confin
  • Apparently, he understands the value of unlicensed spectrum:
    When broadcasting rules were created in the 1920s, white spaces were required to prevent interference with adjacent stations in a local market and with stations on the same channel in other markets. In today's digital world, it may be possible to deploy low-powered, smart digital wireless devices that would use these blank spaces without interference. This could mean reclaiming almost 1/3 the broadcast TV spectrum in crowded markets like Los Angeles to 2/3 of the spectrum in less crowded markets without interfering with full-powered TV broadcasts. Broadcasters, however, claim these unused channels as "their" spectrum. Yet a public policy that favors innovation and experimentation would seek to open these unused channels to develop new wireless services...just look at how much value has been created in the sliver of spectrum that has become Wi-Fi! If the high-tech community believes that new digital technologies will enable this kind of new thinking about and use of spectrum, then I need to know that.

    Adding more unlicensed spectrum would potentially allow for more than three non-overlapping channels (1,6,11) in 802.11b/g. Having a few more ISM bands could be VERY useful.

  • For someone who will be moving on shortly after the next election. Should have tried this four years ago (although the suggestions would've still fallen on deaf ears).
  • Chairman Powell (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Chairman Powell has done more to undermine democracy in the United States than any other Bush-appointee this term. Michael proves that "for sale to the highest bidder" is the motto of American government. He is the epitomy of corruption.
  • by hkon ( 46756 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @10:50AM (#9666176) Homepage
    meritocracy-based communication -- attributes that bloggers are famous for!'

    I accidentally read "mediocrity-based communication". Sounds about right for most blogs (with a few notable exceptions).
  • ..but where in the hell is the blog?
  • Interview Him (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teraph ( 147902 )
    If Chairman Powell is open to blogging, maybe he's open to the old Slashdot 10-Question interview? We've already had an FCC chief technologist, why not they guy who runs it all? He says he wants to hear from the tech community...
  • Powell is blogging on Karl Rove's orders. They think Dean got popular for blogging, so they're getting people to blog. Bush himself reportedly used to like email (where people don't expect grammar or spelling), until he was told that copies of the messages are recorded, but that won't be in the news, for fear of turning off the illiterate masses he prefers as his base. Powell's blog, like so many election year BushCo public actions, is a thin veil of mainstream to cover their radically alien culture, unreco
  • The Powells, Michael and Colin are a couple of porch monkeys for white corporate conservatives. Colin Powell has sacrificed whatever integrity he might have once possessed pushing Bush's war in Iraq, and if you really want to see how far Colin has fallen you can check out this link: 3 41727_song20_willcox_vi.ram

    For those of you who don't have or want to install Real Media on your systems this is a BBC news clip that shows Colin Powell dressed up as the co

  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Sunday July 11, 2004 @04:57PM (#9668950) Homepage
    But yet again, I would have to sign up for *another* site, give them my email address, etc for more spam to come through. Where is our network of ends going to? Why can't I easily respond? So - I am posting what I wanted to post there here. Mods, please realize this was meant for his blog, and not for this site - but after I wrote such a long response, I didn't want to just chuck it. Mod me how you will...


    Mr. Powell, welcome to blogging, and as one respondent noted, "Welcome to Hell".

    I wanted to post my comments regarding FCC regulation, digital TV (and associated DRM measures), and indecency - if for nothing else than to establish my position with you and with the community on where I stand on these issues. If you note, they fall very much in line with what others have written here.

    I am a "tech savvy" (actually, that is an understatement) citizen of this country. I am also a voter.

    Regarding regulation, I understand that for the public airwaves, there must be some form of regulation, otherwise, in the end, the airwaves would be filled with nothing but static, as station after station stomped the commons with overlapping broadcasts. Whether it is TV or radio, the result would be the same; an unlistenable (or unwatchable) morass of grey static.

    However, the current situation and regulations make it impossible for a truely free market to exist. Current licensing fees and regulations make it impossible to easily and cheaply set up low power FM radio stations (even in markets where such stations could be set up without interference). This has left commercial radio (like ClearChannel) the only choice in most markets, which isn't a choice at all. National Public Radio (NPR) also struggles with these regulations.

    The situation with television is even worse. While startup costs have always been a limiting factor for small (independent) television stations, those costs
    have dropped rapidly in recent years, allowing the possibility for someone to broadcast a TV station from their home. However, licensing costs, fees,
    paperwork, and other FCC regulation issues have made it impossible for such services to become available.

    In a way, cable TV was an attempt to get around this issue, and in some ways, it has succeeded. By confining the "airwaves" to a coax broadcast medium, and utilizing a different spectrum for broadcasting, many more channels could be delivered to the consumer's door. This availability of channels has spawned the concept of "niche" channels - it seems now if there is an interest, there is a channel (or two, or more) for it. The content for these channels is created by privately owned companies (and the networks) who sell through distribution channels to the cable broadcasters. It isn't a perfect solution, but it is what we have.

    The internet is rapidly changing all of this. The internet was originally developed as a "network of ends", where everything connected to this network was "smart", but the network itself remained "stupid" - its only job to shuffle around the packets of information via openly developed and published protocols. Such a network is inherently robust by its nature and structure.

    A network of "smart" endpoints means that anyone can become (in concept) a broadcaster. I, or anyone else, can for instance, build a server (serving web pages or anything else), and put it on the internet, and others can find it and read (and/or download) information off of it. It is a different way of distributing information: Instead of the "push" model of traditional broadcasting, the internet is based on the "pull" model, where those that want information must seek it out and request it from the servers. This model has proved itself to be very popular. Content "pushing" has been tried for the internet, but the popularity of such implementations bombed very quickly. The population of the internet has spoken, "pulled" content is what we want.

    Consumers have long requested this model for television: Pay-Per-View programming is

    • But yet again, I would have to sign up for *another* site, give them my email address, etc for more spam to come through.

      Use sneakemail [] and if they give your email address to spammers, you can turn it off, and you know who sold you out.

      I was going to post a comment on low power FM, but searched to see if it would be redundant.

      I think it is an idea who's time has come, and as an anarchist I won't be happy until everyone and their grandmother's dog has their own low power FM station.

      I'd also like to
  • Similarly to how I view Microsoft's channel 9. It is interesting. I check it now and then, but it is largely propoganda.

    Word to yo mutha: this isn't trolling. Trolling is when I tell you to suck a lemon and make disparaging comments about how your mother is a) fat b) ugly c) a democrat.
  • Always-On is the continuation of one of the boom VC cheerleader rags... whose market was by and large, the people who created the hype and the people who bought most into the hype.

    Basically, it's a place for people who still think that venture capital is relevant to creating new and important technology and investing in the 12th or 15th startup in a given niche capable of supporting a company or two still matters.

    It's reasonable to hang out there if you are working for a VC... or someone trying to

  • I'm as against the broadcast flag as the next slashdotter, but isn't it mandated by legislation? Are you really suggesting that a bureaucrat should have the ability to override the law by fiat?

    Or am I confused on this one?


Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall