• comment on a post The People We Love and the People We Hate over 7 years ago

    Matt, this blew my mind. I don't get here often these days, and these days, I'm not even able to keep up with the amazing posts and commenters over at FDL. If I make it through EW every other day or so, I feel lucky.

    Just yesterday, I posted at EWs about how people that I've known for years, who were self-described 'moderate Republicans' going back to the 1960s, are so grimly terse about GWBush and the current national situation that it appears to me the Republican party is splitting.   It appears that affluent, educated suburbanites who  place a high priority on fiscal responsibility, as well as on environmental protection, are done with the deceits and ideologues of Bu$hCo.  These former Republicans don't identify with traditional Democrats, because in their minds the word 'union' is a synomyn for 'lazy' or 'no accountability.'   They're politically homeless, and they're deeply offended by many things they've seen: Abu Gharib, millitary vets in mildewed rooms, the scams of K-Street, Katrina, Iraq, no-bid contracts... every single issue is just one more scalding insult to their core beliefs about fairness, decency, and fiscal prudence.

    Political attitudes are shifting and changing, but it's not clear what form they will take. Whatever comes next is going to require a lot of educating; both about issues, and also about how they are interrelated.

    Like you, I've felt marginalized by politicos who are handmaidens for corporate interests.  (You might find Zuboff and Maxmin's "The Support Economy: Why Corporatoins Are Failling Individuals nd the Next Episode of Capitalism" valuable as you think forward.)  One little election every four years is simply not providing enough accountability for the volumes of money and human effort at stake in the decisions elected officials now make.  

    And don't even let me get started on the judicial appointments this had led to --  to take only one example:  are there more than twenty federal judges who know squat about patents, trademarks, bioengineering, molecular biology, or other up-and-coming technologies?  Is someone really supposed to invest $10 million, or $20 million, or $80 million in a new bioengineering process or product that may end up before a judge whose legal preparation comes from either Heritage University of the Federalist Society?  

    A few more observations and themes:

    1. The viewership is growing for  The Daily Show (Steward/Colbert), and Olbermann, and Cafferty (who is a cranky scold, but credible).  The news outlets that pass along the Bushie version of events are losing audience; the outlets that interpret it (a bit like Kremlinology) are gaining viewers.  In very different styles, that's what Stewart, Colbert, Olbermann, and Cafferty are doing -- explaining the meaning behind the spin. (Moyers has done it for years.)

    2. If the two-minutes-for-your-answers format of "Presidential Debates" resulted in GWBush, they're outdated.  Why isn't anyone insisting on an hour-plus conversation with each of these candidates??  The shorter answer-period favors a superficial sales guy like GWBush, or Fred Thompson.  Every format that enables more sound-bites should be scorned, shunned, boycotted, and ridiculed.   People on the blogs ought to insist that the MSM provide the time necessary to see how someone's mind really functions.  These candidates should have to sit down, month after month, for an uninterrupted hour's conversation with reporters.  Or be disqualified.   We ought to boycott all 'made-for-teevee psuedo-debates' on the grounds that they're an insulting farce.

    3. As I've told my kids, any gutless f*ckup can lie.  Telling the truth requires courage and it's definitely not for weenies.  I agree that there is a huge appetite for explanations that make sense, and governance that is accountable.  I'll look forward to your next venture, and I suspect that your timing really couldn't be any better.

    You were smart to pick the dot com experience over the corporate raider life.  The dot coms were a petri dish for  entreprenurial opportunities, and it will be interesting to see what you do next.  Looking forward to it!

  • comment on a post Bush: The Final Target over 7 years ago

    If you've  never read "Hitler: A Study in Tyranny", I highly recommend it to you.  It's probably 50 years old, and was one of the early studies of Hitler as a very disturbed individual who rose to power within the context of massive economic pressures, and broken institutions, of post-WWI Europe.

    Hitler had almost no ability to tolerate ambiguity.  And he always had to be 'in control''; he was an authoritatian.

    He identified psychologically with the Wagnerian Ring Cycle, in which the hero is 'stabbed in the back'.  Nothing is ever his fault; he was undone by his enemies (rather than his own shortcomings).  That's a great way to avoid ever accepting responsibility for bad decisions or bad outcomes -- see enemies everywhere!  Meanwhile, the hero remains pure, noble, and immaculately guiltless.  

    In Hitler's mind, the world would end in a conflagration (with him as 'sacrificial hero' rather than a f*ckup).  

    Now consider for a moment that Bush believes in the Second Coming, which will be signalled by a Middle East in conflagration.  If that doesn't scare the iiving daylights out of you, nothing will.

    In the end, Hitler preferred a fiery death to the challenges of living and coming to terms with his actions.  I'm not equating Bush to Hitler, I'm simply pointing out that in both cases we're in the realm of the psychological.  Ominous.

    Also highly recommend:   John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience."  You'd find it synchs with some of the themes you raise.

  • comment on a post Durbin Admits Democrats Helped Bush Lie About WMD over 7 years ago

    Durbin is by all other accounts hard working, sane, and knowledgeable.

    I clearly recall being unable to talk about the war with anyone who was not a close friend.  Acquaintances were intolerant of any views that didn't 'support the President'.

    Durbin was smart enough to keep his head down, and it's not a stetch of intellect to suppose that he started keeping every document that he could lay his hands on.  I hope he had a sharp eye out for the way that Bu$hCo was cooking the books.  I won't waste an ounce of angst on Durbin.  

    I'm saving every iota of contempt for Cheney, Bush, the cowardly media, the lamentable military officers who failed to walk out after Shinseki's firing, and the Larry Franklins and Scooter Libbys who were actively promoting this madness.

    Durbin is finally, after four years, in a position to be able to influence things to better outcomes. I'm grateful he hung in there during the dark days, and I wish him all the best.

    We need him, even if he didn't show as much prescience as Feingold.

  • comment on a post A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works? over 7 years ago

    I hope you have many readers.  Teachers, ministers, insurance agents, and many other Americans badly need this info to look out for their own interests.

    And I sincerely wish there were a few Big Name Reporters would could figure out these basics (!).

  • comment on a post A Free Internet: Another Rip-Off in the Works? over 7 years ago

    I'm glad that you posted this.  How do I vote for it...?

  • on a comment on A Free Internet Splits Labor over 7 years ago

    I hope that she will consider it.  I have never encountered her or her organization before, but this is exactly what people need to understand about the issues involved.

    Matt, thanks for another great post on a very important topic.

  • on a comment on A Free Internet Splits Labor over 7 years ago

    This is brilliant on every, single point.   I hope that Matt asks for this to become a front page post all on its own.

    It's educational, it's accurate with my own understanding on every, single point (and I've put hours into researching this issue!).

    Thank you so much.  

  • on a comment on DC Pollster Culture over 7 years ago

    Agreed.  More than once, I've thought that Dean's experience as a physician has proven invaluable to national politics.

    His has been the most astute diagnosis, followed by a treatment plan, that I can ever recall.  (And I say that as someone who'd utterly given up on  Dem politics, voted bipartisan for over 20 years, and nearly gave up voting  completely before Dean came along.)

    He's reality-based.
    He doesn't simply try to finisse, nor 'market' his way out of problems.  

    He appears to have a physician's committment to healing, renewing, and revitalizing.  We are extremely fortunate.

  • on a comment on A Free Internet Splits Labor over 7 years ago

    Wow, this post has me just livid with frustration.

    My hosting costs -- so far in 2007 (and it's only April) -- are at this point running around $1,200 (so anticipcate around $4,000 for 2007).  Monthly power bill runs around $110 (and that does not include the surge supressors and other add-ons that I use to try and protect my machines from power spikes.)

    Monthly DSL and phone line are running $100.  Monthly cell running around $50.

    Google isn't getting a single dime of that money. Neither is Amazon.  Neither is Yahoo.  Neither is Microsoft, Adobe, or any other software company.

    So monthly, I pay in the realm of $360 dollars NOT A DIME OF WHICH goes to Google or Amazon. Explain again how that makes me a 'freeloader'?!

    So first, the people making these decisions need to LOOK at thos e numbers.  Because they are certainly very 'real' to me!


    Next topic, there is in my view a cultural break between softies and CWA types (who I assume are people who climb poles in the rain, work with the wires, and 'lay the pipe').

    Softies in my experience tend to think of themselves as 'white collar professionals' who fall into the labor category with doctors, lawyers, dentists... people who don't think of themselves as part of a union.  People who consider themselves small biz, who look  at  their costs and who have to WORK to get paid. We don't just automatically get medical, dental, or nice monthly paychecks.  So there's not a whole lot of sympathy for people who expect to get 'taken care of' with a monthly paycheck.

    Whether that is right or wrong is beside the point.
    The point is that you have two mindsets at work.

    The CWA needs to get its head around the entreprenurial mindset of some of the software industry types who make the apps that attract people, make lives better, and expand economic opportunity.

    Speaking for myself, I see the unions as wanting something for nothing.

    Pardon me, but I bust my ass dreaming up new stuff, learning new code languages, learning new software programs -- ALL while paying a minimum of $350 /month overhead to people who know quite well that their medical will be covered through retirement.  And they think of someone like myself as some kind of 'freeloader'?!!!

    How in hell am I a 'freeloader' when I'm paying hundreds of dollars every single month, when I'm busting my ass to figure out what clients need, figure out how to create or invent that, and then waiting for them to pay in full??!

    How on earth does that make me any kind of 'freeloader' who just wants to 'ride the Net for  free'?!!

    Here's what I would love to say to those CWA types:  
    Learn JavaScript.  Then learn at least one other programming language.   And while you're at it, go ahead and make sure that you fully grasp the implications of TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, and every other necessary protocol. On top of all that, please find time to figure out new software upgrades -- and pay for them!  And also be sure that you pay those power and phone bills promptly while you're learning, finding business, writing contracts, and -- if something goes awry! -- coming in over budget.

    Please let me know, dear CWA managers, the last time that YOUR paycheck was tight because some moron wrote incorrect documentation and YOU had to cover the cost.  And then tell me all about what a bloody 'freeloader' I am.

    This certainly hits my 'hot button'.
    Just because some of us ARE entreprenurial, ARE trying to solve problems, ARE trying to find solutions, and ARE willing to risk our financial security to develop ideas that help people does NOT make us 'freeloaders'.  

    It makes us gutsy.  
    It also makes us very, very averse to anyone who is not honest -- because we know who's going to pay for problems. We will.  

    WE ADD VALUE TO YOUR NETWORK!!  Take away our software layer and see what it's actually worth.  Not much.

    The CWA can lay cable, wire, lines, and whatever they bloody well want from here to Pluto.  But if there's nothing on there worth watching, reading, hearing, or responding to, then who gives a damn?!

    Writing software, or web apps, is extremely risky financially.  It is a huge INVESTMENT of intellectual capital, time, engineering, and marketing.  Just because someone writes software doesn't mean they will ever turn a  profit.

    I have spent untold hours contributing my time to forums and user groups. HOURS for which I was not paid, nor did I bill. I do it because I believe in it.

    The CWA needs to get its head around the "Open Source" movement, which is collaborative, and it is inherently a meritocracy.  You have a good idea? You can solve a problem? Go for it.  

    You don't have to wait for 4 layers of managers to hold meetings on whether or not you can try your solution.  You try it.  You suggest it.  If it works, cool.  If not, try something else.  But you don't get paid for any of it -- not in money, at least.  You might get paid in new contacts, new friendships, some really bad jokes, or a better functioning system.  Please explain to me, all you CWA people who think I'm such a bloody freeloader, the last time that YOU put  out time to solve problems without expecting to be paid for it.

    The Open Source movement builds 'social capital', but I don't know anyone who's getting rich from it.  Are we the people who the CWA and the CEOs of the telecoms view as 'freeloaders"!!?

    Man, these people need a huge wakeup call.

    They take absolutely no financial risks.  They know where a new building, or a new housing development is going in and they lay pipes to it.  Nothing in that financial model is risky.  

    Especially when I'm paying a minimum of $360 PER MONTH to people who think it's okay to call me a 'freeloader'?!!

    Next time a telecom CEO, or a CWA exec uses Mapquest or Google Maps, I'd sure like to know why they're doing that.   If they are using it -- for FREE! -- then they must see value in Google mapping?  Yet they don't pay to use a Google Map.  So aren't they 'freeloading' off my hard work?!

    This yammering on -- in complete ignorance -- about 'freeloading' is a CLASSIC CASE of the pot calling the kettle black.  

    I pay for software. I pay for software manuals. I donate time to better software development.  I listen to people who have problems, and at sometimes considerable financial risk I attempt to develop and deliver reasonable solutions.  Those solutions in turn make more money circulate.  Not all that much of it comes into my bank account, but if there's more activity in the system then I figure it's all good.

    I do NOT freeload.
    I work my ass off, and I pay what I view as ridiculous sums of money each and every month to people who then call ME a 'freeloader' at the very time they are using things that I have helped work on or develop?!!

    These people  need to get a clue about what motivates some of us working on the software layer, about what we do contribute, and about how we add value to the networks they lay.

    I'm incensed.

  • comment on a post DC Pollster Culture over 7 years ago

    You mean you should be paid?!  You have living expenses not subsidized by  pharma or tobacco?

    You're such a loser ;-))

    I assume that we bloggers are viewed as Huns, tools, and f*ckups.  Our job is to function as the Big Internet ATM Machine in order to enable consultants.  

    Funny thing, however...  the Rovian RNC servers have been dissected on the b-l-o-g-s.  Ummmmm... would that be where people with technical skills tend to gravitate?  D'ya think they might know more about servers than your average consultant or your average newsie?  

    Funny thing, also, how Josh Marshall at TPM has created a virtual online Document Dive for analyzing DoJ doc dumps.

    Funny thing, how Chris Bowers and MyDD did some Google-bombing Fall 2006.

    So, hey.  I say the next time that the consultants want you to spread their mantra (for FREE!), make 'em an offer:  after THEY Google-bomb, after THEY create a gigantic virtual community for Document Diving (for FREE!), and after THEY figure out (for FREE!) how Rove and Bu$hCo stole the election on RNC servers that were co-hosting Ohio electoral data ...

    Tell 'em to go initialize a snippet that'll extract their head from their arse long enough to grasp the bald fact that good things in this world are worth paying for -- and only creeps want something for nothing.

    Keep ranting.  

  • Matt, start with search terms 'Flash' and 'mobiles'.  Also search for 'devices'.  Also "Opera browser" also "Symbian".

    Flash software is used to design the user interfaces of many mobile features and functions -- and the task is complicated by having to negotiate a variety of OS's and handset units.  

    Start here: http://www.symbian.com/

    Also check the Microsoft site; some mobiles run on a Win OS.

    Not sure what you are looking for, but here are a couple places to begin that are related to Flash.  You should be able to eyeball pretty quickly and scout out  relevant topics, related to Adobe and Flash, to see whether these links are useful:

    http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroo m/pressreleases/200703/032807NTTDoCoMo.h tml



    ADOBE and 'JAPAN': http://wirelesswatch.jp/2006/07/24/adobe -japan-plans-revolution/  

    http://www.rediff.com/money/2006/may/13a dobe.htm

    Japan way ahead of US, as are the Brits.  Partly due to different infrastructure.

    You might also want to search on "Opera" browsers for mobile. Start here:  http://www.opera.com/pressreleases/en/20 07/04/03/


    The Economist also has done some stunningly good stuff on the whole subject of mobiles -- basically, in developing countries the electrical grid and infrastructure is too weak to support a lot of computers, and computers are too expensive for those popultaions (as a general rule).  Cells are more affordable -- in  Africa, and South America particularly.

    See whether you can get access to Economist archives online (behind a payment wall), then search on 'mobiles' -- and check their 'Technology Quarterly' series.  (A good academic library near you would also have these.)

    Otherwise, if you can find a good research librarian with access to business pubs, and they can do a cross-search on patent info, or on handset adoption data, that might be a good resource.

    Ericsson is Finish; cell phones were the big biz in Finland a few years back, then IIRC the South Koreans (Samsung) came in and undercut them.  DoCoMo is remarkable.  In many respects, we're behind Europe and Asia both in cell phone adoption and also in cell phone features, usage, and economic uses.

    Tons of ideas, if a bit scattered.  Meant to stop off on a driveby and typed as fast as I could -- !

    Good  luck -- this is a new, burgeoning field.  Glad you're keeping an eye on it!

  • comment on a post Pelosi on the Internet in the Middle East over 7 years ago

    The Internet is a learning tool.  Teevee is a bludgeon used badly by authoritarians and dumb celebrities, although well by Bill Moyers and some talented writers and actors/actresses.  But overall, the Internet allows conversations and learning that older, one-to-many technologies simply can't enable.  

    Karl Rove should be more p*ssed at the owners of patents for routers, software, and video codecs than he should be at the Dems ;-)

    Karma is a very creative bitch; always full of surprises.

  • comment on a post Democracy and Networks over 7 years ago

    I left a long post at Digby within the past 24 hours (in response to her post about the DJ Dionne piece regarding media bias). My comment was far too long to reproduce here; should you be interested, consider this a "See Also".

    To summarize my point at Digby's:  different types of media require different types of cognitive tasks.  Teevee doesn't require much; in contrast., blogging engages multiple regions of the brain.

    Public policy involves extremely complex cognitive tasks -- trying to grasp  the underlying science, engineering, or technical aspects of what is being legislated or regulated takes a lot of smarts.  Smarts are not unlimited, but they ARE teachable.

    They are not likely to be taught by teevee. The nature of teevee doesn't appear to engage the brain to model and experiment with potential solutions to complex issues.

    The Web offers much more potential for understanding, grappling with, modeling, examining a range of potential responses to a problem.

    It's a human invention, and therefore imperfect. Nevertheless, from the standpoint that we humans are now in a compromised environment (chemically, environmentally, etc...) we need all the tools we an get.  Online technologies are probably among our most critical tool kits in terms of identifying, describing, defining, modeling, and testing solutions to large-scale problems.

    I don't state it explicitly at Digby's, but here's the subtext: maybe online gaming will help us find solutions to very grim problems.  Because teevee simply doesn't engage the kinds of cognitive skills needed for social negotiation, problem identification, and problem solving.

    Only the Web can do that.

    And handing over the Web to private corporations is roughly akin to handing your prefrontal cortex to some mid-management employee of a telecom.  Why would any sane, rational human perform such a lunatic act?

    For heaven's sake, every single member of the US Congress needs to grasp the elemental fact that allowing corporate control of the Internet is like authorizing a national lobotomy (!).

    Would you allow Microsoft to influence your right frontal cortex, while allowing Verizon to influence your hypothalamus?  Would you allow Cisco or Vonage to control your limbic system?  That's nuts!  Privatizing the Internet is the cognitive equivilent of selling off subregions of your brain.  No sane, smart creature would allow such an appalling act.

    The Web is a learning, teaching, emotionally rich idea generator.  It may travel across wires, but the innovations are all from software.  Which was invented by human brains.  

  • on a comment on Net Neutrality Trends over 7 years ago

    So you're a Unix guy, eh?  (I bow to your greatness -- not my realm at all.  I kind of wince whenever I even have to use Mac's Terminal, though it's nice to have... my brain just doesn't work that way ;-)

    But you raise an exceptionally good point, once again.

    And it strikes me as PRECISELY the type of topic that would trip up legislators, who wouldn't even know about headers -- nor would they even think to ask.

    This one's quite likely a Trojan Horse.  

    Paging Matt Stoller to figure out a way to block the possibility of this one slipping through, because I think you're spot-on in recognizing the potential issues here.

    I've served on boards, and committees more than I care to think about (soooooo much wasted time 8(((  But from that experience, I know how hard it can be to ask the right questions, and I seriously doubt that many leglslators are even able to hire staff who'd be very knowledgeable about this area of NN.  I hate to admit it, but there were plenty of crap things that happened while I served on groups either because we received poor information, or -- worse yet! -- 'half truths'.  It's really tough to know what questions  to ask and I don't think many Congresscritters would have a clue to even ask about headers and what they might mean for NN.

    Between limited numbers of people who realize it's a problem, to the fact that many of those folks are geeky and not so good at explaining stuff (no personal slam intended!) to the fact that those skill sets probably don't tend to end up on Capital Hill...

    Paging Matt Stoller.... Hope he's following this thread!

  • on a comment on Net Neutrality Trends over 7 years ago

    No, I think your point about the potential expansion of header info is right on target. You make an excellent point.

    (I tend to write too-lengthy comments, and had already gone beyond my time limit when I wrote above, and needed to get back to other tasks.)

    There are excellent reasons for better header content -- all kinds of reasons that this facet of IPv6 would be an advantage.  And the advantage certainly could be used as you foresee... and probably will be.

    There ought to be some basic restrictions on system usage -- for instance, no reason anyone should be allowed to to land a 747 on a federal interstate, simply because each one is a transportation mode.  

    Similarly, people ought not to be allowed to send endless full length films 24/7 on the system.  But that's an extreme -- most people, most of the time, just want to keep in touch with others that they care about, or pursue an interest.  People should not be charged for 'daily usage' amounts, no matter what content that form may take.  But it should be understood that online equivilents of 747s are not allowed on the system.

    But to charge extra because the Garden Club wants to put their planting updates online in video format (at 360x240px) is greedy.  It directly impacts the ability to create 'social capital,' which comes from all the interactions that occur as church groups, professional associations, and educators communicate online.

    Better headers could be very helpful in better tagging of things like chemistry diagrams, animations,  or other ed-related content.  (In fact, the newer digital video encoding tools, and also newer animation tools, allow for titling and tagging in ways that were not possible even in 2005.

    I have modest background in librarianship (information science) so I can scope out the value of better headers and identifiers.  But that doesn't automatically argue for undercutting NN.

    I can use a hammer to help build a cathedral or a church or a sports gym  -- or also to build a whorehouse.  Am I using the tool responsibly?  At what point is my usage either taxed, or tolled, or outlawed?

    Tools are tools; we seldom think carefully about the nature of each tool, its potential, its social impacts, and its allowable uses.

    NN in my mind is 86% greed, and approximates the same foul pay2play logic of Enron and WorldCom.   NN shows zero social responsibility, while allowing huge monopolistic industries to engage in predator pricing.  

    It will be a stake right into the economic well-being of many, many Americans.  


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