Tales of the Sausage Factory: Last Gasp on Unlicensed Order

As those who follow unlicensed proceedings at the FCC here know, the FCC has been considering opening up the 2650-3700 MHz band to unlicensed use. The rumor is that the FCC will vote on the item at its March 10 meeting. I have also heard that the item is not particularly friendly to mesh networks. We have until Wed. March 2, 2005, 5 p.m. Eastern Time to turn this around. Wanna help?

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Inventing the Future: enchancing performance

Like many people I’ve talked to, I tend to imagine using Croquet for automation. We envision physics and molecular chemistry simulations running on their own, while the people in the collaboration walk around among the ball and stick model forest and observe. Maybe we reach up and grab an atom or two and pull on it to see how that changes the path of the simulation. That’s my nature. I’m an engineer and I want to automate stuff so I don’t have to work so hard, even in visualization. I’m so lazy I even want to automate my imagination.

I worked for more than a dozen years creating some kind of automation or another. The biggest misconception I had to clear up with my clients was that you can’t automate what you don’t understand. You have to tell the computer exactly what to do. I learned this lesson in high school when we had a model bridge-building contest in physics class. Everyone assumed that I would design my bridge on a computer, and I sat down to try it.

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Wetmachine designer & webmaster Gary Gray and I met tonight to go over plans for tweaks to the site, coming Real Soon Now.

We have a couple of goals in mind. Firstly, we want to make “Tales of the Sausage Factory” and “Inventing the Future” more accessible to their readerships. So there will be separate RSS feeds for these series, and vectors into the archives by author/topic. There will be sign-ups for various Wetmachine mailing lists. It will be more obvious how to post comments and how to get in touch with the various Wetmachiners.

Below the fold: your chance to jump into the Gary-John brawl over the “feel” of the site.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: Fight to keep the muni option open!

I’m not saying that every municipality should have its own broadband network. I’m just saying every muni should have the _right_ to deploy the option. So Media Access Project and Free Press have put together a way for you to tell your state legislator and federal representative that they work for you, not their ILEC contributors, and that you, as a voter, don’t think you should have to kiss ILEC patootie to get broadband.

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Inventing the Future: the Croquet Generation

Older academics generally like Croquet demos, but they often give me the impression that they’re not quite sure what they’re looking at. We gave a demo this week to a young local reporter and she was much more enthusiastic. She wants to use it right now, as is. Julian tells me that anyone under 25 who sees Croquet goes nuts over it.

I was surprised. I assumed that younger folks would be jaded by video games. Our demos don’t have drop shadows or reflection. The fish world is not as cool as the one at the Boston Museum of Science. The avatars don’t walk and bend like the Sims. It’s a proof-of-concept, and the features and effects just aren’t like what you would find in a movie.

But I think people under 25 see Croquet and feel like it’s made for them. What school and office programs are really of their culture? Windows isn’t. (Maybe its for old farts that were too conservative to buy a Mac 20 years ago.) The closest thing to a mainstream generation Y app might be chat rooms, which are not rooms and you don’t actually chat, you type. Successfull, yes, but not exactly laden with Y culture.

Inventing the Future: Secure Persistent Objects, Take 0

From the day I first read about Croquet, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the secure, persistent object model. Building applications — or even understanding what applications can be built — depends on this model, which is still under development by the Croquet architects. Four months later, I’m still pretty lost.

I’m most interested in how the pieces fit together, and the abilities afforded by that configuration. Alas, I’m not clever enough to understand and express this entirely in the abstract. The more specific I get in components and abilities, the more specific I need to be as to a plausible way of implementing it. Otherwise, I get lost. I hope (unrealistically?) that no one takes this as a proposal. In fact, I’d be perfectly happy if the same abilities were achieved for Croquet with different implementations. I’d even be ok with a different set of abilities, as long as I understood what and why they were. But I gotta start somewhere. This is public because I would like help in improving my understanding, and also because my blog is from me personally. It does not represent anything from U.Wisconsin or the Croquet architects. Maybe by putting even wrong stuff into print, we can clear up misconceptions.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: FCC on Wireless–Mostly Snooze But Some Stuff I Can Use

Lost in all the hoopla last week on the Multicast Must Carry Vote (which I can explain in a future column) was the FCC’s Broadband Wireless Report. It’s conclusion – Wireless Broadband Is Good. Policy recommendations: Stay the Course.

Well, it’s a _bit_ more than that, but not much. See below….

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