Welcome Boingers and Sundry Wetmachine Virgins!

Step right this way!

If you’re looking for what Cory Doctorow calls my “gonzo hacker novels”, you are almost there. Click on the images on the top left of this page.

The creator of the illustrations for The Pains, Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming, is selling prints of the illustrations. Check out his site too!

Speaking of Cory, check out the podcasts of his interview with me:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

If you care about holding onto democracy and yer constitutional rights in today’s modern digital-futuristic world of today, check out Harold Feld’s Tales of the Sausage Factory. He’s written a lot of good stuff lately — on net neutrality, on the new FCC chairman, on collusion in FCC auctions, on municipal wireless & democracy. . . When Harold writes something it’s usually well written, informative, funny, and very important.

If you’re a software geek, check out Howard Stearns’ Inventing the Future. Howard is one of the lead developers on the Croquet project.

Speaking of cool web n+1 software, isn’t about time that you checked out OpenLaszlo?

In conclusion, let me beg for money. Please buy one of my books (or make a paypal donation as a token of value received for the free downloads).

Pitchforks and Torches! Cory Doctorow talks to Wetmachine

Cory Doctorow–noted spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, of which he is a Fellow; science fiction author; uberblogger of metacool boing boing; alumnus of the legendary Clarion writer’s workshop; and friend of Harold Feld –stopped by Wetmachine last week for a little chat.

To be precise, he joined me and chief Wetmachine mechanic Gary Gray in the lobby of the Sheraton Hilton in Boston, where he had been staying in his capacity of Notable Luminary at Boskone 43. He chatted with us for an hour, and Gary recorded our conversation on one of his nifty gadgets.

I asked Cory to vamp on the four themes:

1) The EFF — in particular, what big fights are coming up in the next five years or so, and how Cory handicaps the good guys’ and bad guys’ prospects;

2) Trends in publishing, (with particular reference to how yours truly can make money on his self-published books);

3) What’s interesting to write about;

4) Clarion.

As you’ll hear if you listen to the podcast, Cory is an articulate guy who talks fast. In the first part of the interview he talks about: how the United States is “creating trade obligations for itself abroad” and cases where “an appointed bureaucrat from the administrative branch [is] subverting what’s going on with elected representatives in Congress”; ominous proposals to change so called “intermediary liability standards” and ways that lawyered-up bullies use copyright laws to shut down legitimate speech without due process; the World Intellectual Property Organization as a bunch of pipsqueaks who are awakening the sleeping giants of internet stakeholders from corporate boardrooms to average human beans like me and you; and how “people are starting to have a burgeoning consciousness of the politics of information freedom.”

The next time the antiliberal forces try to “burn down the library”, Cory says, we need to be there with pitchforks and torches! pitchforks and torches! to tell them we won’t put up with it.

This is our inaugural Wetmachine podcast; apologies in advance for any glitches. The sounds you hear in the background are other people — children mostly– who were hanging about in the lobby. The deep-voiced person who asks the questions, trips over his words, and says “right, right” a lot is me. The reclusive Gary’s voice does not appear in this part, but I believe we got him on one of the other sections, to be posted over the next few days.


[update: Sorry for multiple posting noise to any of you on RSS feeds. Gary and I are trying to figure out why the link to mp3 works when he posts and not when I post. . .]


Please distribute this broadly.

At 2 p.m., I participated in a conference call hosted by the FCC Chief of Staff on how network operators providing service with license exempt spectrum can assist in re-establishing critical voice, data and video service in areas devestated by Katrina.

Part-15.org is taking
the lead in organizing volunteers and donations of equipment from individuals,
WISPs and community wireless networks. Companies such as Cisco and Intel are
also heavily involved.

can volunteer or describe contributions through www.part-15.org (there is a link
on the front page).

There is freely available software and instructions on how to convert a computer and wireless router into a mesh network node from the Champaign Urbana Wireless Network. Their website is http://www.cuwireless.net/

The FCC will remain open throughout the holiday weekend to address the crisis. Coordination efforts are ongoing, but part-15.org hopes to have a preliminary asset list for coordination with federal authorities by Noon Saturday 9/3/05. It would therefore be enormously helpful to hear from people who can donate equipment or time, even if they cannot provide the equipment or time until a later date.

Harold Feld
Senior VP
Media Access Project

Well Hello Again Everybody

And welcome once again to the Whiskey A Go-Go on the fabulous Sunset Strip.

Things seem a little slow around Wetmachine these days and I can only hope that Harold Feld has not gone on sabbatical, as I am a TotSF junky and am kinda jonesing a little right now. Howard Stearns has been a little scarce at ItF also, but I’m not worried: that boy is just gestating, I’m sure of it.

As for my own contributions, well, I’m working in my usual desultory way on three little essays:

— On the tendencies towards totalitarianism, anarchy and community, and where “technology” as a abstract concept fits into all of them;

— On the notion of Borgification;

— On walking away from a dream, or why I have stopped working on a novel that was specifically requested by a Big Name Publisher.

So, this is a placeholder entry. Until Stearns and Feld come back I’m going to hope that Gary will continue to populate with the odd disturbing story here and there so that we can continue in our disoriented stumblings into a fearful, fretful future the in the true Wetmachine way.

Wetmachine makeover

Fans of Harold Feld’s “Tales of the Sausage Factory” and/or Howard Stearns’s “Inventing the Future” will be happy to note that those columns are now their own blogs within Wetmachine. TotSF and IfF posts will continue to be integrated on the Wetmachine front page, but if you just want the pure stuff (undiluted by my ramblings, e.g.) you can bookmark the column you want.

The respective urls are Tales and Inventing. You can also get to them from this page by clicking on their links to the right, under the heading “sections.”

We’ve also improved access to the archives. Other improvments, including rss feeds, will be forthcoming.

Thanks to Gary for pulling this together. . .

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Michael Powell on Indecency

I’m reprinting below FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s Op Ed on indecency that appearedin the NYT on 12-3. As most of you know, I am a frequent critic of Powell’s ownership and broadband access policies, as I find him far too much the libertarian intellectual without regard to the practical impact of his policies. But on the indecency stuff, I think he raises some good points. My comments interspersed with his.

Continue reading

Tales of the Sausage Factory: Action Alert on Broadband

I’ve been distributing this for anyone interested in using unlicensed spectrum in the broadcast bands.

BTW, due to major issues going on at work (we are losing one of our three attorneys and reorganizing), I’m likely to post terse, infrequent things over the next month or two. Sorry. I swear I’ll keep trying.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Sausage Factory: a partial index to date

Here’s a nearly complete list of Harold Feld’s “Tales of the Sausage Factory” articles here on Wetmachine. Real Soon Now I’m going to get organized and use the blog software to keep track of this stuff so I don’t have to manualy copy and paste to generate lists like this. . .

On the Nader copyright case

Justin/Janet part 2

Justin/Janet part 1

The ICANN Train Wreck

Unlicensed Spectrum Access

Why Disney/Comcast Merger Sucks Rocks


CBS Caves Again for Bush

Yet more on Fileswapping

Fileswapping — whither to in ’04

ABA article:“More than a Toaster with Pictures”

On making the Wall Street Journal’s Shit List

Golden Globes, Former Presidents, Media Ownership”

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Two Wetmachine Con Artists

Your wetmachine host (that would be moi, John Sundman) and prolific wetmachiner and legal good-guy Harold Feld will be panelists at the Science/Speculative Fiction convention (“con” )

Arisia , to be held in Boston this weekend.

(It was at last year’s Arisia that Harold & I met, and I was so impressed with his general smartosity that I invited him to blog here. Lord only knows why he accepted the offer.)

If you’ve never been to an SF con (as I had not been before 2000), let me warn you that, in full conformity to stereoptype, cons are populated by weirdos. However, con-goers, who sometimes call themselves Fen, are some damn smart and well-read and thoughtful and articulate weirdos. And actually, come to think of it, now that I’ve been to about a dozen cons and have been on more than a dozen panels myself, I guess I’m one of the Fen too. Damn, how did that happen?