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Comments from Frankston, Reed, and Friends

Monday, December 01, 2003

BobF at 9:32 PM [url]:

Telecom Policy: Virtue vs Tolerance

Every time I try to make some brief comments I find myself having to explain too much. The ideas themselves might be simple but removing the complexity that clouds people's thinking is not. You can look at my essay on Policy vs Reality. I was planning to post it on SATN but it got too long.

I do like to post brief abstracts on SATN and then the full essay on www.frankston.com. That's useful in its own right but it had the effect of adding it to the RSS feed on SATN. I now have an RSS feed on www.frankston.com (which also points to my essays on SATN). I'm going to still try to do use SATN for abstracts but it isn't necessary just for the RSS feed.

As to the RSS feed -- that's an interesting topic in its own right and I plan to say more about that in a future essay. RSS is just one of a family of evolving standards. It's interesting to compare it with HDTV which has been percolating for more than ten years. RSS can be implemented over a weekend and is still changing with various factions vying for a support. HDTV follows the more traditional process which is necessary when everyone involved in carrying the signal must do everything just right -- it's womb-to-tomb rather than end-to-end.

No wonder I use an off-the-shelf computer monitor to view HDTV. I can view a wide variety of video content over the Internet but had to wait for a special set top box in order to view HDTV from my cable provider. Even then all I see is demo-ware like in the early days of stereo when we had (vinyl) records that made it sound like a train was coming through my living room. At least those plastic discs didn't require an entirely new infrastructure.

As I pointed out in Policy vs Reality we have two world views. The new technologies seem to undermine the work ethic by providing more gain and less pain. Perhaps that's why it is so hard for traditionalists to come to terms with the new opportunities and the Internet in particular. The new opportunities exist only if we don't have we don't prejudge them with narrow expectations and strict requirements. The opportunities themselves have no intrinsic meaning -- it is only what we do with them that matters. It is tolerance more than virtue that is rewarded.

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