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Thursday, December 23, 2004

This is La Paloma (said with ominous element of This is Anfield)
Posted by Hello

The machine has been letting me down recently - yesterday a new battery and wiper, today anti-freeze and praying. In fact it's been a tough 24 hours mechanically - the telly died yesterday after coughing for months. So I need to replace all of them - hope the Chinese pay up! Posted by Hello

Monday, December 20, 2004

Barcelona - 1 week: New Year's Day

New Year's Day - sometimes I forget how much I miss Barcelona, the sea, the sun, the incredible cityscape - the mountain jogging route along Carretera de las Aigues (sp? Catalan), the seafood, the roof of the old market Santa Catarina (how many hours did I spend in quiet contemplation of that market last winter? Very soothing to think that the same skills that built the inside of the Ellis Island arrival terminal just at the time of Gaudi are still being used - albeit in a 21st century market built more by Pakistani than Catalan artisans). But what I most miss is the walk along the seafront at sunset in winter - whether in Port Vell past the fishing boats and Las Golondrinas, or along the beach by the famous Hopital del Mar, past the ghostly deserted chiringuitas and out to the fishing jetty near Port Olympic. 2003 was a poor year professionally but a very beautiful experience for the soul. Going back at New Year will be a very good, but also very sad, experience - the beauty of a year on the Med in the world's greatest mixture of North and South, East and West, with the best climate and food in Europe. Oxford is Bunburyful, but no Barna!
Posted by Hello

Intrepid explorers find travel a reflection of reality Posted by Hello

Mad Godchildren must get it from their mother...taken by Il Padrino:-) Posted by Hello

Korea - Marsden on the right desperately tries to stay awake through the jetlag Posted by Hello

A smiling Chris and Elena don't realise they're about to be killed by the Cutty Sark which hove into view behind them... Posted by Hello

And then there were none

It's too quiet round here - even though we've (finally) relaunched an 'adequate' website.
Today, Chester left, Monica, Toby and Magda Friday, Louise tomorrow, Danilo the same, Damian went a week ago - at PCMLP I'm the last left standing! Might go home and surf WiFi and try to finish the NTD and Korea papers...
Smells like snow in the air!

The Chinese state telecoms regulators and me 13th December Posted by Hello

Crimbo 2004! Posted by Hello

Diary dates at Oxford/Cambridge 2005

PCMLP seminars 19 Jan, 1 Feb, 14 Feb then Tuesdays at 3-5pm (22nd, 1st March, 8th March).
Oxford Media Convention 20th Jan.
Puttnam lecture 19th Jan
PCMLP 'Christmas do' 13th Jan.
CII DOS workshop 14th Jan and meet 17th Jan (Cambridge).

Sunday, December 19, 2004

'Regulating the Internet' - my book project for first half 2005

So that's what I'm doing when I'm not teaching or retreating to Barna - got another speaking gig there on 14 April (CEPT conference).
It's a socio-politico-economic-legal treatment of the subject - with technical bits where necessary - my magnum opus (or magnificent octopus).
1. Defining Internet regulation - definition and explanation of the problem, public, private or commons?
2. Telecoms regulation - how it changes for broadband access - LLU, F2M etc.
3. Regulating Standards - from the Empire to Wintelism and onwards - competition, public goods and private cartels. Includes IP versus ATM - net versus Bellheads, WiFi, market entry and spectrum usage.
4. Content - IPRs policy and economic evidence, legal strategies for releasing content, DRM and digital rights, DTT and digital TV use of spectrum, mobile content, and ISP/BSP use of 'NTD' - essential facilities and compulsory licensing
5. Threats to the network - spam, viruses, zombies, national firewalls, then 'end of end-to-end', technical innovation and governance problems.
6. International governance - from ITU to WSIS to WGIG - how can global society be put back into the Information Society, and continue to function technically correctly?
7. Towards a crime and competition policy for the Internet? How do hyperglobalised individuals and companies pull the rest up to broadband competence without digital dangers usurping sensible self-regulation?

Christmas and New Year

I'm getting really Christmassy now that the birthday is out of the way - had a great night Friday (now that I've recovered) and not living in London means never having to apologise - I can 'Bunbury' whenever I want to!
So drinks tomorrow with Liz and Richard (probably), Tuesday with the Centre, Wednesday probably London, Thursday to Hampshire, Sunday back up to Imogen's birthday, Monday wake up late rough and crawl back to Bunbury, Tuesday to Barcelona via Wayne's until Saturday when I crawl back to start the New Year!
Had a great run in the crystal clear very cold night - stars are fantastic and easy to see my way in the moonlight. I think I'm a lot fitter than this time last year, about 82kg fighting weight. It's definitely been a Henry year: highlight sunset in Tottenham in May, low point just after sunset same night - triumph for pigs over womantics.
New Year's resolution: go to see 'Mamma Mia'...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Shiraz - mosque in late afternoon August 04 Posted by Hello

Royal Society - from top left, JJ, Howard, Markus, Ken, Monica Posted by Hello

Isfahan - take it to the bridge! Note PD shades Posted by Hello

Royal Palace, Warsaw - April - looking at my eyelids Posted by Hello

7610 and Freeview are rubbish!

Still can't download photos/videos from my 7610 to my PC - trying again! Answer might be to get a flash memory reader - which is where I store data anyway...
Also - the Freeview box might be nice - and apparently 4m punters have bought them - but Ivan told me last night in the Princess Louise that you DO need a £100 aerial install on top f the $45 box. Bastards! best let them crank up the digital signal and lose the analogue...
Good night in London last eve - the 3 Tuns has completely changed into a glass-fronted wine bar, the Underground is huge and soulless (the latter unchanged:-) and the 68 bus still takes 40 minutes. Oh, and Paul's home-grown is as potent as ever...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Post-China and not Estonia

It's warm and soon to be raining again - hussah! Went for a run this AM and even kicked a football around - spring in the air?
Or maybe it's because the Chinese telecom lectures went with a swing - hopefully more next year judging by the reaction - language and cultural barriers notwithstanding. Chester was heroic on getting mandarin to translate to Cantonese to English and back again, not just on my speech but also on the slides.
And Estonia didn't happen - invited and disinvited. Probably just as well, because I need a break and London networking - not more cold weather and lecturing. Still - iLaw, you owe me!
Daffy's back and forgetful - no change - and I realise how much I've been hibernating the last month - really cut myself off a lot.
Saw 'When we were kings' again last night - so pretty, a bad man, and shook up the world!!! Amen.

Monday, December 06, 2004

My OfComwatch Christmas message

Regular readers know that it took the motivation of 2 Yanks to get us Brits blogging our own regulator. As we approach the holiday season - happy hanukkah - it's time for a warning to us all - beware the ideas of Christmas!

Oftel had a tradition that OfCom's first moment continued - if it's good enough to make a tough decision, it's good enough to hide under a stone the Friday before Christmas. That's the 24th december this year, folks - I suspect only teatotal non-Christians will be sober enough to notice what OfCom does on that date - but 2 years ago they launched their Partial Private Circuit ruling that Friday (250 pages of dense argument), and last year the agency was launched in the full fanfare of - yes - 29 December. Remember? Me neither.

So a Christmas quiz for those not currently off on Hanukkah festivities, or broadcasting luvvies already into the full Christmas party Soho swing. What will be the 24 December 4.45pm press release this year?
[a] sorry we didn't deliver increased take-up of broadband;
[b] or LLU at French rates - yet;
[c] or 3G - but hey fellahs, that was before our time when decisions were taken;
[d] but we'll put out old Morecambe and Wise on the PSP we're going to give £300m to;
[e] we'll explain fully what 'equivalency' for rivals to BT really means.
or my personal favorite:
[f] here's how fantastic our first year has been - in 360 days we've acheived precisely...(acheived, not said or consulted or promised, that is).

Should be good - in fact OfCom's greatest achievements this year might well be the combination of proving that we need a Wireless Telegraphy Act 2005/6 to implement spectrum trading effectively, and taking that 'equivalency' pledge and doing something serious about it - even in the 21st Century Network (sic).

So a Christmas message on competition - a present for all those amongst you who support UKCTA - the UK Competitive Telecoms Association - so nearly named the Fixed UK Operators Forum...Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Oxford lecture mid-February

Money, power and responsibility are the three major issues of Internet governance decided by law:
money - property, state-to-individual;
power - sovereign rights (inc. criminal, tax etc) - individual to state - disconcerting because we
assigned these rights, except billionaires, many years ago when Magna Carta was signed;
responsibility - individual to individual, state to state - soft power and tort, damages, ethics - law not so good at this one!

Some URLs for rare Marsden writings

SSRN home page, Harvard 'Excuse my language', 'Gildered Ostriches', 'Code Lovely Code' in Blacksburg, OSCE Amsterdam, USC Annenberg School, Harvard and Council of Europe, Re:Think work, Warwick seminar 1998, Warwick conference 1999, sports rights 1998, Property Rights 2001, Blackstone book, Regulating the GIS press launch, Phoenix Center, 2001 Quello speech, review of ITS 1998, Helsinki 2003 ITS, 2001 Napster helping Hollywood, ABC Pipeline programme 1999, Self-Regulation beats State Control 2004, WLAN and the European 3G Tragedy 2002 Intermedia, official CoE report page, Very British Judicial review, Future Gazing 2004, stream of Supernova 2004, Ever Seen an Elephant Fly? MIT 2000, Reinventing Broadband 2001. Any more?

Dancing or boxing?

I've been inspired by both Amir Khan and the Strictly team's tangos this weekend - so next term (when I expect to travel less than this term) do I take up kick-boxing or dancing? I just don't think I could take dancing with Englishwomen so maybe I should box - better exercise too. But I really fancy being 'tangoed'! My back's been playing up again since Korea - and 2 friends have got bad backs - so I must do something - my osteo looked at my protruding stomach and suggested pilates - cheek! It's just my pigeon chest...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Jetlag cure!

It really worked - 18 hours to Korea, 18 hours back, 36 hours in-between in Seoul, and I feel fine! So if you stay on your own time zone and keep the trip very short, you avoid all impact on your pineal gland. saw Vicki Nash in the pub when I got back, told me that melatonin curted her jetlag from being in Beijing last week - maybe that does the trick too.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Korea - any soul?

Arrived at 5pm in the swanky new Incheon airport – a new addition after the 1988 Olympics, in fact only a few years old. Gimpo is the Olympic airport – now used for Japan flights – same time zone, 90 minute flight to Tokyo.

Odd country – in the sense that there seems to be the enormous urban sprawl (upwards – 25 storey tower blocks everywhere, the famous MTUs full of broadband). Not likely to see the country during this trip – yet it’s the size of England with a population of 58 million.

Drove for 90 minutes through massive concrete jungle – me passed out on the back seat, my driver stuck in this megalopolis’ evening rush-hour. It’s like a mixture of Manhattan and Bangkok – the latter for the exotic people, food and script on the neon, the former for the concrete canyons. In the shopping malls, saw a ‘live’ computer gaming tournament – filmed in front of an audience of 200, for a satellite TV channel. Two professional players opposite each other wearing headphones, the audience watching the screens above their heads, the audience at home watching the same. Me? I just watched the audience watching the screens – very Derrida-like, post-post-post-modern…

We walked out after dinner – Marcel, Phil and our hosts – in the chilly evening, with a full moon. Our hostess got very red-faced from her allergy to beer, but insisted on drinking with us. East Asians don’t have the important enzymes to make beer metabolise – but still the sararimen drink like fishes.

Now it’s 4.30 – fell sleep at 12, woke at 3.30. It’s going to be ‘Lost in Translation’ today – it’s still only 7.30 pm UK time. As I’m not on til 2.25, and we’re not meeting til 12.40, maybe I’ll get breakfast at 6am, then sleep until 11. It’d be nice to go swimming too – very nice pool here at the Grand Intercontinental.

This is the World Trade Center – we might not see Korea at all in the next 30 hours. It’s massive and about 10 years old – less building since the 1998 crash apparently, but not much less. Phil’s on the 29th floor, me on the 7th – but the hotel must be 40 floors high. It reminds me of Stalin’s culture palace in Warsaw, so inappropriate and massive a symbol of a different and imposed culture – in Stalin’s case, Asian dictatorship and megalomania, in Korea’s case the capitalism of Manhattan that has been successfully grafted onto Asia.

Question: do they play online gaes because there’s nowhere to play outside? I saw some ‘golf courses’ that looked like driving ranges with greens – yet they lead the world in golf. I saw no nature, lots of chemical plants and mud flats on the flight in perfect visibility in the late afternoon, such a contrast with the emptiness of Siberia and Mongolia for hour after hour. The south and east have nature, apparently – next visit. It can’t all be as soulless as Seoul…

Absolutely shattered after sleeping 12midnight-3.30am, and then from 10.30 til 12. In between, swam, lifted weights including fabby love-handle vibration machine, and shanked a few golf shots.

Now at conference – fast approaching 6pm (9am UK) and Mr Sandman is playing on my eyelids. The conference finishes at 6.45 and then I’m being collected for dinner with Professor Kang’s students.

It’s been interesting – both for fellow speakers from Europe and Japan, but also for the Korean dialogue between government, CSOs and industry – they all distrust each other and govt is trying to impose a form of regulation, while continuing to call it ‘self-regulation’. But that’s a constant battle, especially in East Asia – Korea is a puddle of democracy in an ocean of authoritarianism – gvt renationalised ccTLD recently!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Stade de France: All Blacks were 'extra-terrestrials'

According to the French team - frightening. From only 12-6 after 39 minutes, les Noirs scored 26 points in less than 20 minutes and looked like they could get 60 - it was France's third-worst ever defeat - and the coach said they werre his best players and gave everything they had...

Hard Day's Night: Paris and Korea

Off to Paris for a 22 hour road trip yesterday into today - for rugby - then off to Korea tonight for the Kinternet conference.

Just realised I need the 1830 bus - and Korea is 10 hours ahead so that I get on the plane at 7am local time. BUT I have the cunning plan to stay on Uk time for the next 3 days to avoid jetlag. Only problems are...

First, I left home 8.30 yesterday morning, to pick up Adam and drive to Claphma. 10am parked, met Wayne and Rob - our Kiwi contingent - and headed for Dover. Got there 11.45, got the 1pm ferry to Calais - arrived there 3.30 after a couple of beers on board. Rob and Wayne were All-Blacked up, Adam had an FFR jersey with le cog d'or shimmering proudly. (As he's just got very fit and played second row (!) for the Prison midweek, it's a less tight fit than previously).

So got to Paris and parked 6.30, into St Michel for a nice (slightly overpriced but that's St Michel) dinner - very good cheese and fois gras, good entree, very pleasant carafe of vin rouge. back for the game - and what a stadium! The 2012 Olympics must be at Stae de France - it's space age, clean lines, sensational spaces and views. I took a video of it all - whistling crowd, pissed-up Kiwis and a hammering for 'les bleus' by 45-6. 'Allez les noirs' might be an outside bet for 2007 - the French looked old, knackered and end-of-season - when they're starting and les Noirs should look like that. Jerry Collins was sensational.

Then back to Calais, into 'Eastenders' traditional aircraft hanger bordega, some Budvar and good wine, and on to the ferry. Got back to London 5.15, dropped Rob at St Pancras (got stopped for turning right against the traffic signal, Adam threatened to pull out his prison service ID if the cops annoyed us), and back to Oxford 7am.

So slept 4 hours til 11am - or 9pm Korean time. The next 2 days are going to be hard!!!

Raving Punter

Monday went to Argos to buy a few small things - came away with a £25 DVD player (all formats except DivX), a £45 DTT box from Echostar, 2 lava lamps for the kids, some more weights (temple of the mind etc.) and odds and sods.

The DTT box was difficult to install - firstly all the SCART leads, then it only programmed radio channels, then I got Beeb but no ITV/C4, then I got a new aerial out of the cupboard Tuesday and got a few more channels, finally got all channels, but it keeps breaking up and going to Audio Only. I find I only want to watch Sky Sports News and UK History - and for analogue channels prefer the reliable analogue signal via the video!

This DTT is only going to fly if they can boost the signal and that means switching off analogue - apparently by 2012, but maybe region by region?

I am a raving punter - after the flush of success from MOTing la Poderosa, I then got an upgraded phone to a megapixel camera - so expect more photos on the blog - except they will end up delivering when I'm in Korea (see above!). The Koreans have 3G and a 5.3Megapixel camera - ridiculous how far ahead they are. We'll see this week!

Spectrum refarming - EU Conferences chair

Wednesday and Thursday I was in London, attending the Spectrum Liberalisation and Trading Conference - kind of crowd where they say 'orthogonal' rather than 'tangental'.

It seems the big political decision over analogue TV 'digital dividend' is all-important for various uses - HDTV, DVB-H mobile TV, new digital muxes (see Raving Punter above), WiMAX etc.

Lots of cynicism regarding spectrum commons offset by a very bright DARPA project in software-defined radio that hops about from 30MHz to 3GHz looking for spare channels - a killer app? What do they know, they only created the Internet...

Anyway, possible head of steam behind an Oxford conference on digital dividends - I wonder if Intel and Nokia might be interested? Hoping to see Nokia in Helsinki in 2 weeks.

Saw Peter Crowther and Martin Cave - doyens of competition policy. Also there was John Higgins of Intellect UK, trade body for FEI, who is interested in some work on creative digital media business plans. Discussed it with Ian Brown - unusually quiet and I convinced him that, like me, he gets SAD in winter. Who doesn't?

Also saw Stanhope again in preparation for my Chinese day out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Napkins and Reichstag continued...

On Saturday morning, I stayed in couch (not bed, I was in a sleeping bag on Ralf's couch, more comfortable than it sounds, but not much:-). Then had lunch with Andreas Grunwald, old friend from our electronic journal IJCLP - who's just done a Council of Europe report on digital TV last year. Sounds like he found the group members as abtuse and old-fashioned as I did 5 years ago!

Anyway, three important items:
[1] Bernd Holznagel is on the road to recovery after his bypass op, coma, China hospital and low-altitude military flight - stories he can't tell because he was asleep - thankfully he's back to his old self mentally if not yet physically;
[2] Andreas gets married next year, his girlfriend was at PCMLP in 2002, and she works for Shroeder in the Reichscancellerie - so she could have let us in the Reichstag Friday also!
[3] Andreas will see the Munster crowd next month - told him to say hi and I'll be there next June - in sh'allah!

Napkins - last night Peter and Markus wrote the future of the Internet on a napkin in the restaurant - wonder if we can scan it for the web??? Not Starbucks, of course...

Starbucks Berlin and the Reichstag

Jeannette Hoffman reminds me that she still has the 'Starbucks ICT Memorial Napkin'.

This commemorates our bunking off the afternoon session of the UN ICT on Friday, to go sightseeing. It had smowed overnight, and the sky was a perfect blue Arctic dome - so we took off in the cold wind to walk Unter Den Linden towards the Reichstag. It being Friday afternoon, there was a big queue and we couldn't get in, so we used Starbucks to warm up as the sun set behind the Brandendurger Tor, and Jeanette counted the official cars for the Armenian president - 32 jet dark blue BMWs and Mercs.

When we got back to the Foreign Ministry, Oliver met us and said he would have let us in - Jeanette thought he'd taken off for the day. He told us they've reconstructed part of the Wall in the office building for Reichstag members - nostalgia gone crazy.

Apparently they only recreated the wall, not the guard towers, minefields etc...

Future travels

Note to self - slow down!

So Paris 27-28th November - riigbyyy!! See the All Blacks get crushed by les Blues (Argentina was a moment of lost concentration). Booze cruise city!

Soeul 29th-1st December - Korean ISPA - should be a lot of interesting events around that.

Chinese state regulators 8th-13th December - at London and Oxford

Tallinn - 14th December - Centre for Democracy and Technology

Helsinki - 15th December - Nokia Foresight

Barcelona - 30th December - neuvo ano!

Staying in Berlin

So I stayed with the extremely generous Ralf, who runs this:

Also there was Rik Panganiban, from CONGO (Conference of NGOs) in New York - talks a lot of sense and really gets civil society moving. he recognises the need for ever-greater inclusion, but also for substantive and procedural changes to make civil society punch above its weight in UN processes.

Good dinner Friday night with Markus Kummer - for the sake of completeness, I'll say that many WGIGs were there: Markus Kummer, Art O'Reilly, Peter from Siemens, Aysha from IIC, Vittorio Bertola, Avril, Bill Drake and his terrifically grounded wife and hangers-on including me, Bertrand de la Chapelle, Jeanette Hoffman (who runs the IG caucus). There was lots of Rubix cube matrixing going on, and lots of spam talk at my end of the table.

Friday and then Saturday over a beer at Heathrow met Denis Gilhooly - we're old friends from various places including Harvard 99-00, and we put the world to rights once more. Denis has stayed creative and relatively sane despite the lunacy of the process - he's one of the very few original thinkers, as well as shaking and moving!

Hope to see them all in Dublin! It was slightly sad not being able to stay more involved in the future - but my future is with Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and China - substantively about telecom regulation, the heavy lifting.

United Nations ICT Berlin meeting

Back from Berlin, where I attended the UN ICT taskforce global forum. It'a strange experience attending a UN meeting - lots of civility but almost no content at all.

They did agree three things: [1] to set up a Global Alliance to replace UN ICT next year, not least because some claim it might be perilously close to the $500,000 minimum funding left in the coffers; [2] to meet in Dublin in April to discuss education, with new Vice-Chairs (see funding gap) Brendan Tuohy of the Irish government and Art O'Reilly from Cisco; [3] to feed into the WSIS process, on Internet governance and funding mechanisms.

But there was no real movement on the two key issues; [1] a Digital Solidarity fund - which was buried under the table; [2] real empirical work on seeing how ICTs do aid development - and whether they really contribute to the NIEO-style top-down Millenium Development Goals.

So lots of talk and not much action, but the networking around the event was fun...more below!

About the blog

I travel far too much dealing with Internet governance issues, telecom regulation or just plain visiting friends. This is a selection of off-the-top-of-my-head postings...

July 2004 - last night of the summer school in Oxford - yours truly in contemplative mode... Posted by Hello

Berlin 2002 - Lena pointing out where she took the spire off the kirche Posted by Hello

February 2004 - Ivan, Nick, Star and Lauren - my last night as a resident in Barcelona Posted by Hello

June 2003 - gorilla in the mist Posted by Hello

Rusechlikon June 2003 - Lauren Hall from Microsoft has found a knife sticking out of my back - left there by the fashion police Posted by Hello

May 2004 - INET Barcelona - collecting a T-shirt for Dimitri Ylsilanti - the nightlife has caught up with me already Posted by Hello