Friday, January 02, 2004

Pricing and architecture of the Internet

Pricing and architecture of the Internet: Historical perspectives from telecommunications and transportation, by Andrew Odlyzko.

Looks interesting from the abstract...

Abstract: With telecommunications in a slump, the search is on for ways to re-invigorate this key industry. The main problems are clearly economic much more than technological, and many of the proposed remedies would lead to new architectures for the Internet that would provide for greater control by carriers. They would drastically reduce the role of the end-to-end principle, the main foundation for the success of the Internet, in which functionality resides at the edges of the network. The proposals to restrict voice over Internet (VoIP) are just one part of this trend.
Historical precedents from telecommunications for introduction of differentiated services and sophisticated charging methods on the Internet are discouraging. The almost universal trend has been towards decreasing price discrimination and simpler pricing.
The history of transportation presents a different picture, with frequent movements towards increasing price discrimination and more complicated pricing (although with many noteworthy reversals). Charging according to the nature of the goods being transported has been and continues to be the norm. Since the incentives to price discriminate are increasing, and the ability to do so is also growing, it is conceivable that telecommunications might break with its historical record and follow the example of transportation. It is therefore of interest to examine the evolution of pricing and quality differentiation in transportation.
Some historical sketches on the evolution of pricing in transportation are presented. Their implications for telecommunications, and especially for Internet pricing and architecture, are discussed.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Literally! I got > 160 on the LSAT.

I am quite pleased with this result.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Astute, as always

Doug Merrill, over at A Fistful of Euros, wins game, set, and match on Bush v. Dean:

"Former Vermont governor Howard Dean stands on the brink of a remarkable achievement in American politics, having transformed himself from rank obscurity to clear favorite for his party's presidential nomination. But rarely has a front-runner begun an election year with as many questions swirling around him as the man who rewrote the rules in presidential politics the past 12 months."
Coming from someone whose profession is supposed to be reporting on American politics, the second sentence is rankest stupidity.
For confirmation, look no further than the challenger from the party out of power four years ago. No primaries had been held, but GW Bush was a front-runner who had rewritten the rules of presidential politics, and he had an enormous number of questions swirling about him. And they were far more serious than those swirling around Gov. Dean right now: Bush was an admitted alcoholic until the time he turned 40; he was governor of Texas, a post the quirks of history left with far less political power than the state's Lieutenant governor; he had a poor record of convincing people to do his bidding; most of his career involved questionable business deals that traded on his name. None of that, of course, kept him from the White House.

...tagging Dean as someone who rewrote the rules is actually an astute observazion [my emphasis -- Sid], maybe even the most important one he could possibly make. Because rewriting the rules is precisely what GW Bush did in 2000, what Bill Clinton did in 1992, what GHW Bush did in 1988, what Ronald Reagan did in 1980, and what Jimmy Carter did in 1976, which is about as far back as my political memory reaches. If Dean really is rewriting the rules, then he is exercising the single most important presidential skill: dominating the national agenda.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Life and all that Crap

It's occurred to me I've been posting a lot of politics and not much else. This is unlikely to change in the immediate future, as to say I care passionately about getting some change in the executive branch ASAP, rolling back some of the recent affronts to my civil liberties, and protecting the voting process, merely to mention three items off the top of my head, would be an understatement of such magnitude as to border on untruth.

However. I *do* have a life.

Point the First: The novel is in stagnant water. I suspect the last 20% will be the hardest to actually *write*. And that's not counting the excruiciating re-writing to come.
Point the Second: I'm working a contract for requirements and system analysis up in LA. This will cut into my rant time, what with the long commute, but it's not driving me crazy yet. Get it? Driving me crazy? Commute? Ha ha ha. I crack me up. This gig has no coding, which is both odd, and rather a treat. It's been much easier to leave the work at work, so far. And working for Hot Topic is simply the end. Yep. Relentlessly untrendy me, working for Hot Topic. One of life's little ironies. I'm listening to audio tapes of Lincoln's Prose and Lincoln's Letters on the drive home at the moment. Yes, Abraham Lincoln, the dead president. Him. He's not doing the reading himself. I definitely would like to get dead tree copies of his prose and letters.
Point the Third: My submission to the Writer's of the Future contest from last year has apparently been stuck in a box somewhere and only recently emerged into the light of day. It is now submitted for this quarter's contest. I am not exactly 'pleased' with this turn of events, although "lost" is a step up from "so bad you didn't warrant a letter telling you how bad it is".
Point the Fourth: The Christmas gifts were well received, so far as I can tell. Meinen Bruder has not been in touch.
Point the Fifth: I haven't sold a single story this year, dammit! The novel-as-excuse can only work for so long! But I did a rewrite on "Song of the Ghost Ship" and sent I think it's quite improved, and I was pretty happy with it to begin with.
Point the Sixth: Parental types are coming down for New Year's Eve. Should be fun. We had a *fantastic* meal Christmas day, I've no idea if I can top it. Which reminds me...must email maternal relative recipe for pickled ginger.

That's everything I can think of at the moment.