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November 2004 Archives

November 4, 2004


.mobi would at least have been a cool bumper sticker. Now dotMP (think Mobile Phone) comes out with the same ideas -- encoding accessibility from mobile devices into the TLD string --, but without the bumper sticker effect.

See also: Device Independence

ObCorollary: Any possibly lucrative idea that can be implemented in the DNS will, at some point of time, be implemented in some ccTLD, regardless of its actual quality and harmless- or -fulness. Exercise: Apply this corollary to new gTLD criteria.

November 8, 2004

DSL over SEP

Says the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in introducing the SEP field (the Somebody Else's Problem field):

Sometimes, it is much cheaper and easier to make people think that something works, rather than actually make it work. After all, the result is, in all important aspects, the same.

In the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, SEP fields are in high demand, and often used as a replacement for electromagnetic fields. One of the more trivial examples is local GSM operator Tango whose engineering department apparently considers the entire MMS service (and much of its data service) to be an SEP -- more precisely, the marketing department's. These services are advertised, but seem to be non-operational.

Sligtly more bizarre, the local P&T's business customer department, which erected an SEP field to deflect any possibility of putting up DSL for us. After four weeks of waiting time, the problem hit two unsuspecting technicians who were unable to put the necessary cabling in place, erected another SEP field, and deflected the problem at the local soccer club. By an unlikely, but only almost improbable, coincidence, the problem hit the right person there, and cabling was put in place last week. We are told that the problem is going to bounce around inside P&T for another week, at the end of which time we might actually get decent Internet connectivity at home.

Meanwhile, competitiveness with regard to technology and innovation (see page 6) is considered somebody else's problem, too, in particular by these people.

(True Hitchhiker aficionados will notice that Luxembourg shares a significant border with Belgium. The landscape is beautiful, though.)

November 10, 2004

More on DSL in Luxembourg

In my quest to get reasonable home connectivity in Luxembourg, I played with the idea of re-using the modem/router/wi-fi combo device I had been using in Germany. (A Draytek Vigor 2500We, with "Annex B" printed on the back side in large, friendly letters.)

Not so: Turns out that Deutsche Telekom's UR2 standard for DSL connectivity means ITU-T G.992.1 annex B everywhere (even on analogous lines), while Luxembourg P&T is using G.992.1 annex A for POTS, and annex B for ISDN. The local computer store goes even further and warns to only use Zyxel DSL modems in the Grand-Duchy -- everything else, they say, inevitably comes back because it won't interoperate.

Interesting times ahead before Internet access will actually work here...

November 12, 2004

ALAC vacancies

ICANN has just announced two vacancies on ALAC: Esther Dyson and I are both stepping back from the committee. As far as I'm concerned, the reason for stepping back at this point is that I'm busy enough with other obligations, and that I'm finding it increasingly difficult to spend the necessary amount of time and attention on the committee's work.

I believe that the committee is facing three key challenges at this point.

First, policy work needs even more attention than it has had so far. Yes, we have been able to get involved with just about every GNSO policy process that was initiated over the past two years. But ALAC needs to devote more of its collective attention to these processes. And ALAC must, ultimately, be given more formal influence on policy decisions made.

Second, ALAC needs to get its "at-large structures" and "RALOs" up to speed, so future vacancies of initial members can be filled by elections, as opposed to the present ad-hoc process involving ALAC and the Board. I'm increasingly skeptical about using RALOs as instruments for policy input, though: ICANN issues -- while they can have quite a bit of impact on individual Internet users -- are often rated as low priorities by potential ALSs, when compared to, say, the copyright outrage of the day. At the same time, these issues can be rather complex, and require quite a bit of time and effort to cut through. Ultimately, I believe that the model of having a bunch of dedicated people serve on an advisory committee and do the policy work, with the at-large structures providing accountability, is the way to go.

Third, ALAC needs to become more open. While ALSs may not be able to spend the collective attention needed on ICANN topics, individuals who do follow these issues appear occasionally. ALAC must be able to get these people involved, and ALAC must be able to bring these people together with the "at-large structures."

There is another challenge that ALAC has to deal with: The legacy of the at-large elections in 2000. For many people, ALAC looks like a poor replacement to having prestigious board seats and global elections. In a way, that's true. But look at the policy-making reality: Board members rarely intervene with actual policy issues (new TLDs being the notable exception); when a consensus policy arrives on the board's table, that's usually in the end of a long and complex (and often frustrating) negotiating process. ALAC provides the opportunity to get involved with these negotiations.

If you are interested in serving on ALAC, want to make sure individual Internet users' voice is heared in ICANN's policy decisions, and are from North America or Europe (there are no vacancies for other regions at this point), please let the committee know at <committee(at)alac.icann.org>.

To those colleagues who continue to serve on the committee (and to new volunteers entering it), I wish good luck, and much success. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you guys.

November 13, 2004

ICANN aggregator supports enclosures

The ICANN Blog Aggregator now supports enclosures: In the end of articles like Bret's Audio Lextext 5 (aggregated version, for the moment), you'll find a bullet point list of enclosures.

Let me know if you observe any problems.

November 14, 2004

Sony-Ericsson T630, Linux, and IRDA

Alessandro Dalvit has a nice page on the Sony Ericsson T630 and Linux.

In particular, he points out that in order to work around a bug in the T630, one has to do this:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/irda/max_tx_window

Now, that thing finally works as a modem with my laptop. Nice.

November 18, 2004

The IP Lobby's Place in ICANN

techbodies.pngRoss Rader writes on the IP lobby's role in Internet (and ICANN) matters, and vents quite a bit of frustration.

ICANN, meanwhile, has assigned a new role to Intellectual Property Interests in its Strategic Plan: The same people who want to enforce the accuracy of WHOIS data elements which aren't even collected according to the RAA (namely, registrant phone number, facsimile number, and e-mail address) are now, on page 7 of the plan, classified as "technical bodies and organizations."

While I'm on it, another interesting part of the plan is its description of the Policy Development Process on pages 12 and 13, where Advisory Committees now submit policies to the ICANN Board for ratification. (They can't.)

November 22, 2004

LuxDSL next week. Really.

At least, that's what we've been told for the past three weeks, in varying words. Last week was the first time that they gave us a precise time line -- according to which things should work now, as in, "this minute." Today, we called to "activate" DSL (another of these useless extra hassles which P&T Luxembourg forces on its customers) , and were told that we should rather wait another week (or maybe longer), so they could actually do the work they were supposed to do last week.

Update, Tuesday: After bugging more people over the phone, it's now "no later than Friday afternoon; the letter with new access data has been sent out." I have no idea what we need new access data for, but hey, that counts as a minor problem.

November 25, 2004

A customer-centric business process

The DSL-in-Luxembourg saga continues: Apparently, the final steps of the relevant business process are based on the customer regularly calling some hotline number. This call is entirely futile unless engineering has put in place some missing cable, somewhere. Only after the customer's call, another, final engineering step is possible. The only way for the customer to detect whether that damned cable is in place is calling, and being placed on hold until the customer service representative has talked to the engineering department.

That was fast.


Six weeks. What a day.

November 26, 2004


Finally, back online. But, of course, not without a final bit of absurdity.

We called P&T around noon, asking for the state of affairs. The technical department told us that, well, maybe they were going to do their work this afternoon, maybe not, and we couldn't do activation today. We were further told that the commercial branch was evil, and promising unrealistic time lines out of the blue. We called the commercial branch, and asked what this was supposed to mean -- after all, we had been promised "no later than Friday afternoon." Well, they told us, call at 4pm.

We did, and -- surprise! -- the technical branch's hotline was indeed able to find an engineer who could then perform the final steps.

About November 2004

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in November 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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