Wednesday, March 05, 2008

F2C: Highly Recommended

The 3rd Freedom To Connect Conference (F2C) is being held in Washington on March 1st and April lst.

I recommend it highly. Go get on board now. Prices go up March the 7th (this Friday!) I went to the inaugural meeting and am going again this year. A fascinating crew shows up and, like most good conferences the best takes place in the halls and over lunch-time hoagies — but unlike most the sessions are worth every penny. Smart people saying what they actually believe. Nothing is more invigorating—including that silly trip to Cancun you thought might be energizing.

F2C is the brainchild of David Isenberg, a funny, fiesty fellow of just the gadfly sort we approve of here at LPF. The idea is to get a bunch of smart committed people interested in sustaining our "Freedom To Connect" over modern networks together and let them go to it. (Isenberg has a more reasonable-sounding description, I think he's being politic.) This year the theme is "The NetHeads Come to Washington" and the contrast is implicitly between the beltway "bellheads" and the insurgents from the restless hinterlands. Isenberg is the "Original NetHead®;" he is the fellow who coined the approving phrase "the stupid network" to describe the architecture of the internet, which places processing "intelligence" at the edges of the network (i.e. at Google and at your 'puter) and to contrast it with the old Bell telephone network (where all the intelligence is in the switches and your phone is as dumb as a rock). You might be under the impression that Net Neutrality is a new issue. You'd be wrong--at least about the underlying philosophical differences involved. Those are as old as the internet itself. Check out the 1996 Wired screed that is the first reference I know of to "Netheads vs. Bellheads." The contrast between the two sides—right down to the core issues of money, control, and Quality Of Service vs. raw bandwidth have been on the table for years for those in the know. Isenberg gathers up those sorts of prescient folks. If you'd like to be a decade ahead of the curve you oughta consider the conference.

Take a look at the agenda. You'll find folks from all over the world (Amsterdam's FTTH guru Dirk van der Woude anyone?), industry stalwarts (like Ron Sege, head of Tropos that is supplying LUS' wireless network), all around brilliant types (Clay Shirky, Susan Crawford and almost anyone you care to pick off the list), legal eagles and advocates, (Jim Baller, Matt Stoller) and even the occasional local activist type (modesty forbids)...

It should be interesting.

Get a clue: if you can, go.

And if you can't click into the web stream; that's what I did last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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