Tying Up Loose Ends

Knight Rider's return marks both closure and a jumping-off point

Since I spent two columns bemoaning the absence of "Knight Rider" from the small screen, first in criticism of broadcast TVs use of free spectrum, and second while questioning the approach of content owners toward file sharing, I feel compelled to report that the exploits of everyones favorite man who does not exist are again available for viewing, weekdays at 5 p.m. on the SciFi channel.

Now, while a public service announcement of this sort could arguably stand on its own, the return of "Knight Rider" marks a good place to update some related issues.

First, in wondering what better uses we could find for our electromagnetic spectrum, I wrote about wireless broadband as one such use, and pointed out a piece of proposed legislation, the Jumpstart Broadband Act, that would direct the FCC to set aside spectrum (although not at televisions expense) for wireless broadband. I promised several readers that Id post a link to the legislation once one was available, and you now can go to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and search for S.159.IS to check it out.

In the meantime, the IEEE has formed a working group, labeled 802.16, to "develop standards and recommended practices to support the development and deployment of broadband Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks," and the Defense Department and a group of tech companies have come to terms on limiting wireless interference between military applications and WiFi.

Also, theres to be a conference at Stanford in March, titled "Spectrum Policy: Property or Commons?" that should produce some interesting discussion on these and related issues—maybe Ill see you there.

Circling back to the question of "Knight Rider" episode-sharing, appearing recently on Salon.com was an excellent paper on file sharing and its impact on the content business (particularly on the music industry) written by John Snyder, a board member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. The piece does a great job summing up the file sharing debate both now and moving forward, and I highly recommend that you check it out.

Of course, any loose end worth tying tends to give way to other loose ends. For me, the return of Hasselhoff and Co. coincides perfectly with my in-progress, mini-itx-based set-top box project, which I intend to use for time-shifted viewing of all the action.

Ill let you know how it goes.

Time-shifted "Knight Rider," spectrum reallocation and tiny computers—its open lines night at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.