As promised, political change is upon us. To help navigate the currents, I’ve turned to the observation from a former mentor that all political wisdom is contained in the "Godfather" and "Terminator" movies.

One key to the saga of the Corleone family is the question of legitimacy. Within one set of rules, you have it. Within another, you don’t. Moving between one and the other is tricky. As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in Godfather III cried in frustration: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

To confuse matters, rules and their application change. Congress flirts with protectionism, nationalizes the banks, you name it. A company can comply with, flaunt or contest a law. Technology itself sometimes changes the game.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet applications are one case of technology moving, via court settlements, from bad-boy to good-boy status. Remote storage digital video recording (RS-DVR) is another example of courts giving technology a red-light/green-light treatment. Data network management policies remain a currently contested area.

More disputes are looming. Regulators and the cable industry hammered out signal leakage policy a few decades ago, but the arrival of all-digital cable systems is reviving the question.

As for broadband policy and white spaces, the image that suggests itself is the liquid metal, shape-shifting substance from the second "Terminator" movie. It’s tough for policymakers to fix a bead on targets that morph from one medium and service category to another, and back again.

Turning aside from politics and toward that basic human need for very fast, potent weaponry, allow me to draw attention to the article on DOCSIS 3.0. (And thanks to our award-winning designer Vince Lim for the photo that highlights the title’s allusion to the words from Tom Cruise in "Top Gun.") If you’d like to hear more from authors Brady Volpe and John Downey and haven’t done so already, go to our Web site and register to hear them in a free webcast. (Click here.) You’ll be joining more than 1,600 others who have.

Jonathan Tombes
Editor

The Daily

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