Excerpt from 2012 SXSW talk by Bruce Sterling:
[There’s] a new phenomena that I like to call the Stacks [vertically integrated social media]. And we’ve got five of them — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The future of the stacks is basically to take over the internet and render it irrelevant. They’re not hostile to the internet — they’re just [looking after] their own situation. And they all think they’ll be the one Stack… and render the others irrelevant. And they’ll all be rendered irrelevant. That’s the future of the Stacks.
People like the Stacks, [because] the internet is scary now — so what’s the problem there? None of them offer any prosperity or security to their human participants, except for their shareholders. The internet has users. Stack people are livestock — ignorant of what’s going on, and moving from on stack to another. The Stacks really, really want to know you’re a dog.
They’re annihilating other media… The Lords of the Stacks. And they’re not bad guys — I’d be happy to buy them a beer. But really, a free people would not be so dependent on a Napoleonic mobile people. What if Mark Zuckerberg trips over a skateboard?
This structure won’t last very long… But you’re really core people for them and their interests. You are them. I’m them. And your kids are going to ask embarrassing questions about them. And there are voices here and there complaining about them, [like] Jonathan Franzen. He says Twitter is destroying literature. And he’s right. So don’t make fun of him. He’s telling the truth.
1 year agoMay 15, 2012 5 notes Reblog
Douglas Coupland puts forward design concept of public wireless utilities that blend into the city, in this case, Vancouver:
Vancouver writer and artist Douglas Coupland, today at the New Cities Summit in Paris, unveiled the V‑Pole, a simple proposal for the future of complex urban utilities, including wi-fi and wireless data traffic.
The V-Pole (‘V’ for Vancouver) is a slim, modular utility pole connected to underground optical wiring. In a simple Lego-like manner, it can be installed in urban settings and provides neighborhoods with wi-fi and mobile wireless, LED street lighting, electric vehicle charging, parking transactions and can act as an electronic neighborhood bulletin board.
The V-Pole will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than the current generation of utility structures found on city streets, and will reduce visual clutter along the streetscape.
“The wireless data game has changed,” said Coupland. “Data transmission is no longer something scary you don’t want in your back yard. Now you want it directly in front of your house.”
More of this please.Thanks Prosthetic Knowledge
1 year agoMay 15, 2012 62 notes Reblog
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian
Via: Guardian Article by Stuart Jeffries
Why we must remember to delete – and forget – in the digital age
Human knowledge is based on memory. But does the digital age force us to remember too much? Viktor Mayer-Schönberger argues that we must delete and let go
1 year agoMarch 11, 2012 Reblog
What the Internet Is and
How to Stop Mistaking It
for Something Else
This is the essay in a nut shell:
- The Internet isn’t complicated
- The Internet isn’t a thing. It’s an agreement.
- The Internet is stupid.
- Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
- All the Internet’s value grows on its edges.
- Money moves to the suburbs.
- The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
- The Internet’s three virtues:
a. No one owns it
b. Everyone can use it
c. Anyone can improve it
- If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
- Some mistakes we can stop making already
Well worth reading
1 year agoDecember 5, 2011 1 note Reblog
U.S./European technology will help the Syrian regime track citizens. A Milan-based surveillance company, Area SpA, is currently installing a surveillance system in Syria that can “intercept, scan and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country.”
When the system is complete, Syrian security agents will be able to follow targets on flat-screen workstations that display communications and Web use in near-real time alongside graphics that map citizens’ networks of electronic contacts, according to the documents and two people familiar with the plans.
Equipment for this technology comes from California’s NetApp Inc, Paris’s Qosmos SA and Germany’s Utimaco Safeware AG. — Bloomberg
1 year agoNovember 5, 2011 5 notes Reblog
Derek Powazek has written up a manifesto about the guiding principles of the internet. These two, in particular, are extremely important:
1. The internet is neutral. It is neither good nor bad. People have motivations, the internet does not.
9. More information is better than less. Freedom to connect to others is a fundamental human right.
(via Derek Powazek)
Something new to follow
2 years agoJune 12, 2011 4 notes Reblog
Via: Electronic Freedom Foundation
The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is a threatening sequel to last year’s COICA Internet censorship bill that would—like its predecessor—invite Internet security risks, threaten online speech, and hamper Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this dangerous bill!
Big media and its allies in Congress are billing the PROTECT IP Act as a new way to prevent online infringement. But innovation and free speech advocates know that PIPA is nothing more than a dangerous wish list that will compromise Internet security while doing little or nothing to encourage creative expression.
PROTECT IP = Private Rightsholders Opposed To Emerging Consumer Technologies, Innovation, and Progress
As drafted, the bill seeks to stop websites believed to be “dedicated” to “infringing activities” by granting the government the unprecedented power to attack the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users’ attempts to reach certain websites’ URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.
It gets worse: the bill uses the following dangerously expansive definition of DNS server: “a server or other mechanism used to provide the Internet protocol address associated with a domain name.” This loose, uncabined definition could lead to the targeting of other technologies—like operating systems, email clients, web clients, routers, and more—that are capable of providing IP addresses when given domain names like a traditional DNS server.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the Senate version of the bill, taking a principled stand against a very dangerous bill. But every Senator and Representative should be opposing the PROTECT IP Act — contact your members of Congress today to speak out!
2 years agoJune 7, 2011 13 notes Reblog
Graphene-powered web could download 3-D movies in seconds, give MPAA nightmares
Graphene, is there anything it can’t do? Researchers are already trying to put it in processors, fuel cells, and batteries — now your internet connection might get ten-times faster thanks to the silicon successor.
Researchers at UC Berkeley have created tiny, one-atom-thick modulators that could switch the data-carrying light on and off in a fiber-optic connection much faster than current technology.
2 years agoMay 19, 2011 72 notes Reblog
The opening of a talk by Vernor Vinge
There has been an interesting evolution of opinion about the impact of technology on human freedom:
- Up until about the year 1984, the vision of George Orwell’s novel 1984 was probably dominant, namely that technology would empower state tyranny to forever squash freedom.
- From the year 1984 until near the end of the twentieth century, the other extreme grew in popularity (eg, Tim May’s “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto”). In this view, computer networks would raise the power of individuals above that of the State.
- Since the late 1990s, there are those who see “How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle” (John Walker, “The Digital Imprimatur”).
Of course, the future is probably “none of the above”. In particular, I think it’s possible that some form of populism will dominate.
Read entire piece here
2 years agoMay 18, 2011 8 notes Reblog
Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. was sued over claims that applications for the company’s iPhone and iPad transmit users’ personal information to advertising networks without customers’ consent.
Read complete article
2 years agoDecember 27, 2010 2 notes Reblog
Reported by EFF; In a landmark decision issued December 14th in the criminal appeal of U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers
“Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection…. It follows that email requires strong protection under the Fourth Amendment; otherwise the Fourth Amendment would prove an ineffective guardian of private communication, an essential purpose it has long been recognized to serve…. [T]he police may not storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call—unless they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber’s emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement….”
This decision is the only federal appellate decision currently on the books that squarely rules on this critically important privacy issue, an issue made all the more important by the fact that current federal law—in particular, the Stored Communications Act — allows the government to secretly obtain emails without a warrant in many situations.
2 years agoDecember 16, 2010 4 notes Reblog
BitTorrent is a great technology to share files both quickly and efficiently, but like all other P2P-technologies it has an Achilles’ heel. The download process relies in part on central servers that can crash or go offline for a variety of reasons. To address this vulnerability the first truly decentralized BitTorrent/P2P client has been developed, meaning that no central trackers, or even BitTorrent search engines are required to download movies, software and music.
2 years agoDecember 9, 2010 4 notes Reblog