Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:46
From WWIC:"If you tap into the human need to be consulted you can get some interesting reactions. Here are a few: Wikipedia, Stack Overflow, Hunch, Reddit, MetaFilter, YouTube, Twitter, StumbleUpon, About, Quora, Ebay, Yelp, Flickr, IMDB, Amazon.com, Craigslist, GitHub, SourceForge, every messageboard or site with comments, 4Chan, Encyclopedia Dramatica. Plus the entire Open Source movement. If you spend more time on sites like those listed here than you do reading books, watching TV, or visiting sites like ESPN.com or NYTimes.com, then, like me, the web is now your native medium." The web is now your native medium. That's the transition we're going through. Haven't had a TV in years; rarely read a newspaper, unless it's from a Google News link; use Netflix for most of my movies and occasional TV shows a year after syndication; radio or music playing in the background, all off the computer,as I surf; getting into embedding videos on my blog. And sometimes feel guilty that my reading table is not getting used as much as it used to. Have been resisting e-books, mostly to wean myself off the Net, but Google Books may change even that. I've been thinking about an HDTV with a MacMini, just to use as a bigger monitor for all this time spent on the Net and be wireless, move away from the desk to a comfy couch and lose the "hacker shoulders". This transition to my new native medium is driving most of my tech choices. Bruce and Jon's comments today are what is driving most of my content choices. I can certainly see why the kids like mobile as their device of choice.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:52
<scribbled by tcn Fri 7 Jan 11 07:52>
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 07:54
P.S. Man I want those lamps and cardboard furniture. Fantastic. Bruce and Jon, quite a lot to digest for this early in the morning. Thanks.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 09:35
I take your point re: collaboration Jon. Think we are at ground zero there, but it will happen. Clay Shirky on Collaboration:"Conversation can be incredibly valuable where it works well and terrible where it works badly. We need to structure environments to promote the former and discourage the latter; anyone who wants to get value out of convening many minds has to create and maintain the shadow of the future, or else risk activating the witlessness of crowds." http://hbr.org/web/extras/hbr-agenda-2011/clay-shirky Thoughts on creating and maintaining the shadow of the future? Shadow is about all I can see any more.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jan 11 14:14
Clays says "people aren't naturally well behaved; we're well behaved in environments that reward good behavior and punish bad behavior." Can we agree that "people aren't well behaved" as a rule? I know many that are (probably not including me, alas), so I think it's hard to generalize. A great way to keep conversations valuable is to have someone "own" them - here on the WELL, all the conferences or forums have hosts, and those hosts learn to be effective in managing conversations. The key thing is that someone responds when there's bad behavior, discouraging it... and great hosts will find ways to support conversations and behaviors that are, as they say in the "Firefly" universe, "shiny." I think a problem with environments like Facebook and Twitter is that no one owns the conversation, it's a free for all. People do seem to be well enough behaved, but the conversations don't go very deep or last very long.
KUMBAYISTA! (smendler) Fri 7 Jan 11 15:19
having a "conversation" on Twitter is kinda like trying to play badminton between kayaks shooting a Class 4 rapids.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 7 Jan 11 16:06
The state of the world for animals is looking pretty grim. Here's a Google Map of mass animal deaths: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=20181725633988 9828327.0004991bca25af104a22b
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 7 Jan 11 16:16
Life in the wild has never been fun. That's why we forted up against it.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 18:21
When I was in seminary the two loose recapitulations on Luther were: "people are no damn good; and sin and sin boldly":) Think ownership and control of comments are key. One thing I've noticed is that as people have moved away from avatars to managing a real online identity they(we)seem to be more careful with their postings.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 19:02
Can we talk about Net Neutrality, forking the Internet, new backbones for it, privacy, backlash response to Wikileaks/Anonymous? That whole cluster? Where do you both think we're going in the next year? Bruce, your article on Wikileaks, seemed to put the kiddies to bed (for a while). http://www.webstock.org.nz/blog/2010/the-blast-shack/ Any further reflections?
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 19:15
As long as I'm grapeshotting questions, there seem to be a lot of 'elites' on the Net and in the world now: cognitive elites, hacker/programmer elites, global elites ($$). Is this just part of the normal cylce of info explosion, as you have alluded to earlier, or is there something new in the dynamic as the great mandalla takes another spin?
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 20:33
Nick Pugh (nick) Fri 7 Jan 11 21:09
To add to the wikileak pile. any thoughts regarding the US DOJ Subpoena of a current member of the Icelandic Parliament for twitter records? http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/07/twitter/index.htm l
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 7 Jan 11 21:38
Evgeny Morozov on the future of Open Source and IT...http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704415104576065641376054226.html ?mod=rss_Technology
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:17
Mild and sometimes sunny day here in glamorous Belgrade today. Snow melting and running headlong into the gutters.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:21
*I don't doubt that there are many people -- hordes -- who thrive in conversations and group-making. It's also true that certain barriers to group-making have crashed. It's indeed ridiculously easy to form online groups. *That doesn't make them into effective and important groups, though. It makes them the political equivalent of rather mediocre FlickR photos. "Easy to share, cheap to make, and who cares." *This planet is not run by public-spirited online activists who got together because their kids had the croup. Not even. Ultra-wealthy mogul investors are the dominant "group" in 2011. Those guys are about the most private people imaginable. The chance of you giving them feedback that matters? Not on the agenda.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:24
*If everybody has to get online in order to 'participate," that removes the classics from our civic discourse. That means that we can no longer derive advantage from the wisdom of dead people. Because the dead don't "participate." *When I'm reading D'Israeli's CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE, (as many before me have done for two centuries), I'm not consulted in the editorial choices there. I have no Comments section where I can decry the book's unfortunate fondness for boring Scholastic theology. If it were up to me as a participant in the D'Israeli discourse, I'd vote-down all the Latin and Ancient Greek tags. *But there's something impertinent, blinkered and pathetic about that attitude. One does not read a 200-year-old work because it suits the modern milieu. You read it because it doesn't. *I don't wanna get all Nicholas Carr here and claim that Google warps our brains. It's because of Google that I've got myself a scanned copy of Isaac D'Israeli. But it's very valuable to share a written experience that people have had for two centuries. That gives you a way to measure yourself against events and judge the tenor of cultural change. *D'Israeli's analog method of discourse can't suit the algorithms of Facebook. That's a feature, it's not a bug. Zuckerberg, he's an ambitious geek, and I'm okay about him, but his frail, goofy platform should not become some ultimate arbiter of civilized discourse. It isn't, and Zuckerberg himself wouldn't claim that. It's platform-centric critics who are trying to totally remodel our culture around software and online business models -- that's who is off the road and rather out in the briars.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:26
*Facebook won't last, because it can't last. Zuck has built a big rickety gizmo. Goldman Sachs says it's worth 50 billion, but AOL bought Time Warner once, and where are they now? *If you're on Facebook today, you just became the "friend" of Goldman Sachs. Are you all proud about that? Do you want to tell your kids? Bring 'em into the room and gather them around your knee and explain how you "participated" in that. Explain how great that was for their future interests. *It's not a sign of advancement when you can no longer connect with the past. That does not make you free. It makes you useless. You become stupefied when you can no longer learn from the experience of previous generations. If you can't look backward, then you can't look forward. *You have also forfeited your connection to the generations that will exist after your own death. You can't understand your grandparents? Then your grandchildren will be embarrassed by you.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:27
*When "your information medium, communication medium, and social medium are all precisely the same," you are looking at the world through a pinhole. It may well be that certain aspects of "information, communication and sociality" are converging through TCP/IP right now, but that situation won't last. *That situation won't be allowed to stabilize. It won't even be allowed to legalize. Everybody in cyberculture has been meticulously trained in radical disruption. Moore's Law is the only law they have ever respected. The multi-decade track record of innovation there shows wave after wave of technosocial disruption. Every time that new gold rush beckons, most everything built by the pioneers vaporizes like data from a broken hard disk.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:28
*Right now, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are all competing, not in the market, but in rendering one another irrelevant. *The victory condition for Google is a Google browser OS where Apple, Facebook and Microsoft rot away like GeoCities. Because they have become meaningless. The things they sell to stay alive, Google gives away like so much free disk space. *Apple's victory condition is sleek, chrome-lined walled garden where everybody seeks shelter. Because the rest of the IT world is so badly designed and so dysfunctional that no one can make any money there. *Microsoft is the arrogant monopoly that pioneered in "knifing the baby" and "stealing the oxygen." *Facebook redefines the whole shebang as cozy sociality, and then makes you sell your wife, kids, colleagues and best friends to Goldman Sachs. *Then there's the free-software guys. They've got the political mindshare of anarchists or gypsies, but they've always been around. They're not going away, and it may be that time is on their side. *I don't weep in my beer about this. It's fascinating to watch a paradigmatic combat that is so unlike any 20th-century capitalist struggle. But obviously that situation is radically unstable. The participants there are trying to destroy one another's very reasons for being. They don't want the opponent to have less market-share. They want them to vanish. To vaporize. Forever. *And when that paradigm does vanish -- and you were committed to participating in that? -- your works fold up and go away, like so many Delicious links. *"Delicious folded? Why wasn't I consulted?" Consult away, pal. You might consult about CompuServe, while you're at it.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:29
*Twitter pundits coming out of their skins about that Twitter subpoena right now. Jeez, you'd think they owned the thing themselves just because their contributions built it.
Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 8 Jan 11 05:34
<scribbled by bruces Sat 8 Jan 11 05:35>
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:03
That's the Bruce we all know and love. Zounds! So much for cyberutopianism, didn't think that would last long. Don't expect we can hope for any noblesse oblige from the Global Elite. What are they going to do, build their private spaceships while they suck the planet dry? Do they even have a cohesive agenda other than vested self-interest? The planet's future seems to be a coin flip at the moment. A flowchart with Climate Change at the top - solved, notsolved - proceed accordingly. Except there is no customer service number to call.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:32
There are plenty of weapons of mass digital distraction. And you and Jon both stress vaporization. Just part of the flow of chaotic disruption during transitions like this? Or something bigger? <53> "You can potentially be wired to content and games every minute of the day, insulated from the world at large, without thinking a single unique thought of your own. Welcome home, Neo." <94> Really appreciate your 'pinhole' description, visually profound. It struck me a bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass. I'm not sure which pill to take; think I'll take the one that makes me smaller. Part of the Net Delusion that Clay Shirky talks about is that we fall into the illusion that cyberspace allows us to be bigger than we are. No doubt it offers greater connectivity, etc. but at the end of the day ... (fill in the blank). Still, I'm optimistic. Just a better way to travel, IMHO.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 8 Jan 11 06:59
I give talks on the history and future of media, and on the history, evolution, and history of the Internet. I gave the talk this week to a small group gathered for lunch in a coworking space here in Austin, and after hearing the talk a technologist I know, Gray Abbott, suggested that I say more about the coming balkanization of the network as the most likely scenario. The Internet is a network of networks that depends on cooperative peering agreements - I carry your traffic and you carry mine. The high speed Internet is increasingly dependent on the networks of big providers, the telcos or cable companies like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast. They all see the substantial value supported by their networks and want to extract more of it for themselves. They talk about the high cost of bandwidth as a rationale for charging more for services - or metering services - but I think the real issue is value. When you see Google and Facebook and Netflix making bundles of money using your pipes, you want a cut. And if you've also tried to get into the business of providing content, it's bothersome to see your network carrying other competing content services, including guerilla media distribution via BitTorrent. However higher costs could become a barrier. The value of the Internet is a network effect - it's more valuable as more people use it to do more things; cost as a barrier to entry could reduce participation and diminish the Internet's value. Killing the golden goose, so to speak. Low cost barriers also stimulate innovation. If I want to create a television series, aside from production costs, I also have to find a broadcast or cable network that will carry it - I have to get permission, in effect, because broadcast and cable channels are relatively scarce and relatively expensive to get into. Larry Lessig pointed out, in his review of The Social Network, the real story of Mark Zuckerberg - that he could build Facebook from nothing without asking anybody's permission. "Network neutrality" is about limiting restrictions on use and access,not necessarily about controlling cost, though it might mitigate against "toll roads" on the information superhighway. According to the Wikipedia article on net neutrality, "if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access." That doesn't really suggest a low cost of entry, and even with "neutral" networks (or, as we prefer to say these days, an Open Internet), the overall cost of access could increase, or there could be metering that would contain some sorts of activities, like video transmissions. Right now I have unmetered or flat rate access, so I could watch all the Netflix and Hulu I want without additional cost. Time warner or AT&T Uverse customers are dropping the cable television services because they can download all the programs they want via the Internet service from the same company. I can imagine companies looking at stats - more and more customers dropping the service, more and more bandwidth dedicated to streaming and BitTorrent. It's no wonder these companies are feeling cranky, and it's no wonder they're talking about finding ways to charge more money. But this is what their customers want. This isn't really about the Internet as an information service or a platform for sharing and collaboration. This is about the Internet as a channel for media, an alternative to cable television. One fear many of us have had is that big network companies will push that interpretation. "It's time for the Internet to grow up, we want to make a real network with real quality of service, we want to make it more like our cable networks." Which are more tightly controlled, of course, and carry only the content the providers agree to carry.
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