Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our Internet Overlords...

Google is clamping down on paid Text-link ads (while they consolidate control over 85% of the online ad market through the DoubleClick acquisition)

Comcast is banning and kicking off "bandwidth hogs" (e.g. Joost & Video users) While they continue to very profitably grow HD & OnDemand video service AND take telephone phone subscribers from the Bell phone companies)

Why is it that 2 Net-Centric forward thinking and "creative disrupters" like Comcast and Google are staring to act, "evil" ?

Business x.0 is always just Business, I guess.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

More on the Net, Neutrality, and it's finality.

The internet has been around since Sept. 2, 1969. That's when Leonard Kleinrock supervised the first exchange of data over ARPANET

Almost 40 years later, the Internet is carrying and supporting mindboggling amounts of information, and it is only increasing as more people get connected.

Some that have been there since the beginning, think it's crazy that it even works as well as it does (!)

It's not surprising that engineers want to re-tool the underlying infrastructure of the web, but increasingly researchers are calling for scrapping the entire thing! Many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to deal with the issues of mobility, security, and other challenges that have cropped up since Moore's Law started rolling down the global tack.

What is interesting to this blogger are some comments in the Yahoo/AP piece that were made by Google's "Colin Powell" of Net Public Relations, Mr. Vint Cerf. He wasn't quoted directly so his words may be tailored somewhat to make the authors point, but the inference is well...I'll just copy the quote and let you decide:

Even Vinton Cerf, one of the Internet's founding fathers as co-developer of the key communications techniques, said the exercise was "generally healthy" because the current technology "does not satisfy all needs."

I'm not saying TCP/IP ain't great because it is (I don't think anyone thinks it should be scrapped), but here's my question...

...on a philosophical level, the expectation to treat each packet equally is strained when it's acknowledged that the network doesn't satisfy all needs, isn't it?

Just sayin'....

Digg the Story.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On why Net Neutrality is stillborn and there will be no funeral.

I've come to the conclusion that the impassioned "Net Neutrality" topic is not only mutual hubris (from both sides of the issue) but a dead horse.

My gut feeling was validated last night when Robert X Cringely dropped his latest column, "We Don't Need No Stinking Best Effort: Net neutrality may have been just a fantasy all along."

In a nutshell, ISP's already give priority to certain packets (DNS for example, as they should -- we all want our pages to load faster), the cable company has already configured their network to give priority to VoIP (as they should -- you don't have to buy VoIP from them to get Net access, or television.) Beside that, the ISP's have a number of other tricks up their sleeves to throttle bandwidth either way- even in a ways that might seem to enforce Net Neutrality, but in reality might make the web slower!

Before you think I've lost my mind and turned trust over to the telco's & ISPs let me back up and put the whole "argument" in perspective: There is NO Neutral Ground in this battle. The players aren't even speaking to the same issues half the time. At the end of the day...It's all about who pays. The Content Providers or the Users. The content providers don't want to pay. By wrapping the issue up in emotion (and even legislation) safeguards are added against efforts to make them pay. My question, since this has become an emotional & misunderstood issue for the public at large is, how concerned are they about us paying more?

Google and it's faithful got spooked to shit, when they heard that Ed Whitacre, the CEO of AT&T, wanted to make Google pay him for generating traffic that passed over his wires. This comment was pure success (revenue) envy - it's a big stretch for AT&T to try and extract money from Google just for being a destination of their customers! If Google or any other content providers are cause for network congestion on a carriers network, it stands to reason that the carriers customers (you know, the ones already paying for the service) are the ones generating that traffic - regardless of what kind of traffic it is!

Packet Prioritization will find a way be neutral enough for the corporate proponents of Net Neutrality as long as they don't have to pay for it. We will, and we always do.

That's just the way it goes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finding Prescience amidst old links

So I've installed and begun using my stumble-upon and WOW, what a cool surf toy. I could loose HOURS to it.

Sometimes though, I find the best stuff searching for exact phrases. Running with my "information wants to be free" thread I found the following story in Wired Magazine's online archives.

This article was written in 1994. There were no MP3's yet, let alone Internet Explorer, let alone widespread Internet adoption (Think 28K dial-up modems & like Prodigy or CompuServe with no images, baby) and he is essentially foretelling file sharing and DRM.

What's amazing about this piece is how on point John's vision was back then. It's mind blowing that this was 13 years ago already .

Its 16 pages long, but worth every word. Print it out and enjoy!
It's called: The Economy of Ideas

Information Wants To Be Free

The second law of thermodynamics (as phrased by Rudolf Cluasius) states that:

The Entropy of the Universe tends to a maximum

This applies to information science in the following way:

once information has passed to a new location outside of the source's control there is no way of ensuring it is not propagated further and therefore will naturally tend towards a state where that information is widely distributed.

Therefore, on "the command line of the Internet," Information really doesn't need an "address" it only needs a name.

There's an interesting video of a lecture by the former Chief Scientist of Cisco Systems that you can watch and/or download to your desktop or ipod here. After giving an extremely informative overview of the history of the telephone network and internet, he connects the dots cleverly to conclude with aforementioned concept.

I'll go a step further and add my own piece: Public Information is free information. Let it breath - Let it move around. Art is meant to be enjoyed, It should be on display for the world to see. Music is meant to be heard, It should be played and shared freely. Things that make humanity better should be free. This doesn't mean people can't maintain ownership, or credit, or get paid, or that there can't be a price for someone's goods or services, but generally speaking...information should be "free"

"When information is generally useful, redistributing it makes humanity wealthier no matter who is distributing and no matter who is receiving".

Indeed As Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, likes to point out, When they (and I too, in this regard) mean "Free," it is meant:

"Free as in 'Free Speech' not (necessarily), Free as in 'Free Beer' "

Friday, April 06, 2007

The World Needs Open Source Mega-Search

Open Source, Mega - Search.

Proprietary Search Engines are just that, Proprietary. Calacanis highlights the issue with regard to Metasearch, asking if it's even legal or not. (it appears by many Big Search TOS's that MetaSearch is NOT legal, btw)

The famous Page Rank (tm) Algorithm is proprietary and still largely secret. Remembering that fact helps to put in perspective that the emphasis in, "Google's Index of All the World's Information" in reality is, "Google's Index of all the World's Information."

This comment goes even further:

"Why is it then that our current most modern Meaning Economy is a text box dictatorship? Why in such an advanced civilization have we become Knowledge Peasants whom are so easily placated by the black magic of our Goovernor? Am I the only one wondering why these commercial boxes own such an important social function: what everything means?"

Is anyone completely comfortable with closed & proprietary systems determining how information is accessed and what it means to us?

As the Network and the Computer converge, the concept of Open Source should scale to Search. The idea of "Open Source + Search" is a broad one. It's about Networks of Information & Content Aggregation sharing their Indexes and literally "what runs under the hood" with each other.

Powerful shared and distributed computing systems like Amazon's Elastic Cloud can be leveraged to deploy deep spidering applications, or Mega Crawlers, to instantaneously tease-out very tailored & specific information from the vastness of the entire web (by the web, for the web)

Further out, with the acceleration of Moore's Law combined with the adoption of "consumer information trapping" technologies, this distributed search index could integrate smaller nodes, end users, much like a P2P -or- BitTorrent Network.

Thus, in this hybrid network of networks and eventually peer-able grid, nodes will share & mine each others databases, normalize the collective results, and deliver massive amounts of relevant content to the public by way of an algorithmically open source search architecture under the GPL.

(and of course, the costs of this not-for-profit endeavor could be defrayed by monetizing the search engine results contextually with Adsense account? ;-)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bringing together to best of YOUR web with RSS

"Yes, Virginia...your content does blend!"

Despite the lack of mainstream adoption, developers and web programmers continue to push the enevelope with feed-related technologies. (most widely on display with Yahoo's Pipes effort)

So what happens when you can aggregate your various favorite feeds in new and different ways? You can essentially make your own personal self-updating "information portal." My personal favorite tool for this is FeedBlendr. Combine it with Feedburner and you can come up with some pretty cool, and personalized "Blended Rivers of Information"

For example, Here's a little blend I made...It's a "Blend of Blends" actually, -- I call it the RSSpectMeme

If you are a regular or semi-regular visitor you may have noticed it's addition as a widget on the right-side...(pardon the meta reference)

It's comprised of's Front Page Stories (-minus the votes & with direct links to the FA's), Front Page Stories (+the descriptions), and's homepage feed. Those are my three favorite sites and combining them into a single feed gives me (and anyone else who wants to view/subscribe to it) a single source for 3 barometers for what's "hot" right now.

Hold tight for blends that contain mixed media...