I’m “fighting” back

I’m really not particularly convinced that Twitter is at all a sensible thing. However, today thanks to T’w’r, I discovered that it is “the day we fight back“, and (despite feeling that this is armchair activism at it’s most lazy) I have added the banner to my site. I dare say no one will see it, nor will anyone read this, but at least I know that I am rather annoyed that the lovely internet is becoming a nasty panopticon.

I don’t think this banner-adding could be called “fighting”, but as soon as it’s announced I will very gladly join the bicycle-based task-force that shall tour the suburbs installing wireless meshnet nodes and helping people become responsible for their own electronic communication. That’ll be fighting.

Facebook is NOT the web

Facebook wants to get people into their clutches, and obscure the fact that there is a world-wide web of stuff out there. They will probably succeed, too; more’s the pity. Still, I’ll continue to avoid them, just in case they do require my participation to ensure full world-domination.

Facebook and Google spread ‘their’ net across the mobile world, by John Naughton in The Observer, Sunday 24 March 2013:

It’s a smart strategy, and it will have one predictable outcome, namely, that many new users of the internet from poor countries will think that Facebook (or Google) is the Internet. This would be a particularly pernicious outcome for those who find themselves inside Facebook’s walled garden, because it’s much more comprehensively fenced than anything yet constructed by Google.

Why does this matter? Well, in a way, it comes back to the guys who won the Queen Elizabeth prize. The network that Cerf and Kahn built was deliberately designed as an open, permissive system. Anyone could use it, and if you had an idea that could be realised in software, then the net would do it for you, with no questions asked. Tim Berners-Lee had such an idea – the web – and the internet enabled it to happen. And Berners-Lee made the web open in the same spirit, so Mark Zuckerberg was able to build Facebook on those open foundations.

But Zuckerberg has no intention of allowing anyone to use Facebook as the foundation for building anything that he doesn’t control. He’s kicking away the ladder up which he climbed, in other words.

Of course we can do it

I read a few posts this morning about the wonders of open software and how it can help ‘the 99%’. Nothing new there, in the techno-optimism, nor with the “yes, but” reactions to it. It’s heartening to read it, though; there’s far too many people harping on about the delights of the iPhone.

One thing that does strike me is that we really do already have the tools for this open paradigm: we don’t need some new crew of idealists to come along and build a Faceboo’ replacement, or invent some new way of storing files (or remove the necessity for doing so). We just need to stick to the open standards and apply a tiny amount of conservatism when it comes to choosing the next groovy technology that we’re to trust. Not very difficult, and yet people run to cast their lot in with corporations who give barely a nod to these ideas.

Perhaps Bruce Love is correct, and a practical distributed and decentralized net can be built trivially using a mix of explicit peering with rsync and rss for open peering. Seems simple to me; just needs to have a GUI that makes it look like an iPhone, I guess.

It’s Okay (I Guess).

I have begun dressing the ash, but am quite disheartened today; I don’t want to be doing it. I feel like my work is not ‘good enough’, too rough, or ugly… Why this society, myself included, is so hung up on the smooth, square, fair, straight, even and ‘perfect’ I do not know! I like things to be neat, orderly, clean, structured, yes — but why does that mean I should feel this incompetent when I struggle to make things so? Aagh…. As usual when I am in this state I have come to find solace in the internet (please note irony!), and at least the quiet of the library is nice…. I have been reading about the Inaccessibility of Visually-Oriented Anti-Robot Tests. Fascinating.

I love the physicality of woodworking, the way that it engages my whole body and soul — but not, alas, my mind. What I mean is that I don’t turn to wood to be challenged in a cerebral way; rather, I find with wood a calming and a satisfaction that is on a wholely other level, more in my hands than my head. The problem solving inherent in woodworking is entertaining, but it’s nowhere near the level I find in programming. Thus is the eternal division in my life… sigh…