Posts Tagged ‘distributed’

Plutonian Striptease I: Rob Myers

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

astounding stories of super science - brigands of the moon

First in a series of interviews with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Rob Myers is an artist, writer and hacker based in Peterborough, England. He is part of the GNU Social team. GNU social is a decentralized social network that you can install on your own server. Project catchphrase:

What if you could authorize your server to reveal as much, or as little information about you to other sites, as you wish… one time, one day, or forever?.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
Often it’s moral panics of the sort that accompany the spread of any new technology. But there’s a growing awareness in old media that social networking software sites are starting to gain the kind of hold on human communication that postal, telegraph, and telephone networks have had in the past. That kind of power is always abused. Old media used to and still does where it can. (more…)

The Art of Surviving in Simcities

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Here is a post from a chapter that I wrote for the Walled Garden publication released in 2009 by Virtueel Platform as a follow up of the 2008 Walled Garden conference in Amsterdam. The book was edited by Annet Dekker en Annette Wolfsberger. Reading my paper again today, I did not change my mind on the issues of “information exhibitionism” and “privacy as currency for gratis services”, but I would certainly mention the recent discussions that are happening in the GNU Social list, as well as several other efforts to develop social software as a distributed infrastructure.


Used and abused by many, the notion of “2.0, 3.0, x.0” is mostly jargon that inherited its vagueness from a desire to inflate technological value and its cultural impact. This is nothing but a commercial attempt to resuscitate the dotcom era by promising a future of connected services and communication. Unfortunately there is nothing new in terms of network infrastructure nor in terms of how people have used the Internet to date. At most, another layer of abstraction has been built on pre-existing technology, and some interoperability has been added in terms of data exchange. It doesn’t matter though, if all this vapour ends up either up in the clouds, or stuck in condensation on some forgotten server. All of us are experiencing how the use of the Internet and the growing dependence on computation has a serious impact on our everyday lives. There is no need to pretend this is a side effect of new web application trends and their social impact. On the contrary, the transition phase we are experiencing now is rather simple to understand: humanity has started its slow shift from total offline activity to complete online and digitally assisted life. (more…)