January 20th, 2004


Who Owns the Internet...

...a comedy of misunderstandings and a tragedy of the commons.

Before we can discuss the internet and ownership, we must first understand what the internet actually is. Most people think that it's a combination of computers, network cables and sattelites, linked together in a way that allows us to use it for whatever; IM, mail, web, etc. Most people are wrong. The internet is a collection of protocols- instructions that tell one thing how to talk to another thing so they both understand each other. Now, when we talk about internet protocols, we immediately think computers, but that's getting to detailed. Remember, the Internet is geek-land. It's possible that two people could talk to each other via TCP/IP without an intervening computer. It'd be stupid to do so, but it's possible. We'll just say the Internet allows any number of devices to communicate with each other.
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To sum up, the Internet is a commons of a new breed. It's very nature makes it impossible to control the behavior of its users. Unlike a town park, which can be monitored by police, it's impossible to police the Internet effectively. This leaves the commons open to attack by miscreants, however, the same nature creates an environment where the other users of the commons have an active stake in the commons, and hence, work to protect it. While no police watch the park, the person with the hot-dog cart has a .45 in a clamshell holster under the counter. Or more accurately, has a pretty high end repair kit, so when his cart is damaged, he can get it fixed pretty quick. He may even have a backup cart. At any rate, this commons is fairly tragedy-free, and as a result, doesn't need legislation (which won't work anyway) to protect it.
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    flaming lips - one million billionth of a millisecond on a sunday morning
run the fuck away

More e-voting garbage...

Diebold takes the already insecure e-voting to the next level. Thier systems support wireless. So now, someone with knowhow and a laptop can fiddle with the e-voting machines from someplace else in the building... or perhaps even from further away when the data goes out over WAN.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Rule one of elections: Someone is going to try to cheat.
Corollary: A conspiracy to cheat will involve a small group.
Corollary: By maximizing the number of people representing the maximum number of organizations, you maximize your chance that someone not in the conspiracy will handle the data, and notice discrepancies.

In other words, any e-voting system has to be tightly supervised. There may be a chance for clerical errors in a paper election, but those clerical errors will be random (though there may be purposeful errors as well- but that holds true for any voting system). Random errors most likely will affect all canidates equally, and hence, probably won't affect the outcome. This isn't to say that error is acceptable, but if I have a choice between errors that someone causes purposefully, or ones that are random, I'll go with random.
4 Star Logo

More linkganking, and someone else talking about ownership of the net...

First, another link ganked from trysalvia, pheremones to boost sales. A company has released a product that pumps relaxing pheremones into the air in retail stores... it makes people relaxed, happier, and more likely to buy. Personally, I want to know what companies use this tech, whether or not it works, because it's a sign of bad policy. Eh, I hate shopping retail anyway. Bet you anything Pyramid will get a contract with them.

Now, to Internet and Ownership...
Let's start with what the Internet is. It is not a commons. It is not in the public domain, it is not a set of protocols, it is contracts. The physical computers are owned, but they are not the Internet. You can run the protocols but not be on the Internet. You can create your own network, but it is not the Internet.

What is the Internet is the agreement you have to carry the traffic across your network from any computer on the network to any other computer on any other network that shares the same agreements.

I'm going to give here; he's more right. In fact, he was thinking more abstractly than I was... tough thing for an idea-engineer to admit. thecatt kinda pointed to this in his reply to my post on Internet Ownership. You can use those same protocols and not be on the Internet. While I was going to reply and say, "It's still an Internet it's not the Internet," that begs the question, how is the Internet different. And it's different because of the contractual agreements that form between the users. I would say that the Internet still is a commons, in the way society itself is a commons.
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I'm probably going to have more to say on this later...
My Hat!

Art geeking...

I'm trying out the Win32 Gimp pre-2.0. It's still in development phase, but... ::drool:: I'm missing some of my old plugins, but alot of them have been replaced with similar tools that have better functionality (like the way text is handled, which is more photoshop like... in fact, the whole thing is more photoshop like). The interface is lickable now, and now there's a *gasp* menubar on the image windows, which wasn't needed, but is a nice touch.

It's sweet. And it's already acting more stable than 1.2.5-2003.... whatever build it was. That one crashed on me pretty regularly... this one's nicer. And GTK does multiple monitors right now! ::jumps gleefully::

Oh, I should link that: Unstable version