The Limits to Internet Media is the Content

Fascinating little keynote at Imedia Summit by Lincoln Millstein, COO of New York Times Digital on the future of media.

Mr. Millstein sees “Big Iron Publishing” – the presses and paper and trucks and newsroom – as being nonscalable and noncompetitive compared to Internet media. Also, inventory of content is the burning limiting factor to encourage more interaction and stickiness with a site’s audience.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Norimitsu Onishi’s article in the New York Times entitled “Japanese Find a Forum to Vent Most-Secret Feelings” is fascinating. According to Mr. Onishi, “In a society in which subtlety is prized above all, face-to-face confrontation is avoided, insults can be leveled with verbal nuances and hidden meanings are found everywhere, there is one place where the Japanese go to bare their souls and engage in verbal combat: Channel 2.”

What is “Channel 2”? Simply an anonymous Internet BBS where secrets can be unburdened and read by others without retribution. Unlike American “talk radio”, where people actually want to be known, Channel 2 is a way to reveal oneself and others with no concern for social or business status.

The Dying American Dream and Irrational Joylessness

Mike Cassidy of the Merc wrote a nice essay on the casualties of the dot-com bubble selling out and leaving Silicon Valley. Not all of the people who worked hard here cashed out or got rich – actually, only a few did really well, although most everyone here likes to pretend they did better than everyone else. It’s a peculiar SV conceit.

I’m fourth generation Californian, born in Fremont and went to Berkeley. I’ve always lived in the Bay Area. I remember the orchards, now long gone, and how I used to ride my bike through them coming home from Parkmont Elementary school.

Reliable Wireless and Link Layers

It is often the case that a “different” puzzle presents an opportunity for a young scientist to say “Oh, I can solve this problem because it’s different”. Well, sure…but is it simpler, or simply different?

The question begs in a discussion of using reliable link layers in wireless to solve the problem of retransmissions and poor QOS. The problem is that artifact of retransmission distorts the use of the medium, because too many retransmits / congestion events occur, biasing the statistics and becoming unfair. The solution for the wireless approach is to use the same thing that causes artifacts of noise as an architectural solution.

Virtual Communities

Fred Turner, Professor at Stanford, spoke the other day at SCU on “Counterculture into Cyberculture: How the Whole Earth Catalog Brought Us “Virtual Community”. Basically a history talk of the WELL and the organizing power of the hippie movement through the “whole earth” commercial powerhouse of the time. I found it curiously amusing – kind of like watching your mom in a “Granny dress” or your dad with a beard strumming a guitar.

While I’m not quite the age of the “summer of love” crowd (I think I preferred collecting Breyer horses then), I have watched the evolution of these communities from a technology standpoint, and have seen both their strengths and weaknesses as they grew (and in some cases died). As history and anthropology are an avocation and since I’ve been involved in developing and growing relationships using technology, it is a serious topic. So I went and listened.