It’s like water finding cracks in a dam – information will be free, whether the copy-monopolists like it or not… and really the copy-monopolists just need to get out of the way. Our culture will be just fine (in fact better off) without them – in fact I think our economies would be a whole lot better off if we simply divest ourselves of all rent-seeking completely. Everyone gets a minimum wage whether they’re working or not; no one gets to make other people slaves by making them pay rent. Usury is taxed, land value is taxed, activities that have a direct impact on public services (eg: selling drugs) are taxed.
We have absolutely got to stop this endless flow of money from poor to rich, because right now we’re well and truly into Weimar Republic territory.
I once asked Tony Wilson “I’ve had a pile of vinyl this high (about chest height), which I had to change for a pile of CDs this high… do I really need to go and re-buy all this music I all ready own again?”, to which he crowed with delight… saying that’s one thing where the Movie Biz really envies the Music Biz… we got to change format, making everyone pay for the same stuff again.
I didn’t have one of these when I finally got around to burning my entire CD collection. And know what? I never listen to it – I never liked digital anyway. Vinyl sounds better, I don’t care what they say, it just does.
So the information wars (that have been waging for at least the last 500 years) have moved up a gear recently… with recent events being Edward Snowden trapped in Ballardian Limbo in a Russian airport (or so we’re told) and our sleazy prime minister here in NZ, demonstrating a dismal ignorance about the web, and the law, and basic morality, “talking” to Arch Criminal Kim Dot Com… with KDC fighting on behalf on the New Zealand people, and The Coward and Liar, John Key snearingly, arrogantly fighting against us, even though he’s supposed to be our elected representative. He didn’t even bother turning up to the hearings today.
And these two things (The GCSB Bill, Snowden in Russia) are The Same Thing… and our TV News Media (who only ever seems to report on The Internet as though it’s a problem that needs solving), fails to make the connection… fails to see the arc of history. They’re utterly and completely useless – more embarrassing than the prime minister himself – they’re like a satire about a TV station that every night has to fill an hour with “news” without reporting any actual news. Kindof like a news station in 1930s Germany that will talk about anything except Nazis.
And enough people use the information the get from TV to vote… to elect “leaders” like John Key, who act on behalf of global corporatism rather than us.
So I’m at war with broadcast TV. We need to turn it into an irrelevant backwater as quickly as possible. We need to turn it into just another Youtube channel.
This could be interesting – it turns RSS feeds into video presentation by pulling out what it thinks is core text, and superimposing it over photos/videos. It presents visually appealing, dumbed down blog content in other words. I think that’s ok – because what we need is something that runs in the background for people to watch while they’re having their dinner… filling the space that would otherwise need to be filled with conversation, which there’s far too much of already. Various blogs that talk about it, seem to think it will mean the end of various corporate video-production departments. I’m not sure it’s quite as good as that, however
a) it only works on Apple devices, so fuck that.
b) the RSS converter in the video no longer appears on their site, so for all intents and purposes, it’s just a splash page… if you refuse to use Apple (because Apple are the worst abuser of open-systems there is. They’re worse than fucking Microsoft)
c) it talks like an American Droid (I want a Canadian Droid (that’s all I’ve ever really wanted (sigh)))
Still… interesting idea, and if wibbitz depends on special markup in the HTML, then we can just reverse-engineer it, and make our own distributed versions.
2) Silo-Independent Content Backup.
I think I’ve got together all the disparate threads now to build a system that will spider a site (and by that I mean WordPress blog… because that’s all I use now)… and take screen-shots of all the pages it links to… download, and serve locally all linked images (actually, I do this already. I don’t hotlink images at all), and (finally) download and (as a backup link) serve youtube videos… because youtube videos get censored ALL THE FUCKING TIME because of copy-monopoly bullshit.
Imagine youtube as the Alexandra Library – the greatest repository of human knowledge ever assembled… I mean it’s obviously not that, because it’s full of morons, but as a cultural artefact? It’s astonishing – it is SO much more impressive than any other Wonder Of The World, that it’s in an entire dimensional plane way above them. That said, we don’t actually know how impressive the original library at Alexandra was because it was burned down.
And likewise, youtube is constantly being burned… arsonists in the corridors, going from room to room, burning the things they don’t like. Copy-monopolists.
So we need a distributed means of storing video, and we need to either use it as a default, or failing that, backup.
Apropos of that, here’s a video from a New Silk Road… that we knew was going to be deleted as soon as it was put up, because it’s selling drugs…
… so I’ve preserved it for posterity. It’s an historical artefact.
Appears to work in all browsers, except Chrome.
3) live.bittorrent.com … which is a way of using bittorrent to stream video – and as far as I can tell, it works… you download a bit of software (unfortunate, but you need to do that with bittorrent apps)… run it (it runs in the background) and you can then stream video.
They haven’t released it to the web for broadcast purposes yet, which is sad and bogus. I’ve attempted to sign up for a beta thing… have yet to hear back. The terms say:
“This beta is for legitimate purposes only. By creating an account, you represent that you will not publish any content or take any action on or through our software or site that infringes or violates the rights of any other party or otherwise violates the law”
Which is bullshit, because the WHOLE PURPOSE of this sort of protocol/application is to facilitate mass civil-disobedience, because the laws are wrong, and they won’t be changed very easily because our governments are no longer legitimate. Not only do we NOT have a moral duty to obey the laws they pass (for the 1%), we actually have a moral duty to break them.
They may not say that is the purpose (in fact they are saying the opposite), but really, that’s what its purpose is. It’s purpose is to free information.
But anyway… could be interesting if it ever gets into the wild. That is the plan (apparently)… they’re just trying to get it stable before launching it.
Ok… so a couple of weeks in, I have a perfectly working laser-cutter.
The controller of which (only) runs a piece of software called LaserCutter 5.3, which is one of most inadequate piles of shite I have ever seen. It only runs on Windows XP. It looks like it was written 20 years ago. It’s also cripple-ware, which means it’s been deliberately crippled to only run with a USB dongle
(this usb-stick could kill your business)
… aaaaaannnnnddd … the dongle has stopped working… which takes the entire machine out of commission until a replacement can be sent from China… only they won’t send one until the broken one has been sent back. Several weeks, minimum.
And for what? A fucking dongle?
If you’re thinking of buying a laser cutter DON’T buy one that uses a MPC6515 controller – which uses the DRM crippled LaserCut 5.3.
So… it’s looking like I might be looking at an open-source variant sooner than expected.
Here’s a stop-motion vid of open-source Lasersaur being put together. Far nicer looking machine than the commercial ones, and user-innovations (can) get fed back into the next iteration. I’m not sure that it does rastar-engraving mind… and that’s kindof crucial.
(NB: This sort of collaborate approach to putting-stuff-together may be great for learning, but it’s not generally how creativity happens. If you want to do any actual thinking, you’re probably better off doing it on your own. Collaboration is massively over-rated, in my most humble of opinions. Extroverts love it)
From Mechanical Paper Model… and to be fair, this is a lifetime’s work (or at least a decade or so) compressed into about 4 minutes… and it is pretty amazing.
And/But… (a trick of the light) the “thing” is not the robot; the thing is the video of the Making Of the robot.
It’s like the prime memetic driver is “I could do that too”… and any bit of content with that embedded in it, has more traction than something that merely looks fantastic. Which is obvious I suppose. It seems like an artefact now has a 4th dimension… a time dimension almost… a lifecycle dimension, and it feels like offering an object as a fait-accompli, is missing an entire dimension. Or maybe that’s just me.
That said, that video is less than a month old, and it’s been seen about 1/4 of a million times… which would be par for the course if it was a Brittany video or something (is there still a Brittany?)… but this is making a little robot out of paper. It’s Nerdware.
It’s a bit like a “making of” things they have for movies… but they do actually want you to make it. You’re actually told everything you need to know to make your own… encouraged to make your own… and crystallised within that intent, is all the vitality of the maker-movement, and the internet iteslf…
… as opposed to Hollywood, which although it makes “making of” movies, has reacted so stupidly to people attempting to “do that too”, that it’s basically made itself the enemy of humanity. It takes the money we give it to lobby our Govts to try to impose state/corporate censorship and surveillance on us.
This… “IP” is the direct, diametric opposite of where all the vitality and energy is coming from. It’s the diametric opposite of the future, and it’s the diametric opposite of what humanity needs. Innovation does not come from charging rent on future innovation.
I gave this speech recently – in which I went on about the 3rd Industrial Revolution… saying “Community is the Intel Inside of the 3rd Industrial Revolution”. The industrial revolutions of the past have all come about when a new communication technology meets a new energy source. So the first was Steam and Literacy. The 2nd was Petroleum and electrical communications: Phone/TV/Radio. And I said “So now we’ve got The Internet… but the energy source???” and I left it hanging – and said we don’t know what the energy source is going to be.
But after a couple of months reflection, I think the energy source is actually free information. I think the energy source is The Internet doing to Information what Jesus did to Loaves and Fishes. We suddenly have all this abundance – with information at least.
And “IP” is an attempt to take that away. We need to abolish “IP”. We need to abolish the people who are trying to inflict it on us.
… but it came to this. They were destroyed by business optimised for scarcity. Deliberately. They got rid of the guy who’s baby it was, then they borrowed money until they ran out, then they destroyed it.
If this was an (open-sourced) software project, it would be given to the community.
When I was in London once I found an entire skip of Thomas Dolby singles… 1000s of boxes – each with a black-and-decker put through them. This is what intellectual property does. It has to destroy abundance to work.
And so it came to pass… Microsoft put together a piece of hardware that was almost instantly hacked into lots of different things. They thought they were selling a game-controller, but actually they were selling a platform.
Like Lego back in the day… Microsoft weren’t entirely sure how to react to this. Their initial take was
“Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”
IE: Out of control IP bollocks again. But then (for whatever reason… the cool kids took over?) they backed off… and now they’re celebrating the diversity of innovation that arose. This is their “Kinect Effect” page… a screen-grab below in case they delete it.
Microsoft’s Vision Of A World Without IP:
They’re quite deservedly proud of what’s being done – it’s not just people using it to control micro-copters, there are real, life-saving and enhancing benefits here.
Now Kinect is fairly unique in the range of possibilities it can offer – but what Microsoft have inadvertently done here, is offer a glimpse at what the world would be like if EVERY innovation was re-useable by other people. As it should be. If we abolished the illogical, immoral and detrimental-to-human-progress-and-happiness notion of “Intellectual Property” completely.
You can never tell how an innovation is going to be reused down the track… what starts out as a cute toy, winds up being a mechanism for a space-elevator, and any idea that if you innovate (based on thousands of years of prior-innovation) you have the right to choke upstream innovation, is just wrong. Everything should be GPL… or better still, public domain. Make money from things or services, not by creating micro-monopolies on ideas. That’s just evil.
Sure we need to make money (for the moment) – but making it by choking the innovation of others is immoral and unproductive… especially as this “control of information” aggregates upstream and is specifically used by corporations to stifle competition… which it is.
And in case you’ve been indoctrinated into thinking that people don’t create unless they’re paid, this sentence you’re reading has been written by me for free, is served via WordPress (which runs 20% of the world’s new, active websites) which runs over PHP, Mysql and Linux – which runs the majority of the world’s web servers. And there are fortunes being made from these things… but it comes from the world of abundance, not artificial scarcity. Human innovation is not a scarce commodity.
Microsoft have accidentally opened a window onto the world of abundance.
“why is it that wifi coverage in disaster-zones, war-zones, slums, refugee camps is better than what I can get in my classy hotel?”
To which I replied “Because your classy hotel is interested in creating “billable events”, so they optimise for scarcity”
Now Optimizing For Scarcity” is a concept I first heard in the video below – John Perry Barlow speaking at a conference hosted by one of the world’s most repressive “IP” regimes, for the benefit of large corporations – the gist of the entire event being “how can corporations and govts control the web?”. They invited JPB by mistake.
So that’s where it’s from.
Optimizing For Scarcity.
This is what corporations tireless and relentlessly do – they are completely about “making the maximum amount of money while delivering the smallest amount of value.
The reason hundreds of millions of people die of… well, lack of these…
is because the institutions that deliver them are privatised, and therefore optimised for scarcity… and for those that aren’t privatised, there is a relentless pressure for them to be privatised. This is the end-goal of IMF colonialisation… to privatise the basic life support system, because when you do, you’ve basically got the population over a barrel.
Which is why in Bolivia it was illegal for people to collect rainwater from their rooves.
Which is why the first thing the US imposed on Iraq was a law making it illegal for farmers to plant seeds from the previous year’s crop.
Which is why in London, Rent is over 50% of the average income.
Which is why education has gone from being a basic human right, to an “investment”, the cost of which is geared to barely justify itself.
This is why the chocolate bars are so much smaller than they were when you were a kid. It’s not because you got bigger… they actually ARE smaller. It’s because there are people who’s only job it is, to pour over spreadsheets to see how more money can be charged for delivering less.
The purpose of bean-counting is to deliver fewer beans, for the same money.
The purpose of “IP” is to stop you re-planting the beans.
We need to recognise that optimising for scarcity is killing more people than Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and all of the religious nuts in the whole of human history put together (which for the record, is 67M + 47M) (Christianity was only marginally less dangerous than the black death).
We need to recognise that while corporations are good for providing soap and laptops, when they get into a position where they control life-support, they (systematically) become extremely dangerous.
We need to recognise that the bias towards optimising for scarcity is actually built into our currency – which is lent into existence as a scarce resource, rather than representing value created.
Or, in a nutshell, we need open-source everything.
One of my themes here (or at least tags) is “Are We There Yet” Technology – ie: technology that we’re always hearing news about, but which never seems to fucking arrive.
You know what I’m talking about.
Matchbox-sized video projectors
Personal Robots that actually do anything useful
The Biotech revolution
And so on. I’m not talking about flying cars or laser cannons or trans-galactic space flights or those stupid see-through screens… not sci-fi stuff that everyone wants because they’ve seen it in a movie, I’m talking about the stuff that fill blogs.
Now I think the energy crisis is going to dissolve in the next 20 years. Maybe even the next 10. I think that a mixture of solar and gen-tech algae are going to cover it. The solar side of things is going to meet the-web-of-things half-way, and conspire to make everything very efficient… so there is no need for a house that sits in the sun all day to be on-grid for lighting (duh)… because we’ve stopped using lightbulbs that run on 240v. There’s no need for a house that sits in the sun all day to rely on a power-station 400 miles away to heat water.
Sure we might need something else – like micro nukes (still a bad idea) if we want to carry on making 18 trillion beer-cans a year… but for the stuff we actually need… for the basic civilisational hierarchy of needs, I think the problem is going to dissolve. New tech is going to cover it.
It’s a way of converting CO (and other) exhausts into ethanol. Now this isn’t some TED-oid bit of standing-ovation-fishing vapourware… they’re actually doing it. Their demo-plant in NZ is producing 5 million gallons of ethanol a year – and they’ve just sold the tech to a Korean company… which (if I’ve got this right) produces 33.7M tonnes of steel a year… which means about 50M tonnes of greenhouse-gases. Now this system won’t capture all of those gases… but to put that in perspective, the other day the pro-nuke shills were bewailing the idea that Germany getting rid of nukes was going to add 40M tonnes a year in Co2. For a couple of years.
This process will make a healthy dent in that, from one factory alone.
Read the website though. Christ on a bike, they simply cannot get over themselves re: “ownership” of the organism. Forgetting for the moment that this was partly tax-payer funded, you can’t fucking “own” life. Fuck what the law says, the law is wrong. At a basic logical level, patenting life is a software patent. We’re dealing in software here. Programming it in different ways, sure but it’s still software.
The legal frameworks constricting biotech are being put in place to fuck it before it’s even started – if this had happened with computers, we wouldn’t have an internet. We probably wouldn’t even have fucking computers.
Big talk on the insanity of IP Law from a lawyer who actually thinks we need it here:
“7 Ways To Ruin A Technological Revolution” – and looking at this, I’d say it’s not entirely off the cards that America simply doesn’t survive it’s own IP laws. If you’re starting a tech business, you’d be much better off doing it in a place like Brazil… or Iceland… or some place where you can simply tell corporate lawyers to fuck off.
For example around 1/2 an hour into that video… someone has attempted to patent the gene-sequences “OR, AND, IF-THEN, IF-NOT”. That’s fucking software. Can you imagine where computers would be if that level of ring-fencing went on back in the day?. We should physically fucking destroy these people.
I think a similar B2B before B2C thing is happening with solar – Konarka have been able to do $1 a watt for… ooh, at least a year – and every couple of months I keep visiting their site to see if you can actually buy the stuff… and apart from fucking solar backpacks, it seems to be industry-only. I might be wrong about that, but that’s the impression I get.
So what’s happening here is that the first markets to be catered to are the ones with million dollar budgets. Well, wouldn’t you? And maybe that’s where the maximum benefit is. And maybe it’s not.
Meantime, from the cheap seats…
The Makerbot of biotech – OpenPCR.org – where you (yes you) can buy a DNA sequencing machine for $512. Now this isn’t quite the same thing as Craig Venter’s DNA synthesiser… but it’s a start.
Trouble is, “the alphabet” that makes up this technology is being ring-fenced by corporate IP. This revolution is at about the same stage (we are repeatedly told) that computers were in the early 80s. Unless we radically cut back IP – and personally, I’d kill it completely, we won’t have an internet. We probably won’t even have a computer.
And on that note, here’s a computer for doing protein-folding calculations made out of lego
Probably illegal in some way… or more accurately, if you tried to sell it, you’ll probably be sued… and there’s nothing you can do about it, because you can’t afford it. IP Law is not an encouragement to innovate, it’s a threat and a tax hanging over innovation… so severe that you probably need VC money (aka: be owned by someone rich) to start anything.
Outsource everything to the Favela. It’s the only way of being safe.
I don’t know if any of that’s true actually, it is the way it’s starting to feel though.
Although I think you need mirrors and whatnot to get anything resembling a laser-beam. Still… if this gen-tech revolution that has been on the horizon for pretty much our entire lives, ever hits, it’s going to (as they say) change everything. A Golden Age. Maybe.
Nope. Because what it will do… what its promise is, is…
…dissolving scarcity… and the trouble with capitalism, is that it needs scarcity. People Not Having Enough is what capitalism lives on.
It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out… Craig Venter has done a $600M deal with the most evil corporation on the planet, Exxon Mobile… It’s not entirely impossible that in the next 20 years we’re going to see The Napster Of Food, The Napster Of Pharma, The Napster Of Energy… all from a bathtub of bugs that reinvent themselves for free. Expect Evil. Expect a lolly-scramble over “IP” in which only the bullies get anything. “Intellectual Property” is going to get uglier and uglier and uglier.
“Intellectual Property” is a fake constraint, designed to create a fake scarcity, set up so only the bullies win.
Kill the bullies, that’s my advice. If the deaths of the entire executive of every big pharma conglomerate can create the leverage to save hundreds of millions of lives, then it’s got to be done. It’s traveling sideways in time to kill Hitler. Hitler was only responsible for what? 60 Million? If a corporation tries to corner the water supply of an entire planet, then all bets are off – if it was a foreign occupying force, we’d go scrapping-mad with guns. Well it’s happening. We need to recognise that globalised corporate power is globalised baronialism, or facism or Romanism or whatever-evil-it-is-that-is-reinvented-in-every-age. We need to crush it down to a size where it is democratically accountable.
After that we can go skateboarding in the Sahara…
…if indeed we’ve turned it to concrete, which we probably haven’t. Becuz… we know humanity well enough now to know that trying to control change is almost always more dangerous than the change itself.
To be honest, I only read the title. Still… scary title… and you know… to the point.
Adendum 2: More perspective, listen to this Podcast. Forget that this isn’t happening in your village, or your city, or your country (although it probably is)… forget that this isn’t happening to you. It’s happening to us.
and put the whole lot in a blender, for about 20 years… where does that leave us?
Personally I think we (earthlings) need to start pursuing abundance as an end in itself, because otherwise what we’re doing is creating artificial scarcities that have the sole purpose of giving an aristocracy leverage to turn us all into fucking serfs.
We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.
No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves – like Jesus did when he pirated loaves and fishes. When he made them abundant. That’s what we’re here to do. And a damn good place to start is by creating a universal library in the sky… accessible to all humanity. This is easy and simple. It’s “with the flow of history. It is happening by itself.
It means we need to scrap the false-scarcity… the state-granted monopoly known as “Intellectual Property”. I’m done with this bullshit. Get rid of it all.