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[P]
The Revolution That Wasn't.

By Signal 11 in Op-Ed
Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:02:05 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I was on #kuro5hin just this afternoon and chanced on the topic of script kiddies. They are an eyesore of the geek community, and seem to serve no purpose beyond drawing attention to the security flaws of a well-known proprietary OS. But when I got to thinking about it - what have the rest of us been busy doing?


We have at our fingertips the most incredible piece of communications technology created since Maxwell laid the foundation for the radio. With the internet, near real-time communication is possible between every industrialized country on the planet. Like stone tablets, and then scrolls, and then books, and then the printing press, and then the radio, and then the television, the pundits predicted this would revolutionize the world. And like every pundit before them, it failed to do so. Rather than changing the world, it only reinforced values and traditions already present in society.

Every communications medium up to, and including, the internet, has been under the control of a select few. Whether it was the church, government, or corporations, somebody has always been the gatekeeper of the communications channel. During the Dark Age, the Church controlled all the scrolls and many of the churches. It is no surprise that many texts of a heretical nature are unavailable. Fortunately, scrolls were difficult to produce - they were not like paper where you could simply produce more copies and throw away the paper. Many scrolls were re-used. Using modern science, we have been able to recreate many works that were lost to time, but I digress. When the press was invented, many governments initially sought to control them. Russia's government, formerly the USSR, was highly successful at this. Dubbed the "Iron Curtain", it was nearly impossible to get information out of the USSR that was not state approved. It was the same way in Germany during WWII. To a lesser extent, most governments employ methods of controlling the press.

When radio was invented, the amateur inventors who discovered the methods of electromagnetic wave propagation were kicked out of the spectrum, and the US Congress set up a series of laws governing its use, and later appointed the Federal Communications Commission so that commercialization of the airwaves could proceed. Today, the vast majority of the available spectrum is assigned to commercial interests. Perhaps 5% is available to amateurs, and even then is under strict guidelines not to compete or in any way interfere with the commercial interests that predominate the airwaves. Television is under even tighter corporate control. With the exception of so-called "public television", almost exclusively funded by the government (as it could not exist independently), there are no citizens who have direct access to TV. The transition to HDTV / Digital TV will likely not improve the situation.

Recently, the FCC undertook an initiative to open the airwaves up to amateurs. Dubbed "Low Power FM Radio" (LPFM) , the FCC opened up the FM radio spectrum to private use. For a few hundred dollars one could setup a 100 watt radio station capable of reaching people up to 3.5 miles away. Pitiful by modern broadcast standards, but this initiative is now under heavy fire by commercial interests, and will likely be terminated within a few years, barring a radical reversal by the FCC Board of Directors.

Time and time again, history has repeated itself. A communications medium is created, and used for a short period of time by amateurs, and then commercial or government interests move in and take over, removing these pioneers from the reigns of power. Computer geeks, if not the public at large, believe that the internet is different. That it is somehow immune to the effects of these interests.

I beg to differ with this commonly-held opinion. History tells us that, without fail, those with the gold rule. The internet's decentralized and international nature will not deter these forces for long. Even now there are initiatives underway to remove amateurs from the network - the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) , the Communications Decency Act (CDA), the Berne Treaty, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), from the government front. Corporations haven't been sitting idle either - the RIAA and MPAA have been attacking Napster and DeCSS, Microsoft has been taking up a crusade to force "spyware" onto the market to "prevent software piracy", and adding "user data persistence" to IE5 to provide a covert method of tracking users. Real Networks has been busy embedding GUIDs into our software to track us, and Intel has been busy modifying its chips to provide the same functionality at the hardware level.

Meanwhile, crème de crème of computer users - the network administrators, computer geeks and nerds, hackers, software engineers, and, infact, most of the assembled audience reading this article... have been busy doing nothing at all.

That isn't to say they haven't been busy. The Open Source and Free Software initiatives, Linux, the Apache Project, IPv6, Gigahertz processors, and ever faster backbones and systems speak volumes of the technical abilities of computer geeks. Give them a pile of resistors, a few chips, and a PCB and they'll break two laws of physics and bend five more. But we have focused on the technical issues to the exclusion of all others. Politics are distant from most of us, suspect even. While we rant on weblogs like Slashdot and Kuro5hin about the state of affairs, we would rather be coding than changing the world. Many of us naively believe that technical solutions will somehow fix social problems. It seems that we have jacked in and tuned out, decrying the system as irrelevant and hopelessly out of date... when we stop to notice it at all.

I do not want to go quietly in the night. I do not want to be woken up at four in the morning by a federal agent with bad breath telling me that speaking my mind is a felony. My rights and freedoms are at stake, but increasingly I feel helpless to stop them from being taken. My right to expression, my freedom to access knowledge and information, to make use of known technologies to create solutions to improve the quality of my life and others, merely to be secured in my own home against government and corporate interests watching me, all of these are in grave danger. This weighs heavily on my mind. Tomorrow, November 7, 2000, we will be electing a new president. I don't feel like I'm a part of that. I don't count. I am one voice in a sea of advertisements and propaganda, begging me to vote, but I don't feel that I am part of that crowd. I do not have a voice in this government. This is a democracy, which is by and for the people, but nobody seems to be paying attention to us. Voter turnout is in decline, apathy is on the rise, and there is an entire generation of young people like me growing up disillusioned with the system.

There is no movement to participate in, no protests for me to take part in. I scream silently at the system...even alone in the dark I have no voice.

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The Revolution That Wasn't. | 85 comments (75 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
Deserve no revolution (3.52 / 19) (#6)
by MeanGene on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 10:43:27 PM EST

Your voice doesn't count because despite your self-professed disdain for "the man" you're basically content with your life save for some secondary shit. Oh, ma - they won't let me play with my toys!

Do you realize the DMCA abridges only your consumer rights, but not your rights as a political or social being?

When you post an article saying something like:
- Yesterday me and a bunch of guys went and tried to change the system from within. We raised hell at the town council.
- Yesterday me and a bunch of guys went and tried to change the system from outside. We blew up X.
Then you'd get +1.

The population at large does not give a damn, because they made an unconscious decision to be the consumers of whatever is fed to them. While they like their tripe, they are not going to come out on the streets - heck, they don't even want to know the people who live on their block!

The "intellectuals" never make waves. Apathy, dumbth, gov't thugs - movie at 10.

Hmm... (2.66 / 12) (#7)
by Elendale on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 10:46:25 PM EST

Almost voted this down, but then i saw a few lines that changed my mind. To modify a Music Man line: You can talk, you can bicker, you can bicker, you can talk all you wanna but unless you get off your ass and do something its no good. Thats the problem we face today, we love the technology but we abandon the field to the corporations when it comes to keeping the technology free/etc. That's where we need to focus our attention in the 21st century: not on creating new technologies but on liberating the old ones.

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


You do have a say... (3.60 / 15) (#9)
by pangmaster on Mon Nov 06, 2000 at 11:50:09 PM EST

First of all, we would be fools to think that the USA is a democracy. At best we are a democratic-republic. I sympathize with your apathy and disconnection with the rest of the "masses" as I feel the same, but that does not mean that you or I don't have any say in what will happen tomorrow.

Much of what your post is discussing is related to the Internet, privacy, rights and freedoms. I, too, am afraid that more and more of my freedoms are being trampled on and obliterated by our current political system. I believe that the majority of Americans as well as citizens in other countries have these same concerns and as they become more aware of what government is taking away from them, they will cry out.

There are plenty of active political parties in our country other than the Democrats and Republicans. I'm proud to say that I am a Libertarian and that I voted for Harry Browne. I know that the Libertarians have no chance to win the presidency this election, but I don't count my vote as "wasted" as some may say. I voted for the principles that I believe in, and they closely match the Libertarian platform.

So instead of lamenting to ourselves in the darkness, feeling helpless and meek, we must rise and tell the powers that be that we are fed up. While there are many ways that one may accomplish this and I will leave those ends to your imagination, the simplest (and perhaps most effective) method is to vote.
--
I don't do Windows...

Agreement, disagreement, recommendation (4.39 / 23) (#10)
by rusty on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:02:45 AM EST

First the recommendation, because it's the most important thing I'm going to say in the comment.:

Read Lawrence Lessig's book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace right now. Reading it is the most important thing you will do this year. I guarantee it. It is very likely the most important book about the internet that has yet been written, and IMO stands right there with the classic works on Constitutionalism and republican government (not Republican the party, but republican the system), above and beyond the immediate topical content about the internet.

The rest of this post is a very very very short summary of what the above book is all about. Go read it, because it does a way better job at this than I could. :-)

Ok, now for the agreement:

Before you vote this down, be sure you understand what's really at stake here, and what Signal 11 is trying to say. Do you disagree that the internet is moving in a direction of tighter control, stronger "ownership" by corporations, and stronger regulability by governments? Do you think the internet is unregulable by "nature" as the early Wired prophets kept assuring us? And if so, why? Computers are tools designed to collect and sort data, and everything you do online can be considered "data". In theory, the internet is the greatest tool for social control, not to mention totalitarianism, ever invented. I think Sig is getting at this in his editorial, and I frankly agree.

Now for the disagreement: I don't think that there is nothing we can do. I think that there's at least a good chance we will do nothing, and allow the corps and govs to take over this media just like every other one. But I don't think that that's the way it has to be. We could, if we chose to, make the internet a place for freedom and community. But if we adopt the "do-nothing" defeatist attitude that is becoming more and more common, it never will be.

So, the question is, what will you do to make Signal 11's view not come true?

____
Not the real rusty

And what did you do today to save the whales? (3.50 / 6) (#13)
by Sunir on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:39:31 AM EST

I have a saying, "I saved the whales last week and no one cared."

I spent a lot of the last 48 hours consulting to five different online communities, so if anyone thinks that no one is trying to build free, open and fair social structures online, you are (fortunately) mistaken. Just look at your screen right now: kuro5hin isn't exactly an evil corporate-government mouthpiece.

You should probably take a look at MeatballWiki where that is what we do. Sadly, as editor of that community, I seem to be spending most of my online time working with other communities. Go figure.

I'm sleepy. Enough evangelizing the cause for today. Meanwhile, I expect everyone to save some whales, raise a barn, do something interesting.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Not to imply (4.00 / 7) (#17)
by rusty on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:14:34 AM EST

Not to imply that none of you reading that comment are doing anything to resist. I know you, for one Sunir, are, and doing a damn good job. I'm trying my best, and there are quite a few more like us.

My point is that it is ultimately up to us to decide what the future of the net is, and I don't think any answers are clear yet. We have not yet been defeated, but we've hardly begun to elaborate what a victory would even look like. We've got a long way to go, and it's a come-from-behind at this point. We've already lost a lot of ground...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

The States may be in trouble... (3.66 / 6) (#19)
by Sunir on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:41:13 AM EST

Thanks for the kind words. Y'know, you're no slouch yourself, Rusty.

It's true that the States may be in trouble, but it's not clear that everyone is. Canada seems to be doing well for itself, but I haven't yet reviewed the latest laws. I'm glad my server is hosted in Vancouver, I live in Ottawa and I'm a Canadian citizen. On the other hand, MeatballWiki is in the States somewhere hosted by a United States citizen.

Moreover, let's consider the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Document Act in Canada, the Data Protection Directive in Europe and the Safe Harbor Principles in the States. Privacy seems to be getting a boost. (Unclear, though; analysis is required.)

Really, the problem is that no one does anything. Voting is the last line of defense.

Tell me. Is it still gauche to be a member of the ACLU in the States?

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

It's not just a US issue. (4.57 / 7) (#21)
by rusty on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:59:56 AM EST

It's not an issue for just *any* government. Lessig argues that online, Code determines policy in the same way as "natural" code determines a lot of Law in the real world. He uses, as one example, the fact that there aren't specific laws against stealing skyscrapers, as there are against stealing cars. In the real world, the "code" of physics helps protect skyscrapers from theft, and also helps make cars attractive objects for stealing.

The point is that in many ways, regulation of the net is up to those who are creating it, and will be built into the code. The question is whether we will allow commercial interests and governmental panic to mandate that code be able to track everything we do online, or will we create the code ourselves to protect what we see as essential rights of cyberspace?

Really, the problem is that no one does anything. Voting is the last line of defense.

Yes! And the people who *must* do something (i.e., us, who are the ones who will ultimately write the "natural laws" as expressed in code) are doing the least to protect ourselves. It's a wake-up call for all of us, and I can only hope it's heeded in time.

Tell me. Is it still gauche to be a member of the ACLU in the States?

Well, technically yes, since "gauche" means left, and the ACLU is an extremely leftist organization. :-)

Socially, which is of course what you mean, I don't know. The Reagan 80's are over, but the money grab continues. I don't know anyone who is a "card-carrying" member of the ACLU, but I do know many people who probably support most of what they do.

The biggest problem with the ACLU, as I see it, is they fail to connect with just about anyone on a consistent basis. They take on pretty much any case that has anything to do with "rights", seemingly indiscriminately. While this may be a necessary tactic in the fight against the slippery slope, its effect is to piss off nearly everyone at some point. I'm not surprised they have trouble maintaining support and membership.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Code is law (4.50 / 8) (#22)
by Sunir on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 02:36:00 AM EST

Code determines policy

So much for my papers; and more evangelizing. Stop me if you've heard this before. ;)

There are three classes of "laws" on an online community (in decreasing order of preference):

  1. Social
  2. Technological
  3. Legal.
Some may add Commercial, but I think all commercial laws can be categorized by the above.

You are correct that the code itself does limit what people can do, but so do your fellow community members (e.g. moderation) and the various Real World legal system that exert pressure on the site (e.g. copyright law).

I assert that while social systems can fall prey to social engineering ala karma/mojo whoring, they are generally the most robust and certainly the most stable. After all, when a site's technical framework becomes limiting, there is nothing the members can do but complain.

Generally, trusting people is effective. This has been shown in organizational contexts like knowledge work where employee empowerment increases morale, loyalty, and productivity. (On the other hand, empowering an assembly worker may be unproductive because it interferes with the job.)

True, accountability is important, but moreso responsibility. I generally advocate soft security as the best way.

The people who *must* do something ... are doing the least to protect ourselves.

Speak for yourself. Right now I'm educating myself on my situation. When I know what action needs to be made (if any), I will make it.

On the other hand, suck.com had a great article kvetching about how every time something bad happened to the Internet, all that happened were terabytes of posts. Bloody hell, folks. Shut up and do something.

I'm not surprised [the ACLU has] trouble maintaining support and membership.

I find democracy disheartening sometimes. Often people don't understand what their rights are or why they should protect them. It's been said that people who don't defend their rights deserve to lose them. I don't think they deserve it, but I think it's inevitable their freedoms will boil away in apathy.

In Canada, the B.C. Supreme Court struck down a child pornography indictment stating that the existing law on possession was unconstitutional. An uproar followed, even death threats to the judge. However, I read the ruling. The judge's decision was correct. The law overstepped its bounds, outlawing even normal magazine articles. I am glad the federal government refused to use the Notwithstanding clause in the constitution to exempt the B.C. law from constitutional adherence. Blowing away the freedom of speech out of anger is not acceptable.

The constitutional systems we have in our countries are philosophical in nature, not social. That's why they are so weird at times (legalize child porn?). But philosophically, they are good.

Now, whether they are ultimately beneficial to a society is another larger question. It's certainly an important one to ask in our contexts of online community.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Awful Truth (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by ZanThrax on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:43:36 PM EST

Anyone else watch Moore's new show?
A week or two ago, he got a couple of off-duty cops, and they randomly picked people in NYC and ordered them to assume the position so they could be frisked. Either no-one argued, or Moore didn't show any footage of it, but there were many people perfectly happy to submit to illegal searches...

On a side note, can anyone think of a use for the notwithstanding clause that wouldn't be an inherantly bad thing?

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.
[ Parent ]

I am a card carrying member of the ACLU (4.71 / 7) (#30)
by maynard on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:37:03 AM EST

>Tell me. Is it still gauche to be a member of the ACLU in the States?

Well, technically yes, since "gauche" means left, and the ACLU is an extremely leftist organization. :-)

Socially, which is of course what you mean, I don't know. The Reagan 80's are over, but the money grab continues. I don't know anyone who is a "card-carrying" member of the ACLU, but I do know many people who probably support most of what they do.

The biggest problem with the ACLU, as I see it, is they fail to connect with just about anyone on a consistent basis. They take on pretty much any case that has anything to do with "rights", seemingly indiscriminately. While this may be a necessary tactic in the fight against the slippery slope, its effect is to piss off nearly everyone at some point. I'm not surprised they have trouble maintaining support and membership.

I'm going to limit this comment in scope to just the ACLU question. Yes, obviously some people still join the ACLU, just as some other leftist non-profits still retain high membership coffers; People for the American Way still does well for example. Ever since the '88 Bush Sr. presidential campaign slam against the ACLU, it's members, and it's goals, the organization has been marginalized throughout society as a whole. It's unfortunate that because the ACLU happens to fight certain individual cases which are highly controversial, such as the NAMBLA (an organization which promotes pedophilia) case, various drugs cases, flag burning, etc, the organization gets further marginalized away from citizen support while fighting for fundamental citizen rights. Ironic, huh?

Yet folks hate pedophiles, and I don't have much to say in argument toward their support either. But when the ACLU targets a particular case they're almost always doing it to set a precedent in case law. I can't imagine their attorneys personally support pedophilia and it's proponents, but that particular case attracted them because it's so extreme that it has the opportunity to set the boundaries of precedent. This is why I pay ACLU dues without much concern toward it's support of radical and socially damaging organizations and individuals. Frankly, I could care less about NAMBLA and it's members and would like them to go hide under some rock whence they came, but I very much care about the free speech issue associated with their right to speak their mind. And should one ever touch a kid, lock 'em up and throw away they key.

I joined the ACLU for the same reasons I joined the EFF, Planned Parenthood and donated to the Nader campaign. I support the cause and earn enough surplus money to throw $50 ~ $100 toward those organizations which promote my views. I don't know if it makes much difference, but I definitely think our society would be much the worse off without the help of dedicated ACLU lawyers fighting in support of citizens' rights. It may not level the playing field against government and corporate attorneys, but it's the best we've got in the States. I can't tell you how dismayed I was at President Bush and the Republican's disparaging remarks about the ACLU back in '88. It was a purely divisive attack which only served to further limit civil liberties throughout the United States.

Cheers
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

could care less (none / 0) (#75)
by ideut on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 09:33:13 PM EST

please do not say "could care less" when you mean "couldn't care less". Think about it.

[ Parent ]
usage note (none / 0) (#84)
by anonymous cowerd on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 08:13:49 PM EST

When I use the phrase "I could care less," I mean it in the sarcastic sense, that, "well, it is remotely conceivable, in the theoretical sense, that if another issue were even less interesting to me than this utterly uninteresting one in dispute, I suppose I could care even less."

I use double negatives a lot too, not as positives either, but as an intensification by repetition of the negative.

Nitpickingly yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.
[ Parent ]

OT sort of : i love the internet (2.75 / 8) (#25)
by Defect on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 08:09:34 AM EST

Straight from that link that you gave, rusty, i was able to purchase the book in a matter of 4 or 5 mouse clicks.

It just impresses me each time i buy something off the internet. It took less than five minutes, i didn't have to talk to anyone, i did it at work, and it will be here before friday.

thanks for taking the extra step to linking through a bookseller's site, otherwise i probably wouldn't have gotten it (it doesn't occur to me to buy things online and there isn't a book store close by)
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
P2P (3.14 / 14) (#11)
by Dacta on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:03:04 AM EST

Yes, the increased centralization if the internet is a problem. That is why a lot of P2P developers are developing their stuff - to create a network that can't be controlled by any central authority.

The only way to control something like Freenet is by using legal measures. We shouldn't underestimate the strength of legal measures, but the technical infrastructure of Freenet is designed to help the user avoid any legal way of stopping it.

Your moral stance on this may differ from the Freenet developers, but I can understand their point of view.



Freenet (2.75 / 4) (#29)
by tzanger on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:22:43 AM EST

Freenet's a great idea but will fail in the end I think. No possible way to search, the keyfiles are shitty at best... the only thing I *could* manage to pull out of Freenet was decss. That's it.

There needs to be some way to search the place. The system already knows where to get a file given a key, so there should be a way to crawl through Freenet indexing what keys are available. Even then, though, there are no descriptions to explain what a (nonobvious) key contains.

Great idea, but there are better ones in the works yet.



[ Parent ]
most incredible piece of communications technology (3.86 / 15) (#14)
by interiot on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:56:07 AM EST

We have at our fingertips the most incredible piece of communications technology created since Maxwell laid the foundation for the radio.

Very interesting. "Anyone with a computer can send information to the other side of the world in half a second. Shouldn't that cause a huge social revolution?"

Well, to some extent, it makes geography irrelevant, it makes the world a smaller place. So we could imagine that the whole world lives within one city. But people in cities don't really meet a magnitude more people, they just get to meet more people who are closer to their own interests. Is there a central authority limiting them? IMHO, it's just human nature to shy away from strangers.

The internet should have also made us more conscious of global events. I've met several ham radio enthusiasts who love the hobby because it allowed them to meet many people abroad. With a couple friends on each continent, you can learn about international news in a way that you can't possibly get from CNN. Does the average Joe use the opportunity to meet people from over the horizon? Nah. (I know I don't.) Maybe it's laziness to rely on CNN. But mostly, I think it's human nature.

Think of what would happen if everyone in the US could compare the US's laws and policies with other countries' at a personal level on a weekly basis. Without a social revolution, there won't be a political revolution. We all exist in disconected pockets that consider all the other pockets to be a bit strange.

People could try to break out of the traditional values and be exposed to new viewpoints. But I don't think most people want to take the trouble to.

Maybe it's not always a careless/greedy organization that keeps us from achieving our full potential.

You *DO NOT* have a voice! (4.00 / 21) (#15)
by Andrew Dvorak on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:05:39 AM EST

"Tomorrow, November 7, 2000, we will be electing a new president. I don't feel like I'm a part of that. I don't count. I am one voice in a sea of advertisements and propaganda, begging me to vote, but I don't feel that I am part of that crowd. I do not have a voice in this government. This is a democracy, which is by and for the people, but nobody seems to be paying attention to us. Voter turnout is in decline, apathy is on the rise, and there is an entire generation of young people like me growing up disillusioned with the system."

I agree with you, there, you don't count. But let's look at the quoted section once more..

"...we will be electing a new president. I don't feel like I'm a part of that. I don't count...I do not have a voice in this government.."

As you've said yourself .. you do not count. And you have put yourself in a position whereby you are not counted. You have chosen not to be counted and, despite your intentions, it's obviously not doing you any good--voting or not. But let's look at this on the larger scale.

You might be one vote, but, once again quoting you:

"I don't count. I am one voice in a sea of advertisements and propaganda, begging me to vote, but I don't feel that I am part of that crowd. I do not have a voice in this government. This is a democracy, which is by and for the people, but nobody seems to be paying attention to us."

As you'd pointed out .. you *ARE* just one voice, with the implication that there is power in numbers. You know what you need? A megaphone! That megaphone is a group of individuals with like interests as yourself.

How many people have you convinced to vote for the presidential candidate you most support? Oh, and I hope you're researching political history and not observing any advertisements paid for the candidates because that's as misleading as paying attention to any promises made this close to the election!

  • But hey, I've tried my best to get you to vote but you're just one voice, right?
  • Will you be the lone one who is not voting?
  • What's one vote?
  • Not much, when you consider many hundreds I've convinced to vote and helped to choose the candidate to best represent their interests.


It's called a PAC, or a lobbyist... (4.00 / 3) (#51)
by gaudior on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 04:05:29 PM EST

That megaphone is a group of individuals with like interests as yourself.

PACs are groups of people. The problem of the little guy having a 'voice' has been solved over and over again.

Most lobbyists work for non-profits, or industry trade groups. Ultimately, these are representatives of groups of individuals.

If you do not like what's going on, use this communications medium to create a group, hire a lobbyist, and open an office in Washington/Ottowa/Brussels, etc.

[ Parent ]

Quit whining, Bojay (3.73 / 19) (#20)
by Wah on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:50:57 AM EST

It doesn't do the movement good.

I'm gonna go ahead and pick this thing apart. I like what you've done, but here's some other angles.

Rather than changing the world, it only reinforced values and traditions already present in society.

Yea, nothing like the traditional morals expressed on SomethingAwful, ConsumptionJuntion, or TheStileProject. There are media outlets that portray any number of value systems. This side of the medium has more than made its presence felt, IMHO.

[mass media rant]

The largest difference between the Internet and traditional mass medium is one of scarcity. And I'm not talking about music files here. The available spectrum for broadcast is scarce and therefore controlled as a natural resource. Yes, it has been completely sold out and commercialized, but the excuses for doing so disappear with IP. IF initiatives are created to regulate it as such, they should be fought with all the fervor that other odious legislation should be. But as it stands we have tremendous freedom of voice.

Which brings us to the whining.

I do not want to go quietly in the night. I do not want to be woken up at four in the morning by a federal agent with bad breath telling me that speaking my mind is a felony. My rights and freedoms are at stake, but increasingly I feel helpless to stop them from being taken. ... I don't feel like I'm a part of that. I don't count. I am one voice in a sea of advertisements and propaganda, begging me to vote, but I don't feel that I am part of that crowd. I do not have a voice in this government. ... Voter turnout is in decline, apathy is on the rise, and there is an entire generation of young people like me growing up disillusioned with the system.

You make it seem as if the entire world should be set up the way you want it, and because it isn't, something is very wrong. You have a chance to participate and you belittle your own importance. In essence you are saying "life sucks, and because of that it will get worse."

There is no movement to participate in, no protests for me to take part in. I scream silently at the system...even alone in the dark I have no voice.

This was the part that made me call you a whiner. And you are the biggest part of your own problem. What's lacking isn't issues, it isn't passions, it isn't a movement. All of these things are laid upon the table. What's missing is Leaders. Here you are given a voice. A voice so loud and clear that I can hear it from thousands of miles away. A voice given life on a press that works the world over. And instead of providing a direction, a strong opinion and a hope of resolution, you have chosen to give your voice over to dissent and lamentations. "Woe is me, woe is me."

I call you on this only because you are a leader. You've taken the time and made enough of an impression that people know your name. Perhaps the time could better be spent organizing a protest or starting a movement, or gathering others like yourself who feel as strongly about these issues as you do. You have a voice, I can hear it, but what are you saying with rants like this?
--
Fail to Obey?

we have no leader... (4.00 / 5) (#42)
by CiXeL on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:06:18 PM EST

The same reason people say the libertarians will never become organized enough to do anything is because we all have independant minds, we all think so differently that we cant agree on anything including editors!! Geeks are skeptical and cynical of anyone who would represent them and pick them apart therefore we will never have leaders. Its our own low self-esteem from hellmouths past, greediness from high incomes, and the pleasantries of the good economy which turn us into mush.
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
i guess so, but... (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by Wah on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 06:37:33 PM EST

Geeks are skeptical and cynical of anyone who would represent them and pick them apart therefore we will never have leaders.

Question Tradition...
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

what the hell are you talking about? (2.56 / 23) (#23)
by tmckain on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 02:58:46 AM EST

well, first off, I'm going to be very blunt and critical of your article. Why you ask? Am I just another blind and f*@cked up adult? Absolutely, no.

First off, you're wrong on your history. The more appropriate lineage (albeit, not comprehensive) is; clay impessions, cave drawings, wood carvings, stone carvings, stone tablets, papyrus, rice paper, scrolls, manuscripts, loose-leafs, printing press, then printed books. Hair splitting? You betcha--and I might very well have missed something too, but none of us are perfect. Besides you're the one with the rant, so deal.

Second, printing presses were not initially controlled by governments, it was the church. Only later did governments follow. Of course, at the behest of the Church.

Third, how did we all of a sudden get from the 1436 to the 20th century, the USSR and the iron curtain? How many hundreds of years of history are you gonna leave out of there anyway? Something in there musta happened, so its relevant, yet not included. Hmmmm, curious.

I'm pretty much going to stop there. As an introduction, you've lost my interest because its inaccurate. Inaccurate data is a clear indication of inaccurate understanding on the part of the author. So if the author doesn't know what their talking about, why would anyone waste their time?

It would go a long way in convincing us that you actually have something of importance to discuss, if you gave us an indication that you know what you're talking about. As it stands, its just rash decisions by a "young person" that doesn't quite understand what the hell is going on. Mind you, I understand what you're saying and what you're getting at, but I haven't figured it out yet either (neither has anyone else, apparently) because the world just ain't a simple place, and it never will be-- nor would I want it to be. So don't get yourself in a tangle over things you don't yet fully understand, because its really very good for things to be a bit broken. "A bit broken" are the dynamics that brought life to this planet, so it isn't all bad.

Having been young person (still am, relatively), I understand where you're are coming from and can see your side of the story. However, what I also see is that you've based your opinions on conjecture and a somewhat lacking understanding of how things came to be and therefore, of how things work currently. Do I like the way things work, even still? No. But if there is nothing else that I've learned in my life that is important, I have learned this: If you see a problem, either get off your butt and do something about it, or keep quite--simple as that. If you're just complaining about it, you've now become part of the problem.

Good luck to you.



History... (2.33 / 12) (#28)
by Signal 11 on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:13:43 AM EST

First off, you're wrong on your history.

Maybe. *shrug* Would it change the conclusion? Would the events 3000 years ago have any bearing on the present? Just because Event A preceded Event B, it does not mean that Event A caused Event B.

I have to make some assumptions to arrive at a conclusion. I was trying to demonstrate a pattern in history, a repeatable phenomenon, a general case statement. Did I get it all right? Of course not. Even if I had, how could you be sure - history is full of revisions - the old testament v. the new testament, etc. It seems ironic that you rail against me for factual inaccuracies when my very argument can provide a reason why this is the case.

;) I want to get people thinking. I can't solve this on my own, but maybe if I find a few people who think like me, who realize there is a problem, and if I can provide a platform for them to express that, we just might be able to stave off fate for a little while.

I'm sorry you feel that way about my article - it was not my intention to provide documentation for every fact I quoted. It was a rant, an op-ed piece, and naturally subject to some inaccuracies. If you have some specific corrections in mind, please post them. Thanks.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

History. (2.40 / 5) (#31)
by inspire on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:42:31 AM EST

Maybe. *shrug* Would it change the conclusion? Would the events 3000 years ago have any bearing on the present?

Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it?

Either way, I suppose its a side issue... what with YHBT, YHL, HAND and all :-)
--
What is the helix?
[ Parent ]

exactly (2.00 / 2) (#61)
by tmckain on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 01:29:29 AM EST

"Maybe. *shrug* Would it change the conclusion? Would the events 3000 years ago have any bearing on the present?
Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it?
Either way, I suppose its a side issue... what with YHBT, YHL, HAND and all :-)

Not a side issue at all, that was a main point I was trying to get across, without actually stating it. As his comment above, if his assertions are of historical context and points out that "we're doomed to repeat history if we don't learn from it", but yet what happened three thousand years ago now doesn't have relevance. Maybe I was born yesterday, but I just don't see a clear direction in this, rather contradictory, off-the-cuff reactions without much thought. Kinda makes my point for me.



[ Parent ]
as I said, I understand what you mean (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by tmckain on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 01:05:55 AM EST

;) I want to get people thinking. I can't solve this on my own, but maybe if I find a few people who think like me, who realize there is a problem, and if I can provide a platform for them to express that, we just might be able to stave off fate for a little while.

Exactly my itentions as well. Do you need to be accurate on every point? No. Do you need to have a well formulated basic idea of the events as they occured in history? Yes. Do you need to possess the ability to articulate yourself? Yes. In understanding history, will it help you put in context what is happening now or what might happen in the future if lessons go unlearned? Yes. Can we stave off fate, in this defeatist context? No.

If your idea is that you must stave off fate, then you're saying that no matter what you do, there is nothing you can do. Kind of a contradiction, don't ya think? And this is part of my point entirely. In effect, you're saying "this is wrong, but there is nothing we can do about it, well, maybe for a short time". So WHY would you expect anyone to pay attention to you? It doesn't make sense and it's not worth listening to, by the average person.

My point of the matter is this: You're not alone, others also are well aware of the problem and doing what we can to solve it--this stems from multiple conversations before and as a result of your post. Mind you, the way I worded or approached my criticism of your article may now have me labled as a right bastard and that's ok because it's irrelevant.

The intent of my response intends to say, yes I sympathize with your feelings. No, you are not alone. Learn more because you don't have your facts right. Learn more because it will go farther to helping "us" to get going in the right direction. And finally, don't approach the subject in a whiney and helpless tone--it does no one any good, whatsoever.

More importantly, if you think that my response was harsh, wait till you're out there spreading your gosple and people react to your approach--this will be entirely a cake walk in comparision. Don't complain, act. Even the people (myself included) that you would consider your allies will turn a cold shoulder to you in hearing a whiney and helpless tone. Be strong, learn more and often, be active and speak convincingly and clearly in a knowledgeable and most importantly, a respectable manner. That's the only way we're going to solve "the problems".



[ Parent ]
Enh? (4.11 / 9) (#36)
by cme on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:09:48 AM EST

First off, you're wrong on your history. The more appropriate lineage (albeit, not comprehensive) is; clay impessions, cave drawings, wood carvings, stone carvings, stone tablets, papyrus, rice paper, scrolls, manuscripts, loose-leafs, printing press, then printed books.

He's not wrong on his history. I don't see any assertions on his part that the media he mentioned were the only forms of persistent nonverbal communication ever used by humans. If he were writing a thesis on methods of persistent nonverbal communication you would get to complain about him leaving things out, but only of you were an archaeologist or a historian. If he'd gone and added all the information you seem to think he needs to to have to not be "wrong on his history", it would have ruined the flow of his document and then you would have been bitching at him for that.

And you get to have a non-comprehensive list when you're bitching at him for not having a comprehensive list and calling him wrong for it? Please.

Hair splitting? You betcha--and I might very well have missed something too, but none of us are perfect.

So "no one's perfect" is an adequate defense for *you* not going off and doing the 20 hours of research you say he should have done on the history of persistent nonverbal communication, but not for *him* not doing so? I'm confused.

Besides you're the one with the rant, so deal.

What the hell are you talking about here? Do you believe there is some law of nature or culture that obliges him to listen to you bitch because he posted a rant? You can bitch, and he can listen or ignore as he chooses, and if he feels obligated to listen or respond to you (which I don't think he should have bothered doing), it's only because of his own code of rules or ethics.

Why am I wasting my time replying to you when I say he shouldn't have? Simple: the sort of arguments you are levelling against him and the sort of viciousness you are displaying can't be adequately debunked by the author of the article you are attacking, though I don't blame him for wanting to try; you'll just sit there feeling smug that you showed him and put him on the defensive, and any arguments he makes will sound hollow and useless to your ears because you've already concluded he's hopelessly wrong and there's no point in paying attention to him. So a third party (me) has to come by and thwap you for him. Such is the nature of social dynamics.

Second, printing presses were not initially controlled by governments, it was the church. Only later did governments follow. Of course, at the behest of the Church.

I'm guessing you must be referring to this line, since I can't see any other that this complaint might reference: "To a lesser extent, most governments employ methods of controlling the press." If you look at that line in context, it becomes clear that he is using the term "press" in its modern definition that is synonymous with "the media" in that it refers to the industry of journalism as a whole. I hope this was a misunderstanding on your part.

Third, how did we all of a sudden get from the 1436 to the 20th century, the USSR and the iron curtain? How many hundreds of years of history are you gonna leave out of there anyway? Something in there musta happened, so its relevant, yet not included. Hmmmm, curious.

This is a ridiculous claim. Someone who lives on my street went to Church last Sunday. Probably more than one person, but I don't know and don't care. It happened, so it's relevant? Puh-lease. Lots of things happened in that time- I believe the sextant was invented, for one, but the sextant isn't relevant to our little flamefest.

I'm pretty much going to stop there. As an introduction, you've lost my interest because its inaccurate. Inaccurate data is a clear indication of inaccurate understanding on the part of the author. So if the author doesn't know what their talking about, why would anyone waste their time?

No, his data was not inaccurate. He selected certain historical situations that he had some knowledge of and used them as *supporting points* in his discussion. The nature of a supporting point is that its accuracy or lack thereof does *not* invalidate the entire discussion, it merely adds a little to or detracts a little from the warm glowly feel of agreement you have when he's done with his main point- which is that things are going to hell in a handbasket now. (In your case, I guess it adds a little to or detracts a little from the warm glowy feel of vicious scorn you have when he's done making his point.)

It would go a long way in convincing us that you actually have something of importance to discuss, if you gave us an indication that you know what you're talking about.

Enh? That's what the rest of the rant was about! Didn't you read it? You've nitpicked (inaccurately) and bitched about all of his supporting points without apparently ever looking at the arguments he made for his main point!

As it stands, its just rash decisions by a "young person" that doesn't quite understand what the hell is going on. Mind you, I understand what you're saying and what you're getting at,

Do you? From your arguments against the article, I wouldn't believe so. From what you've said here, you have no understanding of what his article was even about, so I don't think you get to tell him he doesn't know what's going on.

but I haven't figured it out yet either (neither has anyone else, apparently) because the world just ain't a simple place, and it never will be-- nor would I want it to be.

So if the world is such a complicated place, maybe you should be a little more charitable toward those of us with intellects too inferior to understand it. No? Well, I thought I'd ask.

So don't get yourself in a tangle over things you don't yet fully understand,

I don't believe I am hearing this. Just because I don't know the answer to a percieved problem, I shouldn't get upset over it?! What the hell?! If I'm not upset about it, how the hell and I ever going to be motivated enough to figure out what to do to fix it? Your attitude is extremely rude and condecesnding, suggesting that solving problems should be left to those who are "older" and "wiser". Who are these older and wiser people whose authority you ar implying he usurps by being upset about a problem? I'd like to meet them, and decide if I, young, iggerant, childish 21-year-old that I am, like their proposed solutions to the problems I'm pissed about right now. And if you're one of these magic elders, I'll go throw myself off a cliff in dismay.

because its really very good for things to be a bit broken. "A bit broken" are the dynamics that brought life to this planet, so it isn't all bad.

It's "really very good for things to be a bit broken"? I do believe you are setting yourself up as one of those magic elders! Man, we're in trouble, guys. Where's the nearest cliff?

*You* may think it's good, but that doesn't mean I do- and your definition of "a bit broken" and mine are obviously not the same. How about describing for the audience what you mean by "a bit broken" so that I may more usefully argu the point with you?

And now you are most *definately* the one who is speaking with knowledge he doesn't have. I'm a biologist, and last I checked with others of my persuasion, the jury was still out on what "dynamics" "brought life to this planet". You are being inaccurate here.

Having been young person (still am, relatively), I understand where you're are coming from and can see your side of the story.

I would be comforted that one of the magic elders said so were I more confident that it was true.

However, what I also see is that you've based your opinions on conjecture and a somewhat lacking understanding of how things came to be and therefore, of how things work currently.

I don't feel like belaboring the accuracy point any further here.

Do I like the way things work, even still? No. But if there is nothing else that I've learned in my life that is important, I have learned this: If you see a problem, either get off your butt and do something about it, or keep quite--simple as that. If you're just complaining about it, you've now become part of the problem.

But wait a minute- you just told us not to get upset about things we didn't understand! And if we don't understand it, that means we can't act, right? So the only choice you've left us is to sit down and be quiet. Man, that sucks. But I guess there's nothing else I can do. I can't attempt to write an article to attract the attention of like-minded people so that we might figure out what to do, cuz that would mean I was upset about something I didn't understand, and I can't do that. Well, I guess I'll go sit quietly in my corner, as long as you promise to make it all better for me. Okay? Will you do that?

Good luck to you.

I hope this was an empty social formality, because otherwise it's really very patronizing ang rude, coming on top of the rest of the attacks in your post.

Well, that's it for me, I'm off to find my cliff...



[ Parent ]
you're all over the map (1.50 / 2) (#60)
by tmckain on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 01:20:48 AM EST

Essentially, you've invited me and others to completely disregard anything you've posted because it is simply a retribution response. And most certainly, its not inviting to consider your points of view.

Maybe had you taken the time to actually attempt to understand my post (and I invite you to check the follow ups) you may have seen through to the points I was getting at rather than taking them so personally. Btw, did you go to law school or were you only involved in your highschool debate team?



[ Parent ]
a bit further (1.50 / 2) (#62)
by tmckain on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 03:59:30 AM EST

If he were writing a thesis on methods of persistent nonverbal communication you would get to complain about him leaving things out,
Actually, it doesn't work that way. Introductory material is the platfrom for any text. If the platform material is inaccurate the whole article is inaccurate. But, this is purely academic.
...all the information you seem to think he needs to to have to not be "wrong on his history", it would have ruined the flow of his document...

In attempting to inaccurately outline communications history as a basis for his assumptions of inequity and wrongdoing, we can't rightly skip over 500 years of history. Most especially when during that time, some of the most important milestones were accomplished. So if it would ruin the flow of his document, he should presented the material so that this most obvious flaw in his logic would not be so glaring--your flawed logic as well it seems, for failing to recognize this most basic fact of constructing a written work.

I'm guessing you must be referring to this line, since I can't see any other that this complaint might reference: "To a lesser extent, most governments employ methods of controlling the press.

No actually, that isn't the line I was refering to. In your haste, you've overlooked the subjects of my statement. Subjects: Printing Press, Churches, government, control. Please refer to the original article to make this most obvious connection.

Basically, what I'm getting at is that your logic and understanding (read: lackthereof), or attempt to understand either the original article or my response leaves a lot to be desired. Essentially, as the criticizm stands for the original article, it seems that you've become so wrapped up in the subject matter and the semantics on a word by word basis, you're not understanding what's really being said. Rather, just reacting to it and deconstructively constructing an argument of no validity or value--a waste of everyone's time--most especially, yours.



[ Parent ]
If I may make a point... (4.25 / 4) (#47)
by teeheehee on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 02:21:08 PM EST

Looking at the history of the world, and I'm no Historian to be making bold claims (fortunately, this isn't a bold claim), I see that at least most of the revolutions that have ever occured have been started by "young person"s. Why?

There's a saying that's been buzzing around my workplace lately, due to the elections, which basically says you're a fool if you're not a communist while you're in college, you're a fool if you're not a liberal right after, and you're a fool if you're not conservative after hitting 30. What does this mentality show to us? Change (read: drastic, revolutionary) doesn't usually come from anyone but "young person"s. Think of all those revolutions for a second now - think of all the ones going on right now, how many of them have masses of 40-80 year olds out in the streets throwing rocks? How many 10-30 year olds are trying to supress the Movement? Starting to see my point here?

I would say it's a natural thing... To get old is to get settle in to whatever environment there is to live in. To be young is to try to mold whatever environment there is to make it livable so one can grow old in it. If someone who is young is raising Hell because they feel that something is wrong, and you feel you know more about the situation, perhaps patronizing them isn't the best solution to win them over with. They're naturally defiant to authority, remember. They're the ones who have to fight what's already there, which of course is run and controlled by those who don't want to lose control. Naturally.

<FLAIMBAIT-RANT>

I'm sorry to say, but it just sounds like you're angry that you don't share his rebellious views.

"Inaccurate data is a clear indication of inaccurate understanding on the part of the author."

Since this is your view, I will not contradict it. I will instead add to it. All people who can't use proper grammar should be shouted at and ignored by ALL people, because they must be stupid and all their views must also be wrong. ("So if the author doesn't know what their talking about..." Grammatically speaking, "they're" would have been the correct choice, not "their").

Of course I don't believe in ignoring people because of a typo... but by the same logic I don't discount someone's feelings on an issue if they have facts awry - I simply point that out and help them to correct themselves so that the next time they share their views it doesn't get faced with harsh reactions from opposing fundamentalists (or even nit-picky individuals who find any reason to flaw someone else's judgement). If they continue to misrepresent the facts, THEN my BS alarm goes off and I ignore them, or discredit them.

The point is Signal11's, or any K5er's views, should not be repressed simply because one is "unimpressed" by their rhetoric or jumping from Dark Ages to Present Day. Don't overlook the Whole because there's cracks in the Part, fix the cracks if you can, but if you can't then don't pry at them!

</FLAMEBAIT-RANT>

(Discordia) :: Hail Eris!
Everything you've just read was poetry and art - no infringement!

[ Parent ]
what you're missing (none / 0) (#58)
by tmckain on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 12:37:36 AM EST

as far as the typos, sure, I make them all the time. BUT, that doesn't infer that I don't know what I'm talking about, as was our author, rather that I don't know how to type or proofread well--a very big difference.

"The point is Signal11's, or any K5er's views, should not be repressed simply because one is "unimpressed" by their rhetoric or jumping from Dark Ages to Present Day. Don't overlook the Whole because there's cracks in the Part, fix the cracks if you can, but if you can't then don't pry at them!"

What you're missing in my posting is that there is a very definite, well thought out, purpose to the words and approach that I've used. It was intended to spur him to further action. It might not have been the correct approach in some peoples eyes, but I have only to approach it from my own experience and what I believe is a good choice of action. And as the ending of my post stated, don't complain about it, act.



[ Parent ]
Technology is invisible (3.45 / 11) (#24)
by Beorn on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 05:31:23 AM EST

Others have already expressed my confusion over what this rant was about, so I'll reply to the headline instead, which was pretty good.

The internet is a revolution, like printed books, newspapers, radio and TV before it. And like all previous revolutions, the internet doesn't change human nature, only which parts of it are encouraged, and the patterns data and thoughts flow in.

I'm not disappointed. Every single part of my life has in one way or another been influenced by computers and the net. If that's not a revolution, what is?

The power of these inventions is illustrated by the way they already feel *natural*, like a part of us we didn't know was missing until we found it. This explains why we rarely *perceive* it as a revolution. I know, rationally, that it is, but I feel like I've always been here.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

Not quite. (3.16 / 12) (#27)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 08:38:02 AM EST

The revolution is taking place right now. The seeds are there, your government is crossing the line. We all know that it's supporting a kind of commerce that works in meatspace but is entirely fantasy in the realm of the internet.

Either the offending laws will be fixed, or they won't and the commercial 'net will fall. The information 'net will likely fall too, but who better to rebuild it than us?

I'm not concerned that the revolution hasn't happened yet, because I know it is happening. These things don't happen overnight, the affected people need to be alienated to the point where the survival instinct kicks in.

The revolution is best left to the instincts. Wait for it.



farq will not be coming back
Coporations.. (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by k5er on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:05:03 PM EST

The only reason why corporations are so huge and powerful is because we the public made them that way. They have produced a product(s) which we use and like, and thus purchase. If they change that product and no one likes it, they lose there income and crumble. Its that simple, so as long as they produce products we like, then its our own fault for giving them power.

I will use soda/pop/whatever as an example. Yes we must drink what they provide, but we do have choice coke/pepsi/imported etc.. However the major players in any market are powerful because they produce the best product. If another comes along that is better, they will slowly lose there corporate power. Nvidia is a great example. They have claimed a huge market share in a short period of time because they produce great hardware. If there next several graphics cards suck, they will crumble. So I don't really see there being a problem. And to comfort you further, history has proven time and time again, absolute power corrupts absolutley...so I wouldn't worry!
Long live k5, down with CNN.
[ Parent ]
shit.. (1.33 / 3) (#43)
by k5er on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:07:47 PM EST

This was suppose to be attached to another comment and I can't find it.. Oh well.
Long live k5, down with CNN.
[ Parent ]
Corporate Power (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by spaceghoti on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 06:55:32 PM EST

While free market rules operate under the very philosophy you describe, I find that the reality is slightly different.

A corporation gains power by selling a good product. If the product is unique or unexpected as well as quality, it'll take off like a roman candle. Then begins the next phase. Keeping market share.

I won't begin my rant about Microsoft and Intel, since everyone is intimately familiar with those arguments. But I will mention them to point out the severe market dominance both have in their spheres of influence. Whether or not you agree with the accusations of the companies, you have to admit that both have spent vast sums of money advertising their products in every possible medium and doing their best to make sure the public believes that their products are superior and that all competition is just noise.

Why does the public buy this? Is Microsoft the superior OS? Some people believe so, but a lot of people point to other OSs that are a lot more stable and flexible, like Mac, Linux or BE. Does Intel make superior chips? Their primary competition is in the form of AMD and the K-series processors, with Transmeta attempting to step into the fray. Intel successfully lobbied the media to convince people that AMD's processors had a serious flaw that prevented them from being viable in modern computers. Although the accusation proved false, Intel reaps the benefits of this tactic by enjoying a solid lead in the market. Transmeta seemed poised to take the market by storm, but has been jilted by IBM and Compaq for reasons not yet clarified.

It seems to me that once a corporation has found its niche, it becomes very difficult for it to "crumble" because it no longer provides what consumers demand. Microsoft hasn't made an OS I appreciate since 3.11, but I use it because market dominance requires I learn it or suffer the consequences. While I keep applying for jobs to help me learn more Unix (long story why I haven't taken classes, just suffice that I have a reason), I get hired because of my Microsoft experience. Top corporations, like incumbent politicians, seem ducedly difficult to topple.

It would be nice if new innovations took off based on the quality of the product, but the fact is that unless the company is creating a new market, the top dogs are likely to stay on top because they've got the credibility and the money to maintain that credibility, whether or not the current generation of products deserve it.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
you used to laugh (3.33 / 12) (#32)
by maketo on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 10:15:36 AM EST

You know, time and time again I see people reluctant to rebel and fight for their own (interest, rights) even when they are in a situation to do so. The big corporations and the promise of a nice fat cheque have bribed the modern day westerner in to the pittiful state he (or she) is in now. You used to laugh at the Soviet Union and its 'enslaved' citizens. Well, enjoy your 'freedoms' now, as long as those 'freedoms' fit well within what corporations want you to do/use/buy/enjoy/drink/eat/watch/drive/x/y/z. Noone will not do anything, they are locked in the "bystander syndrome" - it is more convenient that way. After all, the "middle class" works hard for their money, so hard that they forget what life is all about.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Working the system (4.15 / 19) (#33)
by MTDilbert on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 10:38:12 AM EST

Most of what I hear on this site, and others of this nature, is how broken the system is; how bad and unfair, and corporatized, ad inifinitum, ad nauseum.

I don't disagree with many of these points, but, how many of you have actively participated in the system? I don't mean getting away from the keyboard and monitor once every November and voting. What I mean by participating is getting your sleeves rolled up and running for office, and standing up for the things you believe in.

Go ahead raise your hands.

I encourage you to give it a try sometime. It is hard work, it will make you weary to the bone. If you do one good thing, no one will thank you for it, but 100 people will come out of the woodwork, and tell you 100 reasons why what you did was wrong. If you act from a stance of stewardship, you will be accused of self-interest. The list goes on. $DEITY help you if you do something that is correct, but politically unpopular! It is an utterly thankless job.

But, for me, I can look back and see things that I had a direct hand in changing, and that is damn satisfying!

It's not a perfect system, but it's the best in the world. The opportunities to make change are right there in front you, if you're up to the challenge. Your responsibility to a democracy does not begin and end at the voting booth.

That is how you make your voice heard.

Don't mod me down because you disagree. Show me the error of my ways.

Out of curiousity... (none / 0) (#67)
by Pakaran on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:11:19 PM EST

What office did you run for? Are you glad you did? If you won, and it's supposedly not a full-time position, how is it working out between that and your full-time job?

[ Parent ]
Re: Out of curiousity... (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by MTDilbert on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:31:33 PM EST

I ran for the city council in my hometown. I'm definitely glad that I did. It certainly has given me some insight into politics, as well as the challenges involved with keeping a $BODY_POLITIC afloat and running.

We had some pretty hot issues when I came aboard, such as a treasurer who had been embezzling money from the town, several lawsuits against the town, and other various and sundry items. I would estimate that an average week was 20 hours on city stuff, not including meetings. My employer was very supportive, and gave what time I needed during the day, so long as it didn't interfere with my duties, and I only used that time if I absolutely had to.

That's the short version, I don't want to bore anyone to death with the little battles we had! If you want to discuss this further, I'd be happy to visit w/you via email.

Don't mod me down because you disagree. Show me the error of my ways.
[ Parent ]

The revolution that wasn't (and shouldn't be) (2.42 / 7) (#34)
by japhar81 on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 10:47:40 AM EST

Based on the responses here so far, the word constitution seems to bring to mind the US Constitution. As does the idea of 'representation'. What needs to be kept in mind here, is that when the framers originally created the US Government, they wanted it to be a slow moving government. Their goal was to avoid actions based on majority whims, and as such, a slow moving government provides time for the people to 'cool off'. The internet is inherintly fast. Disconnecting for a weekend usually means, for me at least, spending up to 4 hours just catching up on news (Slashdot, K5, Floach, etc.). So, let's evaluate the choices:

1) A 'real' democracy -- this will never, ever work. Things will come up much more often than any of us have time to research issues and vote, and to vote without actually taking some time to think about the issues will only lead to chaos.

2) A representative democracy -- How are you going to campaign? Spam emails? Even if we do chose the representatives, 4 years is too long a term, hell, 1 year is too long a term, again, things move too quick, and a new campaign every 3 or 6 months is again, unreasonable (see #1)

3) A parliamentary system -- Same thing as #2, different terminology.

I can apply similar arguments to any other political system, and please, spare me the flames if I screwed up parliament, I'm not intimately familiar with it. However, I do realize Rusty's point of not wanting to play god here, and I admire his willingness to step down. Perhaps we should consider allowing Rusty to simply put in place several 'lesser' dictators (preferably benevolent ones) and let them help Rusty out with running the site. A new government usually springs up from revolution, and Rusty, none of us are revolting here, we like what you're doing, so why fix what ain't broke? A referendum on major issues (Advertising, etc.) seems like a good idea, as long as it's limited to a few important issues a month, but a full-blown constitution and/or government, while a fascinating experiment, seems rather pointless and inpractical for K5. I realize I've gone and contradicted myself and stuff, but this is just a train-of-thought thing here.

<H6>Rome is always burning, and the younger generation never respects its elders. The time of your second coming, japhar81, is no exception. -- Aphasia</H6&gt
Yipes! Wrong story! (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by rusty on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:49:40 AM EST

I think you wanted to post that here. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
#&%$ING DO SOMETHING THEN!!!!!!! (3.72 / 18) (#35)
by Narcischizm on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 10:54:41 AM EST

WARNING: Bitchy, Catty and Preachy You complain about inactivity, and then bemoan that apathy without getting off your ass and getting something done. Write a letter to your congressman, city council, state legislature, anybody, let them know how you feel. Your rant is part of the same mistake you accuse us of, many of us bitch here, /. or any other forum site, and then go home to make sure you catch tonights episode of King of Queens.

Pick a cause or two, get out and do something. Quit bitching about not having anyone to follow and just LEAD. Lead yourself if you feel that strongly about the issue. Writing a two-pager on your apathy, defeatism, and the overwhelming power of corporations and government does nothing but add more useless white noise. (while you listen to the latest Limp Bizkit on your Sony MiniDisc, wondering if you really want the PS2, or if your old Playstation is fine, but you really want that DVD of The Matrix, and Charlie's Angels is out, but you didn't jot the title and times into your palm pilot, knowing you should have bought the PP VII)

I don't have a vote in Congress (live in DC), but I still write letters and emails to members of Congress every couple of months on whatever issue is bugging me. My wife works on Capital hill, and I can assure you they listen, for every issue they mark each peice of constituent mail, pro or against. During the impeachment proceedings, I knew stacks of people in my neighborhood that had to work extra hours just to read letters, emails and listen to phone messages, because again, they listen to their constituency when you make them know your opinion. They are just not getting enough correspondence for you side of the issues, because you haven't written any of them a letter have you? Old people care about politics, Middle age people almost care about politics, most people under 40 couldn't give a monkey dump about politics, because we just haven't learned that your vote makes a difference, however small.

Basically it takes work, this is a commitment that few are willing to make. If you don't care enough to get off yor ass and turn on a light to see what Time it is, then it IS your fault, and you DO count, just not the way you want.

If BBS's had evolved.... (3.25 / 4) (#39)
by CiXeL on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:54:59 AM EST

BBS's were dangerous to the government, even more dangerous than the internet. The internet is actually the safer of the two because while it allows information to float free uncontrolled, it doesnt have the same grassroots social level that BBS's did. Remember user meets and how people would actually get together in person? This is extremely dangerous to a government/commercial interests (theyre one and the same) who wishes to control the flow of information. The problem is that so many techies pour so much of their life into the box that they dont stop to think and analyze their present situation. Fellow techies, YOU are the ones in control--not the companies you work for. WAKEUP! You are far brighter than the law makers and corporate business owners of the world. We're 20% of the population thats a decent sized minority and our kind was considered the wise men throughout the ages. We need to rise up, overtake, and assimilate the corporate structures who rest their world on our shoulders. We need to shrug the atlas! Who's with me?? *cheers* :P But seriously.
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
You need more than just action... (none / 0) (#79)
by ucblockhead on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 12:43:46 PM EST

You need organized action. As long as it is just random individuals taking random actions, there just won't be much movement. The problem technical people have is that they are by nature individualistic and abhor leaders. But until they form organized bands with recognizable leaders, they'll never have any real strength because their individual actions will be lost among the general politcal noise.

On the street where I live, there were certain problems that were occurring which the city was mostly ignoring. Lots of people (individually) complained to various parts of the local government, but nothing happened. It wasn't until a group formed to complain as a block. This group was loose, and was actually composed of only a small minority of the residents, but just by the very act of organizing and taking action as a group, more has been done in the last few weeks than happened in the six years since we moved there.

-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Absolutely Correct. (none / 0) (#80)
by Narcischizm on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 03:00:33 PM EST

My city (DC) decided it wanted to pass some poorly designed and written Breed Specific legislation (banning 'pit bulls'). Within a week of the announcement, we had formed a small group of responsible 'pit bull' owners, and started collecting members, by the time we reach the city council, we had about 150 people to give testimony against the bad law.

As individuals we previously tried to get a letter writing campaign that wasn't successful because (as we learned in a one-on-one with a councilmember pushing the propsed law) it didn't show any concerted local opposition to the bill, even though our city council received hundreds of opposition letters from as far away as Australia. We showed our opposition in person and in force, and we haven't heard another word about it since May.

We also have started taking part in other government functions that remotely involve pet ownership, and have been very successful in rallying even more local support for our cause.

Basically you have to check some parts of your ego at the door to fight as a single voice, and aim for your ideal, but don't forget to choose your battles with the minutia.

[ Parent ]
How about a strike? (3.81 / 16) (#38)
by jwilkins on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:51:20 AM EST

If the technology industry as a whole feels like it's interests are not being met by the government, how about that timeless excercise of collective force - the strike...

If we all feel like the corporations are getting too much power in areas like copyright and privacy, that government should get it's nose out of our business and finally scrap the remainders of the crypto laws and <insert your personal gripe here> then why not arrange a strike.. Say February 1st 2001. (lets give this meme some time to spread)

Currently the entire economy is extremely (dare I say utterly) dependent on the skills that technology workers possess. If you want your voices heard, then deprive the economy of your skills for a day. See how fast corporations and government move to address your concerns.

On February 1st 2001, call in sick, or simply fail to show up.

I think that most people in the tech industry share some core beliefs (freedom of expression, access to uncensored information, right to use crypto, amongst others)

It might be useful to build up a site listing 5-10 core beliefs, have sign it (by email address? should you bother with a country?) and just point your bosses/congressmen etc to it and then actually go through with the strike.

sounds good (1.33 / 3) (#40)
by CiXeL on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:56:08 AM EST

i'd do it
Question Tradition...
[ Parent ]
Strike? (4.75 / 4) (#46)
by Eponymous, Showered on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 01:55:45 PM EST

The Blue Flu is not a strike. In fact, if you call in sick, you're saying you don't even have the cajones to stand up for your damn strike. A strike means picket lines and press and walkouts and threats to stay off the job until your demands are met.

Unfortunately, we are all way too cush to actually pull something like that off. Maybe we need a Jimmy Hoffa figure. Problem is, back then people were being literally abused. Us - we just can't watch our coveted DVD on Linux. While I think that the DMCA is fecal matter of the worst kind, I'm afraid it hasn't really affected us. Until it really hits us, I'm afraid we're shouting in the dark.

[ Parent ]
It's more complex than that.. (3.33 / 3) (#54)
by Andrew Dvorak on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 05:23:17 PM EST

The "problem", whatever it may be is much more complex than that. And I fear that your motivation is from personal experience not necessarily felt by everyone and if such an activity were to be organized, many innocent people would be hurt.

The solution is not to punish offenders of our own values, but to start over:

Prior to the third quarter of the 19th century, Japanese products were believed to be of much poorer quality than, say, United States products (at least from the point of view of those within the United States).

World War II ended with the dropping of the bombs in two large Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With these two major cities went many technological and cultural innovations.

In the later part of the 19th century, many companies -- such as Sony, Mitsubishi, and many more -- emerged from the new, technologically improved Japan. Suddenly, Japan was producing products technologically superior to any before created in the United States.

You must understand that when their structures, both social and physical constructions, were destroyed, they had the opportunity to rethink mistakes of the past so they could build greatly improved tools and buildings and technology.

I think both you and I know this easy solution is too taxing, and worse, unpredictable, but it's theoretically the best solution, given human nature.



[ Parent ]
19th century?? (none / 0) (#74)
by GandalfGreyhame on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 05:54:32 PM EST

<sarcasm> Hrmm... I must brush up on my history. Here I was, thinking WWII occured in the 20th Century. Guess I must've forgotten more than I thought. </sarcasm>.

19th century is the 1801-1900, 20th century is 1901-2000, and here we are, about to enter the 21st century, on January 1st 2001.

-G

Now returning to lurk mode...

[ Parent ]

Nice try... (2.25 / 12) (#44)
by Cyberdeck on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:41:21 PM EST

I like the tone of this article, but there is one rather uunpleasant reality that he missed. I would be very surprised if there were more than a hundred thousand of us across the whole of the U.S. and maybe another fifty thousand in the rest of the world. These numbers mean that we get lost in the underflow. When we build the technology we have far more impact on the world around us than we do with our one-person-one-vote governing system.

I'm going to play DA here. If we went on strike, as one poster suggested, very few people would notice. "The computers are running, so we can do without them for a day." Nothing would change. A truly drastic measure, like *shutting down the Internet* for a day would simply get people pissed off at us for inconveniencing them, if they even noticed. Except for the businesses that depend on the internet who would sue your asses into oblivion. The only people who would want to open up the net would be the CEOs of various companies here in the valley, and they are grossly overmatched by the Broadcast media who see "us" as their most deadly enemies (MPAA, RIAA, NAB, ...). <#endif DA>

I don't like to end on such a downbeat note, but I'm out of ideas. Any thoughts or suggestions?

-C


You can never have a bad day when you start it with "FORMAT C:".

.. (none / 0) (#71)
by ameoba on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 07:46:30 AM EST

Yes, those who have jobs would have to much to lose by shutting down the Internet, even for a short period of time... But, all smart revolutionaries, knowing The People are sheep, get them involved, and have them risk their necks.

However, if a few key people were to anonymously post to alt.2600 passwords/instructions/sourcecode that allowed the 'net to be shutdown, yes, people would bitch, but there'd be no head to put on the platter. How much can you penalize thousands of children?

[ Parent ]
The Game. (3.61 / 13) (#45)
by Forum on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 12:45:43 PM EST

I was a part of that conversation yesterday. And I have something to add yet again. You'll never win anything if you don't play The Game. You know what The Game is, we all do. The Game is society. The rules are simple, you do what they tell you, how they tell you, and when they tell you to do it. Go ahead write a letter. We'll read it. And we'll vote the same way we were planning on voting anyway, unless it's an election year. Then we might listen to you. That's part of The Game. Have your strike. We'll fawn over you, we'll pamper you, we'll sedate you into complacency again. That's part of The Game. Listen to yourselves. We're the "hackers". We're the problem solvers. We have a problem. We don't like how things seem to be going. Fine. Change it. Figure out a way AROUND the rules. We do that everyday, every minute of our lives is spent figuring out how things work, and how to get around the rules. That much is evident in everything we do. If you want to make a change, MAKE one. Don't wait and use one someone gives you. That's not us. We make our own paths. You think a particular OS is vulnerable, what do you do? You crack it, and you tell everyone you know. What happens? It gets fixed. The same thing applies here. Crack the system. And then tell everyone you know. There is a way around this. There is a way to get what you want. Some of you dream of the future. When information is free, and access to everything you want to know is right at your fingertips. That's not going to happen unless you MAKE it happen. And you're not going to make it happen by having a defeatist attitude toward it. Oh, the system is too big, it's too secure. Screw it. What do you have to lose that you aren't already losing?

-forum

-- "When I walk down the street and only 3 or 4 shots are fired at me, I find it hard to stay awake." -HC
movements abound (3.90 / 10) (#48)
by nutate on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 02:46:50 PM EST

There is no movement to participate in, no protests for me to take part in. I scream silently at the system...even alone in the dark I have no voice.

That ain't true. I have been following this race from the New Hampshire primary to the republican national convention. Protesting, and trying to get my voice heard. You seem to either be lazy, or in agreement with most of the abuses that the gov't purveys against it's constituent peoples. Personally, I think that projects like freenet and stronger and stronger crypto will work to protect networked data from a censoring gov't. The government taking away the freedom to vote and live unsupervised as demonstrated daily by the U.S.'s largest prison population in the world seems like more of an issue to me than deCSS source code (which I have ready access too) or intellectual property (which seems to be a makeshift crutch for holding up the fading pale market).

So fight the prison industrial complex, sweatshops, human rights abuses, and/or civil rights abuses. Or just keep coming up with new trolling techniques??? Come on.

something a little strange here... (4.07 / 14) (#49)
by SEAL on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 03:07:16 PM EST

While I agree with the gist of this rant, I found one paragraph somewhat ironic:

Time and time again, history has repeated itself. A communications medium is created, and used for a short period of time by amateurs, and then commercial or government interests move in and take over, removing these pioneers from the reigns of power. Computer geeks, if not the public at large, believe that the internet is different. That it is somehow immune to the effects of these interests.

Funny that the Internet is almost the exact opposite of what is described here. It was created by the government, and used by scientists. Subsequently, amateurs and commercial interests got involved and started molding it in their own image.

I just find it interesting that in the cases of radio and television, the government is being ranted against for too much involvement. In the case of the Internet, the government is being ranted against for doing too little (i.e. letting corporate interests rampage out of control).

We will never find the elusive balance that makes everyone happy. Communication mediums morph and change as more people from different backgrounds participate. My personal feeling is that large companies and certain special interest groups hold far too much sway with our representatives. But I don't fault them for their contributions to the Internet. The net is just a reflection of society, and where we find a problem on the net, surely there is an underlying problem off the net.

Best regards,

SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Aww... (3.38 / 13) (#50)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 03:23:19 PM EST

Poor Sig 11 finally realized that revolutions don't happen unless there are revolutionaries. Look, I realize this is a real bummer, but nothing good has ever come of any "revolution" that didn't involve a lot of hard work. If you genuinely believe in liberty, then educate your friends, your coworkers, whomever is interested. Don't preach at people, but don't keep your views to yourself in the face of an invitation to discuss them. As more people agree, you'll find that you aren't quite so out of touch as you thought - but without more people, all we are is a few ranting geeks with too much free time. No system of government that any of us could ever agree to would honor the wishes of a couple hundred thousand people, or even a couple of million, over the wishes of 250 million others. If the vast majority want a nanny state, they're going to get it - so rather than senselessly bang your head against that brick wall, kill off the state at the source - without popular support, such a government either faces an open revolt or changes dramatically. With popular support, it is essentially invincible. If you think that I post here and elsewhere for no reason, if you think I discuss face to face and write articles just to hear my own voice and see my own words, you are mistaken. I believe in liberty, and I believe that the only way I'll ever experience it is to convince a whole lot of other people that they should want it too.

Whatever you do, do not support "alternatives" that are no better than the mainstream. Nader, Buchanen, Hagelin, and their ilk will never give you what you want, even if they win. Obviously, neither will Bush or Gore, or any member of any of the parties these men represent. It is easy to talk about "tax and spend" Democrats and "supply side" Republicans, but the fact is, they, the "Reform" party(which has no proposals to reform ANYTHING,) the Greens, the Socialists, the Communists, and the Natural Law party disagree only on one issue: how much of your freedom to take away, and for what stated aim. They'll take away the freedom - on that you can be sure. Based on history, you can be almost as sure they won't provide much of value in return. Even if they did, do you think it would be worth it?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Being a revolutionary (4.06 / 15) (#52)
by driftingwalrus on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 04:31:32 PM EST

The problem with being a revolutionary is that it's painful business. It means losing your job, home, probably getting tear-gassed, beaten, thrown in jail, and quite possible dieing a painful death.

Right now, most of us have too much to lose. It's not like we don't have power, we practically run the entire telecommunications system of the world. We could bring just about any country we wanted to to it's knees. I'd be willing to bet that the majority of people here make more than $50,000/year, have nice apartments and neat technological toys.

A great way to protest would be to arrange sit-ins at government offices, then when the time comes for the arranged sit-in, hit the circuit breakers for all the networking equipment in your office and walk right out of the building. Go to the arranged sit-in, handcuff yourselves together and wait for the fur to fly. You would not be ignored. You would probably go to jail, even if only for overnight, probably lose your job, most likely get clubbed for the priviledge and lose a lot of personal ground. BUT, you would have made an extremely loud statement. No one would be able to ignore it. However, it would come at massive personal expense.

Most, if not all, people in this community are unwilling to give up that much in exchange for changing the world.




"I drank WHAT?!" -- Socrates
It goes beyond that. (none / 0) (#65)
by Pakaran on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 10:48:26 AM EST

If I don't care what happens to me, I can do anything, quite literally.

I can buy a gun and (with enough planning) shoot the President.

I can, with some programs that aren't particularly hard to find, take down any website, up to and including Yahoo. Hell, I can modify one of the file sharing worms to generate 100% random traffic at a predetermined time, thus bringing the Internet to its knees. All these things I know how to do now, or could learn with about a month of effort, and I am a mere college freshman in computer science.

Why don't I? Not jsut because I care about myself, but because I am a human being with a conscience.

[ Parent ]

I don't believe you (none / 0) (#77)
by FeersumAsura on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 03:30:14 AM EST

I can, with some programs that aren't particularly hard to find, takedown any website, up to and including Yahoo. Hell, I can modify one of the file sharing worms to generate 100% random traffic at a predetermined time, thus bringing the Internet to its knees. All these things I know how to do now, or could learn with about a month of effort, and I am a mere college freshman in computer science.

I think you are over estimating your talents. If the entire internet was that vulnerable it would have happended already. A random traffic worm would not work as multiple copies (huge amounts) would be needed. Also the Yahoo attack worked as a mass DoS attack. Not a single computer.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
Don't be so sure... (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by ucblockhead on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 12:30:45 PM EST

Don't be so sure about that. The stereotype of the teenage cracker is mostly true, but not because teenagers have any special talent for system-cracking. Rather, it is because a certain subset of teenagers has that aweful combination of too much time and not enough social responsibility to tend towards vandalism. (Not most, of course, just that dangerous minority.) There are many, many adults that far exceed these guys in general skill, but don't use those talents for cracking, mostly because they have better things to do and have grown out of the "pissing on the wall to impress their friends" stage.

I've been a professional programmer for over a decade who started out writing interrupt driven routines, and I can say pretty much flat out that I could have designed most of the viruses running around these days. I've looked at the code to Melissa. It ain't rocket science. Neither were the techniques to launch those DDoS attacks last year. And I personally can see how those attacks could have been made much, much worse by combining those techniques with things like Melissa. And I've seen other people show the same, in even more detail, at a theoretical level. The talent certainly is out there. It just does not yet coexist with the motivation in any one person.

I don't know whether or not the original poster has the skill to do the kinds of things mentioned, but I know that I do, depending on how concerned I was with being traced. And I am not trying to be particularly egotistical here. My skill in these areas is not particularly great. I suspect that there are well over 100,000 people in this country that could pull off the things mentioned. The reason it doesn't happen is the same reason why we don't see highly paid network engineers spraypainting graffiti by the freeway.

And that should be very scary to us, because one can easily imagine a situation where the motivation factor might change. (War, political instability, etc.)

-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
You arrogant little shit. (1.00 / 1) (#72)
by FeersumAsura on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 08:24:23 AM EST

It's not like we don't have power, we practically run the entire telecommunications system of the world.

May I respectfully point out that your are talking out of your oversized American arse. The US mobile phone system is split between standards. Much of your comms systems are of thirdworld standard. Especially when it comes to overall standards. What does the British in British Telecom stand for, is it some quaint UK spelling of USA. Like hell it is. I'm sure the Chinese and the Russians would love your claim, oh and what about Australia. Think a bit harder and please piss off.

I'm so pre-emptive I'd nuke America to save time.
[ Parent ]
Re: You arrogant little shit. (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by driftingwalrus on Fri Nov 10, 2000 at 10:01:59 PM EST

Firstly, I'm not american. I'm Canadian. Secondly, I appreciate your respectful and well-thought out response, and how you carefully thought to focus more on what I meant by the post than the specific wording I used. Even though the wording may be incorrect, the point isn't.




"I drank WHAT?!" -- Socrates
[ Parent ]
We must do something (3.75 / 8) (#53)
by Gomker on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 05:03:48 PM EST

As I browse through the comments I see a lot of comments about how the author should stop whining and be more active etc... Well isn't he doing something by writing this article and pointing out something that should be bothering us all. It seems that for all things that bring us geeks together, we really don't have much cohesion or influence when it comes to the government.
Sure we talk about the issues in depth, but usually most of these discussions that shed light on the ignorance of most of our lawmakers will never be heard by anyone but fellow techies.
It feels like the technology community doesn't have much of a core. We don't have a rallying point (except for places like k5) to bring us all together to combat the things that are threating our freedoms and our livelyhood.
We could be a very powerful voice in government if organized.
I'd like to do more myself, but it seems like I also get discouraged by the enormity of all the bs and Bureaucracy. The only thing I can do today is Vote and pray that not too many more moronic laws get passed.

Not quite (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by MTDilbert on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 10:54:42 AM EST

I disagree. Writing an 500 word essay isn't exactly "doing something" about anything. In essence, it is preaching to the choir. It is analogous to me walking up to you and saying, "These roads need fixing," and then walking away. You certainly haven't learned anything new, and I haven't caused the problems to be repaired any faster. As you say yourself, "...discussions that shed light on the ignorance of most of our lawmakers will never be heard by anyone but fellow techies."

We could be a very powerful voice in government if organized.

Bingo. So, the actual call to action is: Get organized. Maybe you belong to a LUG, or similar organization. Bring up the point at the next meeting. Draft a letter to your congresscritters. Mount a phone call campaign. Let them know what is going on. Explain to them, in terms they can understand, what you feel needs to be done.

I'd like to do more myself, but it seems like I also get discouraged by the enormity of all the bs and Bureaucracy. The only thing I can do today is Vote and pray that not too many more moronic laws get passed.

It is a daunting task, and by burying your head in the sand and just "praying" that no stupid laws get passed, you are giving tacit permission for those laws to get passed. It is discouraging. It is BS. That's no excuse.

The point I'm trying to make is that your responsibility to Democracy doesn't begin and end at the polling booth. Once you elect your representative, you have to take some initiative in keeping him or her abreast of your feelings as a constituent.

Don't mod me down because you disagree. Show me the error of my ways.
[ Parent ]

Invitation to join the resistance (2.00 / 4) (#57)
by andrewmuck on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 12:22:15 AM EST

I would have invited you to join in the Global Resistance of Underground Networked Technologists, but I was unable to locate your public key.

This public message is purely for entertainment purposes and not to be taken seriously ;)

Please no highly sensitive comunications without prior contact even if encrypted!!

Eh? (4.00 / 4) (#63)
by Chops on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 05:26:43 AM EST

I wish to respectfully disagree with your argument, in total.

The internet has given us free software. It's a minor issue as far as society is concerned, but it makes an enormous difference in my life that I can run an OS not bundled and sold to me by AT&T, Microsoft, AOL, or whoever's in charge at the moment, and proper open source development seems to depend very deeply on the free and easy exchange of code, messages, and whatnot between far-flung developers.

It's also on track at the moment to bust up one of the most powerful and evil monopolies in modern history, the recording industry. Napster was a bad implementation of an obvious idea, but barring the legal enforcement of the RIAA's monopoly, it will be feasible from this point forward for artists to promote their music independently, which if nothing else will force the big guns of music promotion to tone down their rapacity to a level only slightly brutal.

It's also possible now to act as a fully anonymous whistle-blower via the cypherpunk remailer system. If you have the know-how, you can leak anything you can digitize or retype; I predict that places like alt.whistleblowing will become busy to joyous proportions as more and more people develop the know-how. For the evil that rules our nations, this is a bad thing whose depths have yet to be sounded.

You mentioned DeCSS; I agree that DeCSS, Mathworld mirrors from the Google cache, and PGP are pretty small potatoes for the forseeable future, as far as total societal good goes. The IRC chats during the Gulf war and Soviet collapse, though, were the first distant rumblings of something very big and very important. It is rapidly becoming hard or impossible for a government to control what its citizens can say or hear; systems like Freenet and Mojo Nation show the potential for busting up even China's Rube-Goldberg-esque firewalling scheme, by separating message content from transmitted content permanently. If you can snake a twisted pair, phone connection, or radio signal across the border, your communication is free-as-in-speech, and will be until the collapse of civilization. To a hacker, this is old news, but there are a number of information monopolies to which it will come as such a rude awakening that I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of them tried a fruitless national ban on TCP/IP before giving up the ghost.

There's also the news coverage on salon.com, which has long since replaced the national propaganda report I used to watch, the hideously alluring offensiveness of stileproject.com (which would have been banned in seconds if it had been printed on paper), the free social commentary I found on billhicks.com and on Napster under "Lenny Bruce..." hell, tonight I was playing Yahoo chess against a guy from Malaysia. I started bitching about Bush winning the US election, and he told me about the US's foreign policy as impacts him; Gore visited Malaysia many times in his capacity as VP, and in this guy's opinion overstepped his bounds by strongly supporting the "reformists" while in town. It's a minor example, but it will cease to become one when the next Viet Nam goes down and Salon starts running firsthand accounts of how well the USA is helping the Vietnamese people overcome the evils of Communism.

In short, I agree that the geek community ignores the real world to its detriment, and we may well see quite a bit more bad shit go down with respect to domain names, widespread eavesdropping, IP, "hacking tools," and encryption (I shudder to think what kind of draconian nonsense we'll see once The Powers That Be figure out that freenet and friends are an unqualified Bad Thing for them), but the net's already been an unprecedented societal good, and it promises much more in the future. Viva la revolucion.

This is all just generalisation (4.20 / 5) (#64)
by James Mulholland on Wed Nov 08, 2000 at 10:31:54 AM EST

> most of the assembled audience reading
>  this article... have been busy doing nothing at all. 
It's just too easy and irrelevant to generalise from "I've been doing nothing" to "We've been doing nothing". My own hobby-horse is the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which is kind of an amalgam of Carnivore, FBI snooping, etc - all now perfectly legal under UK law.

I've written to, and met with, my Member of Parliament; written to the Home Secretary, the Prime Minister, opposition MPs; spoken to a member of the House of Lords; submitted a paper to him about the RIP Act; written a number of articles for some websites; and I'm in the process of producing a website detailing ways and means you can overcome the threat of such snooping.

I wish I had more time and energy to get involved with software patents and other freedoms: maybe later ;-) I've got involved, and I think I may have made a difference. I'd urge everyone here to go and do likewise. At least then when your kids say "What did you do during the Internet wars [daddy|mummy]?" you can stand tall and say you were there, you did your bit :-)

Start here (3.33 / 3) (#70)
by thePositron on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 03:13:34 AM EST

"There is no movement to participate in, no protests for me to take part in. I scream silently at the system...even alone in the dark I have no voice."

Well you can start by helping HERE



Signal11 == John Katz 2 ? (2.66 / 6) (#73)
by fantastic-cat on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 01:47:32 PM EST

Sorry to be totally off topic but:

Is Signal11 becoming the John Katz of K5? Bland generalising articles driping with trite rhetoric and winging:

"There is no movement to participate in, no protests for me to take part in. I scream silently at the system...even alone in the dark I have no voice. "

I can't believe this made it to the front page there's plenty for you to do,(write to politicians,talk to people, set up a web site outlineing your concerns and publicise it)You don't have to join a movement to do something you just have to want to do something.

t.

Hrmmm (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by Aztech on Sun Nov 12, 2000 at 02:45:40 PM EST

Hmm, instead of of screaming into the darkness ... why doesn't he try openning his eyes and looking at all the various groups out there.

[ Parent ]
Actually, there ARE movements to participate in (3.00 / 1) (#76)
by voodoo1man on Thu Nov 09, 2000 at 11:26:00 PM EST

Not to be a shameless self-promoter, but I wrote a paper on this subject a month or so ago. ( http://www.osopinion.com/Opinions/VladSedach/VladSedach2.html ). Basically, it states that commercialization is inevitable, and the best thing you can do is join an "underground" wireless network project like Guerilla.net (www.guerilla.net), the New England Radio Network ( http://www.iirg.org/%7Eticom/newnet.html ). While they are based over radio bands, which are rather slow, they're all based on COTS hardware running over public-band channels and utilizing strong encryption, which would make it legally hard to control them. None of those networks are really operational yet, and the most successful wireless project (it was featured on Slashdot not too long ago) seems to be the Canberra Wireless Network ( http://www.air.net.au/ ), and is incidentally ironic because, despite all the commercialization of the 'net, it seems to have been built because Internet access still sucks in Australia =].

Signal 11... (2.66 / 3) (#82)
by simmons75 on Sat Nov 11, 2000 at 12:29:34 PM EST

I really can't sympathize with you since you singlehandedly killed slashdot.
poot!
So there.

well... (1.00 / 1) (#85)
by CaptainZornchugger on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 02:29:12 PM EST

Yeah, I know we don't like the little one-line jokes here, but that was downright hilarious! The fact that it was a Slashdot-style one line post made it even better! whatever...


Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
[ Parent ]
The Revolution That Wasn't. | 85 comments (75 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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