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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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all your data belongs to the one of the internet (blessed be the trunk and all its branches)
children of dune - leto 1
To take a break from quiet paranoia for a bit (my paranoia is very paranoid but it's quite exhausting):

The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash by Charlie Stross (thanks to [personal profile] anatsuno for the original link)

I call it Our Dystopia: How Bladerunner and Neuromancer Weren't Quite Depressing Enough So Let's Mix This In and Really Lose the Will to Live, because halfway through comments, I was already like, thinking of stocking up on spare 1TB drives and spray-paint my keyboard in various (and tastefully renegade) shades of green for my inevitable escape to the underground (in the jungle?) clutching my hard drives to my chest while being chased by G4 and G5 mobile's Everpresent Eye trying to steal my data from my cold, dead fingers.

I quibble politely with this:
That's the time scale in which they expect the cloud computing revolution to flatten the existing PC industry. Unless they can turn themselves into an entirely different kind of corporation by 2015 Apple is doomed to the same irrelevance as the rest of the PC industry — interchangable suppliers of commodity equipment assembled on a shoestring budget with negligable profit.

If you're using an iPad in 2015, my bet is that you won't bother to have home broadband; you'll just have data on demand wherever you are. You won't bother yourself about backups, because your data is stored in Apple's cloud. You won't need to bother about software updates because all that stuff will simply happen automatically in the background, without any fuss: nor will worms or viruses or malware be allowed. You will, of course, pay a lot more for the experience than your netbook-toting hardcore microsofties — but you won't have to worry about your antivirus software breaking your computer, either. Because you won't have a "computer" in the current sense of the word. You'll just be surrounded by a swarm of devices that give you access to your data whenever and however you need it.


It is 2010 and I can't download a song from Amazon on my G1 unless I'm standing in just the right part of the parking lot on one leg while humming Whataya Want From Me backward (all roads lead to Adam Lambert; he's magic). I live in Austin--you're saying in five years--five years--the current disgraceful state of wireless global networking will not crash and die when I need Jason Derulo's new single like now? That's like saying in five years I can finally give up the flesh and the tyranny of individualism and join the One of the Net, All Seeing, All Knowing, All Surfing (May the Oneness Last Forever).

What I'm saying is, you think in five years mobile access is not going to make me curse the name of all who own iPhones for stealing my bandwidth? Stop raising my hopes here, okay? That's just like, cruel.

(On the inevitability of All Our Data Belongs To Big Network Drives in five years: did I ever mention that we had a major data center that required a firehose once to avoid overheating? Yeah. Call me when no one is standing anywhere holding a giant hose with an embarrassed expression. Maybe then I won't laugh too hard.)

(PS: Swarming. I love that word.)

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/15635.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

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I'm paranoid, and yet there's a large part of me going, "PLUG INTO MY BRAIN NOW, YES!!!"


(eta: completely sidestepping the five year issue, whoops.)

Edited at 2010-05-03 08:49 pm (UTC)

...I am not saying I wouldn't sign up.

Mm. I remember 20 years ago when the concept of constant high-speed internet access was confined to science-fiction. Now we ignore/despise people who do not have it, even though a lot of people still don't.

No, I think your quibbles are real and will still be a problem for YOU (by which I mean the ordinary consumer) five years from now, but not for Apple or the corporate entity which will be in charge by then (could be Comcast for all I know).

And once Apple has a monopoly, they do not need to keep you happy, do they? Just like Microsoft once threatened monopoly over the operating systems marketplace, Apple now is beginning their ascent towards monopoly of mobile media: the advent of the iPod, then the iPhone and now the iPad is becoming a one-way street as the failure of the Google Nexus is proving: it really is all about the sales channel, same as media content (thus the crackdown torrenting etc.)

For instance, did you know that Apple has stopped selling the Macbook Air? The party line is that now that iPads are available, whyever would you want a Macbook Air. Consider how Apple reacted to the Google Voice app. Consider how they reacted to the minor outing of the iPhone 4G prototype. Consider how buying a non-smart phone is next to impossible nowadays...

The bottom line is that reality doesn't matter to people like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google: their vision of the future is. Just like Microsoft -the original Evil Empire- used to think, having clearly demonstrated that it's not the best technology that wins, it's pre-empting the market's choice (in Microsoft's case, by selling upstream).

Once my cellphone carrier only sells iPhones, I'll buy an iPhone rather than hide in a cave and use smoke signals... once netbooks disappear, maybe I'll have to buy an iPad or else carry a 10 lbs. laptop.

And Apple would rather it happen within 5 years in order to get my money sooner, regardless of whether it fulfills my requirements: you cannot exactly blame them for wanting to make a profit, right?

After all, as long as the consumer base doesn't have an alternative, who cares if they complain?

Comment 212 by Morgan summarizes my points a lot better than I did: "especially the core concept: whether the future you describe is correct or not, these companies are all acting like they believe that it will happen like that.

And that's the most important piece of all."

By a sheer stroke of... coincidence? I am in the middle of reading a book by Charles Stross: I read The Jennifer Morgue last week and I am currently reading its prequel, The Atrocity Archives (they both work just fine as standalone novels, anyway).

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
meanwhile, I'm considering a tattoo on my left palm that says if you can read this, somebody stole my iPhone.

*bites lip* I can see this. Bandwidth-stealer.

Pish. Apple will never have a monopoly. Apple does not *want* a monopoly, because that would mean *uncool people* were using their stuff.

I can't be arsed to go looking for the quote, but when the iPad launched Jobs was asked if they planned to make a less expensive version down the road. He said No, they did not plan to make something second-rate.

Saying "less expensive" is necessarily the same as "second rate" not only denies Moore's Law, it's basically an asshole elitist "not the biggest market share, but the *best*" attitude.

It's like the original Mac/PC ads. When Mac throws a party, 5 very thin people dressed in black show up. They drink absinthe and talk about how cool they are.

When PC throws a party, *everybody* shows up. They put the speakers outside, mix their own punch, have a conga line through the flowerbed. Some people's purses get stolen, the neighbors who don't come to the party call the cops at 3am, a *lot* of people leave with someone they just met.

I get why people love Macs and their ease of use, and why they enjoy Apple products, but I seriously cannot deal with something I don't actually own. A computer is not a TV is not a toaster is not a car; something that controls my access to the internet, helps pay my bills, holds my private information, my hobbies, and my work. The closest analogy I can get is maybe house ownership; I cannot imagine anyone buying a house who is told they can only buy their furniture from x store, the layout can't be changed, and don't you dare add on an extra room or a deck unless you use this short list of contractors who can only do it in a pre-approved, specific way. That's a lot closer to rentals.

When PC throws a party, *everybody* shows up. They put the speakers outside, mix their own punch, have a conga line through the flowerbed. Some people's purses get stolen, the neighbors who don't come to the party call the cops at 3am, a *lot* of people leave with someone they just met.

We know how to party, yo.

Why you can't download in Austin

In the comments section. Stross responds to someone who has the same complaint you do thusly:

"If you're in the USA, *of course* your coverage is shit; the USA has been systematically under-investing in public infrastructure for decades.

Here in the UK, things are somewhat better. In other countries, such as Japan (where I happened to be last week) "home broadband" means a choice of 100mbps or gigabit ethernet, and they don't even have GSM phones -- they leapfrogged that generation completely."

This looks like just another of the myriad ways we're being overtaken by the rest of the planet because of our robber baron economic structure, which punishes investing in anything that doesn't return a large profit immediately.

Re: Why you can't download in Austin

I was reading that on Japan. It's so depressing.

AppleVangelists have drive me batshit lately. I'm breaking down and buying an iPhone in a few months (because I get a discount), and all the sudden every Mac enthusiast I know is trying to get me to buy a Macbook Pro or an iPad. Omg no. I've played with iPads. They don't do much, and are worthless to me until they're sufficiently hacked so Flash runs on them (which I hear has already been done?). The Safari browser installed on the iPad also sucks ass. Customization of built-in browser features (e.g. buttons, drop-down lists, etc.) is nonexistent, and some JavaScript is all wonkadoodle.

Cloud computing will not work for me until broadband Internet is significantly faster and the possibility of outages disappears. Like, seriously, my cable Internet connection can barely get me video streaming on YouTube in realtime. You'd seriously need a T1 or T3 connection to be able to work without major delays on a cloud, unless they dedicate a server to each person on the cloud, LOL.

And then, yeah, like you alluded to, sometimes it's hard to keep wireless signals! There would be nothing worse than having to use a cloud to type a damn Word document, and have it being on the fritz while you're trying to type something. Even now, I use servers to use certain pieces of software? It's a royal pain in the ass. The server connection so much as glitches for a second, and the entire program crashes, no hope in the world of saving. And that's to say nothing of bandwidth issues... you can tell the second another person is using the software with you, because the speed of the program drops exponentially.

Also, I do not want to have to store my data on a cloud. I like it just fine on my own machine. I don't even trust Google with my personal information, dammit. More localized information is, the more tempting it's going to be for someone to give the wrong person access, or to sell that information to the wrong people. Look at what Facebook's doing right now. *point*

Can you tell I'm anti-cloud? :P

The new jailbreaks for the iphone and ipad are out, yeah, and i think they cover flash.

Cloud computing will not work for me until broadband Internet is significantly faster and the possibility of outages disappears. Like, seriously, my cable Internet connection can barely get me video streaming on YouTube in realtime. You'd seriously need a T1 or T3 connection to be able to work without major delays on a cloud, unless they dedicate a server to each person on the cloud, LOL.

See, that's what makes me laugh, because I'm a program tester for state based web applications that they pour money into and the infrastructure is horrific, both in reliability and yes, God, bandwidth. The internet is based off of a few trunks and a thin cable crossing the ocean that people break not exactly infrequently. A local home network that I can access at any time from anywhere yes, but I'm not going to depend on outdated trunks to give me access to my life otherwise, no.

I went in today to fix the new and terrifying breaks in my privacy with Facebook. God I hate Facebook.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the substance of your post, but I <3 your taste in music. Jason Derulo! Eee!

And, um, you are entirely to blame for my a) purchase of "For Your Entertainment"; b) purchase of the remix tracks; c) their sudden appearance at the top of my "most played" list in iTunes; and staying up way too late reading AI rps fic. My life has become much more glittery lately. **facepalm**

Oh, Adam, how are you so magical.


They'll pry my servers, my hard drives, and my personal data storage out of my cold dead hands. Not to sound too reactionary or anything, but are those people on CRACK? Sure, some folks are using Cloud computing. We're trying it at my job, for student email services and storage, and it blows great big hairy chunks.

I can't even get a reliable wireless signal in my own office, in the student center, and I'm in the GODDAMN IT DEPARTMENT. If they can actually guarantee that there will be universal virtual storage and transfer and reliable wireless networking forever'n'everamen by then, well. I wish I knew what they know. Because I just don't see it happening.

Yes yes yes yes yes. My God yes. *clutches hard drives and computers close*

Remember the first Matrix movie? When one dude said he had been born "the normal way" and had no plugs, I actually felt bad for him.
That's how sick I am.

Wait, you weren't supposed to feel that way?

. . . Shit.

I read that article and was not only impressed I understood 95?% of his technospeek but also wondering WTF country/world/universe he was living in?

I know maybe 3 people who have an Apple/Mac and maybe 5 who has/can afford and iPhone. This guy's going on about all this wireless utopia and nearly 85% of the people I interact with on a daily basis don't even own a computer.

It's really really upper middle class technguy like whoa. I kept kind of snorting, because seriously, I get he lives (and fandom somewhat lives) in a fairly rarified environment on tech, but that is so not normal.

Ok, I'm not great with technology but author? I'm in New Zealand. I share a flat with 3 others (4 if you count my flatmate's boyfriend who is here 95% of the time). Up until 5 days ago, our internet was... 10GB. A month. For 4 people. For $100. And after going over the cap two months running and being on dial-up for the last days of the month, I insisted on upping the plan. So now for an extra $10, we get a grand total of...20GB!

I always laugh whenever new stuff comes to New Zealand (like Tivo and the ability to watch tv shows on TVNZ or TV3, Iphones etc) because there will always be an article about how the future is *here*, but our internet capability just can't handle any of it!


Um..hi? I've been lurking here for awhile. I got hooked by your Star Trek fic and then because of you(this is a good thing) I got addicted to Adam Lambert and Kradam. After years of avoiding American Idol at all costs I am now watching S8 courtesy of a friend. But I an now converting others to the awesomeness of Adam! And I tend to ramble which is why I tend to lurk so sorry?

...I was nodding along with a lot of his predictions about the future of wifi, but then I live in the UK. downloading data on your phone (makes no difference if it's iphone or not) is not a big deal, speed-wise.

Which makes me scratch my head a lot : how are apple, which is based/developed in a country which has really shitty comms setup, expecting to get their consumer base onto this?

They released the iphone to a network that wasn't ready for it either, so *hands*. There's a strong sense of "if we do it, others will deal with it" which is workable in high-wealth, high-urban areas. And that is their customer base; middle and working are very much not their market, since those groups aren't (in general) going to have the spare income to get a computer for the family/kids and a tablet with this level of specialization that's useless for other than movies and surfing.

What I'm saying is, you think in five years mobile access is not going to make me curse the name of all who own iPhones for stealing my bandwidth? Stop raising my hopes here, okay? That's just like, cruel.

*laughs* It's cruel, but announcements like this make me realise that most technology-sector working types clearly live inner-city in large metropolises (metropoli?) and currently access wireless broadband easily.

I live in a large country city (second largest in the state, after the capital. And only an hours drive from the CBD of the capital so in fifty years time, we'll probably be an outer suburb, honestly) and moving 5kms across a suburb can leave you with no ability to get wired broadband (two years ago, moved 5kms, had to go back to dial-up because the "exchange" was "full". Waited a year and then went to cable out of necessity, but I've heard that the other side of town has entire suburbs that are in a "blackspot" for wireless and can't get it).

And the thing is, in *regional* Australia, in the middle of nowhere, there are places were dial-up is literally your only option for getting online. There is no physical way that wirefree broadband will be an alternative for everyone in five years.

I think, "wirefree if you live in the same city as us and earn enough to pay ridiculous monthly fees" is a more accurate description of their forecast.

And to think, I was trying not to be cranky today. *shrugs* Clearly, I'm not succeeding too well.

In our little tech-y oasis of Silicon Valley, this delusion is regarded as less so because, for large parts of it, wireless is readily accessible (or at least the parts I frequent).

The stuff about Japan still raises hell in me though. MORE EVIDENCE OF WHY THE FUCK THEY ARE CLEARLY SURPASSING US IN COOL/GEEK (not like it was really a question, but c'mon. Give us a fighting chance.)

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