Notes from #SOTN13

Hashtags being used:

Gigi keynote

  • “Italian is the official language of music.” (It’s certainly far more musical than English. No offense.)

David Snowden (@Snowded) keynote

  • Responses to change: fascism or anarchy
  • “We need a few more ecologists around.” Not just engineers.
  • Wisdom of crowds is too often “tyranny of herds.”
  • We need theory for practice and not just theory from practice
  • Complex adaptive systems… The system and the agents co-evolve and modify each other over time. They are not causal but dispositional. They have dispositionality.
  • Sources (as many do, correctly) Daniel Khaneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow.
  • “Don t get involved in partial problems but always take flight over the whole single great problem even if this view is still not clear.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • “Every man lives only in this present time, which is an indivisible point, and all the rest of his life is either past or uncertain” – Marcus Aurelius. (Makes me think of Tennyson’s “All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams the untraveled world…”)
  • “There is a high degree of autism in university economics departments.” (I think that’s what he said. Not sure.)
  • “We are pattern based intelligences, not information-based machines.” Far too many people are tying to use the Net to replace human intelligence.” “Culture can replace biology within two generations.”
  • Hugh McCloud: “Information wants to be free. Perspective wants to be expensive.” (Don Marti: “Information doesn’t want to be free. Information wants to be $6.95.”)
  • “I’ve never seen a rusty snake.”
  • Low turnout in elections means fascists are running things.
  • There is far more to human communication than aural and visual stimulation. Scent counts too.
  • Aristotle: “Virtue then is a state of deliberate moral purpose consisting in a mean that is relative to ourselves…”
  • Mark 9:17: Nor do peope pour new ine into old windeskins. If they dom the skins will burst, the wine will spill out and hte skins will be ruined. nstead, they pouier new wine into freh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
  • Hugh: “One must listen to one’s own humanity.”
  • “I use twitter more than google to search for anything involving ambiguity.”
  • Great images about mapping and managing dispositions. In respect to these…
  • “Micronarratives are more useful than best practices in health care.”
  • Abandoning management is stupid. We need to co-evolve. Anarchism loses to fascism under conditions of control. Put humans at the front and the end.

Excellent opening report on the state of the net in Italia

  • Even though Twitter is down (and Facebook, Tumbler, Google+ and others are up), lots of reporting on what and when Italians are tweeting

Akamai talk

  • Great stats
    • The U.S. is #13 in broadband speeds. Asian and European countries are tops.
    • Mobile devices are replacing desktop devices in common usage. Our primary interaction is though mobile rather than fixed devices.
    • Security is a huge issue, especially lately.
      • A 3x increase in the number of attacks in 2012. These are attacks that require a human to intervene. Lots of others are deflected automatically. “This is getting bad.”
      • Attacks are getting easier to initiate, though still realtively easy to define and defend against…. SYN flods, HTP GET floods, etc.
      • Attackers are developing new techniques.
      • All sectors are being attacked.
      • Retail is the biggest target for attack within ecommerce
        • They are very susceptible to a DDOS attack
        • Their vulnerabilities are high, given the constant financial activity
        • Extortion is involved, often. “Pay up or we’ll bring you down.”
      • In enterprise, financial and business services are the top targets
      • Ababil
        • A range of DDoS attacks targeting us banks and onlin e apps
        • Many techniques being used… volumetric DNS, Volumetric layers 2/4 and 5-7, SSL resource attacks
        • Observed high volume bursts of traffic: upto 10k requests per minute per brobot node
        • Tuypically burst and go dormant.
      • Top ports. microsoft-DS, Sql server, RPC.
    • Sum-up
  • Note: connection speeds noted should be upstream as well as downstream.
    • From the personal perspective, we should be saying “instream” and “outstream.” Saying “upstream” and “downstream” is an old-fashioned centralized perspective. If the Net is a world of ends, our perspective should be end-based, not center-based.

Thoughts provoked by all discussions about the state of the Net (not just here):

  • The Net is not social media, Google, or what any company does. The Net is everybody and everything on it.
  • Yes, the Net is the “network of networks” over which packets fly from point to point, but the point of the Net is the boundless number and variety of points at its ends.
  • The Net has no billing model, which is why it succeeded. All due credit to the phone and cable companies of the world, they never would have built the Net we know now had building it been left up to them in the first place. Same goes for the governments of the world.
  • Confusing or conflating the Net with what big companies or governments are doing on it it is like confusing or conflating the Earth with a few buildings sitting on it, downtown.
  • In respect to the above, see WorldOfEnds. David Weinberger and I wrote that more than ten years ago. Not sure how much we’d change it if we were writing it anew today. Same goes for Cluetrain, I suppose.

Thoughts about business

  • The scale that matters is the user’s or the customer’s. Not that of any one company serving those people.
  • We cannot get scale that fully matters if we get it only from a single company.
    • For example, Facebook, Google and Twitter do not give me scale. They can help, but the scale is theirs, not mine, because they are not agents of me. That is, they do not work for me. It’s more like the other way around. They are B2B, not B2C. Their customers are advertisers, not you or me. In fact, you and I are the products being sold to advertisers.
  • Google, Facebook and Twitter have the same problem that broadcasters have had for the duration: their customers and their consumers are different populations. They are financially accountable only to the businesses that pay for their services, rather than to the consumers of those services. (Ever try to call Google or Facebook to solve a problem? Good luck. You’re just a consumer.)
  • The day will come when Google, Facebook and Twitter, or their successors in the marketplace, will deal with their users directly as customers, rather than indirectly as users or consumers. They don’t want to do this now because business is good enough without “going direct” to millions (or billions) of people. But once enough people start paying for privacy, or for personal services, that will change, because the changes can be rationalized financially.
  • A path in that direction is to go freemium: charge extra for personal service, or hand-holding. Right now, for example, I would gladly pay Google for help with Gmail. But there is nobody to call, so I can’t.

A request

  • If anybody here (in Trieste, or at #SOTN13) has a Canon SLR zoom lens, preferably an L series one, that they can rent or loan to me, please let me know. The old one I brought with me is jammed. Thanks.

Observations, learnings:

  • Italian is so much more expressive than English. I love listening to it, even though I only get about 1% of what people are saying.
  • “Twitter is our playground.”

Writing this, live, in Fargo. Some notes on that, as I go along…

  • I love being able to write this in outline form. It’s perfect for taking live notes. I think, in fact, that doing things like this will be a primary use case for outlining.
  • Need to remember to highlight the outline headline before clicking on the WordPress symbol to save it in the blog
  • This is great: I can add categories in WordPress without screwing up the outline I’m writing in another browser tab in Fargo.
  • Debug (note: Fargo is at v0.71):
    • I keep getting warnings telling me that I have a choice to save the current or a newer outline. I keep choosing the current one, and that works.
    • Need to avoid the em dash or this happens: —


  1. Trudy W Schuett’s avatar

    Getting an error msg – malicious content – on the World of ends link.

  2. Pingback from #SotN13 on June 2, 2013 at 4:00 am

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Trudy. Fixed the link.

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