Monday, February 13, 2012
Web and I don't mean spider
I was busy yesterday watching the goings on in Greece but not through any old school TV news channel. Just about everything outside Casa Demeur is now presented in real time in your face right here on the net. The thought hit me that nothing like this has ever existed before. As I watched a rather odd ballet of protester and helmeted riot police run back and forth about an Athens main square, I could also read the chat stream from people all over the world. But that wasn't even the best part of the experience. With only a minor delay, 4 seconds, information could be passed from anyone the world over to the reporter on the ground there. He could respond either by voice or typing information into the chat box window. As he was a bit tied up with tear gas canisters being hurled around and I'm sure it's no easy job holding and framing the scene with a laptop camera he gave us a verbal portrait of the action with occasional updates from the other Livestream media team members. A group of very brave individuals if you ask me. But the real beauty of the experience aside from watching history happen in real time from a distance is being able to talk to the people of the country and get a true understanding of their plight without the filtering and spin of some news organization. No corporate ideology being pushed here. In fact no commercials unless the broadcaster chose the cheaper free rate in which case an ad was positioned at the bottom of the video portion of the screen. What will they think of next?
There has been much talk of late about SOPA and ACTA and a kill switch for the internet. A bit paranoid if you ask me. Imagine the complexity of trying to scan through hundreds of billions of web pages looking for illegal content. No program could do it accurately without doing damage to the rest of the net. As for a kill switch that wouldn't happen for long without corporations howling about lost revenue. Even in Egypt it was only put out of commission for a few days while the protesters relied on their cell phones.
I remembered having read an article a few years back about the future of the internet stating that a new method was being developed for delivery that could be faster, totally private, and no need for a service provider. This must have scared the bejesus out of governments. I'm not that tech savvy but from what I've read it works something like this. It's a network made up of wifi connections and a simple computer program. Information leapfrogs from one computer to the next and theoretically could travel around the world as it does today. It could therefore get information from the net and yet not be part of the net. The system also doesn't use web addresses so it's basically untraceable.
Then I understand that some Germans are on the verge of launching their own satellite in an effort to create another alternative but I haven't investigated that completely.
It all may be a bit quirky at the present time with pixelated video and distorted sound at times, but then again I remember having to fumble with rabbit ears and fine tune on the TV set many years ago.