Apr. 24th, 2008

jackofallgeeks: (Antidrug)
So I was in a meeting/seminar sort of thing this morning on feedback and
communication -- it was mostly geared toward managers, I think, but there
were non-trivial points of interest for us regular-type employees, too.

Anyways, durring the discussion someone started to complain about how no one
communicates any more, and how it was better in the old days. She went on
to say that it used to be that people would come and chat by your desk, or
give you a phone call, but now people just send email all the time. She
concluded by saying she really doesn't like email -- she'll even wait until
it's business hours on the West Coast and make a phone call rather than
sending an email. Someone made a quip about introverts v. extroverts.

I've heard this sort of compaint before, and I really don't like it. First
of all, I don't think it's an introvert v. extrovert thing. I
consider myself generally pretty extroverted (and most people I know agree),
and almost all of my communication in a given week is text in some
digital form or another: be it email or SMS txts or blog posts. Sometimes
it really frightens me how little I actually vocalize in a given
day. But the point is that I AM extroverted and most of my communication
happens in text formats.

Which leads to my next complaint about this idea: email is
communication!
Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.
Seriously, since when is text not communication? You can complain that some
people use it poorly, but bad communication is bad communication regardless
of the medium. I like to think that I can be fairly articulate in text as
well as speach (I'm sure if I had a better grasp of the exact definition of
'articulate' that this might be kind of funny). I posit that the people who
are bad at writing emails are one of two people: those who are just bad at
communication in general or those who just aren't comfortable with the
medium. If you aren't comfortable with email, you're going to use it poorly
and, I submit, you're going to react to it poorly. I think the lady who was
complaining that people "don't communicate anymore" is herself uncomfortable
with email. I'm personally uncomfortable with phones, especially if it's a
stranger on the other line, and I'll try any other means before resorting to
that medium.

Anyways, just a pet peeve of mine. Email IS communication. You can do it
well and you can do it poorly, just like any other medium, but it's still
communication.
jackofallgeeks: (Geeky)
I can't remember who I was talking to, my brother maybe, but recently I was
talking to someone about network neutrality -- the idea that Internet
service providers ouught to be dumb pipes through which information flows
without being altered or examined. The main concern is that if service
providers became heavy-handed then they could censor the internet, or
something.

This is, essentially, an absurd idea. The fact of the matter, as I told
this faceless someone, is that China can't censor the Internet, even
with the full force of a governmental regime and World Power (tm). They've
tried, with the so-called Great Firewall of China, but they're
generally failing. Many nations have tried to censor information on the
internet, but have so far been unable to even block YouTube.

TechDirt has an Article up right
now discussing a recent claim by a Network Neutrality activist that service
providers have the ability to change the architecture of the internet. Put
simply, they don't. The activise, Lessig, makes an analogy of a power grid
which determined price and even basic service based on what appliance you
plug in: $X for a Sony TV, $Y for a Hitachi, and no power at all if you try
to use an RCA TV, for example. TechDirt notes that this is an interesting
example because of the insane amount of cost and effort that would
need to be expended by a power company to change the architecture of the
power grid
. And this is exactly the case with Internet service
providers. That's SO MUCH collusion required, and much of the effort rests
on the shoulders of people who have no interest in promoting such a scheme.
The Internet is simply too big; those in the know can attest to how
hard it is switching from IPv4 to IPv6, and that's something generally
everyone wants!

So, yeah, I think network neutrality is important, but fears of some great
censorship on the Internet...? I don't buy it. It's not impossible,
not illogical, but it's so incredibly difficult and unlikely that I
don't think we'll ever *really* have to worry about such a cataclysm. We
should slap ISPs when they try to examine or alter or 'enhance' the data
we're sending through their pipes, but I don't think we have much to fear
beyond a little bit of annoyance.

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John Noble

August 2012

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