Alt media

Published Date 6/8/16 6:19 PM

Where is alt-media and what are the issues in geek culture that stop it from having much effect.

There is no active working alt-tech and the open web that would be shaped by this open alt-tech is withering under the #dotcon push to enclose.

* 98.9% of alt-tech projects are obviously pointless.

* 1% are potentially useful but are killed by NGO/foundation funding agendas.

* .01% are useful but suffer/starve from a lack of geek focus abd funding.

There are some content projects in alt-media, but they have no working alt-tech to build out. All alt media relies on the #dotcons (Facebook, twitter etc) as distribution. Their websites are generally little more than branded portals, much like yahoo 10-15 years ago. The is minimal inter-operating between the different projects and almost no linking.

For the content producers a positive “alt-media” outcome is to play a role in old (legacey) media or move into the short lived dotcon news orgs. This is a complete failure in open web terms. In this we are fucked, and there is currently no path out within the existing projects.

Outside the existing projects, the solution to this is simple: the tech needs rebooting at a basic level. This is not a complex thing, being mostly social technology using existing open standards.

LINK OMN

Is client server p2p torrent infrastructure failing

Published Date 3/29/16 1:22 PM

There are lots of sites down, lots of fake files etc.

A colleague Richard Hering has posted a number of music videos to YouTube. As these contain a synchronised score of complex music, they have unique educational value. Sony recently blocked a number of these in no less than 244 countries. “Sony have bought up a 50 year old recording they never made and now take it down wherever it is shared”.

He also uploads to torrent sites, where such very old culture (for instance the music of Johann Sebastian Bach) is popular, and should surely be treated as a common heritage.“People need to share, it’s a basic need I think”. He used to upload such videos to Piratebay, but this has not accepted registrations for a while now. He uploaded it to Kickass and and some people still find it there, but the Piratebay has not indexed it and and you cannot even find it on google. The crackdown on piracy has lead to the proxy universe being full of poorly indexed and fake sites. The proxy “copies” are not mirrors….

This is looking to me like we have a crisis in the client server side of P2P, which might be about morale and the burn out of the open generation. ISP blocking is probably driving down ad revenue… Google is now pushing down real torrents, which means it’s pushing up fake torrents. It’s a shadow or a corpse of a P2P network.

[Richard Hering adds a note here: it’s very important not to underestimate the problems which google is now causing. I searched my popular torrent on a number of search engines, just using its title plus the word “torrent”. The results:

1. Duckduckgo.com – first on page one.

2. Yahoo – first on page one

3. Bing – 4th on page one

4. Google – page 7! Despite tracking my activity and selecting what I see on that basis, which ought to push the result up.

So Google is suppressing torrents. In future I think I will use duckduckgo, as it does no tracking. I already use it on the phone, as it blocks ads.]

Without tech activism, I think this p2p world is ending. It will continue “submerged” inside the #dotcons. But another part of the open web fades. That was what true p2p applications such as RetroShare were about. Escaping from the silos of torrent sites. True p2p might still be an option but would need activism to push it into mainstream view. It’s a little harder to setup, but it’s not rocket science, use it or lose it is the mantra and we have lost lots. “I remember Peter Sunde from tpb saying that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if torrents got killed off – it would force innovation” But the question we beg “only if we innovate”.

RetroShare would solve these issues and it “innovates” human networks as a useful “side effect”. But a German court has tried to ban it. However RetroShare is just p2p encryption, which is basic to the web, so can’t be banned, with out huge clateral damage to the #dotcoms, especially if used for something legal.

https://torrentfreak.com/anonymous-file-sharing-ruled-illegal-by-german-court-121123

“A court in Hamburg, Germany, has granted an injunction against a user of the anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network RetroShare . RetroShare users exchange data through encrypted transfers and the network setup ensures that the true sender of the file is always obfuscated.”

The issue here is human error: he added the promedia as a direct friend. To quote TorrentFreak “Promedia posed as a “friend” of the respondent. The decision of LG Hamburg is not compelling.”

We live in a world now where the younger people (early 20s) are possibly part of the post-P2P generation for whom the internet is facebook etc

What a thought.

The spring OMN The river of news project

Published Date 3/15/16 4:29 PM

Am not going to say anything you probably do not know in this application so will keep it short.

The project has been inspired by the technical work and ideas of Dave Winer (http://scripting.com) and the practical media work and open web projects of Hamish Campbell (http://visionon.tv and http://hamishcampbell.com)

The aim of the project is to play a small part in overcoming the mind space gap that is highlighted on the side of my blog:

“A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs – On the political side, the is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side the is naivety and over- complexity”

Its a no-brainer to say that the open web is failing as more of our mind share is taken up by closed networks such as #failbook and propitiatory “eco systems” such as apple, google, Amazon, Microsoft etc.

If we are to play a meaningful role is saving the commons we all build on we need a raft of projects and more impotently basic infrastructure to help re-boot the open web to push these encloses back. We need to cross the river talked about above, this is much harder than it looks, if you haven’t tried it you probably wont appreciate the difficulty involved.

Rivers, streams and springs and useful metaphors for understanding how we look at “news”.

* The springs are our blogs, our company pages etc.

* The streams are aggregaters based on subjects, our twitter streams and #failbook walls badly for-fill this role

* The rivers are currently our old mainstream media and increasingly the enclosing areas of #failbook and #dotcons.

I have a open standards based project to play a role in building up “news” outside of the #silos and will still work inside the silos so the is little to lose.

The OMN

Outline of 20 years ups and downs of grassroots activism in the UK

Published Date 11/30/15 3:38 PM

In my expirence the flowering of the indymedia networks followed by the first years of climatecamp were the high points of activist culture. The end of climate camp was the low point of activist culture, after this the drift to NGO and fashion was wide and dissipating.

Occupy was a break in activist culture, it was the first mass “internet first” on the ground manifestation that happened disconnected to the past of activism because of the use of #dotcons tools as prime organising space. The old couture has been discredited by the failings of climate camp, the new dotcon tools had been celebrated and used well by Ukuncut etal. Were Ukuncut was a reboot of old climate camp crew, Occupy was a project of the #failbook generation in all its wide reflective madness.

Were are we now? The old left is rebooting with a broken mix of the blairite right and the Stalinist/toxic left both pulling at the radical liberal centre. Alt media content is being rebooted but the network it needs to build, to stop its drift to NGO burn out is missing. The right is ideologically bankrupt and visibly grasping, but stronger than ever.

In activism currently we are full of the biter taste of occupy and NGO worshipping of dotcoms and careerism. The working of the 21st century is potentially different to the workings of the 20th century the are groups, networks and individuals that embody this and a larger group/individuals who fight for the past century working practices.

The “certainties of the 20th century” are grasped in our frail and trembling hands, the first stage of a “network” reboot is to let go of these “certainties” one constructive path to this is to fill in the gaping activist memory hole by looking at what works and what dose not. The lost and flailing progressive alt needs foundations bridging this gap to build on.

The IS NO SHORT TERMISM HERE but the is speed and nimbleness, plenty of fun, creative motivated building to be done. Many of the foundation problems can be built in parallel as a “network” so it can happen faster than most can imagine.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

UPDATE:

Am currently working on two projects to take steps to medate the issues I ouline here:

Open Media  Network (OMN)