A view on the Internet of things

An highly optimistic and acritical view on the internet of things and a more realistic (and problematic) vision:


EU court says ISPs can’t be forced to monitor users

a new ruling by the European Court of JUstice (ECJ) stated today that Internet service providers cannot be forced to block their users from downloading songs illegally, as such an order would breach EU rules, Europe’s highest court said on Thursday in a ruling welcomed by a consumer group.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its verdict in a case involving Belgian music royalty collecting society SABAM and Belgian telecom operator Belgacom unit Scarlet.

SABAM asked a Belgian court to order Scarlet to install a device to prevent its users from downloading copyrighted works. The court ruled in SABAM’s favor and order Scarlet to install such a device. However, Scarlet then challenged the ruling, prompting the Belgian court to seek advice from the ECJ.
“EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files,” the ECJ said.
“The filtering system would also be liable to infringe the fundamental rights of its (Scarlet’s) customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information,” the Luxembourg court said.

“Got any Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7’s?

Few weeks ago in New York I was interviewed by a New York Times journalist (article here) on a subject for which I have a great deal of passion, and KNowledge, hi end audio reproduction and specifically analogue generation hi-fi, tube amplification and high-efficiency speakers, which I design and build since I was 14. The interview lasted a while and we talked about audio technology evolution, recurrences in technological evolution paths, sound quality of tube vs transistor vs digital amplification, speakers´ designs and audio reproduction goals, and of course tubes (or valves). Apparently that discussion had no place in the article so my contribution has been reduced to one sentence ““Got any Amperex Bugle Boy 12AX7’s?, rather than being disappointed about it, I laughed with a friend of mine whom shares a similar interest, who commented, man if that was a movie, you would be the nerd with the greatest line in the scene, and I am happy with that .

My lecture at NYU, International Scholar Speaker Series 12th of November

New York University I, Part I – Fall 2010.

Date: Friday, November 12, 2010
Time: 11:30 am – 13:00 pm
Venue: The Great Room, 19 University Place
Topic: Geomedia, Mapping the World – On the Changing Status of Collective Image Production and the Emergence of Social Navigation Systems
Speaker: Francesco Lapenta, Associate Professor, Roskilde University, Denmark

Geomedia, Mapping the World – On the Changing Status of Collective Image Production, location based media and the Emergence of Social Navigation Systems
The increased computational power of portable devices such as smart phones and laptops, and their integration with widely available global positioning systems are opening the way for a new range of location based applications that integrate and coordinate users´ mediated interactions and data exchanges with other users´ live geographical positions. I call these technologies Geomedia (Lapenta 2008, 2010). Geomedia are not new media per se, but platforms that simply merge existing electronic media + the Internet + location based technologies in a new mode of digital composite imaging, data association and socially maintained data exchange and communication.
This information’ , shared on navigable live virtual maps such as Google Maps or Google Latitude, Foursquare or Gowalla, describes the increasing user’s interest in using the Web to create, assemble, and disseminate personal information (in the form of images- sounds-and text) to create shared experiences of individually and socially relevant spaces and events. This form of geography, and the new virtual maps in which this information is visually blurred and digitally merged, represent the emergence of a new paradigm in the visualization of space. They also create a new economy for the virtual spaces they create and the information that are exchanged in these new spaces. In this lecture I will engage in an elaboration of the fundamental social, economic and perceptual shifts that are being operated today by these new location based technologies and software applications and develop a theoretical analysis of the ontological and epistemological shifts that characterize their contemporary evolution, patterns of production and exchange, and the unique form of geolocational digital re-aggregation of which digital images are now part of.

“WikiLeaks communications infrastructure is currently under attack. Project BO move to coms channel S. Activate Reston5”. The future of the Internet.

In the most dramatic tweet of its history wikileaks invisible soldiers have sent a cryptic command to its legions of hackers around the world. Now, it might be a little dramatic (or an onion?) and all, but there is much to reflect about the actions and the outcomes of this one controversial website. Much more is at stake than we can actually superficially see. Four articles move the discussion further showing that both parties have reasons to be worried. It did take some time in history to assert the balance between right to inform and right to protect, this balance is at stake now once again and the outcome will have major effects on our rights and our lives. The problem is that they are both right and wrong at the same time. This really should be part of a more extensive and public debate.

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11578505

Colorado Springs Independent: http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2010/10/20/battleground-internet

ThE GUardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iraq-war-logs

and this article by Nadim Kobeissi http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/517.

ONLINE Fraud Scam, first experience on my own virtual skin

Well I have recently been the victim of my first online fraud/scam. As it happens in these cases you quickly act and learn. Now they found out that the scam originated from Kenya and might still be in possession of personal data. Although all related data have been cancelled and a warning placed on them in case they try to use them, if anybody provides my personal data (credit card, passport, IDs) for any and whatsoever transaction always contact me on the email address provided on this web site.

Kodak 1922 Kodachrome Film Test. JUst Magic.

 “The reason old films are dying, especially films from after 1923, is because of copyright term extensions. Thousands of films are turning into vinegary dust because the cost of finding the copyright holder exceeds the money likely to be made restoring it. If the old films had been allowed to fall into the public domain, they could be preserved – the only costs involved would be the preservation and the preservationist could sell

It is a crime.” (shelbysuncle on youtube). Very well said.

Deus ex Machina, MICROSOFT KINECT much more than a new game controller

The genie is “almost” out of the box. This has been in the making for a long time, far from being something technically new (many machines have been able to decode visual information for some time now) it is something phenomenally different and uniquely important. A game controller on the surface, it is under the skin the first huge leap in the uncharted water of next generation interacting “sensing machines”. On the surface an innovative game controller, under the skin a “game changer”, the first baby step of a new generation of interacting devices. Think of the game industry as a huge incubator or training facility in which the machine is using us to learn to interact with us. A two players game in which one tries to outsmart the other reacting to each gamers every move. The potential evolution of this technology is no short of a science fiction scenario. Do not be confused, we are not playing the machine, the machine is learning to play us. It´s the first step, they can now see and interpret the world, much more will soon come.

Google needs Caffeine

This is a really interesting evolution. Google has updated his world renowned algorithm to a new version code named “Caffeine”. While the old index generated by the algorithm “had several layers, some of which were refreshed at a faster rate than others; the main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.
With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published”.
You can read about it and know more by pointing to the original googleblogpost here


Go read and SIGN the Public Domain Manifesto.

“After decades of measures that have drastically reduced the public domain, typically by extending the terms of protection, it is time to strongly reaffirm how much our societies and economies rely on a vibrant and ever expanding public domain. The role of the public domain, in fact, already crucial in the past, it is even more important today, as the Internet and digital technologies enable us to access, use and re-distribute culture with an ease and a power unforeseeable even just a generation ago. The Public Domain Manifesto aims at reminding citizens and policy-makers of a common wealth that, since it belongs to all, it is often defended by no-one. In a time where we for the first time in history have the tools to enable direct access to most of our shared culture and knowledge it is important that policy makers and citizens strengthen the legal concept that enables free and unrestricted access and reuse.” (http://publicdomainmanifesto.org)

Google set to sell ads for Streetview. The first steps into the GeoMedia commercial renegotiation of the Virtual Map

As I described a long time ago in the GeoMedia study (hopefully soon to be published in an article) companies that have invested in Geomedia applications, such as google maps and street view will soon see and invest in the commercial potential of their administrated Virtual Space. The question is are we going to see a fight over representations of public space. Landmark monuments would offer great location for virtual ads. Think the statue of Liberty or the Eiffel tower with a big “Apple” or “Coca Cola” ad rotating over them. We are only witnessing the beginning. Things are going to get more interesting real soon when companies institutions and private citizens will realize the potential use of their virtually represented spaces.

LINK to the abstract of my article on Geomedia: here

LINK to articles on this story: here

“A New Approach to China” Google stops Censoring of search results in China!

Well this is major news today! Google has stopped its collaboration with chinese authorities and stopped the self censorship imposed by the chinese government to operate in China. This follows what Google described as vicious hackers´attacks on some of it´s chinese based Gmail accounts (owned by chinese human rights activists). The impact of this decision will be huge. I can only commend their response.

This is the link to the official Google post describing the events and the action taken.

NET Neutrality: Just when we thought things were getting better

netneutrality“U.S. Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would block the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from creating new net neutrality rules, on the same day that the FCC took the first step toward doing so.”  Reuters full article here

Needless to say, Net Neutrality is the biggest battle we are facing today to maintain a free internet. It is amazing how the rhetorics of McCain´s proposal totally twist the reality of the facts.

If you do not know enough about it, DO read about it  here

PS. I cannot find info regarding the author of the image, if you do know who made it please let me know and I will credit.