Deine Daten. Dein Netz. Ihre Politik? DNP’12

Gedanken, Politisches September 7th, 2012

Im Netz bin ich ein alter Hase. Trau’ ich mir ohne viel Federlesens zu sagen. Alter Hase. Naja, so alt auch wieder nicht. 1996. Aktuell war da Netscape Navigator 2.0.2. Internet Explorer 3 war gerade erst mit Windows 95 unter die Bettdecke geschlüpft. Der (erste) Browser-Krieg ging erst ein Jahr später los. Das Netz alias ARPANET gibt es seit 1969. Ich war da nur in Form meiner Eizelle präsent: ich hab’ noch eine Zahlendrehung abgewartet.

1996. Das Netz war der wahrgewordene Traum der großen Freiheit. Die Nutzerzahlen waren gerade noch zu klein, um wirtschaftlich relevant zu sein. In Österreich war BTX zwar noch am Laufen – aber viel gab es da nie zu sehen. Ich träumte von einem magnet-Zugang, dann bin ich an die WU gegangen; nur wegen des Internet Zugangs, den hat die WU als erste Universität in Wien allen Neuinskripenten sofort zur Verfügung gestellt. Studiert habe ich was anderes, Publizistik und Philosophie. IRC war neu, also in, und wir saßen in den Computersälen verstreut und haben nicht geredet, sondern endlich ordentlich tippen gelernt. #Austria. Ich hatte das Gefühl, das war unser Ding, das Netz; Keiner kann uns das wegnehmen.

Das Urheberrecht haben wir in Vorlesungen gelernt und uns manchmal daran gehalten: man kannte sich ja; oder auch nicht: man konnte ja nicht alle kennen. Konsequenzen hat es nicht wirklich gegeben; es war nicht gerade leicht, irgendetwas zu finden.

In den letzten 15 Jahren hat sich das Netz grundlegend gewandelt: Vom Avant Garde-Medium zum gesellschaftlich mehrheitsfähigen (drei Viertel der Bevölkerung) Informations-, Unterhaltungs- und Beziehungsgiganten. Wer nicht dabei ist, wird im (N)onliner-Atlas für Deutschland regelmäßig erhoben. (Die Statistk Austria kann das auch, aber nicht so nett.) Von überwiegend nicht-kommerziellen Angeboten zur flächendeckenden, scheinbar strukturintegrierten Kommerzialisierung der Inhalte. Von einem Bild des Benutzers auf Augenhöhe hin zu einer Idee als vorverurteilter Verbrecher, den man sicherheitshalber überwachen lässt, damit dieser nicht etwas anstellt, was dem Gesetz nicht entspricht. Von einem System des Vertrauens zu einem System des Misstrauens, obwohl ersteres auf technischer Ebene teils immer noch existiert.

Dabei kommt jenen Überwachern zugute, dass das Digitale stets transparent ist, so man nicht die Möglichkeit der Ungenauigkeit, des Opaken im System von Beginn weg integriert. Das nachträgliche Schaffen solcher Gelegenheiten hat konsequenterweise zur Folge, dass sie nie ausreichend sein kann.

Welche Folgen das hat? Vorratsdatenspeicherung und ACTA und Netzneutralität sind Problemfelder, die sich erst in den letzten Jahren entwickelt haben; In der Auseinandersetzung des Kommerziellen mit grundlegenden Menschen- und Bürgerrechten und im Mißverständnis der gesellschaftlichen Tragweite der Entwicklung des (Meta)Mediums Internet. Dieses Mißverständnis kann erst aufgelöst werden, wenn man bereit ist, die durch das Medium geschaffenen geänderten kommunikativen Bedingungen vollends zu akzeptieren und in einem entsprechenden Rahmen zu interpretieren. Dieser Rahmen muss erst geschaffen werden.

Dafür ist erheblicher Diskussionsbedarf notwendig. Und diskutieren kann man dort am besten, wo die Leut’ z’ammenkommen. Die DNP’12 kommendes Wochenende bietet die Möglichkeit, etwas mitzudiskutieren, an der Schnittstelle zwischen Politik und BürgerInnen. Ich werde auch da sein.

PS: Lange hat es gedauert, viele Anläufe hat es gebraucht, und nach fast zwei Jahren gibt es doch wieder ein Update – und gleichzeitig den 1000 Post auf diesem Weblog. Dazu muss ich gestehen, dass ich seit einiger Zeit “fremdblogge” auf energieleben.at – und das noch dazu hier nicht einmal kundtue.

Schwierigkeit mit den Einheiten

Gedanken, Netz, Tippfehler November 8th, 2010

Die Mercer-Studie ist zwar schon ein Weilchen her, aber das Netz vergisst bekanntlich nicht. Ich auch nicht, wenn ich mal einen Fehler gefunden (und den Link gespeichert) habe. Die Korrektur von Fehlern interessiert im heutigen Medienbetrieb ja niemanden, weshalb es vollkommen ausreicht, den Link zu speichern und nicht sofort einen Screenshot anzufertigen. Die Meinung, es gäbe nichts älteres als die Zeitung von gestern, wird halt eins zu eins ins Web übertragen. Von Internet-Medienkompetenz ist es bei dieser Übertragung einer Überlegung, die für ein gedrucktes Medium angestellt wurde, dann aber nicht weit her. Während die Zeitung von gestern im Mistkübel oder in der Nationalbibliothek landet und damit dem unmittelbaren Zugriff entzogen wird, bleibt der Zugriff im Netz halt – leider, leider – bestehen. Laufende Korrekturen des Archivs wären für die Vermeidung immerwährender elektronischer Häme halt unabdingbar.

In diesem Fall ist der folgende Satz zum Wiener Klimaschutzprogramm, kurz Klip, der Höhepunkt des Standard-Artikels:

“Ein Ziel war, bis 2010 jährlich 2,6 Tonnen CO2-Äquivalent einzusparen. Bereits im Jahr 2007 wurde eine Reduzierung um 2,9 Tonnen erreicht.”

Wenn sich die Stadt Wien im Rahmen ihres Klimaschutzprogrammes tatsächlich die Reduzierung von 2,6 Tonnen CO2-Äquivalent vorgenommen hätte, und nicht die von 2,6 Millionen Tonnen, dann hätte das Klimaschutzprogramm wahrscheinlich zu einem bedeutend höheren Medienaufkommen geführt, als es das tatsächlich getan hat.

Musings on the Future of Digital Media – Software or Being connected

Computer, Gedanken, Hardware, Medien, Netz, Software November 3rd, 2010

This is the third and last part of my series concerning my ideas on the future of digital media. After discussing the ’net in the first and the hardware to get access to it in the second installment, i will now try to cover the software part of connectedness.

I have disabled comments for this post. For discussion of this and the other two related articles, please head over to wbf2010.at. Reopened comments.

Software

After having successfully established the possibility of getting connected with everybody at all times, software defines all functionality building upon this universal connectedness. Software tries to inscribe specific usage scenarios into itself, but it has to be continuously adapted because of users utilizing the software in ways not intended by it’s programmers in the first place. The way of the connected masses will always stretch the limits of published software, just as the connected few are the most powerful group structure for the basic innovation of functionality in the first place.

Since all software is written in structured programming languages, written pieces of software should be treated like every other wirtten piece in every other language, especially when it comes to patenting. Therefore, software should be treated only by copyright laws and not by patenting laws.

Social Media

Social Communications and Collaboration is considered one of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2011 by Gartner. As such, it was not the hardest prediction to make, since Facebook now captured half a billion people, of which 50% log in on any given day. What renders 2011 special in the development of Social Media is that it will be the first year of aggregating fast mobile access and advanced internet technology in its full potential.

Content & Meaning

The ’net promises to connect every human being on earth with every other. Social Media are structuring and restructuring these connections continually. The content pushed into the Social Media space as well as the connections of the content within the Social Media space provide value and meaning for both the site providing the possibility of creating connections and the users getting connected. Meaning is subjective and always subject to the eye of the beholder. Therefore, the value of specific meanings to people may vary in the emphasis put on the meaning of content or that of connections.

Connecting Content

Handling content is no longer a problem for each Social Media site. The type of content is of no importance, since major platforms for all types of media are already in existence. Further inroads can be made only by connecting content of the same or different users between different sites and therefore allowing users to accumulate a digital identity on a number of sites and in a number of graduations, promoting different parts of her or his digital identity on different sites. A digital identity describes all interconnected traces of a specific user within the digital realm, even if the connections are not provided by the user himself. Users connecting their digital identity to another automatically become part of the other.

The future must lie in the evolution of connection control. Current Social Media platforms provide their users only with a low level of connection control. Privacy describes in part what connection control is about but puts emphasis on the content and not on the connections of a digital identity. Full connection control needs to encompass both parts in full. Diaspora seems to incorporate some understanding of the need to recover control not only over oneselfs content but also over ones connections.

Group sizes

The evolution of media in general is a drive towards individualization and separation especially of those small groups, humankind is used to live in. As crowds are getting smaller and smaller in real life, virtual crowds are getting larger and larger. The ’net has had a deep and profound impact on human society, since it separates them in the physical world, only to drive them back together in the virtual.

Blogging

Blogging cannot be considered a social media. It is quite lonesome, as it fundamentally incorporates the idea of writing a series of articles alone on a single site. All social elements of blogging are secondary of nature and created through active participation either by readers for example through comments or by the blogger himself. The blog content will always trump all social elements provided.

Blogs are discourse-machines. Contributing to an ongoing discourse creates links – or the possibility of links – between thematically connected blog entries. These discourses are no longer remaining in the virtual, but with the inception of the Barcamp, a discourse can be taken to the physical realm easily.

Blogging is as well already an established journalistic form, even if only vaguely defined. The one leading principle of blogging is the blogger. She or he remains at the core.

Conclusion

We are reaching the end of the transition period from analog to digital media. The internet as digital universal transmission platform started to act as a transmedial aggregator for digitalized content. Social Media describes a specifically connected type of content, which always relates to the digital identity of someone. Connecting content to establish a true digital identity in a reasonable, secure and private manner is the next big challenge, regardless of platforms or sites.

Musings on the Future of Digital Media – Hardware or Getting connected

Computer, Gedanken, Hardware, Medien, Netz, Software October 14th, 2010

Within the second part of my series on ideas regarding the future of digital media, i will try to take a deeper look on the hardware side of all things connected. In the first part, i have defined the internet as a digital universal transmission platform, which Kevin Kelly views as the ultimate machine mankind has ever built. Being connected to the ’net is imperative already and the pressure to be always on will become even stronger. But with what kind of device and for what purpose are we gonna be connected?

Classifying Devices

For the moment, four specific always connected device classes are to be defined:

  1. Phones
  2. Tablets
  3. Laptops
  4. Desktops

These four classes can be parallelized in parts by a categorization provided in this article by Mark Segal on O’Reilly Radar. He defines devices by their portability as

  1. Wearables
  2. Pocketables
  3. Bagables
  4. Portables

Wearables are smaller than phones – at least for the moment – and desktops no longer portable. Desktops could be considered as moveable. The less portable a device gets, less people will own one of these devices, as usage scenarios of Portables or Non-Portables will become more and more specialized.

According to Gartner, 1.2 billion mobile phones were sold in 2009. Compared to the 306 million computers (laptops and desktops combined), portability has already won by far over functionality, but the latter is moving fast into the former.

Individualization

Additional individualization of entertainment will be driven by devices like tablets. Everyone can view the content she or he wants to, alone or in the company of others. Enjoying togetherness when watching a movie will no longer be the norm as it was with the cinema or the TV. The TV-set as the main screen of the living room will loose it’s importance accordingly. Even more, considering the fact that the experience of watching a movie will rather be shared online and only afterwards discussed with the people around you. That means, even the function as the digital hub of modern home entertainment as promoted by Steve Jobs in 2001 will be lost by the TV-set.

Accordingly, the computer (laptop or desktop) and the TV-set share the same fate. They were built for being used by a group of people. All desktop-class operating systems accordingly have multiuser possibilities. This is not true for personal devices like a phone or a tablet. They are – at least for the moment – not considered to be used by more than one person. They therefore have no possibility to “create another user account” They don’t need another. They are hardware personalized. Based on this individualization, it is of utmost consequence to localize people by their phone, no longer by postal address. Changing the underlying media means changing the addressability of people. People are found no longer at their homes or work, but at their current location, even when moving. Everyone has to be considered the center of his very own universe.

Nomadisms

With the hardware being bound to the individualized user and the user being is own center of his universe, location gets irrelevant. This placelessness of the mobile hardware and the therefore implicated placelessness of it’s carrier will lead to the formation of a new kind of nomads solely based on information and communication. Since being connected means being connected to your friends, and everyone is equally spaced to everyone else within the context of the net, being somewhere equals being everywhere. These communication nomads will be counterinsurgents to the continuous building of nations and states, the one inherently placed, the other placeless.

Usage scenarios

As already stated, all functionality is trickling downwards into the mobile realm. For example video editing became very fast available on the iPhone with iMovie. Which functionality, which apps, will stay on these “biggest” device classes? The most specialized, like 3D-apps and scientific apps like Mathematica. And they are to stay. The reason to this lies not in the needed processing power – calculations can easily be moved into the cloud – but in the complex visualization of data, the greater need for detail and the need to access a multitude of functionality to manipulate this data.

I have disabled comments for this post. For discussion of this and the other two related articles, please head over to wbf2010.at. Reopened comments.

Musings on the Future of Digital Media – Internet or Establishing connections

Computer, Gedanken, Hardware, Medien, Netz, Software September 27th, 2010

It’s been quite a while now since Richie Pettauer announced the World Blogging Forum 2010 in Vienna, Austria and provided the conference topic: “The Future of Digital Media”. Since this topic gives a multitude of opportunities to express my own thoughts on how digital media will develop or evolve in the near future, i want to do just that within this three part series of posts. The second part will cover my thoughts on the development of hardware to access the net, the third part will discuss the topics of social media and blogging.

As this article is to be seen in conjunction with the World Blogging Forum, i’ll use English as the lingua franca for this post, as English will be the main communication language for all participants at the WBF or in the adjacent online discussions. And since this is the case, please accept my apologies, my English got a bit rusty lately. I have disabled comments for all three posts. For discussion of all three articles, please head over to wbf2010.at. I have reopened comments on all the articles again, since WBF2010 has come and gone and centralized discussion is no longer of utmost importance.

Please always read “In my humble opinion” in front of every sentence.

What is to be defined as digital media?

To talk about digital media is to talk about media in general. Mass media is in the process of being broadcasted digitally only, the internet never new a state other than that of digitality. There never was an analog internet, when you place the beginning of the internet with the development of the TCP/IP network protocol by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. All currently deployed analog media will go the way of all media, they recede into history and art. The time, when digital media in everyday life was an exception, is over, the tide has turned, analog media is the exception now.

One could argue, that radio is broadcasted mostly analog and that print media is in itself an analog medium. Well, yes, but radio is in general not more than background noise to replace other background noise with, and print media in it’s classical form is in the midst of becoming fully digitized.

The Internet as Digital Universal Transmission Platform

I always had troubles with coining the term Internet. I therefore have developed an understanding of the term Internet in its broadest possible way: the internet as a digital universal transmission platform based on the aforementioned, name-giving transmission protocol. Using this definition, the term internet remains as open as it should be.

Since all digital data can be transported over the internet, and media in itself has become digital, all media will be transmitted in one way or the other over the internet. Solutions for all media are already in place and highly functional. Internet Radio, the WWW, Video-on-demand boxes like the Roku or AppleTV, Voice-over-IP, you name it. The digitized state of media is currently it’s most desired form, it’s transmission is readily available in rapidly growing bandwidth and the possibilities to consume media, as well as the possibilities to talk about it’s consumption afterwards in forms well dominated by media, are more varied than ever. The ready availability of media is linked desirably to the social wants of humankind.

Gaining access to this platform every time and every place will become ubiquitous in the nearest future not only for western countries. In the wake of the introduction of 4G mobile networks, wireless access will soon take over wired access in importance for every user accessing the net as an individual. I will try to discuss the implications of individualized access points later on.

Edit

I watched Kevin Kelly’s Ted Talk on his predictions for the next 5,000 days worth of internet development again yesterday and i do have to say, that his ideas are sounding very interesting to me, especially regarding his view of the internet as the ultimate machine built by mankind, to which everyone will be connected and therefore everyone will in some sense be part of this machine. He calls this machine simply “The One” and every device connected to the One a window to the endless possibilities provided by it.