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Showing posts from 2013

Raspberry Pi Internet Access Monitor

If your Internet access is down and you are not watching, is it really down? For most people the answer is most likely - who cares! Since our Internet connection had recently been down a few times, when I did notice it and I was getting curious about how frequently this was happening. Besides, it might be interesting to get a long term record on the stability and "quality" of our ISP and maybe even compare it with the results from users of competing ISPs. What does it mean for Internet access to be working? Is it enough to check that the link between our home router and the ISPs access router is up and working (a DOCSIS cable plant in my case). Or should we include end-end application layer scenarios like the ability to get my email or my files from some place "in the cloud"? But what exactly represents the "the cloud" or "the Internet"? In reality they are massively large distributed systems at a global scale, consisting of millions o

Back to Broadcast

About 3 years ago, I speculated in this post , that "user curated content" would become the next logical step to the "user generated content" wave unleashed by the interactivity of web 2.0. By and large I have been wrong. What has happened instead is an accelerating professionalization of online content creation and a return towards the traditional broadcast model with a pronounced split between few creators who produce stuff and the many consumers who consume it. True, there are still myriads of users engaged in some form of content creation, but increasingly only few creators matter. True the cost of creating and distributing digital content has been lowered to much below a level representing a serious barrier to entry, but more so than ever it takes a serious level of luck, perseverance and highly professionalized marketing to stand out from the crowd. Maybe it is a sign of maturing for any new medium that a period of frantic and chaotic experimentation is

The limits of Virtuality

The management edict to ban telecommuting a Yahoo has stirred up quite a controversy. It seems a bit ironic for an Internet company to admit that telecommuting isn't working for them. Kind of like an oil company saying that the industrial revolution was all a big mistake and we should go back to animal & slave power. But on second thought maybe things are not as black and white. I have spent quite a few years working on systems to make communication and collaboration easier and more frictionless, often collaborating with people 6-12 timezones away. And my social network is equally spread-out across the world. One should think that I should have figured out remote interaction by now. The reality is that despite high-speed networks, cloud-based collaboration tools and high-quality video-conferencing, remote collaboration still is surprisingly hard and (co-)location still matters. Without any obvious reason, the workers of the post-industrial knowledge economy, seem to phys