What’s at stake is whether the new jobs, new ideas, new services of the 21st century will come from the United States or they’ll come from Stockholm, Seoul, Beijing, where there are kids already playing in the virtual sandboxes of these very high capacity networks. They take them for granted over there the same way we take for granted electricity. It’s a real risk to the country not to be the place where new ideas come from. That’s always been our advantage as an entrepreneurial, individualistic society.
— Susan Crawford on how the U.S. is “falling behind” in the race for high-speed, high capacity, accessible internet
Today Susan Crawford speaks to Fresh Air’s Dave Davies about the battle over high-speed internet. Internet service providers, especially cable companies, are not required to treat all websites equally. They can provide faster service to some sites and slower, interrupted service to others who refuse to pay them extra fees. In fact, when a video is buffering, it might not be the video loading at all. Crawford explains:
"Arstechnica did a great article about this called “Why YouTube Buffers.” Why do you sit there in front of what you thought was going to be your favorite YouTube clip and you see nothing but a multicolored wheel spinning in space? You may think it’s the YouTube application. You may think there’s something wrong with your computer. It’s probably the Network provider making life unpleasant for YouTube because YouTube has refused to pay in order to cross its wires to reach you. And we’ll be seeing much more of that kind of activity in the future…
[This will become the case with] anything that requires a high-capacity connection—so…streamed video, home security services, anything where the cable operator feels that it could be providing a service that you would love more, they’ll try to get you hooked on their service, and make life commercially unpleasant for the other service and you will follow suit.”
He’s not wrong. The Internet is absolutely made of tubes. What else could it be made of? It’s many other things — these protocols and languages and machines and a whole set of fantastically complex layers and layers of computing power that feeds the Internet every day — but if you think of the world in physical terms, and you’re trying to be as reductive as possible and try to understand what this is, there’s no way around it, these are tubes.
— Andrew Blum on the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens saying the Internet is made up of ‘a series of tubes.’ [full interview here]
Today’s show is about the Blogotubes.
Interblag (via xkcd: Interblag)
Tomorrow: we learn about the physical infrastructure that makes up the Internet. (It’s not just a series of tubes…though there are tubes involved.)
A lot of young people often describe and evolve their identities online, curating them 24/7. So their relationships with others and their self-image are deeply affected by the images that they present on Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.
— And Tumblr? [full interview here]
It’s hard to not respond with texting because you’re not exactly sure what somebody said. You didn’t see the nuances in their face or hear the nuances in their voice. And that changes the nature of human communication.
— On today’s Fresh Air, James Steyer explains how texting and the Internet are changing the way we interact.
Young people in particular often self-reveal before they self-reflect. There is no eraser button today for youthful indiscretion.
— On today’s Fresh Air, how the digital age is changing kids, teens and parents.
By the time the i- prefix was fleshed out, Apple had transformed itself from a culty computer maker to a major religion.
— Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the i-prefix began as an abbreviation for the word Internet, but ended up meaning much more than that.