Doc Searls's blog

Putting the Wholes Together

If incoming mail contains the word "identity" it goes to a mailbox I started in late 2004. It has over 7000 emails in it now. The majority of those are from the Identity Gang list.

The Identity Gang got its name when it first met informally on the December 31, 2004 edition of Gillmor Gang. I've lost track of how many workshops and meetings and other exercizes in convergence we've had, but the progress continues to be amazing.

I just looked at what Eric Norlin of IDG wrote here, then at what Scott Kveton of JanRain wrote here then at what Kim Cameron of Microsoft wrote here — to pick just three out of countless posts, all connected somehow. You can see the progress in just one month.

This observation comes in the midst of thinking about a form of Vendor Relationship Management that has the same initials as CRM, but a different meaning: Creator Relationship Management.

I would like to relate to creators in a better, less intermediated way. more>>

HD as the first step beyond TV

What comes after television? That's a question I've been asking at every Consumer Electronics Show. The answer, of course, is not just "more TV" but bigger and better TV, with better sound and higher resolutions, made possible by digital sources, processing and displays. In other words, computing and networking.

So does TV become just become a suburb of computing, or does the reverse happen? The TV folks imagine the latter. But the former is inevitable. Our job is to make the inevitable happen sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, we get to watch Big TV metasticize — and to enjoy what we can of it. more>>

Watering the Net Roots

On the one hand, you can look at Verizon's dumping of rural New England business as a kind of red-lining. On the other hand, listen to what the company picking up the dumped business says it wants to do. According to the Boston Globe,

...the merger will likely benefit rural customers by putting them in the hands of a company that specializes and focuses on rural markets, according to John Byrne, analyst at Technology Business Research in New Hampshire.

Verizon serves 1.5 million access lines, 180,000 DSL customers, and 600,000 long-distance customers in the three states. The company offers DSL Internet access to about 60 percent of households there. In contrast, FairPoint offers DSL access to about 80 percent of households it serves.

But in southern New Hampshire, where FairPoint will take over the high-speed FiOS fiber-optic network available to 80,000 households, customers who may have expected to see FiOS TV offerings won't likely see "triple-play" bundles of voice, television, and Internet in the near future.

"Clearly, video will be a consideration, but we don't want to get distracted by that," as FairPoint takes over, Leach said. "We are going to increase high-speed data right out of the box."

Kurt Adams, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission in Maine, said he cannot comment on details, but that merger hearings would likely focus on broadband investment, service quality, and rates.

Something big is getting missed in the fight between carriers and local governments, and many side-takers on both the right and the left are equally blind to it. What's missed is serious and widespread market demand for high-speed data connections — specifically connections that are not subordinated to television. more>>

The mobile revolution gets personal

I'm writing this from CES 2007 — the latest and greatest Consumer Electronics Show, where 140,000 attendees crowd 2,700 exhibits packed into 1,660,000 square feet of space in more halls and hotels than I'll bother to count. There's a lot of noise here, and a certain amount of signal; though the ratio of the former to the latter is no less lopsided than it always is. Everybody's not only showing their good sides, but paying millions to crow about it through mass quantities of advertising and PR.

Yet the whole damn thing got upstaged Tuesday by Steve Jobs and his on-stage announcement of the long-awaited iPhone.

Normally CES and Macworld overlap barely or not at all. But this year the two shows are spread across the same week, forcing many (including yours truly) to choose one or the other — though I know a number of folks who flew to San Francisco for Jobs' speech and then back again. Of course, I chose to spend as much time as possible here at CES, because it's a show packed with Linux stories. (My first report on the show is here. This is second. A third will follow.) Yet, like every reporter here, it was clear to me that the biggest news of the week — or perhaps of the year — was delivered by Apple in San Francisco. more>>

The silent victory of Linux-as-geology at CES 2007

Three years ago, out of more than 2300 CES exhibitors, the word "Linux" appeared in text associated with just 11 of them, in the show's online guide. This year at CES 2007 has more than 2700 exhibitors; yet "Linux" appears in text associated with just 3 companies: Interact-TV, Neuros Technology and Pixel Magic Systems. Yet it is clearer than ever that Linux has become the bedrock on which more and more companies build their solutions. more>>

Embedded in CES

More and more hot new hardware runs on cool and stable Linux, plus a growing abundance of open source building materials. Since relatively few open source components are graced with publicity ambitions (much less departments), they tend not to make themselves obvious. Meaning that reporters like yours truly need to go hunting for them.

So I'd like your help. I'm here at the Consumer Electronics Show — CES — in Las Vegas, getting ready to launch out onto the trade show floors to see What's Up with Linux amongst the 2,700 exhibitors spread across 1.7 million square feet of exhibit space. more>>

Can we relate?

Imagine being able to relate to vendors -- productively, on mutually agreeable terms -- rather than just paying them money for whatever they're selling, and occasionally giving them "feedback" through surveys that aggregate our "input" inside some impersonal "customer relationship management" (CRM) system. That's the idea behind VRM, or Vendor Relationship Management. It's the reciprocal of CRM: a toolset for independence and engagement. That is, of independence from vendors and engagement with vendors.

VRM is also a development effort -- ProjectVRM -- that we've started at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. There are no VRM tools yet, so we're starting with a blank slate. We've begun filling that in with a wiki and a mailing list, both open. Find them through ProjectVRM.org. more>>

Unsucking Linux app installation

In Software installation on Linux: Today, it sucks (part 1), Ian Murdoch (whose first name is the second half of Debian) writes, Unless an application is included with your Linux distribution of choice, installing that application on Linux is a nightmare compared to Windows., and proceeds to say exactly how. more>>

Let's go bust some silos

The Internet Identity Workshop starts tomorrow (Monday, December 4) and runs for the next two days, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Every time we have one of these, progress happens. It's a remarkable thing to watch, and to participate in.

But the challenges remain very high. To illustrate how high, I'll start with a conversation I had one year ago, when we were driving back from a Thanksgiving visit to relatives who live 250 miles away.

With the kid asleep in the back seat of the car, my wife asked me to fill her in on a subject that had preoccupied me over the last several years, yet had remained opaque to her. "Tell me about this whole identity thing", she said. more>>

Follow the lack of money

Jeff Jarvis is looking for better stewards of journalism's future. He explains,

I don’t see enough development going on in new news efforts — enough to save journalism from the sinking news business. And that’s what’s troubling me. The old players are proving to be quite ineffective stewards — we knew that — but there aren’t enough new stewards joining the church.

Problem is, you can't make a new business out of an old business that's turned into a church. Wall Street isn't up for that, and most of the big papers work for Wall Street. The word "stewardship" alone is a boat anchor on any company's stock price. more>>

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