CYBERPUNK, CYPHERPUNK & CLOUD COMPUTING
COMMERCIAL VISIONS OF THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN MIND:
PRIVATIZING THE INTERNET
SOMEHOW, WE FORGOT ABOUT THE CORPORATIONS,
AND GREED, IN OUR DREAMS
YOUTUBE: JONI MITCHELL 
"Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now 2000 lives"
"It's clouds illusions I recall. I really don't know clouds at all." Listen to your Auntie Joni, kids.
Global Hive Mind Brought To You By Your Local Public Utility, At A Price In Liberty, Security & Treasure
Way back in the Dark Ages, before Netbooks and worldwide wireless access, your friends and neighbors at The Telephone Company, AT&T, were plotting to take over the dataverse though control of access to networked computers. This capitalist techy notion may have been the real seed of the World-Wide Web, before the desk-bound warriors at the Pentagon ever wet-dreamed about DARPAnet. This was a full generation before personal computers, two generations before the Internet, and three generations before universal wireless access tied us all together 24/7/52, planetarily.
The initial conversations probably took place at Bell Labs, in Murray Hill, near my old home in New Jersey. But it was in Basking Ridge, a few miles west, that the corporate powers that be started plotting global information domination, at the administrative headquarters of the American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (child of the Bell Telephone Company founded in 1875 by Alexander Graham Bell, the phone's inventor). At that time, one company owned nearly every telephone in the United States of America, and all the wires and switches connecting them. Telstar was just charging into space like a lonely bull, the first communications satellite. Mobile communications were restricted to unencrypted 2-way radio of limited range, and spoof super-spy gadgetry like Maxwell Smart's shoe-phone. Computers were massive card-fed calculators and magnetic-tape file-cabinets in the basements of banks and government agencies, with no mouse or graphical user interface. Cell-phone's, PC's & laptops were still just science fiction. Human beings were spread out across the globe with no way to initiate contact with anyone outside their own small circles, other than by going abroad, physically, in person. Socially, we were still at the level of low-tech cavemen. Isolated, alienated, unable to talk to one another, around the world.
Still, it was a better world back then, in many ways. We had freedoms unimaginable to people today. No one knew where you were unless you wanted them to. Your home was all but literally your castle, and you were safe from intrusion and prying eyes there. Your precious personal data remained locked up securely in your own head, backed-up in a little metal box stashed away somewhere for safekeeping. Most people had telephones, but they were big clunky devices tied to the wall or the desk, used mostly for limited local communications in the home or the place of business by yourself and people known to you. There was usually only one telephone per home or business, and children did not have them. The rest of the world was able to reach us only through the U.S. Mail, or, in emergencies, via telegram from Western Union. If you didn't know someone's name, address and telephone number, you had no way of getting in touch with them. It was easy to disappear, and start your life over, if you wanted to, even in the same city. People in other States and foreign countries were a world away, mere ideas, not real to us at all.
We had movies and television, radio and newspapers, magazines and paperback books. But these were all pretty limited, passive, one-way communications devices. There was a kind of tribal consciousness, centered around the home, circling out among our friends, neighbors, co-workers, schoolmates and extended families. On rare occasions, tribal minds might clash or join together for some larger purpose or event, organized along State, Regional or National lines. There was a national government with elected representatives, but they functioned pretty much as they had in early post-Colonial days, going off to Washington, D.C. to represent us, or not. A letter to your Congressman might have some effect, but it would take weeks, months, or years to see that effect. You might receive a reply, a newsletter or a campaign literature in return, but meeting the politicians in person on their trips home was the only way to communicate with them, otherwise. Politics, as a result, was a pretty slow and stodgy business. Things seemed to go on forever without much change.
YOUTUBE: THE TEMPTATIONS
"Cloud Nine TEMPTATION"
"Every man in his mind is free. You can be what you want to be." As long as you pay your fees.
Those lonesome satellites up in space (and portable transistorized TV's & radios back on Earth) changed all that. News from around the world reached us in our homes, cars, schools and businesses in seconds or minutes, not weeks or months. Live video, videotape and film from Selma and Saigon, Berlin and Beirut played out every night in our homes. Schoolchildren watched in horror from their classrooms as reports came in on television that the President of the United States, and then his assassin were killed in full view of the world, and a massive national wake united the whole country with the rest of the globe. The words and pictures galvanized a generation, who would not sit passively in their isolated homes while the world was catching fire. A chant arose on national TV, heralding a new era of social, political and technological change: The whole world was watching. The whole world was watching.
The privately-owned public utilities and other corporations were watching, too. It was their business to tie all this together, and make a buck off of it. Though they blundered and stumbled along the way, their vision of global domination guided them to where we are today: About to give up all the power we've gained technologically, politically and socially and enter a world owned and operated by faceless privately-owned for-profit multinational corporations. You may own the already-obsolescent hardware that connects you to the 'Net, if ownership of something so transitory can truly be said to mean anything. But it will soon be useless without paid access to software and communications that you only rent by the hour or the month, like some techno-tenant, owning nothing. If your e-landlord chooses to jack up the rent, or un-jack you from his service wholly or partially, you've got nothing. While computing and Internet access may seem unimportant to some, to most people it is vital to functioning in an information age. Being cut off will be like being banished or imprisoned, blinded and deafened, having your hands and tongue cut off. Your useless 'Net-driven, software-free minicomputer will work only as a hammer to hit yourself on the head with, for not being willing, able or allowed to pay your software & connection charges.
That's what cloud-computing is: Rent-a-world. Privatization of the taxpayer-funded Internet. In the good old days, public utilities were considered the best, the safest investment. You couldn't go wrong in buying their stocks and bonds. They had a fresh piece of everybody's wallet, every month. Everybody. Every month. Guaranteed. If you didn't pay, they cut your water off, literally. Or your gas, electricity, phone, etc. Then came cable TV: Paying for something that used to be free. Well, if you wanted better TV reception, or any reception at all, you paid. Besides, you got better channels, more channels. Sports. Music videos. Dirty movies. (Sorta.) Yeah, you could live without cable, but who wanted to? The Unabomber? Even if it cost more than your gas and electric, water and telephone every month. Even if the cost went up faster than any other costs, for no apparent reason. You stayed hooked up, and kept paying. What choice did you have? They were a monopoly, economically and technologically, a pusher selling an addictive substance. And you were a techno-junkie.
The same model is now being used to plan your future in computing & communications. In any given geographical area, you'll have a limited number of choices for Internet access. Once on the 'Net, you'll have even more limited choices in software services and data storage. You'll be bled automatically every month for these services, and they will charge whatever they want; more and more every year. You will have no choice but to pay, unless you're building a cabin in the woods. And what effect will all this have on the free flow of ideas, on political and artistic expression, on personal and business relationships? Well, that's really up to AT&T. Or Microsoft, or Google, or whoever wins the fight that's only just beginning. So the next step in human evolution will take place under corporate control, at a price, billed monthly, or hourly. If you ain't got the dough-re-me, pal, you'll just have to try to evolve outside of our emerging planetary human consciousness. The world-mind will be closed to you, Dear Sir or Madam, until you clear up your arrears, or cough up another deposit and a credit card number for new access. Thank you for shopping with AT&T. Have a pleasant tomorrow.
Not exactly William Gibson's or Neal Stephenson's vision of the jacked-in future, is it? Well, they're not businessmen, are they? And the world is not run by artists or intellectuals, is it?
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YOUTUBE: THE BEATLES
"Magical Mystery Tour-'The Fool on the Hill' [with lyrics]"
"Well on the way. Head in a cloud. The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud." Musta had bluetooth.
' Cloud computing is Internet ("cloud") based development and use of computer technology ("computing"). It is a style of computing in which typically real-time scalable resources are provided “as a service” over the Internet to users who need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure ("in the cloud") that supports them. The concept incorporates software as a service (SaaS), Web 2.0 and other recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. An often-quoted example is Google Apps, which provides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on Google servers. The cloud is a metaphor for the Internet, based on how it is depicted in computer network diagrams, and is an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it conceals. '
YOUTUBE: VANESSA PARADIS
"vanessa paradis-get off of my cloud"
"I said, Hey! You! Get off of my cloud! Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!" MF'er!
"Would you buy a wireless plan with your Netbook?"
All your information & communications needs, in one huge monthly bill.
' Netbooks, everyone’s favorite diminutive, under-powered mobile whiz-kid device, continue to encroach on traditional laptop sales. But should computer manufacturers be able to capitalize on Netbooks’ popularity by pushing them into the market occupied by smartphones? Just how much of a “missing link” should a Netbook be, exactly? Apparently, enough of one to have a mobile wireless plan attached to it: in one instance, Dell and Acer are offering Netbooks paired with wireless data plans from AT&T. What’s the motivation? PC makers get to slash prices and sell cheap, trendy machines with differentiation: always on, always e-mail and Web-ready (oh, and several hundred dollars less than a normal laptop). We may be entering into a new era: one where Internet connectivity is not a stroke of luck, but a near-right. And with the growing embrace of cloud computing and software-as-a-service, is significant local storage no longer necessary? '
"AT&T’s Cloud Offering Is Foggy"
Ah, monopoly! It's back! Vertically.
' The key advantage to AT&T’s service is that it controls not just the servers and the cloud, but it also owns the network that those bits of data must traverse to get from the cloud to your computer. That’s a powerful proposition because it gives AT&T one more potential point of failure that it can guarantee and control. It also could lead the way for some interesting pricing options given that AT&T will know exactly how much it costs for each byte of storage and each compute cycle, but it also has the wholesale costs of bandwidth. '
"What Will Trigger the Next Paradigm Shift in Computer Design? "
I Google you, you Google me, Google does all of us.
' According to several designers, it's going to be cloud computing: Specifically, the rumored introduction of Google's G-Drive, sometime this year. The G-Drive promises to make your hard drive obsolete, providing web storage for all your documents, pictures, applications, and media files. Design Week surveyed several design thinkers. The general concensus is that the computer might dissolve into "the merest slip of physical substance," and that interaction design will have to be re-thought. Here are their specific thoughts: '
"Microsoft readying My Phone cloud service"
Poor security, limited utility, arbitrary rules, high prices. Yep, it's a Microsoft product. Now available by the MONTH!
' Microsoft appears poised to officially unveil a Web-based service that will let users store, share, and back up data from their mobile phones. Provided, that is, that the phones run Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 phone operating system. And the service will be available as only a limited beta to start with. Details of Microsoft's impending My Phone service slipped out inadvertently when the Web site went live ahead of its scheduled debut. The site appears to have been spotted first by Engadget Mobile, which also referred to the service as SkyBox. Microsoft's My Phone service is intended to provide backup and other services for Windows Mobile 6 users. According to the Microsoft My Phone site, the service will let users back up and restore the phone's data, access contact and scheduling information, and share photos. Users will get 200MB of free storage, but beware--a synchronization attempt that exceeds the limit will cut off any files beyond the 200MB mark. '
THE REGISTER, U.K.
"Deutsche Telekom births cloud broker
Middleman in the sky"
And to think, only Gawd used to live up there.
' "In the future, there are going to be hundreds of different clouds," explains Freese. "Customers do no want to be locked into to any one cloud, and they will want to be able to move around clouds." To test the idea - and give potential future business partners a taste of brokered cloud services - Zimory has tapped T-Systems to set up a few hundred virtual machines inside two of its data centers, which has been equipped with the Zimory tools and opened up to the world to play with through the Zimory Public Cloud. To sign up to be a user of the cloud, you can visit this link and buy capacity. If you want to hook your systems into the cloud, you can contact Zimory to set up a partnership arrangement. The business model that Zimory has developed is to distribute its cloud management tools for free and then charge for software and services at an hourly rate. As a broker of public cloud capacity, Zimory will set prices, make contracts, set up and maintain security, migrate virtual machines and their software stacks around the clouds and enterprises, and bill customers for services rendered. The VMs that Zimory is peddling so far are simple Linux and Windows slices that can be equipped with various software stacks, such as the Apache-PHP-MySQL triple play or a full-blown content management system. The software can be packaged up for Xen or ESX Server hypervisors, and in the future, Hyper-V will also be supported. On the sell side, where companies partner with Zimory to add their capacity to the Public Cloud, partners can use the tools for free. But Zimory gets a broker fee from the buyers as they in turn sell capacity to end users. Pricing for capacity on the cloud will vary depending on service level agreements, geographical area, and time restrictions, according to Freese. But since the Public Cloud is just getting rolling and is now available for free, pricing has not been announced. But you can expect something that looks like Amazon's prices for EC2 and S3. "At the beginning, we think it is important to do it this way," says Freese, "but prices will eventually move based on supply and demand for different clouds." '
"Evanescence - Cloud Nine"
"I don't need to touch the sky. I just want to feel that high, And you refuse to lift me." Ya capitalist pigs!
"WILLIAM GIBSON: 'Neuromancer' "
' Case was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway--jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way--and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance--and a cure--for a price.... '
"Neal Stephenson: 'SNOW CRASH' "
' In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosaNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about Infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately. '
YOUTUBE: JONI MITCHELL 
"Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now (Live, 1970)"
Wise young Joni.
Sunday Rock 'N' Roll Music Video Contest Party
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