The eco system is key. The mobile OS giants have one guiding principle: the OS with the best selection of software applications available for its users will be most attractive to consumers, and will therefore attract yet more developers to create further software applications for them. The more devices that are sold, the more widely purchased and used apps are likely to be, which attracts more developers to write apps for the device, which makes the device more useful, which finally results in more devices being sold. The platform functions like an ecology in which the platform owner, software developer, and user all play a part. Except, the rules seem to have changed – the old rules may not be true any more. Continue reading
De Filosoof (The Philosopher), a journal edited by graduate students and faculty at the University of Utrecht, asked me to respond to some searching questions. Three are copied below [note: this is unedited draft text]…
From the very beginning Internet has challenged social, intellectual and political hierarchies. RFC 3, released in April 1969, ‘established the principle that no text should be considered authoritative, that there [is] no final edit.’ (H.I. 99) This hacker-style ethos has dominated Internet ever since and is a threat to human society. People are simply not critical enough to deal with this manyfold of available knowledge.
Johnny Ryan: Information has become “plastic”. We are children of that anomalous era that extends from the popularization of the Gutenberg Press to the AJAX technologies that power the Web 2.0 generation of web sites and services. Before the printing press information was transmitted orally, or using technologies that mitigated against rapid or reliable duplication. After AJAX information became plastic again, subject to the interventions of the crowd, who comment, rank, and remix information in a manner impossible during the ink age.
This plasticity is a repetition of an earlier moment of change in the communication of ideas, from the bardic tradition of memorised learning to the written tradition of written learning. Harold Innis, in Empire and Communications, quotes Socrates in Phaedrus, who reports a conversation between the Egyptian god Thoth, the inventor of letters, and the god Amon. Amon accuses Thoth of creating forgetfulness in mens’ souls:
“this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.” Continue reading