Monday, 31 October 2011

All Hallows Eve


So the witching day is upon us again, and I'm missing the bonfire and fireworks and dark early nights of a British Halloween (well, and Guy Fawkes night). Bajans dont really do Halloween - bit too heathen for the Bajan spirit. There are parties, but they're mostly private and, in the North American tradition, fancy dress rather than scary dress.

Which makes me miss the ghoulish fun all the more.  Like English ale, I was pretty ambivalent to it when I lived in UK, but as an expat of 7.5 years I've grown to love some of the quirkier British traditions. Perhaps it's a surrogate nostalgia for our kids' sake: I wish they could partake, and enjoy some of the very British traditions that I did. Except the ale. That's just because there's nowhere else on the planet that serves beer that is warm & flat and tastes so good. Except Ireland, and that's Britain's nearest neighbor and only one drink.

So maybe I don't miss Halloween, I just miss sharing it with the kids. Maybe we'll have a small bonfire in the garden on Guy Fawkes night and burn a lolly stick effigy. Not quite the same as those giant medieval beacons that light up big, smokey crowds at playing fields across Britain, but something a little bit different for the kids. Maybe we'll read spooky stories to the kids, try to bring some autumnal chill to the Caribbean air..!


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Stunning planet - in HD


The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

I've always enjoyed these snippets in nature documentaries, but they're even better segued to music - truly majestic!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Privacy: it's all about the information source


Listening to a presentation from Eric Gertler about privacy, it struck me that the root of the issues with privacy seems to be source definition. Who/what is the source of the information that I, as a consumer, am trying to evaluate?

Sure its about trust, but trust is not very solvable from a technological perspective. Information source definition is very solvable, be it email source validation, social peer review, or genuine twitter accounts. It seems to me that a lot of privacy debate is looking the wrong way: at securing your information assets, rather than providing tools that more readily enable you to validate the sources of information requests. Eg. the UK Data Protection act enables a consumer to obtain any information that a particular company may hold about them. But you have to know that that particular company holds data about you.

A solution that would help to get to the root of the privacy issue would be a non-profit service that tells you (and only you) which companies have information about you. It wouldn't know or tell you what information, only that companies x, y and z have some of your personal information.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Transformers 3: CGI FX porn


I finally got round to watching the latest Transformers film, and came to the conclusion that it's effectively a porno for computer effects geeks. The effects are gratuitous: not only are the models and particle effects staggeringly complex and overwhelmingly detailed, but the film effects are extreme too: the slow-mo's, wide pans, focus shifts... it's like someone just had to use every FX filter in the box.

But the plot is bad. Porno bad. And the music is epic... a bit too epic... over the top, even. It's not slap bass cheesy, just baffled in the same over-emphatic, this-might-get-dull-otherwise way.

Just like a real porn film, with fx instead of sex. A tad more expensive, too...

So, the verdict: Transformers 3 is porno for FX geeks. That's not meant to be disparaging: its the third in the franchise, so there's obviously a market. And, as a techies who used to try graphics on a ZX spectrum, I am still in awe of how far computer graphics have come within my lifetime.

Google (and ex-Amazon) engineer' fascinating insights


 Google Engineer Accidently Shares His Internal Memo About Google + Platform | Unfiltered Opinion From Silicon Valley 

Interestingly, Google didn't censor him they merely suggested he consider how his opinion might be construed outside the organisation (and therefore possibly out of context). He decided to withdraw the post from public view with an  explanation.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Great visualisation!


 Where people don’t use Facebook shows a map of the earth with black showing facebook use. Pretty awesome!

A thought: private libraries


You know those films where there's a big house with a library: either one of those oak-panelled country mansions, with slidey ladders or a nifty little spiral staircase and balcony, or slightly more modern, with shelves for DVDs, CDs and vinyl records. When I was a kid at boarding school, we had similar libraries. At prep school (a converted country manor) the library even had a snooker table, reading lecterns and 19th century Times newspaper reprints. I vowed that one day I would have such a space. A place for contemplation, grazing on information, debating issues with friends with evidence at our fingertips.

Today, as I tidied up my media server, removing duplicates and consolidating different media types onto the one shoebox-sized set of disks, it occurred to me that I had reached my dream, albeit not quite as expected. Over 6,500 tunes, 3,000 videos, 9,000 photos and and small but rapidly increasing collection of ebooks - perhaps 100. Probably enough to fill one of those oak-panelled libraries. In a shoe box.

While the miniaturization is incredible, so rapid an evolution as to be trivial, I couldn't help lamenting the lack of ambience. Sure, I could get the leather chairs and some calm decor and create a 'contemplation space', but I know that it would be superfluous - a nostalgic throwback to a bygone era. With my tablet and headphones anywhere is a contemplation space. And anyone who thinks that's sacrilege should consider which option our forebears would have chosen if they'd had the choice: ipad or all that paper and plastic that had to be stored and indexed and damp & fire-proofed?  Libraries are like boats: really nice as long as someone else has to look after them.

Now, as my sync software finishes its consolidation, I'm pondering online backup options. The photos are already on Picasa. The docs are on Sugarsync. And while I have most of the music/video on CD/DVDs in a cupboard a lot of it isn't. Maybe a Mozy backup to Amazon S3 is what's needed.

Maybe, when I re-read this blog entry in 10 years time, I'll snigger at the archaic media server shoe box backup method and wonder how I ever bothered to manage my own media when its all just there online anyway. As content becomes more and more virtual across all media, so the concept of content ownership become increasingly nebulous.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

OS vs Web vs Apps

Open source Operating Systems (OSes) and the web have effectively rendered operating systems irrelevant.  Microsoft was so busy milking its cash cow Windows OS that it failed to see this and is stuck in a legacy net.  Sure, it profits, but only because businesses (the bulk of Microsoft's profit base) move slower than technology.  Consumers have already forgotten about OSes.  All they need are apps.

Apps are the excellent middle space between OS and web.  OSes are device dependent: you can't run a Windows app on a Mac without some emulation; a blackberry app will not run on an iPhone.  The web is network dependent: you can't run anything unless you are connected.  Apps are a hybrid: beneath that icon is some local functionality and some web-based functionality.  Some apps are little more than a pretty bookmark to a website.  Some apps are mostly offline (like games), with a small online component (eg. posting high scores to Twitter).

If you're going to build an app today where do you start?  Apple has the bigger, more profitable app market, but Android has more devices out there. And what about the smaller players: Windows Mobile and Blackberry? I believe the answer is simple: the web.

Since most apps have an online component anyway (particularly if you're looking to exploit cutting-edge in-app purchasing), you might as well start there.  The technology platform is ubiquitous - every phone, tablet and laptop has a browser - and most web analytics track what browsers are accessing your site, so once you generate a crowd, you can then decide, based on actual evidence, which app channel you're going to develop for first.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Undervalued privacy


Great piece along the same theme as my prior post about Facebook not being free: Cory Doctorow - Tech Companies Exploit the Way We Undervalue Privacy - NYTimes.com 

Doctorow is a specialist in this field, and his view are more developed and rigorous than mine.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Parenthood

Since my wife has been at a conference overseas for a week, and I've been left in charge of the offspring (girl, 5 and boy, 2), it's been a good time to focus and reflect on parenthood.  I'd best capture my thoughts here while they're fresh and before the comfortably numb family routine dissipates them like whispers in a strong breeze.

Parenthood is the greatest thing that can happen to a person.  Not only from the biological imperative perspective (continuing the genes etc.), but from the self-discovery and self-fulfillment perspective.  Nothing makes you reflect on the value of your life like the responsibility of raising children. Nothing gives you the full gamut of emotion, from elation to tears, of watching your offspring navigate their way through life.  There is no greater love, even though it is seldom as well expressed, as inspirational, as romantic love.

The thing that surprised me about parenthood, as a single person, was how much it influenced my attitude and actions.  I recall many times, as an uncle to my brothers' kids, thinking that there's no way I'd do this or that for someone else.  Yet when they are your own offspring not only do you do it willingly, it doesn't even occur to you to do otherwise.  Selflessness is not really a choice for a parent: we all have to do it to a lesser or greater extent.  That lack of choice is scary for some and underestimated by many (particularly those without kids).

Yet parenthood is so common it's trivial. Naff even. Although I think the naffness is really to do with schmaltzy films trying to cash in on the phenomenon, rather than treat it as it really is: a background plot of incidental, often poignant moments in the lives of most adult humans on the planet.  It's an experience, like the best and worst experiences, that can be described and compared, but never truly shared with anyone but your partner.

Right, back to cottage pie and Wallace & Gromit...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Impressive social media stats


 Report Details Rise of Social Media - NYTimes.com 

So social media is 22.5% of peoples' time online, with Facebook being the bulk of that. What would really interest me is how that compares to other leisure activities. I still think that social media is more leisure than business/production, although I'm happy to be convinced otherwise.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Tablet v smartphone


I'm always intrigued at how technology blends together in real life. "The street has its own use for technology," as William Gibson said.

My cheapo LG smartphone died. Battery was getting tired anyway, so I switched to the backup: a bog standard Nokia X2 17-button phone. Sure it has data (GPRS, here in the Caribbean), but the screen's tiny and these days I'm about as good at typing on a numeric keypad as I am at sharpening a quill.

Luckily I have a 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab (yes, the one that is now illegal in Germany - all offers around the price of a 7.7" Tab considered!). It has a waterproof wallet (living on an island it's best to have every portable electronic device waterproofed) with a shoulder strap. I didn't realise it came with a shoulder strap when I ordered the Beachbouy wallet, but am now glad it does because it is effectively my briefcase. I'm typing this blog entry on it now. No, it doesn't replace a laptop, but if I need to sit down and do some proper work I'll use my laptop because I'll work faster with a 15" screen and a keyboard. You see, with a 7" Galaxy Tab you can type fast standing up, unlike bigger tablets. Just try it with an iPad - preferably someone else's, just in case you drop it.

But you can type fast on a smartphone standing up too, right?  Especially one with a keyboard.  Yes you can, but the screen is too small for seriously productive correspondence because the keyboard takes up too much of the screen, or, in the case of blackberries, the screen is a bit too small. And the apps are crap, but that's another post.

Since switching to the small dumb phone and the tablet I have realised a few things:-

1. Fewer distractions: instant email is distracting. If I need to check email, I'll pull out my tablet. Otherwise I'm instantly reachable by phone if its urgent. "Urgent" emails are usually simply a reflection of the sender's self-importance or poor communication skills, unless the sender is willing to follow them up with a phone call - the real urgent bit.

2. Better organisation: the power feature of Android is actually the 'Share' menu option. Unlike other mobile OSes this is not app-specific, but an OS service that exposes apps that subscribe to it. So when I download a new app it automatically can share to any other apps on my phone that support sharing. This means I can share the Blogaway post with my Twitter app, my Facebook app and, say, Evernote. I can add webpages and emails directly to my Gtask list or my calendar for dealing with later. I could do this on my smartphone but the trouble with that is that I would, wherever I happened to be, as soon as I got that distracting email or other beep. With my tablet I can still do the organising anywhere but at a time that suits me.

3. Media: just because you can watch TV on your smartphone doesn't mean you want to. Same with ebooks. I've actually read several books on my smartphone, and switching to a Tab was a revelation: its paperback book size and after dark readability was lovely. Similar for movies: holding the 7" screen at book distance is as good as a wide screen TV.

In summary, there's only one important interruption in life: somebody calling you, either in person or via phone. The rest should be received whenever and wherever you're ready to process it.  Basic phone + book sized tablet is the perfect combination. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Google+ and identity: a pseudo-controversy


When you're a ubiquitous internet company, and your very name is a dictionary noun, it's inevitable that any actions you take that impact privacy/security will be closely scrutinised - at best.

The bruhaha about online identity verification being a pre-requisite for membership of Google+ is, to my mind, a non-argument. Cynics and even sceptics try to buff up the tired old arguments about Google helping oppressors oppress, about them abusing our privacy, about them wanting to take over the world. Frankly, they're living in the old, amateur internet, where commerce was still basically offline (although transactions might be online, your identity was typically proven, initially, offline) and identity didn't matter. The internet is no longer a simple playground for self-expression. 

These days, Technology, the god of amplification, is completely inter-twined with people's sense of identity, be it financial or socio-political. It can amplify and mobilise mass-sentiment: one man's insurrection is another man's riot. It can record an increasing amount of your life's interactions: your family and friends' lives, your preferences, hobbies, opinions.

These are precious things, worth protecting. My identity is mine, not yours. Oh yeah? Prove it! "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog". Nobody knows you're you, yet you (or your identity thief) are increasingly asking people to vouch for you on the internet. To establish a trustworthy, creditable (yes, and commerce-able) ecosystem you have to be able to establish credentials. Is that REALLY @stephenfry you're following on Twitter? Or one if his web flunkies? Or an imposter? Twitter has attempted to establish a trustmark, to validate some Twitter accounts, so why not Google?

Nobody is saying you MUST identify yourself on the internet. They're saying "if you want to enter our network, please verify your identity". If you don't want to join, don't fill out the form. In this age of identity theft, social hacking and spam I welcome any such initiative.  Woof!

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Web Masons

m.e.driscoll's blog - a really interesting, if slightly romanticised view of silicon valley engineers. In my own experience engineers can be as trend-hungry and trend-setting as catty fashionistas. The difference is that their tastes are more geeky: software thread performance, rather than actual thread arrangements.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Samsung's slice of Apple's hefty pie

Great infographic from The Economist on how much Apple relies on Samsung and how much revenue they make on iphones. Basically they make two thirds of the money, yet they just design the damn thing. Nice work!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Taking the App out of Apple

http://m.wired.com/epicenter/2011/07/sidestepping-apple-from-amazon-to-conde-companies-rethink-their-app-strategies/

. . . is why Im glad I didn't get an ipad (just yet anyway). With the new Lion OSX's app store I may not be upgrading my macbook pro, either. The app model has its benefits, but profiting through adding little value is a short-term game.

They made the same mistake with macs in the 90s: got greedy and said that only Apple-certified peripherals could be used with a mac. So no HP printers, no monitors etc. It was their death knell because too few consumers were willing to compromise choice over Apple's 'usability' benefits.

20 years on, they're playing the same card again. Maybe they have enough momentum this time. Doesn't make it right, though. Or sustainable.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.4

Sunday, 12 June 2011

iOS 5

It's usually a telling moment when a market leader starts to obviously copy the competition, especially when they drive so hard at innovation being their key differentiator.

So, I see that the latest iPhone/iPad OS update has pull-down notifications. Wherever did they get that cool idea? Android. To be fair they did downplay the 'innovation' mantra this time, but could this be the turning point in Apple's cheeky, self-consciously sophisticated, upstart image? A hint of market cap leader complacency, perhaps?

The downside of having a closed business model, where you're constantly seeking to lock your customers in, is that the more you succeed the more you risk isolating yourself and your customer. You risk padding yourself from the cutting edge of competition, and if your customers take a dislike to your products/direction, the difficulty of switching could cause a strong backlash on your popularity. Basically, it's hard to sustain.

Personally, I prefer the days when Apple were the rebels, layering great design over open source technologies in the perfect mashup devices.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.1

Monday, 23 May 2011

"Ownership" and the cloud

Reading this somewhat biased piece in Wired, I started thinking about what ownership of digital assets is starting to mean.  Those books we download for Kindle, those tunes we buy in iTunes... do we own them, or have we just bought the rights to use (read/play) them in certain circumstances?  What's the difference?

Well, try lending that Kindle book or iTunes album to a mate, just as you might a book or a CD.  You can't. There's not even a resale model.  What about those hotels with little libraries where you leave a book and grab another holiday read off the shelf?  How would you do that with a Kindle?  This is the big attractor for publishers: everyone must 'buy' their own copy - there's no transfer of ownership.  Which is quite at odds with the rest of modern technology's recent 'socialise & share' ethos.

And what about piracy?  Not the industrial scale store-full-of-DVDs piracy, but the small, friendly stuff: borrowing a CD and ripping it to your iTunes.  If you were to fill your 160GB ipod with music at $0.99 a tune, your ipod would have $50,000 worth of music on it.  That's a lot of money depending on a couple of hard disks (1 ipod, 1 computer).

When you buy a digital song from Amazon, it doesn't use up any of your S3 cloud storage.  Presumably this is because it's already stored in Amazon, so your purchase simply gives you access to their stored copy.  Taken to its logical extreme, the proposition is that we'd only be paying for access rights to pieces of media from any device that is authenticated as our own.  So, I buy a new device (laptop/tablet/phone), login to my Amazon/Google/Apple account, and then either download or stream my entire music/video/book collection.  You could see a future where such service providers could then profile how much of your collection you play, and then offer a subscription service.  $20 a month for whatever music/video/books you like - flat-rate media consumption.  It's already there for some media (eg. Netflix for video).  All that's missing is the application to full multimedia collections, and the custom pricing (utility pricing, even?)

It wouldn't eliminate piracy, but by taking our personal media management into the cloud, it would presumably make piracy more awkward: iTunes would only backup your purchased music, right?  Or if it did backup the other stuff, it might not sync it as well across other devices (eg. streaming).  Will it all join up?  What if I'm an iTunes user, but that tune I like is only available through Amazon?

We're about to have an interesting couple of years in the consumer media market, I think.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Laughter


One of those fascinating parenthood micro-events happened last night - the sort that are apparently mundane, but when it's your kids, whom you observe so closely, the event takes on some profound insight.

We were watching Bedknobs & Broomsticks, and while Bella was rapt, Ryan was barely watching and more absorbed in playing with his trucks. At one point in the film, the father figure is juggling and drops an apple into the gravy, which splashes all over his face. One by one, the whole family in the movie starts laughing until they're all guffawing. It's actually rather twee and forced, but as they start to laugh on the TV, Bella and Ryan join in. I don't think either of them found the initial event that funny (not even sure Ryan caught it), but they were both guffawing away as much as the folks in the movie.

Such is the infectious power of laughter.  Haha!


Thursday, 31 March 2011

How Amazon has outsmarted the music industry (and Apple) | ZDNet

This article got me thinking.

I first bought Amazon music when I got my Android phone. I was in London, in a cafe and saw an advert in a magazine for the new Gorillaz album. In a brainwave, I browsed my new phone to the Amazon MP3 app, signed in with my Amazon credentials, searched and found the album, and purchased & downloaded it right there. I left the cafe listening to my freshly downloaded album. No PC or mac (or shop!) required. A few months later that phone died - the screen smashed. I took out the SD card, slotted it into a new Android phone right there in the phone shop and walked out listening to that same album. Try doing that with an iPhone (you need a PC/mac to register and sync your iWhatever).

So, on Monday, I was talking to one of our enterprise software suppliers about trialling the newest version of the software. Did they have a virtual machine I could add to our test server and run it? The trouble was getting it to me: I'm in Barbados and they are UK-based. It's probably a 20GB file - take a long time and probably fail. Easier if I create an Amazon Web Services account and they then hook me into a Machine Image (AMI) on there. Setting this up proved to be a fifteen minute job. And I realised what Amazon web services has become. It is no longer the purview of the data centre techies who want big servers 'in the cloud', and so are willing to spend the hours figuring out virtualisation and clustering and stuff. Sure, all that stuff is there for them, but it is also viable and accessible to the individual, whether it's just backing up your files, running your own online desktop (yes, Windows Remote Desktop!), or running your own website without all the usual shared hosting restrictions.

Finally, yesterday I saw the original announcement of Amazon's Cloud disk and thought 'just another dropbox/sugarsync online disk thingy'. I went and claimed my free 5GB anyway and noticed that your Amazon-purchased music and kindle books aren't included in the storage quota, which I thought was quite nice. Oh, and it has a music player to play your stuff through your browser, which I ho-hummed at.

Now this article has got me thinking. Amazon as Apple's main competitor? Yes, I see it. Amazon started at the warehouse end, flogging products online and then extending that to marketplaces and finally to the infrastructure itself, which it is now in the process of personalising. All that media you buy from us? Keep it with us, and consume it when/where you need it, either on our device or someone else's. Apple, on the other hand, produced a cool little music player with an online catalogue, and extended that to a multimedia player for podcasts, movies, books and, with increasingly more sensors, apps. All these wonderful toys, just for our devices... via our store.

They have met in the virtual middle. On the one hand you have cool devices, and on the other hand you have powerful, flexible online storage. How long can Apple keep its cool?


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Barbados highway code

A highway has two lanes to provide more room for folks who drive their cars like boats. It provides you with freedom of choice: to choose a lane, irrespective of speed, that suits you, that enables you to coast alongside your buddy at a stately 40km/h, while you're on the phone with your other buddy. And should you notice a fast-moving vehicle approaching you from the rear, it is your god-given right to maintain your course and not yield to the scurrilous pursuer, who may or may not be racing to resolve a life-threatening situation.

It has been said that an Englishman will form an orderly queue of one. A Bajan, on the other hand, will form a large queue... as long as they are at the front of it.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Google connects to Microsoft Office - finally!

Of course there is 'bait & switch' here: Microsoft's business model is predicated on having fat desktops with far too much functionality/complexity/resource utilisation. Google's business model is for you to stick everything on the web, where it has to be simpler, but also less secure and, yes, more exposed to Google's advertising.

The difference is that Microsoft's web offerings still expect you to use (== purchase) Microsoft desktop technologies (at least the browser, which means the OS too, these days). Google's offerings have no such limitations and are typically free. So why shouldn't they try to connect them to Microsoft's bloatware?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The pace of mobile tech

I heard about the LG Optimus 2x phone at CES in early January. It caught my eye because I have an LG Optimus 1 and it's reasonably good, but fatally flawed by a crap touchscreen (resistive, rather than capacitative). I got it because it was just over 100 GBP unlocked for a fully-fledged Android smartphone. Why unlocked? Because I live in a land where Blackberries are considered smartphones and cost as much.

So I was watching these videos of the Optimus 2x and it struck me: there are now phones that can record HD video, and you can plug into your giant flat TV and watch the HD video. Or play an HD video game. Or browse the internet. Or make video calls. So: screw DVD, blueray and set-top boxes. Screw consoles. Screw video conferencing. Do you remember before the internet, when PCs were natty little workhorses, with the occasional nifty game, like Wolfenstein 3D? Well, that's where they're going again: back to the workplace.

Personal Computers (truly personal) are now cigarette pack-sized touchscreens with optional keyboards and big screens. I don't want an iPad, or any tablet. I want a paper-light 10" touchscreen that I can snugly dock my phone to. And optionally plug a keyboard or mouse into. Finally, the size constraint of the technology is fast becoming the user's physical interactions - our fingers are only so small, and nobody can depend on styli. Touch is just the beginning: it's just a brittle surface and it's already becoming a constraint.

So that's all happened in, what, 5 years? My daughter's 4. What the hell am I going to be buying her when she's 14? The mind boggles..!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Thunder in the Cloud

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone exposed the dark side of cloud computing. Graphics processing chips are experts at floating-point calculations and matrix transformations. These forms of maths are particularly useful for cracking security keys. Ergo, GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) are good for cracking codes. Until recently the Amazon Electronic Cloud Computing (EC2) platform didn't offer GPUs, only the more conventional CPUs. EC2 allows you to massively scale up your processing power and charges for it like a utility. This very useful for one-off heavy computation tasks, or for web startups who, if they find their site becomes incredibly popular very quickly, can scale up automatically, without incurring significant infrastructure costs.

So, Amazon EC2 cloud + GPUs = massive GPU processing power for rent = great hacking platform. I suspect this is just the beginning: this is a new battleground for good vs evil exploitation of technology.

The interesting question, for now, is the ethical one: should Amazon prevent such activity? There was a lot of criticism when Amazon booted Wikileaks off their cloud. As one pundit on Slashdot.org put it "Amazon should show the same responsibility that Ford show in preventing their cars from being used as getaway cars." (ie. none). However, the counter-argument could also be that military contractors are obliged not to sell their state-of-the-art tech to dodgy countries.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Internet and the state

This is a good summary of the key issues in the simmering debate about whether the internet is a good or bad thing for society. What's most interesting is that this avoids the tiresome discussions about personal use/abuse of technology (which is a matter of choice/conditioning anyway) and sticks to the sociological & political factors. It also takes a long-term view, not the usual "look at this example of disruptive technology - cool, eh?", arguing that "Internet freedom is a long game, to be conceived of and supported not as a separate agenda but merely as an important input to the more fundamental political freedoms."