Tag Archives: internet

Internet-Centric Entertainment (an example)

Yesterday I talked about how most of my video entertainment now comes from the internet. The on-demand and interactive nature of internet video builds on itself. Here is a specific example of that.

Using Youtube on Xbox One, a bit ago I watched this trailer for Godzilla:

That led me to Red Letter Media’s review, which I watched on my Surface Pro connected to my tv:

That review stated that while the new Godzilla was better than the 1990s version, both were inferior to the current directory’s previous film, Monsters. Monsters is a post-9/11 style movie, portraying life several years after the dramatic events of a Monster movie. I watched Monsters on Amazon Prime, thru its Xbox One app.

There’s still a few ‘killer apps’ for TV. Some sports, Game of Thrones, and 24 hours news streaming would still be painful to lose. But that seems just a matter of time.

Review of “The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers,” by Tom Standage

Every online review I read of The Victorian Internet noted it can be finished in one day. I read it in a day through the Kindle app of our iPad, so I will add myself to that list. The Victorian Internet is a quick read, so I will make this a quick review.

In the book’s conclusion, Tom Standage notes that while Victorians in the modern day would have been shocked at heavier at the airplane, the rocket, and the satellite, as these are all examples of heavier-than air-flight, they would have been bored at the Internet, because they already had their own. Indeed, Standage persuasively argues that the world-spanning network of telegraphy developed in a way almost identical to the world-spanning network of TCP/IP, from the first line between Washington and Baltimore, until the automation of the telegraph lines some decades later. From predictions of the end of newspapers (how can there be a market for ‘news,’ when one person can just tell his friends what he read on the telegraph?) to a new age of peace (as differences were expected to melt away as individuals talked to each other).

Also as with modern computer research, the economic advantages of the telegraph were so great that even boondoggles were paid for. In the modern day, technophobic MBAs promise to never again create a ‘wasteful’ Xerox PARC, conveniently forgetting that one PARC invention by itself made it cash-flow positive (the laser jet printer), even telegraph boondoggles were money savers: the intitial, poorly constructed, transatlantic cable saved the British government money, as a timely telegraph allowed London to countermand a mobilization of Canadian troops to India.

Telegraph offices provided upward mobility for young tech enthusiasts, such as Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison. They allowed individuals to get married in different states (the first ‘e-mail wedding’ spanned only a quarter of the distance of the first ‘telegraph’ wedding). The telegraph even spawned stupid fiction — You Got Mail holds nothing to Wired Love. Individuals had ‘sigs’ (same jargon for the same term) in both telegraphy and e-mail.

Ultimately, the telegraph was a victim of its own success. Just as the fiber optics market would collapse because of multiplex devices, the cost of telegraph lines was halved by a duplex, then halved again…. until Alexander Graham Bell’s quest for a ‘harmonic multiplexer’ was discovered to have the side-effect of allowing human voices to be carried over telegraph wires. (Another inventor discovered the devise simultaneously, and perhaps had a better claim to the patent, but assumed that the voice-over-telegraph technology had little commercial application, and so did not pursue his claim at the time). Eventually the Voice-Over-Telegraph technology would be known as the telephone, and the culture of high-tech telegraph knowledge workers would collapse.

The Victorian Internet is a great, fun, and quick read. Check it out!

Occam’s Razor

I don’t think it’s crazy to say that a more parsimonious explanation for Iran nearly dropping off the face of the internet

Router Location Current Index Response Time (ms) Packet Loss (%)
misschaos.chaos-studio.com China (Shanghai) 81 181 0
gsrmum.vsnl.net.in India (Mumbai) 72 270 0
core-mgl.cbn.net.id Indonesia (Mangole) 79 205 0
router1.iust.ac.ir Iran (Tehran) 0 0 100
cs1mr1.comsourceone.com Japan (Tokyo) 85 146 0
gateway.ix.singtel.com Singapore 68 217 12
tpnoc1-osr-transit.ix.giga.net.tw Taiwan 74 149 12

is that we’re installing the hardware and software to allow us to read every packet going in and out of south-west Asia, and we don’t want them to know it.

(Chart from Internettrafficreport.com, story courtesy of Slashdot)

Related: New submarine can tap fiber-optic cables (hat-tip AC)
Related: Hackers cut cities’ power (hat-tip Sharpr)
Must read: Don’t Forget by Mike Tanji

Computer Games Aren’t Bad For You, and The Internet Is Good For You

The text’s statements on computer games are doubtful. It states that “an increasing number of studies show that playing violent games, like watching violent TV, increases hostility and aggression.” However, more than half of studies looking at the connection between media violence and violent activity failed to find any significant link (Pinker 311). The spread of video games has mirrored the fall in the violent crime rate. Nor it is clear that the greater appeal of software applications to boys than girl is a problem. Newborn boys show a greater affection for mechanical contraptions than newborn girls in their first day (Alford and Hibbing 2004), so how are similar observations later on surprising? Likewise, the the Columbine shooters played “Doom” lessens when one learns the last game they played was bowling (Moore 2002).

Following the text’s advice on the Internet can impede development. The author focuses on negative aspects of electronic communication, such as increased loneliness and exploitation. Then what to make of these quotes: “I’m from a medium-sized city, I’ve still found it hard to find good company…” (Chirol 2006) and “The Internet makes this far easier in today’s world.” (Curzon 2006)? They are statements of domain experts on how Internet communication has allowed them to experience the advantages of geographical nearness (tdaxp 2006) that is required for expertise in a talent domain (Csikszentmihalyi 1996, Gardner 1997).

A focus on negative aspects of new technology is harmful, especially when combined with an incomplete literature review or pessimism. The Internet is good for you, and video games don’t hurt. At least, that’s what scientific research tells us.


tdaxp. (2006). The Creativity Anarchy. Paper for Creativity, Talent, and Expertise.
Alford, J. and Hibbing, J. (2004). The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior. Perspective on Politics, Vol. 2 No. 4, 707-723.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Perennial.
Curzon, G. (2006). Personal communication.
Chirol, I. (2006). Personal Communication.
Gardner, H. (1997). Extraordinary Minds. New York: Basic Books.
Moore, M. (2002). Bowling for Columbine. MGM Distribution Co.