Doc Searls

Be the hawk

Doc Searls

On Quora the question went, If you went from an IQ of 135+ to 100, how would it feel? Here’s how I answered :::: I went through that as a kid, and it was no fun. In Kindergarten, my IQ score was at the top of the bell curve, and they put me in the smart kid class.

Class 204

How we save the world

Doc Searls

Let’s say the world is going to hell. Don’t argue, because my case isn’t about that. It’s about who saves it. I suggest everybody. Or, more practically speaking, a maximized assortment of the smartest and most helpful anybodies. Not governments. Not academies. Not investors. Not charities. Not big companies and their platforms. Any of those can be involved, of course, but we don’t have to start there. We can start with people. Because all of them are different.

Insiders

Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Time to unscrew subscriptions

Doc Searls

The goal here is to obsolesce this brilliant poster by Despair.com : I got launched on that path a couple months ago, when I got this email from The_New_Yorker at e-mail.condenast.com: Why did they “need” a “confirmation” to a subscription which, best I could recall, was last renewed early this year? So I looked at the links.

Higher education adrift

Doc Searls

In Your favorite cruise ship may never come back: 23 classic vessels that could be laid-up, sold or scrapped , Gene Sloan (aka @ThePointsGuy ) named the Carnival Fantasy as one those that might be headed for the heap.

We’ve seen this movie before

Doc Searls

When some big outfit with a vested interest in violating your privacy says they are only trying to save small business, grab your wallet. Because the game they’re playing is misdirection away from what they really want.

Wonder What?

Doc Searls

Our Christmas evening of cinematic indulgence was watching Wonder Woman 1984 , about which I just posted this, elsewhere on the Interwebs: I mean, okay, all “super” and “enhanced” hero (and villain) archetypes are impossible. Not found in nature. You grant that.

How early is digital life?

Doc Searls

Bits don’t leave a fossil record. Well, not quite. They do persist on magnetic, optical and other media, all easily degraded or erased. But how long will those last? Since I’ve already asked that question , I’ll set it aside and ask the one in the headline.

Is Flickr in trouble again?

Doc Searls

I have two Flickr accounts, named Doc Searls and Nfrastructure. One has 73,355 photos, and the other 3,469. They each cost $60/year to maintain as pro accounts.

A simple suggestion for Guilford College

Doc Searls

Guilford College made me a pacifist. This wasn’t hard, under the circumstances. My four years there were the last of the 1960s, a stretch when the Vietnam War was already bad and getting much worse.

Search 130

Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act

Doc Searls

As quarantined millions gather virtually on conferencing platforms, the best of those, Zoom , is doing very well. Hats off. But Zoom is also—correctly— taking a lot of heat for its privacy policy , which is creepily chummy with the tracking-based advertising biz (also called adtech ). Two days ago, Consumer Reports , the greatest moral conscience in the history of business, published Zoom Calls Aren’t as Private as You May Think.

Data 219

On fire

Doc Searls

That above is the Bobcat Fire , in the San Gabriel Mountains , against which Los Angeles’ suburban sprawl (that’s it, on the right) reaches the limits of advance. It makes no sense to build very far up or into the mountains, for two good reasons.

Pluck 172

Social shell games

Doc Searls

If you listen to Episode 49: Parler, Ownership, and Open Source of the latest Reality 2.0 podcast, you’ll learn that I was blindsided at first by the topic of Parler , which has lately become a thing. But I caught up fast, even getting a Parler account not long after the show ended.

Bet on obsolescence

Doc Searls

The smell of boiling frog

Doc Searls

I just got this email today: Which tells me, from a sample of one (after another, after another) that Zoom is to video conferencing in 2020 what Microsoft Windows was to personal computing in 1999.

WebEx 157

To hurt or help?

Doc Searls

The choice above is one I pose at the end of a 20-minute audioblog I recorded for today, here: [link]. The graphic represents the metaphor I use to frame that choice. Future

163
163

How the once mighty fall

Doc Searls

For many decades, one of the landmark radio stations in Washington, DC was WMAL-AM (now re-branded WSPN ), at 630 on (what in pre-digital times we called) the dial. As AM listening faded, so did WMAL, which moved its talk format to 105.9

Video 130

Remembering Gail Sheehy

Doc Searls

It bums me out that Gail Sheehy passed without much notice—meaning I only heard about it in passing.

Sample 141

A side view of the Ranch 2 Fire

Doc Searls

What you see there is a cumulonimbus cloud rising to the north above Ranch 2 , a wildfire about fifteen miles east of here in the San Gabriel Mountains , just north of Asuza (one of too many towns to remember, in greater Los Angeles).

Search 149

On KERI: a way not to reveal more personal info than you need to

Doc Searls

You don’t walk around wearing a name badge. Except maybe at a conference, or some other enclosed space where people need to share their names and affiliations with each other. But otherwise, no. Why is that?

Bad $20

Doc Searls

I once tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. Actually, twice. The first was when I paid for a lunch at Barney Greengrass in New York, about two years ago. After exposing the $20 to a gizmo at the cash register, the cashier handed it back to me, saying it was counterfeit. Surprised—I had no idea there were counterfeit $20s in circulation at all—I asked how he could tell. He pointed at the gizmo and explained how it worked.

Report 158

So far, privacy isn’t a debate

Doc Searls

Remember the dot com boom? Doesn’t matter if you don’t. What does matter is that it ended. All business manias do. That’s why we can expect the “platform economy” and “surveillance capitalism” to end. Sure, it’s hard to imagine that when we’re in the midst of the mania, but the end will come. When it does, maybe then we can have a “privacy debate.” ” Meanwhile, there isn’t one.

Coming From Every Here

Doc Searls

To answer the question Where are SiriusXM radio stations broadcasted from? , I replied, If you’re wondering where they transmit from, it’s a mix. SiriusXM transmits primarily from a number of satellites placed in geostationary orbit , 35,786 kilometres or 22,236 miles above the equator. From Earth they appear to be stationary. Two of the XM satellites, for example, are at 82° and 115° West.

Will our digital lives leave a fossil record?

Doc Searls

In the library of Earth’s history, there are missing books, and within books there are missing chapters, written in rock that is now gone. The greatest example of “gone” rock is what John Wesley Powell discovered in 1869, on his expedition by boat through the Grand Canyon. Floating down the Colorado river, he saw the canyon’s mile-thick layers of reddish sedimentary rock resting on a basement of gray non-sedimentary rock.

Saving Mount Wilson

Doc Searls

This was last night: And this was just before sunset tonight: From the Mt. Wilson Observatory website: Mount Wilson Observatory Status. Angeles National Forest is CLOSED due to the extreme fire hazard conditions.

Vermont Public Radio rating wins, and the future of streaming & podcasting

Doc Searls

Radio is moving from these to servers of streams and podcasts. Public Radio: What is the best NPR station in the country ? That’s a question on Quora I thought needed answering. So I did, with this: Here’s a quantitative answer to your qualitative question: WVPS of Vermont Public Radio.

Trends 141

About a pretty pole

Doc Searls

The tallest structure in Santa Barbara’s skyline is a 200-foot pole painted red and white. It stands in a city equipment yard, not far from the ocean and the city’s famous Wharf. You can see it in the photo above, with the Wharf behind it. As landmarks go it’s not much, but I like its looks and its legacy. On the looks side, I dig the simplicity of its structure and the red and white colors.

News 159

More on Zoom and privacy

Doc Searls

Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act , which I posted yesterday, hit a nerve. While this blog normally gets about 50 reads a day, by the end of yesterday it got 15000. So far this morning (11:15am Pacific), it has close to 8000 new reads. Most of those owe to this posting on Hacker News, which topped the charts all day and has 483 comments so far. If you care about this topic, I suggest reading them.

Data 158

A rare sky treat

Doc Searls

Across almost 73 laps around the Sun, I’ve seen six notable comets. The fifth was Hale-Bopp, which I blogged about here , along with details on the previous four, in 1997. The sixth is NEOWISE, and that’s it, above, shot with my iPhone 11. There are a couple other shots in that same album, taken with my Canon 5D Mark III. Those are sharper, but this one shows off better.

Reality 2020.05.08

Doc Searls

In The Web and the New Reality , which I posted on December 1, 1995 (and again a few days ago ), I called that date “Reality 1.995.12,” and made twelve predictions. In this post I’ll visit how those have played out over the quarter century since then. As more customers come into direct contact with suppliers, markets for suppliers will change from target populations to conversations. Well, both.

Groups 149

How to get fans inside the NBA’s playoff bubble

Doc Searls

Sell tickets to attend online through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Webex, GoToMeeting, Jitsi or whatever conferencing system can supply working tech to the NBA. Then mic everyone in the paying crowd, project them all on the walls (or sheets hanging from the ceiling), combine their audio, and run it through speakers so players can see and hear the cheering crowds. The playoffs start on July 31.

How To 135

The Future of Now

Doc Searls

There is latency to everything. Stub your toe and a second or two passes before the pain kicks in. The crack of a bat on a playing field takes half a second before it reaches the ears of the watching crowd. The sunlight we see on Earth is eight minutes old. Most of this doesn’t matter to us, or if it does we adjust to it. Likewise with how we adjust to the inverse square law. Never mind what it says.

Saving the Internet—and all the commons it makes possible

Doc Searls

This is the Ostrom Memorial Lecture I gave on 9 October of last year for the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University. Here is the video. The intro starts at 8 minutes in, and my part starts just after 11 minutes in.) I usually speak off the cuff, but this time I wrote it out, originally in outline form*, which is germane to my current collaborations with Dave Winer , father of outlining software (and, in related ways, of blogging and podcasting). So here ya go. Intro.

We haven’t seen this movie before

Doc Searls

Three weekends ago, we drove from New York to Baltimore to visit with family. We had planned this for awhile, but there was added urgency: knowing the world was about to change in a big way. Or in many big ways. The hints were clear, from China and elsewhere: major steps would need to be taken—by people, businesses and governments—to slow the spread of a new virus against which there was yet no defense other than, mainly, hiding out.

An audio blog post

Doc Searls

I’m trying something new here, speaking instead of writing. Here it is: [link]. I recorded it last night while walking twelve thousand steps, briskly, on the deck of my house. Think of it as a kind of voice mail to readers. The topic I cover is one I’ve written about here; but I’m not going to provide any links—at least not yet. That’s because I want to see if what I’m trying to say comes across better in speaking than in writing.

Do you really need all this personal information, @RollingStone?

Doc Searls

Here’s the popover that greets visitors on arrival at Rolling Stone ‘s website: Our Privacy Policy has been revised as of January 1, 2020. This policy outlines how we use your information. By using our site and products, you are agreeing to the policy. That policy weighs more than 10,000 words.

On humanity, surveillance and coronavirus

Doc Searls

Just learned of The Coronavirus (Safeguards) Bill 2020: Proposed protections for digital interventions and in relation to immunity certificates. This is in addition to the UK’s Coronavirus Bill 2020 , which is (as I understand it) running the show there right now. This new bill’s lead author is Prof Lilian Edwards, University of Newcastle.

Data 145

The universe is a start-up

Doc Searls

Earth is 4.54 billion years old. It was born 9.247 years after the Big Bang , which happened 13.787 billion years ago. Meaning that our planet is a third the age of the Universe. Hydrogen, helium and other light elements formed with the Big Bang, but the heavy elements were cooked up at various times in an 8 billion year span before our solar system was formed, and some, perhaps, are still cooking. Earth’s own time as a life-supporting planet is maybe 3 billion years.

Going #Faceless

Doc Searls

Facial recognition by machines is out of control. Meaning our control. As individuals, and as a society. Thanks to ubiquitous surveillance systems, including the ones in our own phones , we can no longer assume we are anonymous in public places or private in private ones.

The GDPR’s biggest fail

Doc Searls

If the GDPR did what it promised to do, we’d be celebrating Privmas today. Two years after the GDPR became enforceable, privacy would be the norm rather than the exception in the online world. That hasn’t happened, but it’s not because the GDPR is poorly enforced. It’s because it’s too easy to claim compliance to the letter of GDPR while violating its spirit. Want to see how easy? Try searching for GDPR+compliance+consent : [link].

Here’s hoping our Age of Ageism is a brief one

Doc Searls

A few days ago a Twitter exchange contained an “OK Boomer” response to one of my tweets. At the time I laughed it off, tweeting back a pointer to Report: Burying, Cremating Baby Boomers To Generate $200 Trillion In GDP , which ran five years ago in The Onion. But it got me thinking that “OK Boomer” might be more—and worse—than a mere meme. Still, I wasn’t moved to say anything, because I had better stuff to do.

The Web and the New Reality

Doc Searls

I posted this essay in my own pre-blog, Reality 2.0 , on December 1, 1995. I think maybe now, in this long moment after we’ve hit a pause button on our future, we can start working on making good the unfulfilled promises that first gleamed in our future a quarter century ago. Contents. Reality 2.0. Polyopoly. An economy of abundance. The Age of Enlightenment. Time to subtract the garbage. So what’s left. Web of the free, home of the Huns. A market is a conversation.

GDPR will pop the adtech bubble

Doc Searls

In The Big Short , investor Michael Burry says “One hallmark of mania is the rapid rise in the incidence and complexity of fraud.” ” (Burry shorted the mania- and fraud-filled subprime mortgage market and made a mint in the process.). One would be equally smart to bet against the mania for the tracking-based form of advertising called adtech.

FAQ 219

Zoom’s new privacy policy

Doc Searls

Yesterday (March 29), Zoom put up a major rewrite to its privacy policy. The new language is far more clear than what it replaced, and which had caused the concerns I detailed in my previous three posts: Zoom needs to clean up its privacy act , More on Zoom and privacy , and. Helping Zoom. Those concerns were shared by Consumer Reports , Forbes and others as well.