From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

kvarnelis's blog

Happy New Year! Happy New Media War!

Google gets the New Year off right... According to the Wall Street Journal, Google plans to sell content from CBS and the NBA. What will Edward Whitacre say about that? May you live in interesting times... An ancient Chinese curse (ok, not really, but still).

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Submitted by kvarnelis on January 6, 2006 - 1:44pm

Will Next Generation Broadband Do Nothing For Us?

My argument against a headlong embrace of wireless as a solution to the last mile problem is that there has always been a dialectic between wireless and wired (e.g. optical telegraph vs. wire telegraph, telephone vs. radio, coaxial cable vs. microwave, satellite vs. fiber). In most of these cases, the flexibility of wireless solutions has been counteracted by the greater bandwidth of wired solutions. So even though wireless seems like a way of giving the Internet to those who live in poor, under-served areas and even though it holds the potential of setting us free of the grips of network pipes, I have maintained that faster connections will be the envy of those on wireless. A recent online discussion tackles this issue. Om Malik suggests that the next generation of broadband will do little for the user experience, but he warns that slow upload speeds are an issue. But make sure you read the comments and the online discussion that follows. My take is here

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 28, 2005 - 11:05am

surveillance and centralization

I've posted some news at my research blog about how the US government is using the highly centralized nature of world telecommunications for eavesdropping. Read more here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 26, 2005 - 7:48pm

Linux on the Treo 650

Slashdot carries another story of interest today, particularly for Locative Media and hacktivist types: the Treo 650 has been hacked to run Linux. The project team is optimistic that phone functionality can be made to work under Linux. This could be an intriguing turn for the platform that most netPublics fellows use for their mobile telephony. With the upcoming launch of the Treo 700, Treos will be capable of running Palm, Windows Mobile, and Linux. Sounds like it's only a matter of time before technologies like VoIP become available. Over and over cell carriers have proven unwilling to let customers hack their platforms. Looks like they're going to have some trouble on their hands.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 14, 2005 - 7:58pm

Clay Shirky on Slashdot

Over at Slashdot, Clay Shirky blogs a article on how the telecos are lobbying the feds to allow them to create a two-tiered system for Internet delivery, in which they will be able to deliver their products faster than those of their competitors, thereby allowing them to derive revenue from their content. Back to the discussion we had a while ago over here. Is this the end of the free Internet or the end of the telcos?

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 13, 2005 - 11:07pm Y.ah.oo!

Web 2.0 mania continues as Yahoo buys

Read about it here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 10, 2005 - 5:10am

Is Email Broken?

I can no longer send email to my friends at AOL because, according to AOL, the server is on has also been used to send spam. Since a nonprofit group, the LA Forum is on the same server, members who are on AOL don't get their emails anymore either. The problem is that AOL's policies on what constitutes spam are ludicrous. No doubt AOL users get spam, but my ISPs terms of service are strict. users have a nice big button tempting them by saying "Mark as Spam" over their list of emails. The problem is that clueless users simply look at all of their email, get overwhelmed by the tempting ads for penis enhancement, Nigerian 419 scams, and so forth, hit select all and then "Mark as Spam" to delete the entire bunch. When enough AOL users do this, the site is blacklisted by IP, not by originating server. Then of course there are the people who sign up to mailing lists (such as the LA Forum's) and then want off but are too lazy to read the instructions at the bottom of the email message in order to figure out how to unsubscribe and just hit "Mark as Spam" to get the emails banned from their account. Same effect. Heck, if I just bcc 20 people and one of them is from AOL, I'll be blocked for a day since that's not acceptable, even if I'm doing it to send out a party invite. If I enter in what AOL considers a malformed URL—or even respond back to a message with a malformed URL-the same thing will happen. Some of them persist in sending me email from their AOL. I've given up trying to respond back to them. The next stage may just be to have set up an auto-responder to tell people that I won't read their email and to get a real email address.

Then again, this morning a friend with SBC sent me an email (an my netpublics account) that had bounced back from Why? Because the ISP has put in spamcop and his smtp server is considered blocked.

Spam blocking is becoming more of a problem for me than spam. Perhaps all this will be solved soon, but email seems more and more broken, heading down the route of Gopher or Usenet and other dead media. I asked Mimi Ito about this since she knows everything about such matters (or at least seems to me) and she responded: "Ours will be the last generation to use email." Sites like and instant messaging will defeat email once and for all in her analysis.

But what happens when IM spam and IM spam blockers rear their ugly heads?

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 8, 2005 - 3:02am

Brett Steele speaks to Networked Publics, 1 December, 4.30pm

Brett Steele, the Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London will be speaking to Networked Publics on the methods of networked pedagogy that the AA is employing.

The presentation will take place at 4pm on Thursday, 1 December, in the second floor conference room of the Institute for Multimedia Literacy, 746 West Adams Boulevard.

Make sure you read the street signs carefully prior to parking, as at 4pm parking is permitted on only a section of Adams.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 1, 2005 - 2:39pm

The Last Mile and the Threat to the Net

In Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes, at Doc Searl comments on the threats the Internet faces from. In this lengthy piece, Searl suggests that the combination of mergers among broadband carriers and the continued hatred of the Internet by the same entities poses tremendous danger to the future of networked publics. Searl's position is something that I've mentioned before in my response to Chris Anderson's talk on the Long Tail. For in the rapidly elongating Long Tail of microcontent and—as Mimi Ito underscored for us—the even more quickly proliferating cultural sphere of amateur cultural production, we are perversely reversing the undoing of big media that marked the last forty years. If my concern in that post was with what might happen to, say, Indy labels if artists can just go directly to iTunes, or what power entities like Google or even Flickr begin to have over us, Doc Searl reminds us that the much-vaunted free access that we have to the Internet is an illusion, not reality. In an earlier article for Cabinet Magazine, I explored the highly-centralized structure of the Internet itself and, in particular, the peering arrangements and physical structures created by the Tier 1 carriers. This article turns our attention to the last mile. Read on for more.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 29, 2005 - 11:37pm

Craigslist Turns to the News?

Happy Thanksgiving, but perhaps not for old journalism. News sources such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Editor and Publisher are covering Craigslist founder Craig Newmark's announcement that he will be working on new technology "to help people find the most trusted versions of the more important stories." This does not mean that Craigslist will itself host the service, Newmark later clarified on his own blog.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 24, 2005 - 11:34am