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Saturday, October 04, 2008
"The Internet of Things" by Rob van Kranenburg
This is probably the most important techno-political essay I have read all year (snip):
.....a Skype phone. It belongs to Alexei Blinov. Alexei is one of the lead developers of Hive Networks. He is very angry with this object and the likes of it. What we have here,he says, is an object, a piece of hardware that in itself holds quite some computational power and potentialities, yet has been deliberately crippled and handicapped to perform only one trick, search for wireless, connect and Skype. Are we going back to the days where phones were directly connected together in pairs and users had separate “telephones wired to the various places he might wish to reach?”.
Apart from issues of durability, sustainability and climate change that the manufacturing and dissolving of these anomalies of devices raise, far more important is the nefarious relationship it entails and scripts between people and things. The Skype phone very literally is ‘der eigene Frage als Gestalt’, as such it is a false thing, an object that deliberately obscures its potentialities instead of highlighting them or show enabling qualities. It is this thinking through waste that fuels the anger of open hardware developers and has inspired and MetaReciclagem to rethink the connectivity chain in terms of functionalities, not devices.44 Otherwise we will be flooded by devices that embody a functionality (voice communication) that is a voice over IP (Voip) application in a device (personal computer/laptop) that uses telephone cables or wireless connectivity to communicate in the first place.

VIA : Bruce Sterling's blog


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