Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The New Grids - Cui Bono?

I am taking pity on Soror Nishi and making a post here to spare her my post-long mini-essays on her own blog, this one "My Virtual Future." Soror is always a good read and stimulating to thoughts and issues, hence this posting.


The Latin phrase 'cui bono' renders as, "who profits?" It's a good maxim to use in any situation. Who profits from multiple grids, the expansion of the grid technology, the diversity of grids?


We do of course. That is, the 'we' who identify not with some brand-name, some virtual equivalent of Abercrombie & Fitch snobbishness, Microsoft/Apple fanboi fever, Novell 'we're going to rule networking so get with us or die' myopia... in short, people with open minds and the intelligence to think outside the proscribed or trendy view towards the future of the entire network.


I remember when Novell and Token Ring ruled networking, despite awkward structures, deadly custom partitions which, if disturbed, would lock you out of your data and applications and cause untold misery and loss. I remember having to call the High Priests of IBM, doing everything short of sacrificing two cows and a flock of doves to petition for a moment of their mighty time to this unworthy enduser. Same story with Cobol, Fortran and proprietary transmission protocols and disk schemes. I remember being told that TCP/IP was a fringe technology, not really 'ready for business' and that I was wasting my time with this new protocol...


And what was the result? The future blew those technologies and stances away and the unemployment lines were full of those fully-invested in the entrenched wisdom of the past.


Lucky for me that I was on the net so early, in contact with people mostly older and wiser than me, who gave me a thorough grounding not only in the tech prevalent at the time, but in thinking about the future. The most valuable tech lesson I picked up from these people and the one which has continually served me well is that being invested in one single approach, technology or platform is not only foolish but short-sighted and dangerous.


The same principle applies in the arts. I remember the snobbishness that accompanied electronic music's debut into mainstream music; the nose-turning and sniffing against synthesizers and digital recording. Sure, there are good and artistic reasons to use real saxaphone players or analog tape machines even now; the point is that you use the best tool for the job, for what you wish to accomplish, and having a variety of tools at your disposal gives you more options.


The current tussling over "who's grid is da best grid" is a good example of clannish and isolationist thinking which will only hurt those invested in it. If life teaches you anything, it is to be flexible to changing circumstances, to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, to know when an Oblique Strategy or lateral thinking is called for in a situation.


The internet itself was designed to be flexible, to have multiple routes and multiple access points, to be resilient and changing in response to structural problems or obstructions. "The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" is very applicable here; censorship of ideas and a willingness to embrace or at least explore new ways and means can be considered damaging to your own thinking, forcing you into an intellectual and stagnant backwater while the future merrily rolls onward, leaving you behind to play with your Token Ring and curse your Novell partition for locking you out of your data.


The work being done by Pathfinder, soror, Wizard Gynoid and others is a laudible example of forward-thinking, net-centric investigation into the burgeoning technology of the grid and hypertransport. The political (because let's face it, that's what it is) wrangling over "why you should go with X grid and not the others" is provincial and indicates an investment in some ideological approach, stance or philosophy that is entrenched and backward-looking.


I'm not urging anyone to commit to a choice of grids; some grids serve an individual or organization's needs better than others, just as some libraries excel in technical reference sections while others concentrate on English Literature or architecture. The point is, we all benefit from the multiplicity of libraries and approaches. We all benefit from being able to access multiple sources and options in almost everything we involve ourselves in in life.


I am part of a community - the network. I do not care if you use Windows, Mac or Linux to get there (although I do have my own preferences). Saying "I will only talk on the net to people using Linux" would be stupid, yes? Because the method of achieving online presence is an irrelevant issue to your presence on the net and your ability to be part of a community. I don't care if your website is hosted by GoDaddy, Yahoo, private host or a university. I don't care if you have an incredibly-detailed technical blog or an enthusiastic independent music site; it's irrelevant to me that you may spend your time chatting away on IRC or building virtual coliseums. What is important to me is that you are present; you are part of the community of the internet. Everything else, all the other issues, are background to this simple awareness of what I am involved and invested in.


So, who profits from the expansion of the grid; the multiplicity of the worlds, the explosion of boutique and specialized grids and the beginnings of the hypertech transport tech that has the importance today that the birth of HTML did in 1990? You do. I do. We all do.



I urge people to remember what they are involved in and what they invest a large amount of time in - a community. Try to see the bigger picture. Try to think of yourself as a netizen first, a gridnaut second and after that, you can be as partisan as you like about which football team er I mean grid you root for. But don't sit back in your comfy armchair and pontificate about something you have no experience in; go out and explore a variety of these grids and open your mind to the experience of them and the meaning of them in the larger picture.


"To explore strange new worlds... to seek out new grids and new civilizations... to boldly go where no avatar has gone before..." This is the continuing mission of the Starship Miso, although it's been longer than 5 years ^_^ I hope it will continue for the rest of my life, and I hope it will for you too.

10 comments:

becunningandfulloftricks.com said...

Excellent "continuing mission," Miso. I'm with you on that. :)

Miso Susanowa said...

ty Pathfinder, I am enjoying your hypergrid travelogues! Pls let me know when you reach Barsoom; John Carter is waiting there for me ^_^

Kranfel aka Kling said...

Miso u said: "The current tussling over "who's grid is da best grid" is a good example of clannish and isolationist thinking which will only hurt those invested in it."
I agree completely! At the moment inWorldz suits me best but tomorrow u never know. I am very interested in OpenSIm and hypergrid jumping. So I have my eyes open all the time.

I had just been in Second life 2 months when i started grid jumping. First i tried AH avatar hangout in dec 2008. It was a lot of glitches but fun to try! Later on i had my own sims in NWG new world grid for at least 6 months. On my own computer that is. That gave me a lot of experience and i became humble regarding difficulties in the tech department running grids.

I try to advice people, who ask me what grid to choose, without beeing partial. I even adviced people to try Blue Mars( i didnt try it myself only read about it. It doesnt apply to me). So i dont always rekommend inWorldz even if i prefer that grid myself.

Second life is still the best choise for a lot of people also and I wish them luck =)

Love your postings! Hugz!

Miso Susanowa said...

hoka hey, Kranfel :)

I also advise people to try Blue Mars; who knows, it may be a great fit for them! Heck, I even advise some people to try Habbo Hotel and BarbieGirls!

Kranfel aka Kling said...

lol =))) but honestly, its true, you have to listen carefully what THEY want from the grid. Not just what you prefer yourself. Thats not the point. So yes I agree. And we think alike =)

Miso Susanowa said...

why lol? *bares teeth* You didn't know Barbie was a pirate???

Srsly, you are right of course. If people want to play Farmville, let them! If they want to deck out a spaceship in Entropia (which just sold Planet Calypso for $635,000) let them! Let them feed cute little hampsters or kittehs and network with their friends!

Then they will be invested in the network! Just do not reveal this dastardly plan to rool the wurldz to anyone yet ^_^

Lalo Telling said...

I'm patiently awaiting the appearance of Aurora (or Kokua, or Aurora again). Almost a year ago, I went through the tedious task of setting up a stand-alone OpenSim just to see if I could do it. The process stretched my relative "geekiness" to the very limit. Then I self-hosted a region connected to OSGrid for a few months. I gained the confidence to call myself a "builder" while I was there, but... The grind of manually configuring each new update to the software, plus the solitude of a grid with no discernible concurrency (and the expense of leaving my PC on 24/7 just to maintain my place on OSG) was not what I wanted from my virtual experience.

If Aurora can deliver on (among other things) its promised ease of configuration, I see it like having a car in the garage, gassed up and ready to go visiting on a whim... as opposed to needing to build a car each time you want to take a trip.

Then, it truly won't matter which grid you keep your virtual home in.

sororNishi said...

@miso... if I blog about this blog, will we form a fractal???...:)) spot on girl.

@Kranfel... totally agree..

@Lalo...that is so weird you mention Aurora...I tried to go in for the first time ever today and couldn't...... and got told to "expect news shortly" re. Aurora

Miso Susanowa said...

@soror - hmmmm no; I think we will 'splode the universe and become a Selavy Oh piece :(

Marie Wonka said...

"I remember when Novell and Token Ring ruled networking, despite awkward structures, deadly custom partitions which, if disturbed, would lock you out of your data and applications and cause untold misery and loss. I remember having to call the High Priests of IBM, doing everything short of sacrificing two cows and a flock of doves to petition for a moment of their mighty time to this unworthy enduser. Same story with Cobol, Fortran and proprietary transmission protocols and disk schemes. I remember being told that TCP/IP was a fringe technology, not really 'ready for business' and that I was wasting my time with this new protocol..."

OMG...this brings back memories. I was a programmer/analyst during this time in history and one of the things we had was a Novell Network, and I was an administrator...

I've since retired due to medical reasons, but it's good to see someone else who was alive, well, and *doing things* at that time.

I'm a living, breathing Netizen first. I chose to migrate to Inworldz because it suits what I need at the time...and yet I would never presume to tell *anyone* that one grid was better than another. It's as much personal choice as what message board you like, or what IRC network, or what messaging service. Like you said, it doesn't matter as long as we are living, participating members of the greater community.