Social Web Web/Tech

Tent: a protocol for an open and distributed social Web

I wrote about our increasingly urgent need for a distributed and open Web last week and I came across a Google+ post linking to Tent which is a protocol designed to help make that happen:

Tent is a protocol for open, decentralized social networking. Tent users share content with apps and each other. Anyone can run a Tent server, or write an app or alternative server implementation that uses the Tent protocol. Users can take their content and relationships with them when they change or move servers. Tent supports extensible data types so developers can create new kinds of interaction.

Tent is for sharing with others and seeing what others have shared with you. You can ask to follow other users and other users can follow you. Because you control your own Tent server, it is also a good place to store things you do not want to share with others, a sort of personal data vault. It can also be used as a secure site login replacement so you don’t need passwords when accessing other sites on the web.

Governments and companies are debating the future of the Web in closed sessions and are talking about regional firewalls and similar efforts to balkanise the Web. As citizens and users, we are often left out of the loop and information about those closed proceedings are deliberately kept from us. Invariably the motivation behind these efforts is to protect content- and IP-based businesses and while it’s important to protect intellectual property and encourage creativity and innovation, these efforts are focused more on protecting established business models at the expense of the open Web.

Tools to build an open Web are increasingly important and urgent for a variety of reasons, whether those reasons include protecting the Web from virtual land grabs or overreaching political bodies and their corporate sponsors. This stuff is important.


IPv6 and the future of social networks

This Hangout with Vint Cerf and others exploring aspects of IPv6 is really interesting and when the participants started talking about direct device to device connections I couldn’t help but wonder if IPv6 won’t, perhaps, introduce more meaningful peer to peer/mesh networks which are less dependent on central hubs and closed systems.

In other words, will Facebook and similarly closed (and partly closed) platforms become less influential and dominant in a world where software supporting IPv6 enable direct connections and sharing. It sounds like identifiers like phone numbers and email addresses could give way to IP addresses as unique identifiers.

Or I could just be talking out my butt.

By the way, if you don’t know what I am talking about, watch this:

Social Web Web/Tech

What are the legitimate uses for BitTorrent?

I dusted off Transmission this evening, updated it to the latest version and took it out for a spin. I am tormenting Ubuntu 11.10 just to see how effective BitTorrent can be as a file sharing service. Its great, works beautifully thanks to the many people who are seeding the file and that is one of the catches. When it works well, it works brilliantly.

Of course BitTorrent is pretty popular with those who prefer not to pay for content like TV shows and movies but I have to wonder if there are effective and legitimate uses for the technology? I suspect a number of apps and services uses BitTorrent under the hood and that isn’t always transparent to users but where else is it used effectively?

I also started thinking about some potentially interesting uses for BitTorrent. Imagine an artist seeding albums using BitTorrent? Actually, you don’t really need to imagine that as a hypothetical. NIN did that with Ghosts a while back. Imagine if smaller artists started seeding their albums and changing their revenue model. Its probably being done somewhere and I’d love to know how that works. There must be other good case studies?