August 18th, 2010

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Is The Web Dead?

Because into every useful observation, a lot of hyperbolic idiocy must fall.

Chris Anderson and Michael Wolf notice that ap traffic is rising and web traffic is declining. From this they conclude that the web is dead.

My chief gripe, the rise of aps does not spell the end of the web. However, we are seeing this meme starting to take hold and be reflected more in policy debates.
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Link Harvest: Reardon "debunks" the "Internet Apocolypse"

Catching up, primarily need to save this for chance to respond.

Reardon is part of a reaction to the Goog-VZ reaction of "well shucks, it isn't that big a deal, why y'all getting so excited?"

I have a few reactions that break down along two lines. One is yeah, I wish public debate in 2010 worked in a reasonable way. But since it doesn't, why do you expect proponents on the left to be any different in their advocacy style. That was the 1990s approach "we'll be reasonable, the right will be hysterical." And the left got rolled -- repeatedly. So while I'm less than thrilled, learn to deal.

Two: You cannot say "we don't need regulations because there is the power of public outcry" and then get all upset when there is public outcry. People make noise because it is the only option. Heck, until people actually start doing it, it is the approved option. So once again, you get what you reward so get over it.

Three: I'm never sure whether the correct analogy here is boiling a frog or bait and switch, but it works like this. Somehow, there is never a "right" time to get upset and require regulation to forestall a bad result. The usually line is "it's too soon, it's too soon, it's too soon . . . it's too late" usually because the bad behavior is now an industry standard or is being relied on or for whatever reason it is too late to create a rule to prevent the predicted bad outcome. Or, as I like to say "turns out last Tuesday at 3 a.m. was the one time when it would have been OK to regulate -- too bad you missed it."
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Link Harvest: The Impending IPv6 Nightmare

Another article warning of doom once we hit IP address exhaustion.

At this point, I've decided that the thing to do is sit back and watch the market work its magic without any nasty bad government involvement. After all, everyone has an incentive to make this work smoothly, and all the information is readily available, so there cannot possibly any information asymmetries or transaction costs that would impede a smooth, voluntary transition. I'm also quite positive that, in a networked environment like this, there cannot possibly be any negative externalities that could impact compliant actors in the event non-compliant actors crash and burn.

At least it's not critical infrastructure. I mean, imagine if there was something going on that could have serious impact on a system on which hundreds of millions of Americans rely, which is responsible for trillions of dollars of economic transactions, and which would impact pubic safety if it failed. You would expect various levels of government to at least be aware of the problem, rather than ignore it because it is too complicated or because they don't want to look like they are "regulating the internet."