Chapters Three Through Five


Chapter Three is likely the most dated of this trio.  Two of Levine’s main points, mailing lists and newsgroups, are already retro, old-guard Internet institutions.  A lot of people now view newsgroup programs like Usenet with some mirth, seeing it as a kitsch proving grounds for weird hobbies (not a totally inaccurate claim).  This is the chapter i’d most like to see an updated version of, taking into account everything that’s elapsed since the end of the 90s: RSS, YouTube and Google in particular.

In Chapter Four, Searls mentions “Metcalfe’s Law” which states that “the value of a network increases as the square of the number of users connected to it multiply exponentially.”  I’m interested to know how this law applies to the current trend of Internet-capable cellular phones and almost any other handheld electronic knick-knack.  Blackberries, Sidekicks and the rest of those things have satellite access to the Internet virtually anywhere and from the little i’ve seen of them hands-on, they seem to be quickly closing the technology gap between handhelds and computers.  On a related note, I recently read an article stating that while overall Internet usage in Japan is steadily rising, the level of computer proficiency amongst the youth demographic was actually plummeting due to more people using their cellphones, with more limited abilities, to access the Internet.

Chapter Five still rings true in my opinion.  The issue of decentralization is the 21st Century begins to fully differentiate itself from the 20th.  Corporations are still drooling uncontrollably at the concept of restructuring the Internet to be a massive pay-to-play platform of TV-style media controlled by them.


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