Craig Burton

Logs, Links, Life and Lexicon

2015-03-31 21.36.56

Sketched in Procreate on an iPad.

Writing. I find it ironic that the thing that is the hardest for me to do—write—is how I make my living.

Be careful what you ask for.

In the interest of improving my craft, I read books about writing. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One, Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep them Engaged and recently I discovered  Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age.

Note: I find it painfully bizarre that Kindle will not let you cut and paste text.

For the past several years, I’ve taught a class at the University of Pennsylvania called “Uncreative Writing.” In it, students are penalized for showing any shred of originality or creativity. Instead, they are rewarded for plagiarism, identity theft, reproducing papers, patch writing, sampling, plundering, and stealing. Not surprisingly, they thrive. Suddenly, what they’ve surreptitiously become expert at is brought out into the open and explored in a safe environment, reframed in terms of responsibility instead of recklessness.

Each semester for their final paper, I have them purchase a term paper from an online paper mill and sign their name to it, surely the most forbidden action in all of academia. Each student then must get up and present the paper to the class as if they wrote it themselves, defending it from attacks by the other students. What paper did they choose? Is it possible to defend something you didn’t write? Something, perhaps, you don’t agree with? Convince us. All of this, is technology-driven. When the students are writing class, they are told that they must have their laptops open and connected. And so we have a glimpse into the future.

Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age, Kenneth Goldsmith

I love this sort of thinking. Inspiring.

Introduction

My good friend and mentor Phil Windley recently published “The Compuserve of Things“. As usual the information is well thought out and clearly articulated. It is so good I wanted to reiterate portions. Here is the summary:

On the Net today we face a choice between freedom and captivity, independence and dependence. How we build the Internet of Things has far-reaching consequences for the humans who will use—or be used by—it. Will we push forward, connecting things using forests of silos that are reminiscent the online services of the 1980’s, or will we learn the lessons of the Internet and build a true Internet of Things?

This also reminds me very much of the saying Doc Searls gave me:

Freedom of choice does not equate to choice of captor.

The way the internet is being used today, we have become numb to the process of being herded into silos of captivity. The first step to remedy this is awareness. Not always easy to resolve.

A Real Open Internet of Things

If we were really building the Internet of Things, with all that that term implies, there’d be open, decentralized, heterarchical systems at its core, just like the Internet itself. There aren’t. Sure, we’re using TCP/IP and HTTP, but we’re doing it in a way that is closed, centralized, and hierarchical with only a minimal nod to interoperability using APIs.
When we say the Internet is “open,” we’re using that as a key word for the three key concepts that underlie the Internet:

  1. Decentralization
  2. Heterarchy (what some call peer-to-peer connectivity)
  3. Interoperability

I really like these concepts. It all begins with awareness.

Summary

Pondering the real open IoT causes me to in all sorts of directions. In my next post I will explore the relationship between Bitcoin and IoT.
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