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Cyphernomicon 18.18

Loose Ends and Miscellaneous Topics:
Loose End Loose Ends

  18.18.1. What the core issues are...a tough thing to analyze
           - untraceablility as a basic construct has major implications
           + can often ask what the implications would be if, say:
             - invisibility existed
             - untraceability existed
           - By "tough to analyze" I mean that things are often
              coflated, mixed together. Is it the "reputations" that
              matter, or the "anonymity"? The "untraceability" or the
              "digital money"?
  18.18.2. Price signalling in posts...for further information
           + When an article is posted, and there is more complete
              information available elsewhere by ftp, gopher, mosaic,
              etc., then how is this to to be signalled without actually
              advertising prominently?
             - why not a code, like the "Geek code" so many people put
                in their sigs? The code could be parsed by a reader and
                used to automatically fetch the information, pay for it,
                etc. (Agents that can be built in to newsreaders.)
  18.18.3. "What should Cypherpunks support for "cable" or "set-top box"
           - Caveats: My opinions, offered only to help frame the
              debate. And many of us reject the idea of government-
              mandated "standards," so my phrasing here is not meant to
              imply support of such standards.
           + Major alternatives:
             + Set-top box, with t.v. as core of access to "information
               + Problems:
                 - limited number of channels, even if "500 channels"
                 - makes t.v. the focus, loses some other capabilities
                 - few consumers will have television sets with the
                    resolution capabilities that even current computer
                    monitors have (there are reasons for this: size of
                    monitors (related to viewing distance), NTSC
                    constraints, age of televisions, etc.)
             + Switched-packet cable, as in ATM or even SONET
                (Synchronous Optical Network) access
               + Advantages:
                 - Television is just one more switched-packet
                    transmission, not using up the bandwidth
             + Radical Proposal: Complete deregulation
               + let cable suppliers--especially of optical fibers,
                  which are small and unobtrusive--lay fibers to any home
                  they can negotiate access to
                 - e.g., by piggybacking on telephone lines, electrical
                    cables, etc. (to remove the objection about unsightly
                    new poles or cables being strung...should not be an
                    issue with fiber optics)
               - let the market decide...let customers decide
           + In my view, government standards are a terrible idea here.
              Sure, NTSC was an effective standard, but it likely would
              have emerged without government involvement. Ditto for
              Ethernet and a zillion other standards. No need for
              government involvement.
             - Of course, when industry groups meet to discuss
                standards, one hopes that antitrust laws will not be
  18.18.4. minor point: the importance of "But does it scale?" is often
           - in many cases, it's much more important to simply get
              something deployed than it is to worry in advance about how
              it will break if too many people use it (e.g., MacDonald's
              worrying in 1955 about scalabilty of their business).
           - Remailer networks, for example, may not scale especially
              well in their current form...but who cares? Getting them
              used will allow further refinement.

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