May 1997 Archives

Mass-Producted Individuality


You know, the meme pool manipulates individuals. Are we it’s servants just as the phenotype is the survival machine of the gene? What I want to get at is the myth of individual originality… I’m increasingly becoming a believer in collective intelligence. Keeping an oar in the idea river is essentially to maintaining a healthy intellect.

Is this notion sour grapes on the part of the mediocre? Perhaps so… The idea of getting recognition for ideas like these drips with irony, which make them an amusing furrow to plow…

The Phantom Tollbooths


When will the tollbooths on the infobahn appear? My brother-in-law thinks it’s television, and that that’s how it will develop. I still think we need some pay-per-view channels, or some of us will have no means of “trading bits for pieces”… Fifty quatleus on the Earthling. What do you give away? Something cheap, one would think…

However, everything in the realm of bits is essentially expensive to develop, and very cheap to “produce” and disseminate. The marginal cost of additional copies is low, like seats on an airplane, or in a movie theatre, or viewers of a television broadcast…

Will netcasting channels be artificially made to be a precious resource? Certainly there are people who’d benefit from this.

There is some merit in the broadcasting analogy here… The movie studios and television networks have been in the business of charging for information for a long time…

We really will need verifiable identities on the net soon. People do know this… Dertzusos recognized on C-SPAN that anonymity is optional, if that’s the way we want it…

The Social Life of Documents


Ralph Johnson: Wow! I just read "The Social Life of Documents" by John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid at You might have to "login" first at

Boundary objects: things that connect one community to another; denziens of the interstitial space between communities. They ply the area between these communities.

Control: Getting people in other communities to speak your language.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 1997 listed from newest to oldest.

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