Next Stop: Panic & Chaos… Or Maybe It’ll Be Fun…

Sunday, 12:04 am

Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future?

Good.

Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years.

Maybe sooner.

This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon.

Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads very soon now.

The virtual sky, that is. Specifically: The World Wide Web is about to blow its circuits as the new wave of video content overloads capacity.

They’re calling it an “exaflood”, because video really is the main culprit. (An exabyte is 1.1 billion gigabytes, higher than I can count. And apparently we’re flirting with disaster because of the dramatic increase in the size of data being shared, viewed, created, and stolen.)

I can see the final straw now, announced in banner headlines on the last of the real paper newspapers (because Web brown-outs have left everybody with blank screens across the land): “Ten-Millionth Viewing of Dancing Blonde Yeti Being Run Over By Speeding School Bus Video Shuts Down Web!” (Okay, I made that up.) (But you just know that — if a cyber-armeggedon does happen — it will be from some silly, non-essential piece of streaming video that goes apeshit viral.) (Though, I’d watch a dancing Yeti get run over any day…)

The key to avoiding such an ignoble fate: About $137-billion in infrastructure upgrades.

Or approximately what Bill Gates normally carries in his wallet.

And, man, I sincerely hope Bill and his buds (including Jobs, The Other People Who Own Silicon Valley, and the evil Google trolls) do pop for the upgrades, so I can continue my dreamy cyber existence without burps or other inconvenience.

But here’s why I’m just a tad suspicious of this news: First, I’ve been hearing about the imminent collapse of the Web for years now.

And for excellent reasons, too. (Excellent reasons.) The billions-deep parade of new-to-the-Web Chinese logging on every hour (with their cheap communist computers)… the crumbling 30-year-old analog gateways of the original Internet, still supporting the entire slap-dash network like an exhausted Atlas, sagging dangerously under the weight… pissed-off anarchist hackers from Eastern Europe eager to bring the entire world to its knees… and on and on.

Yet, we keep passing up the deadlines for disaster without, um, any disaster.

Second: There’s a very interesting tidbit of info in this new study… which admits that the current fiber and routing resources actually support “virtually any conceivable user demand…”

However, the authors warn, all this new-fangled video, music file-sharing, and other “content” crap we’re flooding the joint with is gonna blow the circuits. Very soon now!

You’ll see!

Not the Chinese hordes logging on. Not the absinthe-swilling nihilist hackers. Not the inherent weaknesses of the system.

Nope.

It’s all this damned content.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I’m all for the end of civilization and all that, as long as it’s like a good George Romero movie.

But I kinda resent being jacked around by Servants of The Man whose real agenda for scaring people like this… is their desire to control what we watch, what we read, and what we share.

The one guy quoted in this article is a dude named Bruce Mehlman from something called the Internet Innovation Alliance… who claims to have been warning of this imminent melt-down for ages.

Name sounded familiar… so I did a little digging.

Yup.

Bruce is not a geek, as we understand technology lovers.

Rather, he’s a wonk-type-geekoid… a political animal who gave in to the Dark Side long, long ago.

In 2001, after trying to tell Cisco how to run its biz, Bruce oozed over to the Bush Administration… where he became assistant secretary for technology policy.

Now, I don’t care what your politics are. I believe that, in order for this nation to survive, we need both set of wingnuts doing their thang, so neither side takes over completely. (It’s a balanced view, in the way that allowing your nutso mother-in-law to move in with you balances out the unbridled fun you used to have as a couple. You can still have fun, but now you gotta be clever about it, like civilized adults.)

Anyway, I have far right friends, far left friends, and every other stripe of political beast represented in my address book of colleagues, buddies and resources. They are all sane in some ways, insane in other ways, and I learned long ago that nothing I say or do will sway them in the least, politically. So we peacefully co-exist.

But here is something I believe with all my heart: You simply cannot let agenda-driven political hacks be in charge of technology.

I’m sorry. You want a non-political group of dudes, ideally. Or at least someone who wasn’t in an administration that actively distrusts the Web. (I’m serious. Tom Delay, the former majority whip for the GOP House, has never let up on his insistence that people who do research on the “Internets” — as W. has famously called the Web many times — have committed some obvious weird blunder.) (Hey — google it, if you don’t believe me.)

Look. Vote how you like. I’m not writing a political blog here.

But seriously. Melman’s ultimate comment — after jumping on this uncertain study as proof of impending disaster — is that we first need to stop taxing Big Telecom. You know, so they can invest in infrastructure instead. (Major GOP talking point.)

I’ll let that point slide. Maybe there’s something to it, maybe not.

It’s the unspoken next point that is the kicker: We also need to immediately stop all this uncivilized file-sharing… or we’ll all die!

Especially video. And music sharing. And other should-be-illegal stuff those darn kids are doing.

I don’t yet know if this news release has gained traction in the “if it bleeds, it leads” mainstream press. I found it on the Washington Post’s website… so at the very least, it’s leaking into Beltway brains this very evening.

The doomsday scenario presented by the study seems to be fragrant with fairly easy, painless solutions… like pumping some money back into the infrastructure. And I kinda doubt that Big Web (I just made that up, to represent all the large corporations finally dragging their asses online in a big way) will sit by while this wonderful new way to reach customers shrivels and flickers because of Youtube enthusiasm. (I mean, Big Web just bought Youtube for a gazillion bucks.)

I’m just warning you.

If the story does gain traction, don’t swallow it whole.

There are people out there who are deeply frightened by the uncensored freedom of the Internets. Many of them are in powerful positions… and the entrepreneurial Wild West environment of the Web gives them ulcers.

They need to be watched carefully… cuz they would dearly love to clip the Web’s wings, so the big corporations could settle into their rightful place online, controlling and dominating everything. Without having to worry about all these “little guys” making waves.

Their dire tales of wolves gathering nearby need to be filtered through your Bullshit Detector. That’s all I’m saying.

Now, I’m gonna go enjoy some viral video…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton
www.marketingrebel.com

P.S. Did you see this story anywhere else? Was it buried, or is it spreading? Heard references to it on any of the prez debates?

Lemme know what you’ve heard… and what you think.

And if you have inside info on this “collapse of the Web” thing — because you work in a secret dungeon in Silicon Valley or something — let me know THAT, too.

Thanks.

23 Responses to Next Stop: Panic & Chaos… Or Maybe It’ll Be Fun…

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  4. [...] Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen wrote an interesting post today!.Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  5. [...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  6. [...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  7. [...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  8. [...] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  9. [...] John Carltonâ??s Big Damn Blog wrote an interesting post today on Next Stop: Panic & Chaosâ?¦ Or Maybe Itâ??ll Be Funâ?¦Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  10. [...] John Carltonâ??s Big Damn Blog wrote an interesting post today on Next Stop: Panic & Chaosâ?¦ Or Maybe Itâ??ll Be Funâ?¦Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications yesterday afternoon. Consider: A fresh study just released by an organization called the Nemertes Research Group — a self-described “independent analysis firm” — says the sky could very well be falling on our heads ve [...]

  11. I’m trying to recall if it was the TV news in the background or my radio, but I did hear this news in broadcast form.

    They stated that this hefty dollar figure was more than double what had originally been planned to be spent by the telecom industry to improve the infrastructure of our beleaguered Internets.

    What do I think? Well, most people will jump on the “there’s too much crap online” bandwagon because that’s all they care to fathom about potential threats to the web. Chinese user proliferation… Eastern European hackers… definitely more of a concern to web stability than mindless junk.

    But these angles take on an international flair that most Americans don’t care to raise a fuss over. They are more apt to point their finger at the neighborhood kids saturating the web with videos and music.

    I agree there needs to be money pumped into handling the increased load. But there’s something sinister going on behind the scenes when they single out content as the culprit. Either sinister… or just ignorant (both sound plausible when it comes to thinking of those currently in charge).

  12. Once upon a time there was a man who would scrunch on his arse, kick the other leg up ‘n down whilst moving across the stage, and sing… “GO GO, GO JOHNNY GO, GO… GO JOHNNY GO, GO… ”

    Slander me if you want. It matters not. It never will.

    When you’re talkin’ ’bout The Man and his legions of butt-smooching wonkotrons it’s always and forever only about several thangs…

    Power, control, and $$$.

    They do not care if you live or die. Don’t believe me?

    Fine. Don’t.

    Thanks to the truly endangered DC species… ah, um… brains, this has the same probability of success as landing a human on Mars. Of course that includes the human surviving.

    On the other hand, they did manage to save our morals at the last minute with banning online gambling here in the US. Thank God. Those awful people trying to make some money. Well we sure showed them. Now they have to continue kissing ass to work MORE overtime.

    Each and every campaign launched by The Man includes identifying a common enemy. Don’t believe that? First… fine. Don’t. But try doing some reading, no silly… not surfing, not skimming. But reading. Not really hard to figure out.

    So, yes. Identifying a common enemy and what the threat is. Don’t be surprised to hear late-breaking news about airplanes spotted circling around Google server hubs around the world.

    “They” would love nothing more than to tax your email, censor your online communiques, and generally make sure you’re towing the line and happily surfing on a short leash.

    It absolutely KILLS them that they cannot ‘properly’ monetize the internetsss. Thank God it grew faster than they could ever hope to think, plan, bamboozle, and get through congress.

    Internets. Kinda makes me wanna run out and shop at walmarts.

    Anyway…

    Take heart. GB and his band of stupids will be gone soon. Yes, yes. More stupids are sure to follow. But it’ll take them a while to wrap their heads around bandwidth, uploading, transfer time, and the evil cloaking commies.

    Sure. Big telecom will cry, piss, and moan that their fiber optics are becoming soft and pliant under the strain of it all. Their sleep won’t suffer one wit over screwing you so they can charge you more.

    The flip side of all this is opportunity.

    Yes, I know. It’s an evil word. Forgive me.

    But the time is ripe for some brash sharpie to start a brand new telecom. Get funding for laying new fiber optic networks. And then, oh my god… competing with the established graybeards for your money.

    But that’s impossible, you say, because it costs SO MUCH money!

    Go to bed without your dinner.

    All in all, John…

    I’m not worried. The Man will have to start screwing their big corp brethren along with the little guys and girls. Big corps’ content speeds right along with 1000 page scraped sites on those networks.

    Awful, isn’t it? I think it’s kinda funny.

    But they’ll try, maybe. It’s a technological and international logistical… wow, lots of syllables!… nightmare Steven King would never have thunk. The Man cannot adequately manage routine trips to the bathroom. They can’t agree on the simplest of subterfuges.

    I think we’re safe…

    As far as our national embarrassment in DC is concerned, it might as well be in the domain of divine intervention, or something.

  13. [...] The Rimm Kaufman Group LLC wrote an interesting post today on Next Stop: Panic & Chaos… Or Maybe It’ll Be Fun…Here’s a quick excerpt Sunday, 12:04 am Do you like gruesome, everybody-dies horror stories set in the near future? Good. Cuz we all may be living through a real one in about… oh, less than two years. Maybe sooner. This happy news comes out of a wire service story launched by PC World publications [...]

  14. There is a logical reason for the story and the media coverage. And it is a simple one based on money and power.

    First, the TELCOs, cable, wireless providers and other Internet infrastructure operators are attempting to convert the Internet into a tariffed system where each class of traffic (text, search, VoIP Phone Services, Video and commerical email) is surcharged according to their bandwidth usage and commercial value.

    Second, opposing this move are the large search engine and content providers who believe that they are already paying their fair share to their Internet Service Providers for their connection and bandwidth and the users are already paying their fair share to their Internet Service Providers and the majority of the Internet Backbone infratructure is being built out using government funds from the taxpayers.

    And third, the government has a horse in this race in the form of enabling all common carriers and Internet Service Providers to engage in “deep packet mining.” Which, not so coincidently, is the very same technology that allows the providers to determine what type of traffic is being processed over the carrier’s gateways as well as the technology that provides the government’s access and “wiretapping” under CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act).

    There is also the question of who is going to pay for this. The government would like to avoid raising taxes, but shift those costs to the carriers who simply add another line to your phone bill or raise their rates slightly. For the government, far better a fee that is easily collectible monthly than an increase in taxes.

    Therefore, the entire issue for “netizens” revolves around the concept of “net neutrality” where all traffic is carried for the same basic charge and the costs are spread among all users.

    The media which is composed mainly of “content providers” wants to spin this as an egregious affront to Internet users. The TELCOs and others want there surcharge system to be implemented quietly like the other random and spurious fees on your bill — especially those asterisked with the legend “this fee is to provide for potential government mandated legislative efforts” which means you are picking up the cost of their lobbying against the consumer’s interests.

    There it is in a nutshell: There it is in a nutshell: power and money accrues to those who act as the gatekeepers and toll-bridge operators. Enjoy. — Steve

  15. I did not hear or see this story recently but I do know that the FCC under the direction of Chairman Kevin Martin is currently accepting public comments until December 11th regarding new Media Ownership Rules.

    If Chairman Martin has it his way, this would mean that TV, Radio, & Newspaper ownership would be in the hands of fewer people. With fewer people owning our media there are then fewer voices out there.

    And if these same owners have all this power what’s to stop them from doing the same with the Internet? Ever heard of Net Neutrality?

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