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Berkman Buzz, week of September 29

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations.  If you'd like to receive this by email, just sign up here.

What's going on... take your pick or browse below.

*The Center for Citizen Media cautions against consolidation
*David Weinberger meets with CIA Analysts
*Doc Searls relates to customer needs
*Ethan Zuckerman describes the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System
*Lawrence Lessig identifies two economies
*Kathy Sierra admires Doc Searls' lifelong creative thinking

The Full Buzz.

"As the cable and phone industries move closer to creating a broadband duopoly in America, the idea that they may be going into the news business is both great and scary. Great, because they'll have resources beyond most other competitors, and could do some excellent work.  Rosenblum's record is sterling for innovation, and he'll be making waves for sure with this project.

Why scary? Because the phone and cable companies are demanding the right to determine what content travels on their systems, at what speed and in what order. If media consolidation has been worrisome before, it may get vastly more problematic. Do we want two companies pushing their own versions of news out ahead of everything else? It could happen..."
The Center for Citizen Media: Big Telco Launching News Team

"This was a totally fascinating set of sessions. The CIA folks there included visionaries (e.g., Calvin Andrus), internal bloggers, the people behind Intellipedia (an in-house wikipedia), folks from the daily in-house newspaper, and some managers not yet sold on the idea of blogs and wikis and tags.

It sounds like there's a fairly vibrant blogging community already,
including some senior people. But, there's cultural tension over, for example, whether a blog that contains any personal information means that a government employee has been misusing tax payers' computers. It is a culture in transition, as you can imagine..."
David Weinberger: The Cult of Expertise

"What I want is for vendors in an open and free market (not a proprietary silo like eBay or Amazon or Travelocity or some other intermediator with a walled garden) to respond to the intentions (or gestures, or expressions, or whatever) of the customer. On customers' terms. I want to turn the tables on the lame customer management systems every big vendor has, and which have no idea how to relate. Especially to humans who would rather not be "managed", thank you..."
Doc Searls: Elementary, My Dear Reverend

"...[Eric Osiakwan has] been hard at work on the issues surrounding the proposed EASSy cable, which will complete a fiber-optic link around the African content and, if all goes well, radically reduce the cost of connectivity.

What’s happened with EASSy so far has been pretty fascinating - at its onset, it looked like EASSy would follow the “closed consortium” model that’s helped keep West African bandwidth so expensive. Eric shows a slide that suggests that connectivity in US universities costs roughly $0.12 per kilobit per second of connectivity, while connectivity in West Africa is $8 per kbps - more expensive than satellite connectivity, or connectivity in Central or East Africa. Ironically, the introduction of a cable in west Africa - SAT-3 - hasn’t meaningfully dropped prices in
many countries..."
Ethan Zuckerman: Eric Osiakwan at Berkman

"One of the most important conclusions that can be drawn from the work of Benkler, von Hippel, Weber (my review of both is here), and many others is that the Internet has reminded us that we live not just in one economy, but at least two. One economy is the traditional "commercial economy," an economy regulated by the quid pro quo: I'll do this (work, write, sing, etc.) in exchange for money. Another economy is (the names are many) the (a) amateur economy, (b) sharing economy, (c) social production economy, (d) noncommercial economy, or (e) p2p economy. This second economy (however you name it, I'm just going to call it the "second economy") is the economy of Wikipedia, most FLOSS development, the work of amateur astronomers, etc. It has a different, more complicated logic too it than the commercial economy. If you tried to translate all interactions in this second economy into the frame of the commercial economy, you'd kill it..."
Lawrence Lessig: On The Economies of Culture

"...And we have an advantage today that previous generations didn't... the internet. Blogs. The opportunity to reach people online--across the globe--with nothing more than a free blogging account. See, there was actually more to Doc Searl's quote than I put at the beginning. What he really said was: "Nearly all of what I'm known for I've done since I was fifty. And without the Net, there would hardly be any of it."  It's never too late to be creative. It's never too late to make a difference..."
Kathy Sierra: It's Not Too Late to be a Genius