The network is the computer?
Apparently Google in their benevolent wisdom have decided to shut down Reader. It's not something I use but evidently it has a loyal following.
They'll whine a bit, then move on: like we all do. Adaptability is about the only positive trait of the human condition.
However maybe enough will realise this push to centralised network computing, or so-called "fog-computing", isn't really such a great deal after-all. If they are as "tech-savvy" as they seem to think they are, they should've seen the risk anyway. One gives up an awful lot for a bit of convenience - and I think our modern lives (for westerners certainly, and the `middle-class' everywhere else) are convenient enough as it is that we can cope fairly well without a little bit more. The fact that the biggest internet company of all can decide on a whim to kill a product used by thousands - who have no recourse whatsoever - should be a wake-up call for everyone.
As an aside ... it's nice to see our benevolent rulers at google deciding that advert-blocking apps are suddenly to be excluded from android's software library using language which is obviously there for the "good reason" of banning cracking software. Ahh lawyers, you suck. I just turn off wifi to block ads, saves power and most of them are for american shit I couldn't buy even if i cared to.
This is all just part of an on-going land-grab of a public resource - another tragedy of the commons - whereby private organisations are surrounding public culture with their own fences and gateways. All that crap we put in our blogs or our status updates or our "twats" may be crap but it's still public culture. Except when it's actually controlled and owned by a centrally managed group which locks it away in their own corral. It's all about control: making sure you read the information in the way they want you to.
Simply so you can't avoid the advertising!
For fuck sake, how many adverts do we need to be exposed to? Just how much junk can we buy? With Australia's extra tv channels now there is no regulation on the number of adverts and it's basically impossible to watch anything but the ABC anymore without using a recording or a mute button (i've already worn out my tv's remote). If i'm alone I barely turn the tv on anymore - it's not like there's much to watch most of the time anyway that isn't either a repeat you've seen too many times or some "it's the same every show" show which one eventually tires of.
All of these companies providing or facilitating centralised network services are will eventually start to see increasing risk from this type of behaviour. For one, people could get sick of the spying although that doesn't seem to be about to happen any time soon. It would be nice to think they'd get sick of buying junk: but that is unlikely too. Customers might start to realise that their 'lightweight browser-based app' is actually a shitty user-experience and to boot, more of a resource-hungry monster than a stand-alone desktop or pocket application. For coding on DuskZ I've been running netbeans 7.3 on my 5-year-old+ X61 thinkpad w/ 2G ram, and although it's a bloody heavy application doing some pretty complex shit, it still manages to use less resources than firefox running a few web pages (blogger's simple front-end, and the google search page seem to be the worst offenders, but unfortunately firefox has no 'top' function to find out which tab is hogging the resources). Personal mobile platforms might always be about 10 years behind the performance of desktop computers, but pretty soon a 10 year old desktop computer will be more than enough processing power for processing tasks to be run locally instead of remotely.
Here's an idea: a network isn't a one-way street. We don't all have to passively "consume" "content" from a centrally managed location. Well we could do that years ago; radio and television provided just that service. Every computer (including phones) connected to the network is just as much a part of the network as giant data-centres in tax-free low-cost-power locales. Every computer is capable of creating culture to add to the shared wealth of the public domain. Before the microsoft era computers were used far more for creative endeavours.
Yes I see the irony of posting this on blogger, using gmail, and with thousands of lines of code published in google code. I've long been somewhat uncomfortable about blogger and it's future and the closing of Reader only increases the discomfort. I've even started and worked on a blogging/documenting server several times (I called it 'wanki'), maybe when I get some more time I will revisit it again - i've since learnt better ways to do much of what I was trying to achieve with it. Now if only the fucking NBN would get it's act together and get me that fat pipe ...
PS I borrowed Sun's old trademark just because I could ...