Signal or noise : digression on internet of things

What is wrong with the world today?

Probably a global hallucination.

Rich get richer, poor get poorer is not a stable equilibrium for the system, for poor people also offered useful contributions to the society before getting poor and stock markets cannot seems to  grow.
Is the world's economy state a good thing?

Let's talk about how the IT are related to the construction workers.  Or the student in the call center that will be off shored in the next months. And even to the secretary in the building filling the invoices.

There is a dirty secret in telecom industry the expensive costs have already been almost made : the last kilometer.

The point is that all the expensive costs of construction have been made in the 1990's. POP have been built, tranchees have been dug, cables have been put under the ground by hundredth, each one can actually transport 10Gb with almost cost to none upgrade costs (compared to the investment). Connectivity to the home provided (especially the legal and reglementational aspects that were probably the most important one). Internet has even automatized that much stuff that a secretary is not even required for sticking envelope to send to the customers anymore. 

The price of internet during this time has not change. Nor its legitimacy.

Electricity, routers, developers and operators are your costs now. Now that both the backbone and the connectivity to costumer exists...

Poor get poorer... because they are expensive to hire. Who needs to make physical products when internet is so good?

If you use internet to connect your product you save money comparing to providing a full copper connected set of things and the price of installation.

Let's assume I am a security central maker (a big box doing bip bip when you should be scared). I normally make a console that gets signal from probes and trigger alarms when weired stuffs happens. Especially when someone try to cut our connection.

The problem is one of my customer has got a unusually large warehouse and the market might be taken by the foreign country products with a lot of wires product that is competitive because they can afford to buy "workers fee". I am like, let's be smart: let's be wireless and since rolling your own crypto is bad, I am gonna connect my equipment in a VLAN other a wireless IP connection......

So yes. This is nice economical reasoning that makes sense, rather do what it takes to get the market even if it is not sustainable. We will do it only once.

Well. The guy who came up with this idea of replacing some good old wire by just using the internet natively and connecting everything has missed a point.


What is wrong with transmitting a signal over the air when the heartbeat is an information?

A wireless signal is easy to cut. You just need to interfere with loud enough noise on the bandwidth of the signal, and if you don't have power you just can direct the noise emission in direction of collector.

Oki this is paranoid.

You also can add a lot of sources of noises. I mean products that needs connectivity.

By the way mister paranoid with a wireless infrastructure in the wild, you know that a simple cell phone can tell the level of emission of a house on the wifi.

With a simple cell phone, a wannabe thief just have to spot houses with 24/7 wifi with a certain power. With triangulation and a lot of fun they can point the source of emission.

The power of the wifi varies with use. Why not install a computer that records the power use, detect when unused and then directly go for jamming the system.

It will trigger an alarm?

A true or a false one?

At the 10th times moving to check your house for a false alarm, given the cost of the last kilometer (the guy bored to death paid to visit houses when an alarm rings) you will be either charged, called a liar or have resigned. Or if you add a device to investigate this may change the pattern of your use and that gives your attackers one chance to not get caught. You are by design in an asymmetrically position compared to any attackers with low techs.

In signal processing the problem here is the cost of false alarm. The manufacturer reduced the costs of detection but it made it ridiculously not expensive to trigger false alarm by design. That is the nature of DoS longevity.

A complex enough system have a small overload to correct stuff.

The good part is that it ensures reliability.
The bad part is that it takes way less effort to deal with sending incorrect packages than receiving them and treating them.

That is call a lever. Give me a lever long enough, a stone on a firm ground and I shall move the earth (Archimedes).

The more complex treatments we put behind a packet is a cornerstone for increasing the lever effect at the next  layer we will create. We are stacking layers of complexity like in a delicate patisserie. And cryptography is a very heav layer. That is the reason why DoS and DDoS are there to last for long. We give them more and more lever.

But actually, in our story, this is not relevant.

What is relevant is physics and "noise".

What is noise? Everything that is not signal to me.

Ex: I make a robot for making lawn, I want to not pay the last kilometer of putting wire, so I want my own wireless frequency, and I would like noise to be zeroed. Which noise? The one of the equipments used by the radioastromers for making photos.

Who is the signal who is the noise? A selfish company or selfish not even diplomed amateurs?

Well, given science, the density of information that can be carried by density of energy that can be measured is limited (by sometimes the instrument, and sometimes physics).

The bandwidth must be shared. How wide is it? Efficiency can may be increased 10x, maybe 100 but one day or century later it will have to be dealt with.

Anyway, this is decided by regulation (that can vary from countries to countries) and by politics.

And the problem seems to be far in the future. After all there was no IP4ocalypse and we can adapt gracefully to solving problems of resources later.

Except that we are not yet in the world of IPv6 and wifi routers are already jamming partially each others. A big Telco has sold his landlines somewhere in the USA (because the last kilometer is so expensive) and some university sees intererence with their wifi boxes and the telco new wifi networks. And it is not an isolated case. Wireless equipments are subject to radio electrical pollutions.

Who is noise, who is signal?

When you are sharing the bandwith of your wifi in your building, when requiring your small lags that does not like interference for gaming are you the signal? Or is it the lady that is calling an emergency number? Or is it the self delusionnal kid playing is guitar in front of a youtube video that will be rock star of tomorrow? Is it my mother calling on skype?

On the sharing of digital resources we are now experiencing a world of the strongest kind of phenomenon.

Does strength prevail on wisdom? Wisdom tell that strength has never been guaranteed to be wise all the time except when greater strength arise. Then at least an eyebrow of surprise should be a decent reaction.

Well that is the problem with internet of things connected over wireless technology: they interfere with one another, and we are already entering the problematic zone.

By geometrical effects, increasing connectivity of objects would increase the required traffic way more than by the numbers of items added.

Do you even need your clock to be adjusted to the tenth of a seconds with the atomic clock that is the master of all the time on the world?
Do you need your light bulbs to be connected to compute with 17w/hour how to save 19w. Given that your light bulbs will not well work without internet? 
Do you need to use 20% of the bandwidth of the crowded neighborhood to replace all the wires in your house for your netfix & chill everywhere?

The right answers are honestly I don't know. But who will decide? How do we share the bandwidth/energy and costs?

What I know this is a problem technic cannot solve. We have been putting way too much politics into code: unicode, timezones, legal/local presentations of informations, IANA/ICANN, standards. Most of the problems lie in some ambiguities. The Babel tower effect.

Their are always small misunderstanding that ripples through the code and amusingly creates glitches in the matrix.

Unicode at my opinion has for instance a great misunderstanding of typography and the difference between precise and exact. They are over designing something like a classical academy.
They take the state of the art of glyphem, scholar practices of best use cases and stuff them in the alphabets of the world like a goose readied for a foie gras.

They have not the understanding of the greyness of high context natural language. The little part of adaptation that says "do accordingly".

Why do Europeans have so nifty "internet ready" languages?
When Gutenberg press came,  they had to make themselves "press ready". And everything that became press ready also became internet ready.

How much time did it took? It depends. France made a reform of the orthograph so that french would be less expensive to write. Some ligatures disapeared, the forest became a forêt.

It was not only the graphy that changed the press, it also gave new phonems. Well.

I think it is not unicode consortium world mission to rationalize the way languages are written in the name and place of the people using it. Of course, it is an open consortium. But contributions have to be brought in such a rigid framework of thinking that it does not help. (End of rant against unicode evolution to bloatware).

This is the law of the strongest I am talking about. The so called necessity of things. We have to make it work at all costs.

 We are cutting more and more corners for making savings. The market is hyper competitive and a lot of investments have been made thanks to the QE and the prices of oil.

The problem is that physics still exists. We have made all the possible first order improvements and are now in a spiral of decreasing return. Investing money is bringing increasing costs and diminishing returns.

Our technologies require 2 times more energy every time we increase the power of processing by 40%.

These laws of diminishing returns applies to the cloud, distributed calculus .....

And the market is still announcing increasing returns over investments while we consume more energy per flops and more flops per trivia. Power is also a resource. is it a fantasy?  

There is a war in a country where oil is produced. Not a problem there is schist gas and renewable energy?

  1. schist gas resources where viable only with a 100$ barril. Arabia when asked to fuck putin (because gas is weirdly indexed on crude oil) also fucked the USA;
  2. Arabia also thinks the other people sharing their religion are not doing it right, and that it requires a little bit of rightening of the people and the financing of spreading their love with bullets;
  3. Arabia has no reason to like either the USA nor the Europe nor Russia, Arabia is logically loving itself more like every nations in the world;
  4. Schist exploitant may have inflated the resources of gas available or their HR should really devise a way to hire better geologists (the more potential resources, the more funding);
  5. Renewable energy maybe, but what about delivering it when it matters? By the way, it is really hard to store safely energy without too much loss. 
  6. any telco use graphs will display the same 24/7 activities: begin around 9 pick before lunch, pause, second pick mid afternoon, and then everyone leaves. The weather does not follow this pattern.
  7. we are all subsiding internet giant use of power with our taxes.

What is the matter with increase use of power and diminishing efficiency in a bounded universe?
We accelerate towards reaching the limits. And conflict in middle east combined with recession and a versatile price of gas may cause problem. When? Your guess. The question is why not trying to avoid what can be avoided? 

The cost to the race to the armament in IT  is ridiculous.
How much damages have the cloud, the big data, the HAHS and other non proven non sense cost the industry in a technological extorsion? For every addition how many Joule per seconds do we now consume? How much physical energies are engulfed in making siri a likeable personnality?

But let's think of the value of what makes a natural monopoly. It is when whenever you invest you win, because the bigger you are, the less your costs are.

Delivery of last kilometers especially due to regulations issues required good lawyers. And also good accesses to the local market of construction.

Even Chicago's zealots will admit the market of distribution is driven by this law. That used to be why there would public services in the 80's around the world: because even with a liberal analysis the market converge towards a less efficient solution in terms of prices/costs.

So, posts, railroads have been privatized.

It became quite chaotic and let the room, as expected for concurrence. But because of the internet it was not the one wished.

Instead of having our brave local krotchovian capitalists -that love liberalism as much as their subventions or the effects of them- some other non local brejnevian capitalists emerged. Loving more subventions in the name of liberalisms (in form of fiscal evasions).

When posts collapsed (because well, it is almost close to impossible to get a loan for 30 years in the future from your bank given the risks/interests) packages still needed to be delivered.

Most people sees amazons as a tech company because you buy online.

The most important part are all the people physically bringing a package from point A to point B. All the people that were jobless (like former truck drivers or post employees) and now have to become an employee for worse conditions somewhere between your address.

The importance is amazon can mutualize on a lot of costs: indian are speaking english, brasilian portugese and so long. And lobbying and lawyers...

Is this miracle due to new techonologies?

No only because amazon played well with local regulation, fiscal laws and their bank. It is a natural monopoly that diminishes its costs of distribution by diminishing costs with the number of customers.

It gave them a position in which as soon they were big enough no one could because of the transnational regulations win. It is a lock in of the market. As much as USB standard, or other bloatware that leaves on a monopoly effect.

The rule of monopoly is : the strongest decides the use of your resources.

When you pay for your internet part of the price is the use of resources of all the users at the 90th perecentile.

Whatever you use is, the incentive for ISP, IT is to make you use more bandwidth.

The burden of the cost of the dimension of the internet for 10% is paid by 90%.

Do I need 24Mb of assets to read a 3 thousands character long article? With cats and boobs?

Have the protocols changed that much that it is not possible anymore?

Short answer is no. The short answer is you are very likely to pay 90% of your internet connection for a stupid stuffs that is not relevant to you.  And that you could pay 10% price of the connection and not be annoyed. You pay 90% of your fees in helping noise propagate.

Well, so thinks every users :)

Internet is so monopolistic in its nature that I could not even write this blog or read my email without the 26th devils (of the roman alphabet, please, no unicode)

Do I feel like rage againt the machine signed under sony music screaming let's make the revolution?

Well, if I could, I so would.  They are amazing musicians.

One of your resources is time. I would rather say attention.

When you go on the internet, there is signal and there is noise.

What decide what is signal? Your friends on social networks? Google search? A specialized blog with optimized SEO making you climb HN at the speed and intensity of a multiple orgasm?

Have you watched your history. Chances are you have found your communities and live happily in a cluster of nicely chatting friends.

Algorithms and good community managements slowly and comfortably migrated everyone in clusters of well thinking persons.

The global happiness have rose. Less conflicts, less trolls: people are happy together we are living in a consensus.

We like, we share what we like, and we don't speak of what is wrong.

We -as submitted in the faith of the greater good- avoid fights and stop looking in the past to build a strong future with our projects.

The problem of segregation by positive affinities and thinking is that without contradictions it is happiness by blindfolding. Sometimes life is war (polemiques to be exact). Sometimes your happiness is built on the hurt of others. And maybe the others have the right to be happy.

There is no true democracy with the refusal of fight. Consensus is not achieved by the apparence of consensus: it requires dialog. (Like on how to share resources?).

The algorithm of google works on a simple premise. We know what is signal to you.

In fact, it is much more, we know what you don't care about, what you like and what you don't like.

The interest of facebook is triggering pleasure. So they give you what you like.

Is what you hate noise?

Well, I don't know. I just say that if you dislike the choices you are less likely to enjoy it, use it less....

 The internet/social networks are drug dealers of good news. If I took George Orwell and put it in front of facebook for 10 minutes he would say Aldous Huxley was finally right.

But as Benjamin Franklin said time is money. And as Epicure said time and time with our true friends is the only treasure on earth.

Am I in contradiction: facebook and google make money because because they make people happier?

Is their anything wrong in happiness? Witch messages are signal and noise when it comes to building happiness?

The bias on the internet in terms of content of story telling is for the success stories in favor to the failing stories.

What is wrong in this picture? There is no gain without pain.

I -and I am not alone- learnt from my mistakes. For every line of code I write they are 10 bugs that hurt. My fingers are burnt from playing instrument (poorly though).

For every vaillant posts claiming to solve a problem how much of them are "I made a poor decision and these were the results?" or "I worked hard playing notes that were sounding like shit but went on working for a better tomorrow that came"

The problem with people having only success is to how will they handle their first failure?

Will they be so imbued of themselves they will tag their mistakes as "necessity" or "technical debt"?
Will they make it back? Will they break? Will they accept a dialog?

I don't have faith in nice stories. Facebook and google are the very origin of what is wrong in this world today:

A slow loss of  touch with reality.

Religous people dislike boobs. Boobs are gonna disappear. Feminists also dislike them. They have money. Algorithms will adapt.

Google and facebook have incentive for the most common happiness possible.

It is made not by the union of all positive choices, it is also made by the rejection of all that can be disliked.

Serious burdening topics.

What is signal, what is noise?

The new pen of apple or presence of russian troops in Syria?
The oil war or a kid on beach?
The recession or a lion killed in Africa?
The fact we are all getting poorer in numbers around the world or the fact you can become a youtuber and make money fasts?
The fact startups are investing in yet another foutain of jouvence or jouvence elixir, philosophal stones or that our life expectancy is diminishing in a very unequal way?
The fact that at the opposites of books and letters from the pre internet era all that you printed might be gone before your grandkids can read them?

The press was an invention that made knowledge long standing against time, Internet may be a revolution for conveying data and thus information at speed and volume never attained.

But right now, we carry noise. In a very in-efficient way. And data are not informations.
Not every words written convey sense. And be it with papers or electrons the monopoly of distribution has a strong tendency to filter out "noises".

In the stream of noise and signal the beacon used to be called relevance.

The relevance is not yours any more to decide. It is shaped on your profile and what you like.

It gives you a nicer view of the world like eating mushrooms with plato while looking at the shadows from a cavern. But what is inside the cavern still remains the same.

And that's how I like internet, like the world biggest pravda censored by prozzac with cats and boobs. It is the noise Oscar Wilde would have dreamed off: whatever is said however it is said, it has to be said with style and a responsive design.

Internet may be dystopian, but it does it with class (and documents oriented databases).

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