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Internet Zero
Jon Lebkowsky, 27 Sep 04

Frank Coluccio posted about an article in the October Scientific American about Internet Zero of Internet-0, "described as an architecture that defines the protocols and internetworking relationships of everyday objects found in the home and the business place." The Scientific American article isn't online yet, but Frank posts from a sidebar summary of the project:

  • Giving everyday objects the ability to connect to a data network would have a range of benefits: making it easier for homeowners to configure their lights and switches, reducing the cost of complexity of building construction, assisting with home health care. Many alternative standards currently compete to do just that – a situation reminiscent of the early days of the Internet, when computers and networks came in multiple incompatibly types.
  • To eliminate this technological Tower of Babel, the data protocol that is at the heart of the Internet can be adopted to represent information in whatever form it takes: pulsed eclectically, flashed optically, clicked acoustically, broadcast electromagnetically or printed mechanically.
  • Using this Internet-0 encoding, the original idea of linking computer networks into a seamless whole – the Inter” in "Internet" can be extended to networks of all types of devices, a concept know as interdevice internetworking.
and he places special emphasis on a final point
  • The seventh and final attribute of I0 is the use of open standards. The desirability of open standards should not need saying, but it does. Many of the competing standards for connecting devices are proprietary. The recurring lesson of the computer industry has been that proprietary businesses should be built on top of, rather than in conflict with, open standards.”
That last piece resonates with discussions about the importance of the end-to-end argument or the dumb network paradigm, the advantages of which are clear engineers who have special intelligence about such things, but less so to companies and politicians who are tempted to build what amount to proprietary or regulatory constraints into network systems, rather than place the intelligence at the edges. As networks grow and evolve and we add more devices (as with Internet Zero), it's important to be explicit and forceful about the requirement to keep it open and "dumb."

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I thought I'd let you know that there is a problem with your markup: The blockquote element for the second quote starts with a closing tag instead of an opening one.
I'm afraid to report that WorldChanging markup is very often problematic. It might not show when looking at the rendered page in a browser but the news won't often render properly in my aggregator.
I'd like this weblog (since it's one of my favorite ones) to be as good as it can, which is why I'm posting this comment.
Correct markup is worldchanging (in its own way at least ^_^)!
Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Chris Laprun on 27 Sep 04

Chris, thanks for catching that. I'm having trouble logging into the site at the moment, but as I get in, I'll fix the formatting.

Don't be too surprised when you see formatting errors at the site. We don't have a design or implementation team, we're just a bunch of busy people who write, blog, and try to make constructive changes wherever we can. Some of us know html pretty well, but our only proofreaders are you and our other readers. *8^)

Posted by: Jon Lebkowsky on 27 Sep 04

I figured as much and hopefully, I didn't sound like a jerk by pointing the error.
Wouldn't it be great if blogging systems like WordPress or Movable Type included automatic HTML validation? There might actually be plugins out there to do that.

Posted by: Chris Laprun on 27 Sep 04

I'm afraid to report that WorldChanging markup is very often problematic. It might not show when looking at the rendered page in a browser but the news won't often render properly in my aggregator.

Chris -- aside from being co-founder and regular poster, I also handle the backend stuff for WorldChanging. As it happens, I have WorldChanging going to my RSS aggregator, too, but I haven't seen any rendering problems (aside from the occasional markup typos, such as the one you saw earlier). Via a webbrowers, I regularly view the site on Safari (Mac) and Firefox (Mac/Win), and haven't noticed any persistent problems lately.

If you have examples of things not displaying right, please let me know so that I can work to fix them. Send me email here (my first name at with the details (including which programs/platforms you're seeing it with), and I'll try to figure out what's going wrong.

I'll look into a Moveable Type HTML validator plug-in.


Posted by: Jamais Cascio on 27 Sep 04

Wordpress automatically generates valid HTML code. Unless, of course, you add invalid code all on your own. :)

I too value this blog, even though many times it differs politically from my own views. Unlike many of those who demonize their political opponents, WorldChanging always adds to issues, never takes away, and I appreciate it.

Posted by: j.d. on 27 Sep 04



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