Viruses and other Anomalies in Digital Culture (Final version)

I can still remember the daily news I  watched on TV many years ago frequently. Almost every few months, a reporter would warn people seriously that there are some types of viruses are now attacking personal computers these days in the daily news. The viruses will generate annoying, juvenile messages, deleting or changing files, opening up access to administrative functions for further attacks, and even destroy your computer systems. I am always scared by these terrible threats and trying to avoid viruses by installing anti-viruses software, keep it up-to-date and running in the background. Unfortunately, my computer inevitably got infected sometimes. Then I realized an old saying in China, “While the priest climbs a post, the devil climbs ten”. This sentence can best describe the relationship between viruses and anti-viruses software. Whenever there comes out a type of virus, then the solution will come along. Even though the anti-viruses software can upgrade, viruses alter from day to day. So far the software never will keep pace with the change of viruses.

Until today, the year 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the very first PC virus-The Brain boot sector virus. Brain is created by 19-year-old Pakistani programmer, Basit Farooq Alvi, and his brother, Amjad Farooq Alvi in January 1986 in Lahore, Pakistan. At that time, National Computer Security Association estimated that there were only four known computer viruses. But as soon as computers and networks spread worldwide, hackers invaded by creating viruses of all shapes and sizes-sometimes just for fun, for money, and sometimes for espionage and outright warfare. By now, there are well over 100,000 known computer viruses and still increasing dramatically. How to deal with viruses in today’s digital culture become come into the picture. The rapidly developed technology and digital science bring to us not only viruses but also many other negative objects which the authors used “anomalies” in the subtitle of The Spam Book.

For a collection of essays in The Spam Book, the volume does not give much discussion about the spam. The spam annoys every e-mail user everyday. In the year 2011, the estimated figure for spam messages is around an astonishing number of seven trillion and up to 40% of daily email traffic may be spam. The authors also defined spam as an anomaly, “within the composite mixture of the everyday and the anomalous even the fixed notion that the normal is opposed to the abnormal is increasingly difficult to reconcile.” Instead the authors propose “a condition akin to a horro autotoxicus of the digital network, the capacity of the network to propagate its own imperfections, exceeds the metaphor with natural unity.”

How can we cognize the anomalies not just using the criteria like good or bad but instead focuses on the actual interactions of assemblages within the topology of the network. “Particular ‘things’ and processes are not to be judged from an outside vantage point or exposed to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ valuations. Instead, the ethological turn proposes to look at the potentials of objects and ask how they are capable of expression and making connections.” (p.11) If all the anomalies are from “the dark side” of digital culture, there must be “a bright side” not only in digital culture but also anomalies can bring to us. We all know that everything has two sides and both of them cannot be predictable. For example, the economic growth brings opportunities of companies and individuals, more choices on products, healthy competition environment, increasing employment rate, etc. On the other hand, problems come along with it such as environmental pollution, more and more economic crimes, etc. And scientific-technical progress brings us the hi-tech products at the same time nuclear weapons that threaten human lives. We still cannot know what will happen along with these problems. These natural consequences of development themselves are indeed harmful to our life, but connect to the whole development progress they to some extent promote and stimulate the proceedings. Just as the computer viruses, they may make contribution to the anti-viruses software markets and stimulate the development of more perfect computer system. I cannot tell the viruses are bad or good, but the point is that what kind of connections they made with any other objects. I’d rather say that the computer virus is a kind of manifestation of the evolutionary process in computer science development.

If we concern about the computer viruses, then we must think of the authors who made PC virus as virus writers. Beside the dark side of what they are doing, they also have the ability to help build a safer network. There are more and more virus authors who get prison but also a dozen job offers. Li Jun, also known as the “Virus King,” designed the “Panda Burning Incense” virus that wreaked havoc across the Chinese Internet from December of 2006 to January of 2007. The virus infected between 300-500,000 computers daily; with at least 10 million infected in total.  After his arrest and trial, Li was sentenced to four yearsin prison. Li’s sentence has been reduced and released at the end of 2009. During his time in jail, many anti-viruses software companies and computer security companies offered him jobs. After he was released from prison at year’s end and started to work in computer security. And right now he can use his techniques to help build a safer digital environment. What’s more interesting is when I am waiting for Nicholas Allegra who is behind the JailbreakMe.com launch anything to jailbreak the iPad 2 this summer, he got an intern in Apple and confirmed he would not pursue such hacking endeavors in the future. There is a delicate relationship between virus writers and anti-viruses developers. The two roles can switch to each other before they take a side.

The computer viruses would spread so quickly due to the connectivity of network. Internet as an information transimission center connects everyone online. Frigyes KarinthySix degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away. The connection between any two people is in six steps or fewer. If there’s one computer infected by virus, and the speed of virus spread to other 6 computers is 5 minutes. Then in 50 minutes, the virus will attack 60,466,176 computers. In only few hours the virus will spread all over the world. To reduce the spread of virus authors suggested that “The less decentralized a network is, the more susceptible it becomes to targeted attacks from virus.”(p.47) As the definition of virus, “a computer virus is a program that reproduces itself and its mission is to spread out.” To maximum the spread is what virus born to do. In order to spread out and attack most of computers in shortest time effectively, the only way is attacking the “giant nodes”. Only when the network is decentralized the contagion cannot reach all of others since the lower connectivity among every people.

But there are still some nodes have more connectivity than others on Internet. “The nodes like Google and Ebay become giants.”(p.53) Nowadays, with the development of social network sites, Facebook and Twitter also can be considered as giants. Most of the webpage have a like button or share button to Facebook. And the recent news below remind us that Facebook may now using their great connectivity to violate our pravicy.

 “According to Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic: ‘Logging out of Facebook is not enough.’ He added, Even after you are logged out, Facebook is able to track your browser’s page every time you visit a website. He wrote in his blog: ‘With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook.’ After explaining the cookies behavior he also suggested a way to fix the tracking problem: ‘The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies.'”

What if the viruses start to spread by using people’s relationships connection on social network sites? I did search some kinds of Facebook virus in recent days. Some of the virus are hacking your Facebook account. Some people found that there has been posting all kinds of weird, pornographic, or generally inappropriate content to their Walls and/or News Feeds. Their friends are annoyed with all the questionable posts and requests coming from you. And other types are more harmful than this. A new piece of malware is spreading across Facebook by leveraging either stolen account credentials or possibly a rogue app. This one is a worm that is being shared via malicious links on the social network. If one of your Facebook friends has had his or her account compromised, you may be tempted to click on a link seemingly posted by them. What appears to be a screensaver, with a thumbnail image of two blonde women, will be downloaded onto your computer. Since those links are seemingly post by our friends we won’t recognize if there are virus with it. And when we attack by those virus our account will send the same message to our friends. The most terrible thing is if only ten of our friends opened the link and ten of their friends opened. We will astonished by the speed of the virus spread. So there comes the issue that how can we trust the sites and also our friends? Nowadays, social networking sites become giant nodes which virus spread out. It is the time for us concerning these issues viruses bring to us.

Advertisements

Viruses and other Anomalies in Digital Culture

I can still remember the daily news I always watched on TV many years ago. Almost every few months, a reporter would warn people seriously that there are some types of viruses are now attack personal computers these days in the daily news. The viruses will generate annoying, juvenile messages, deleting or changing files, opening up access to administrative functions for further attacks, and even destroy your computer systems. I am always scared by these terrible threats and trying to avoid viruses by installing anti-viruses software, keep it up-to-date and running in the background. Unfortunately, my computer inevitably got infected sometimes. Then I realize an old saying in China, “While the priest climbs a post, the devil climbs ten”, can best describe the relationship between viruses and anti-viruses software. Whenever there comes out a type of virus, then the solution will come along. Even though the anti-viruses software can upgrade, viruses alter from day to day. So far the software never will keep pace with the change of viruses.

Until today, the year 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the very first PC virus-The Brain boot sector virus. Brain is created by 19-year-old Pakistani programmer, Basit Farooq Alvi, and his brother, Amjad Farooq Alvi in January 1986 in Lahore, Pakistan. At that time, National Computer Security Association estimated that there were only four known computer viruses. But as soon as computers and networks spread globally, hackers invaded by creating viruses of all shapes and sizes-sometimes just for fun, for money, and sometimes for espionage and outright warfare. By now, there are well over 100,000 known computer viruses and still increasing dramatically. How to deal with viruses in today’s digital culture become come into the picture. The rapidly developed technology and digital science bring us not only viruses but also many other negative objects which the authors used “anomalies” in the subtitle of The Spam Book.

For a collection of essays in The Spam Book, the volume does not give much discussion about the spam. The spam annoys every e-mail user everyday. In the year 2011, the estimated figure for spam messages is around an astonishing number of seven trillion and up to 40% of daily email traffic may be spam. The authors also defined spam as an anomaly, “within the composite mixture of the everyday and the anomalous even the fixed notion that the normal is opposed to the abnormal is increasingly difficult to reconcile.” Instead the authors propose “a condition akin to a horro autotoxicus of the digital network, the capacity of the network to propagate its own imperfections, exceeds the metaphor with natural unity.”

How can we cognize the anomalies not just using the criteria like good or bad but instead focuses on the actual interactions of assemblages within the topology of the network. “Particular ‘things’ and processes are not to be judged from an outside vantage point or exposed to ‘good’ or ‘bad’ valuations. Instead, the ethological turn proposes to look at the potentials of objects and ask how they are capable of expression and making connections.” (p.11) If all the anomalies are from “the dark side” of digital culture, there must be “a bright side” not only digital culture but also anomalies can bring to us. We all know that everything has two sides and both of them cannot be predictable. For example, the economic growth brings opportunities of companies and individuals, more choices on products, healthy competition environment, increasing employment rate, etc. On the other hand, problems come along with it such as environmental pollution, more and more economic crimes, etc. And scientific-technical progress brings us the hi-tech products at the same time nuclear weapons that threaten human lives. We still cannot know what will happen next to these problems. These natural consequences of development themselves are indeed harmful to our life, but connect to the whole development progress they to some extent promote and stimulate the proceedings. Just as the computer viruses, they may make contribution to the anti-viruses software markets and stimulate the development of more perfect computer system. I cannot tell the viruses are bad or good, but the point is that what kind of connections they made with any other objects. I’d rather say that the computer virus is a kind of manifestation of the evolutionary process in computer science development.

If we concern about the computer viruses, then we must think of the authors who made PC virus as virus writers. Beside the dark side of what they are doing, they also have the ability to help build a safer network. There are more and more virus authors who get prison but also a dozen job offers. Li Jun, also known as the “Virus King,” designed the “Panda Burning Incense” virus that wreaked havoc across the Chinese Internet from December of 2006 to January of 2007. The virus infected between 300-500,000 computers daily; with at least 10 million infected in total.  After his arrest and trial, Li was sentenced to four yearsin prison. Li’s sentence has been reduced and released at the end of 2009. During his time in jail, many anti-viruses software companies and computer security companies offered him jobs. After he was released from prison at year’s end and started to work in computer security. And right now he can use his techniques to help build a safer digital environment. What’s more interesting is when I am waiting for Nicholas Allegra who is behind the JailbreakMe.com launch anything to jailbreak the iPad 2 this summer, he got an intern in Apple and confirmed he would not pursue such hacking endeavors in the future. There is a delicate relationship between virus writers and anti-viruses developers. The two roles can switch to each other before they take a side.

The computer viruses would spread so quickly due to the connectivity of network. Internet as an information transimissi on center connects everyone online. Frigyes Karinthy’ Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away. The connection between any two people is in six steps or fewer. If there’s one computer infected by virus, and the speed of virus spread to other 6 computers is 5 minutes. Then in 50 minutes, the virus will attack 60,466,176 computers. In only few hours the virus will spread all over the world. To reduce the spread of virus authors suggested that “The less decentralized a network is, the more susceptible it becomes to targeted attacks from virus.”(p.47) Only when the network is decentralized the contagion cannot reach all of others since there is lower connectivity among every people. But there are still some nodes have more connectivity than others on Internet. “The nodes like Google and Ebay become giants.”(p.53) Nowadays, with the development of social network sites, Facebook and Twitter also can be considered as giants. Most of the webpage have a like button or share button to Facebook. And the recent news below remind us that Facebook may now using their great connectivity to violate our pravicy.

 “According to Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic: ‘Logging out of Facebook is not enough.’ He added, Even after you are logged out, Facebook is able to track your browser’s page every time you visit a website. He wrote in his blog: ‘With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook.’ After explaining the cookies behavior he also suggested a way to fix the tracking problem: ‘The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies.'”

What if the viruses start to spread by using people’s relationships connection on social network sites? How fast could that virus spread? How can we trust the sites and also our friends?



The problems brought up by the Internet

When I first time saw the book’s title “The future of the Internet and how to stop it” I was wondering why shall we stop the Internet since it brings to us much convenience and makes things change from impossible to possible. After reading the whole book, I realized that what Jonathan Zittrain wants to stop is not the Internet itself but the future of it and the issues it brings up.

Jonathan Zittrain contrasts the modern, vibrant Internet with the sterile corporate networks and online services such as AOL and CompuServe emerge before it. These generative properties have given rise to new kinds of software such as file-sharing and internet-telephony programs, and new websites and online communities such as Wikipedia and Facebook. But generativity has drawbacks. In particular, the creative anarchy of the Internet has led to security problems such as spam and viruses. And some people just want to take advantage of the new things it can offer such as music downloads and cheap phone calls, etc. without creation.

For Zittrain, the very qualities that make the personal computer and the Internet so valuable are the source of their vulnerability and possible undoing. At the core of his thinking is a distinction between what he calls “generative” and “sterile” technologies. Generative technologies allow anyone to build upon them without permission, whereas sterile technologies are controlled by their manufacturer or owner. Like Zittrain mentioned in the beginning of the book “Apple 2 was quintessentially generative technology. While iPhone is the opposite.” The generative and sterile distinction isn’t exactly the same as the one between open-source and proprietary software. Microsoft’s operating systems are proprietary, but in Zittrain’s terms they’re nonetheless generative because they can be built upon without Microsoft’s approval.

He wrote, “The PC revolution was launched with PCs that invited innovation by others. So too with the Internet. Both were designed to accept any contribution that followed a basic set of rules (either coded for a particular operating system, or respecting the protocols of the Internet). Both overwhelmed their respective proprietary, non-generative competitors, such as the makers of stand-alone word processors and proprietary online services like CompuServe and AOL.”

Jonathan Zittrain also brought up the issues of computer viruses and privacy of Internet. Since the Internet emerged a decade ago as a free and accessible global communications network, there have been countless assaults by malicious computer viruses and numerous attempts by saboteurs to crash the system. The Internet has survived them all. But the future security of the Internet is uncertain. Zittrain considered this issue that “It is, to me, astounding, to find ourselves with this collective instrumentality where one person or a handful of people, somewhere in the world, maybe for fun or maybe for money, maybe because they want fame, can write some interesting new software that does something new, make it available over the internet, and if it turns out to be popular, before they even know it, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of people could be running the software in a matter of days.” In his book, Zittrain warns of a possible “cyber 9/11,” referring to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The attack might prompt governments to curb the accessibility and openness of today’s Internet. “That’s why I believe we have to come up with a way to deal with the problem of bad code and bad actors, so as not to put the consumer in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between ‘generative but unstable’ or ‘not generative but reliable.'”

Recently, iPhone users and iPad users have sued apple over its location tracking database on their devices. Apple has finally issued a response to the controversy surrounding the rumors that the iPhone might be tracking and sending back location information. The response states that the company is not tracking the location of the phone. What the phone does is that it maintains a database of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers so that it can reduce the time taken to secure a GPS lock. The more people now rely on cell phones rather than PCs as the platform for online communication, the more they will likely move from a generative to a sterile technological environment. People concern their privacy issues but cannot do anything with it since they choose to use the Internet to communication, search information, social networking, etc. They use Facebook, Twitter, Flickr to share photos and their situations. The privacy problem also appears in these social networking sties, Zittrain once said that “I think about privacy on social media sites, there’s kind of the usual suspect problems, which doesn’t make them any less important or severe, it’s just we kind of know their shape and we kind of know how we’re going to solve them.” “Public” and “private” are increasingly becoming blured and vague terms in this free-for-all internet. Making the Internet more generative becomes more important.


Live in cyberspace

In the book Code Version 2.0, Lawrence Lessig discussed the regulation, freedom and some basic issues brought by the emerging of cyberspace. He told us four interesting stories in the very beginning to illustrate the obvious differences between cyberspace and real world.

The first story from second life suggested that some people, mainly from an older generation, see the Internet as only a source of information and not as having a life of its own. It is tough for someone who doesn’t know what they are missing to realize what they are missing, so this book serves as a good bridge between the real word and virtual space. “Second Life” is a game that is very familiar for the most of us, it functions as essentially a small part of the Internet world and its server is just in a small place but it is a place where its inhabitants have a second life digitally. The first story is about destroying the general knowledge that we make in real life, which things have definite and persistent qualities. Things created in virtual reality can have different qualities attached to them.

Other things are the same, people communicate through typing and speaking to each other, get mad and work together. It also shows how code can change rules, like changing code so that a product is only usable by the person who purchases it, and its function will lose if anyone who steal or have it unexpectly. Story two is largely about the idea that things do not exist locally in one place. A website about Indiana may be located on servers in Denmark. It begins to show how typical thinking fails to account for this property, especially in regards to the legal system. If a US citizen steals from someone in Europe on a trip, the person is subject to Europe’s laws. In other words, the states’ sovereignty is a fundamental concept that does not exist fully in cyberspace. The third story is about privacy, something we take for granted in most real life cases; it can be destroyed by a clever Internet detective when a person posts in an online community. Because of the way the site is coded, it was not hard in the example to figure out the person’s identity that was posting the stories. The last story is about the reach of a government’s hands into the lives of those on the Internet. In the US, government provide a lot freedom to people, that if someone from law enforcement searches your house, they need a warrant. On the Internet, a computer can be searched without most users ever knowing and left undamaged afterward. Is it okay for this kind of search to happen without any suspicion? These stories open up my mind to how the Internet can work and how cyberspace can make our life so many changes. It also brings up questions and problems in real world. How we deal with the cyberspace’s revolution become an important issue. What can we do when property, pirate, free speech, etc. in new era.

As the author’s discuss, property and intellectual property are total different things. Former one cannot be protected once others steal it, but the latter is still under your control even someone steal or copy it. And the function of intellectual property is also different on real or visual space in terms of how easy to copy it. As leggis said, “Copyright is protected to the extent that laws (and norms) support it, and it is threatened to the extent that technology makes it easy to copy.” “Copyright law is designed to encourage innovation by striking a balance between incentivizing creators to create more works while at the same time providing for a cultural commons that itself acts as a pool for innovation.”  In general, this system mostly works not due to the law but due to enforceability: copyright is infringed all the time, but because it is done so in a local way that doesn’t actually disincentivize creators. But what leggis thinks is that in cyberspace code can regulate behavior. it is at least theoretically possible for code to prevent anyone from infringing copyright under any circumstances. The code doesn’t just threaten punishment if one copies a film or song and distributes it to others; the code actually prevents one from being able to do so. This brings out a difference between law and code. The law involves judgment and is challengeable. One can choose to break the law and fight for the reason in court, but the code can be never broke. At one time the code is formed few ones can easily change it and even break it. For the same reason, if you’ve accidentally been placed on a server blacklist and can no longer send email, you have no legal recourse. Code, then, can be used to control behavior to an absolute extent, and that, according to Lessig, is exactly where it is heading.

We can understand how legislation, social norms, or the marketplace bring orders and consistency to real space. In democratic societies, we can criticise and challenge these structures. But the more our lives move into “cyberspace”, the more the programmed codes structure that space, determine our actions.


Information Feudalism

In the book Information Feudalism, Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite concerned issues about piracy, patent, copyright, and trademarks of intellectual properties. They focus on the role of patents, copyright and trademarks in creating cartels and monopolies throughout the 20th century in many areas of industry — chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, biotechnology, software and entertainment. And they provided a pessimistic vision of the future, in which the information age was ruled by the private owners of intellectual property.

We confront intellectual property issues everyday. When we wake up in the morning, the toothbrush we are using has its unique design patent; the newspaper we are reading has its own knowledge patent; the computer we are using contains thousands of patents; the music we are listening and the movie we are watching protect by their patent. We get used to all kinds of patent in our daily life and rarely recognize that the intellectual properties are under the power of multinational corporations. The restriction to us is just paying more for the information and knowledge. But refers to the issue in Africa, we need to concern more on intellectual property.

The authors discussed the story that the five-year courtroom battle fought by a coalition of activists to bring cheap versions of desperately needed AIDS drugs to South Africa in which time one million people died of AIDS in that country alone. Information Feudalism traces the rise of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the little-known charter that now governs intellectual property disputes across the globe. The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members. It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994. The post-TRIPS intellectual property order is producing staggeringly inefficient consequences for Africa. Most of the people in Africa cannot afford patent drugs. The authors raise the question that “how did they allow themselves who sign up to such an inefficient regime that is so transparently against their interests?” The African states signed up for 20-year patent terms on pharmaceuticals without understanding that the effect of this could be millions of preventable AIDS deaths among their people.  It is difficult to imagine the situation in Africa caused by TRIPS. When we think about the copyright and patent to the information and knowledge we probably should concern more about people’s right to live. It relate to the ethic in our society.

“In this book we have seen that property rights have important effects on innovation. They can be positive, as with patents motivating pharmaceutical innovation. Equally, we have found they can be negative.”

Piracy is indeed a serious problem in China. In 2007, The United States confirmed that it was filing a pair of cases against China at the World Trade Organization over widespread piracy of American movies, music, books and software but said it still hoped to resolve the issue through talks. To be honest, the piracy to us to some extend is not a bad thing. We can access to the information and knowledge that too expensive to get. A CD will cost 1/10 salaries of normal people and software like window xp will cost thousands RMB (Chinese money). I am not saying piracy is a good thing but with the monopoly of the intellectual property rights in some multinational corporations it is difficult for us to access.

“Intellectual property rights put a price on information, thereby raising the cost of borrowing. Raising the costs of borrowing through the imposition of very high standards of intellectual property will progressively choke innovation, not increase it. Most businesses, we argue, will be losers, not winners.” (P. 2)

The authors argued that in the globalized information society, the rich have found new ways to rob the poor, and shows how intellectual property rights can be more democratically defined. Technology can be optimistic or pessimistic. A pessimistic story based on the assumption that a small number of states will dominate the emerging international regulatory order is presented. Many sectors of the economy that have to do with information industries have been deregulated and integrated into the global economy.


Power of Netizens

After reading the whole book Here Comes Everybody – the Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky, I found out that all the stories he talked about are truly exist in our everyday life but I am never aware of how these things could happen and why.

In the era of Web 2.0, lots of things happen while previously we thought it would never happen. The story in the beginning of the book shows us the power of people without any relations to each other but only bounding by a story on someone’s webpage. A lose phone can cause so many strangers’ action and finally got back the phone successful. Over this period, people use their power to reset the NYPD’s decision-amend the complaint from “lost property” to “stolen property” which is the turning point in the whole story. One cannot image that people from Internet world can change situation only by talking and posting on website. As Shirky says “human beings are social creatures-not occasionally or by accident but always. Sociability is one of our core capabilities, and it shows up in almost every aspect of our lives as both cause and effect.”(p.14)

What is the most interesting thing is that in Chinese there is a proliferating net neo-logisms-Human-Powered Search Engine that can be used to describe the situation in Evan’s story. By human-powered search, it usually means that use human resource as searching engine, and thousands of individual netizens piece together every detail of a person’s life and then publish them online. During the searching process, interaction is more crucial than other searching forms. As the Evan’s case, people use the bulletin board to exchange and share information. In 2008, a video is posted on Youtube by Chinese woman blame the earthquake in Sichuan Province result in that she cannot play online games. Because in the three days after earthquake, flags will fly at half-mast national wide and public recreational activities will also stopped. As soon as the video was posted, many people saw it online and forward it to their friends and many Chinese BBS within only one hour. People who saw the video are swollen with indignation and start to launch a program online and appeal to every Chinese to find the woman and ask her to apologize to all the families of victims and all the Chinese. Within few days, her address, phone number, ID number, etc. are published on every BBS and police arrested her for blasphemy victims in the earthquake. After that, many similar things happened and solved by the human powered search. And right now, people start to use this kind of searching engine to help looking for lost children all over the country. What people need to do is posting the photos of lost children and many netizens will forward the photos to their friends, relatives, and social networking sites. Anyone who have received the photos will forward to anyone they know. As Shirky says, “many of the viewers of the StolenSidekick page were not just readers but operated as one-person media outlets.” In the book Connected we read two weeks ago, the author mentioned that six degrees of refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth. I think we are getting closer than just six degrees. By using web 2.0, we can probably reach out anyone within six steps and reach out the one faster and faster by collective action.

“As more people adopt simple social tools, and as those tools allow increasingly rapid communication, the speed of group action also increases, and just as more is different, faster is different.” (P.161) Many years ago, if we want to share news on newspaper what we have to do is just clip it and mail it to others. But today, we just need to click on a button called “share” and we just share it to our friends.In the story of Evan, what he has done is just telling his story on a webpage and people who read it share with others. It almost costs nothing. With the use of Web 2.0, we can now try a lot of things for very little cost. If you have any ideas, you can just hold a website and pay a little fees to host and edit it then you share ideas to anyone who interested in. Right now, there are many independent singers upload their songs and lyrics on Youtube and sometimes they will get millions clicks within few hours. It is a way to lower the cost of failure and anyone deserve to try it.

“When we change the way we communicate, we change society. The tools that a society uses to create and maintain itself are as central to human life as a hive is to bee life. Though the hive is not part of any individual bee, it is part of the colony, both shaped by and shaping the lives of its inhabitants.”


Control

“The global outsourcing of production in high-tech fields, the dissemination of cultural products worldwide, the growing importance of networked machines in the military and law enforcement, the use of highly coded informatic systems in commodity logistics, or the deployment of complex pharmacological systems for health therapies and management of populations. Inside the dense web of distributed networks, it would appear that everything is everywhere-the consequence of a worldview that leaves little room between the poles of the global and the local. Biological viruses are transferred via airlines between Guangdong Province and Toronto in a matter of hours, and computer viruses are transferred via data lines from Seattle to Saigon in a matter of seconds. But more important, the solutions to these various maladies are also designed for and deployed over the same networks-online software updates to combat e-mail worms, and medical surveillance networks to combat emerging infectious diseases. The network, is appears, has emerged as a dominant form describing the nature of control today, as well as resistance to it.” (p. 4)

What networks bring to us is not only the conveniences and speed of our lives it also brings much more concerns about a new world. We are no longer living in a world that the diseases are only endemic; the viruses can just destroy only one computer. But today, when you receive an email from a friend you probably get viruses along with it immediately. I am always informed to turn off my computer for whole day to prevent the virus spread by news. What we can do is just stop the few “node” in entire network but cannot end the whole network. The “Facebook Revolution” narrative of the Egyptian rebellion is everywhere. Fox News says that Facebook has “Turned Our Entire World Upside Down: Right before our eyes we see Facebook’s effects”. The Egyptian government cut Internet connections across their country to silence protest, leaving nearly all of its citizens without online access. And Libya appears to have shut down its Internet due to widespread protests, less than a month after Egypt did.  Control is a crucial means towards networks. A home appliance network is a good example of a control network. In fact, thousands of control networks already exist in everyday life in automobiles, refrigerators, traffic light controls, city lighting systems, and on factory floors. Control networks vary enormously in the number of nodes (from three to thousands) in the network and in their complexity. Unlike networks that people use to communicate with each other, control networks tend to be invisible. In the future, control networks are expected to become an important aspect of what is sometimes called ubiquitous computing.

“Perhaps there is no greater lesson about networks than the lesson about control: networks, by their mere existence, are not liberating; they exercise novel forms of control that operate at a level that is anonymous and non-human, which is to say material.” (p. 5)