Wednesday, April 20, 2005

small (white) dicks loosely interfaced

Today, most U.S. homes can access only "basic" broadband, among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world, and the United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. Thomas Bletha, found here on Jon Husband's Wirearchy.
Jon suggests this is one reason USians like to mix it up with other cultures - we have no liking for seeing what we see when we are looking at us. Our expertise lies in diversion.

Blogging is clearly an example. Instead of being about anything, it has itself become a fetish for, in Jeneane's memorable phrasing, small-dicked white males. We must have more face time with faces that are exactly like our faces(2). The more exactly like US, the more we feel we are at the top of our game.

A trivial example: We recently moved - to a larger metropolitan area than the one we previously inhabited. All went well until I contacted our internet provider to pick up the DSL service we'd had at our former location with the same company. I called on April 18th, and was given a service date of May 23 - "after 6 p.m." I thought they were joking. Not only were they not, but despite being the local telecom monopoly, they offer no local dial-up number in the area.(1)

The small dicks comfort each other and nothing gets accomplished. The US enjoys Most Deluded Nation status, and its delusions compound at the velocity of American bullshit. These terrific delusions are our truest weapons of mass destruction, and no white cannonade of smalldickians can touch them.

(1)Sheila Lennon supplies additional insight.

(2)via the recently revived Kombinat!


Anonymous sheila said...

After I posted the excerpt of the Verizon CEO saying, "Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" I got an email from a pr person wanting to set up an interview with the ceo of an ancillary business:

"Carriers can’t afford to provide coverage in every home across America, so consumers take it upon themselves to improve their indoor wireless coverage problem and maximize their wireless service plan with a carrier-approved solution."

It's a solution to the "last 10 feet" problem, apparently.

4/20/2005 2:58 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Here's a recent example of some different thinking .. seems like win-win for all involved. The rest of the article is here. Alas, it's in Europe.

Kanata, Ontario -/19 April, 2005 - Wi-Fi Technology Forum/- London’s biggest wireless broadband hot zone is now live, providing free Internet access over a wireless network from BelAir Networks.

The London Borough of Islington now hosts the “Technology Mile”, built on wireless mesh networking equipment from BelAir Networks, the first company to offer scalable wide-area wireless broadband for metro-scale deployments. The “Technology Mile” is an unbroken wireless hot zone stretching the length of historic Upper Street, which links The City to the A1 main artery into north London. The one-mile hot zone is covered by seven BelAir200 Wireless Multi-service Switch Routers and one BelAir100 Wireless Multi-service Node.

The network was conceived by Islington Borough Council in partnership with Cityspace, the UK’s leading provider of outdoor urban digital networks, and is financed as part of the Council’s A1 Regeneration project.

The project was implemented to provide Internet access to all—anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device can access the Internet for free along Upper Street. In addition, the Council is providing a number of local businesses—from cafes to dental surgeries—with PCs so they can offer customers free Internet service, providing everyone in the area with an equal opportunity to benefit from Internet access.

4/20/2005 5:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Sheila, the reason USian business is so full of solutions may have something to do with its capacity for creating problems.

Jon, thanks for that - it's happening in lots of places, apparently. The campus where I taught in Mexico had a wireless mesh network. I blogged sometime last year about how nice it would be if a local mall made itself into a wifi net. It would offer people access in a commons setting, air conditioned, with food, bathrooms, etc. Somehow they do not see what's in it for them. They think they are there to suck money from retailers who are there to suck money from, yech, consumers. Another model, in which public space is commerce but also social and educational, needs to be staked out, but this only happens when the old vampire model begins to lose its lustre. Any day now.

4/20/2005 10:08 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

I can't speak to what's going on in the States other than what's in the article to which you linked, but I do know that in the past 6 months or so there's a mini-phenomenon underway in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver (I assume other cities, but I don't know).

All three of those cities have many many cafes, and all the independents have started offering free wi-fi .. this is hurting drastically the buisness plans of the start-up companies that went about setting up for-pay hotspots two years ago, and is also makin the chains like Starbucks, Second Cup and Seattle's Best pay attention. There are four or five such cafes within a ten-minute walk of my place in Vancouver .. now why would I go to a Starbuck's with my laptop when I can go to Emily's Cafe ?

In Montreal there's an initiative called "Ile Sans Fil" (Wireless Island, since Montreal is a city that's built on an island in the middle of the St. lawrence River). You just need to set up a free account on their web site, and there's an ever-growing list of cafes and public places/spaces where this organization has created free hotspots (

4/20/2005 10:52 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

I agree with The Fool that the WiMax chip should accelerate the possibilities ....

It's so very interesting, i think, to see how we've coped (or not) with the flood of information and the increasing moments and exigencies of transparency thus far .. on the whole, I'd say lots of noise and confusion in cultures where order, predictability and compacency are the primary touchstones .. so far.

The listening, learning and adaptation that will be needed .. the *un-learning*, let's say ... will be mighty and not necessarily a smooth process. I hasn't really been so far, and the face-offs that are coiming are bound to be in equal parts ugly, desperate, exhilirating and turbulent. Oh, how I'd like to return in 50 years or so .. just for a week or so, to see.

4/20/2005 11:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Not to harp, but I suspect, Jon, that unlearning will happen more quickly the less often the piece-challenged conferees confer. ;)

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