Feeds

Web 2.0 vs mobile phones

Dad drunk at Disco

Website security in corporate America

Symbian Show Sketch Hoping some Californian magic pixie dust might fall upon the sleepy world of telephony, the Symbian Smartphone Show organisers devoted an afternoon of presentations to the topic of "Social Media". Would Web 2.0 make it to the phone?

It had a bit of your Dad at the Disco about it, and even Symbian's no-nonsense research VP, David Wood, had been caught up in the excitement.

In his briefing notes, David posited that "in Web 2.0, the network itself has intelligence, rather than just being a bit-pipe for pre-cooked information". When previously rational people start to attribute agency and purpose to inanimate objects, it's a warning sign – as my lampshade reminded me this morning.

In the end, we didn't get the culture clash we expected, and by the end of the afternoon it seemed apparent that the mobile world needed "Web 2.0" quite a lot less than the Californian web cultists needed to go mobile.

And as the clock-ticked towards 5pm - hometime! - a rare consensus appeared to emerge: network integrity and security should not be compromised by script kiddies who'd just discovered the CPAN Perl archive; most 'user generated content' wasn't going to interest anyone; a blanket of pervasive HSDPA-speed 3G beats looking for an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot; and PCs were dumb, because you didn't have them with you, and they didn't know where they were.

That's more commonsense than you expect to hear in a lifetime of "Web 2.0" gatherings. In fact, even expressing such heresy is enough to get one excommunicated and sent to purgatory – for the web utopians are nothing if not a cult.

But to reach terra firma we had to negotiate a rocky terrain. Beginning with the buzzwords.

You know when something is labelled "social media" you've already arrived at a leaky abstraction that's going to sink at any moment. Add in an insulting, eye-rolling piece of nonsense like "democratisation of creativity" and you know you've really reached the technology world's Remedial Class.

We'll digress for a moment simply to point out the bleeding obvious. When someone uses a witless phrase like "social media", they're informing you that they're unable to distinguish the act of bearing witness from the business of being surveilled. Surveillance is big business these days, and technology can record everything we do or say. But that doesn't mean when we say something that we want it to be heard, or transferred out of context, or remembered. Or in the words of Google's ominous mission statement, "organised and made useful". Useful to, er...who?

All art is social and created as an act of testimony, but most speech isn't, it's designed to be forgotten - and the web cultists either, through ignorance or cynicism, willfully blur this distinction.

So it was refreshing to hear Orange's Mark Watts-Jones, in concluding his presentation, remind the audience that most electronically-recorded "content" wasn't of interest to anyone else. Orange seemed to be approaching the explosion of recording technology not as a gateway to a cybernetic all-recording uber-mind, but simply sharing your photos with your friends (or family).

Sling Media also disappointed the cult of the web wingnuts by pointing out that more practical matters were at hand. It was slightly ridiculous that in this "always-on", always-connected" world we couldn't access our own stuff - like TV channels we'd already subscribed to, music we'd already bought, or photographs we'd already taken - on our gadgets. They might as well be never-on, and never-connected - at least we could take a hard copy round to show the folks.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.