Why 'blog?

A friend of mine once said "I don't really get the point of 'blogs". Here's some commentary about a very good reason: freedom of speech.
I personally setup this 'blog so that my random rants and thoughts could possibly contribute to the 'net as a whole. I don't suppose that me grumbling about some company or other really changes the world, but I guess it might help someone a bit.

Certainly, since starting this, it suprises me how people find me. The search phrases people use are really varied, and quite suprising. You get the odd "mis-hit", but when you see someone searching for "IBM t40 recovery CD", it's kind of satisfying to know you wrote some drivvel about it a while back. Whilst my chatter isn't structured, or a good reference, it might just be the bit of info someone needs to get them to the next step of problem solving.

That's how I've worked with the 'net since the early 90s. Seemingly random snippets of information from various sources collect in my head to form a coherent solution to the problem. I'd even go further to say that the job I have, the salary I command, many of the skills I have are all down to the 'net. Linux got me my first Unix job (looking after Suns). I'm sure without the grounding I got via Linux (0.99.18 et al.), I'd never had hit the ground running in Sun-land.

So, my employers owe a lot to free information. Actually, my current employer especially owes a lot more than just my Unix skills - we use an enormous amount of free software for development (of a high value financial institution application).

Conversely, as in the article at openDemocracy, business conspires to restrict and disrupt the flow of free information. I see this as incredibly short sighted. European Software Patents follow similar lines.

You have to have a steady flow of young, small, nimble, innovative groups to fuel the larger businesses. Those that try to quash them 'cut their own noses to spite their faces'. Nuture those companies and you may find they bring success in unexpected places.

Secondly, I think back to "the Microsoft Network". This was the MS Big Mistake of the mid 90s. They thought the Internet was good, but since it wasn't controlled by them, they should destroy it, in normal MS style. The "selected content" and other corporate undertones of the idea meant that it fell to obsurity very quickly. Now, of course, it's taken the form of a couple of web sites.

As much as I hate to admit it, the MS experience is something that more companies need to have. MS learned a bit, but not enough from the experience. That is, the more you try to catch something in your grip, the more of it slips through your fingers. Also, you have to understand that no matter how careless consumers get, they can only be pushed to a certain point. Beyond that, they will accept no more.

Of course, the flaw in my argument is that creeping change seems to prevail all the time. The DMCA and TIA are two recent high profile changes that "creep" in. ID cards, DNA databases, mandatory card carrying, mandatory DNA sampling, all these are "creeping" changes yet to happen. It'll all start with "just keep the card at home, you only need it for X, Y and Z". Then, you'll need it to drive, then to shop, and then to leave your house.

I digress - back to "why 'blog?". Well, you get the opportunity to put something back. Whilst I don't really consider it to be as effective as it might be made out to be, it is me exercising freedom of speech. If millions more did the same thing, then it probably would make a difference.

Submitted by coofercat on Mon, 2003-09-08 17:54


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