There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Sunday, December 15, 2002

All hail the stupid network

David Weinberger has an interesting exploration of how the move toward Quality of Service on the Internet (something the big media companies desperately want so they can pump their sludge into your home over the net instead of just over TV) results in other people's Degradation of Service. I particularly like the analogy of how VIPs are served ahead of peons in restaurants. The most interesting things on the Internet have happened because of intelligence in devices at the edges of the network. (I recently made extensive use of that insight when rewriting the web site of the lousy bastards I'm currently working for, nuking every instance where they talked about "carrier-class intelligent networks" and replacing it with a discussion of the increasing intelligence of edge devices. They don't deserve such wonderful writing.) If you make the network smarter, then you reduce the ability of edge devices to act in innovative ways. We don't need that; we've already got smart networks that deliver telephony and broadcasting. It would be a tragedy to shoehorn the Internet into those paradigms. The power of the net is that it isn't like the telephone and cable networks.

Posted at 11:53 AM

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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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