Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Space is the place...
AKMA, Doc W, et al, have been blogging on the notion of the net/web as a place. There are some interesting ideas floating around there (where exactly is the point). From my perspective you really need to consider that although the net appears or can be observed to be somewhere else it in fact is very tied to the physical world and to specific localities. e.g. If an overweight UNIX admin with plumbers butt bends over in the right aisle at my hosting facility in NJ and knocks over the system where my pages are served from my site is gone for the duration. Similarly it is not unheard of for sites to be brought down by a backhoe digging in the right (wrong) place. Granted it is very resilient to this kind of damage, but it just can't exist without this ligature to the world of servers and pipes. Sorry to be so concrete but this has led me to consider the following. If you want to talk about the web a place then where is it? The answer is that it's everywhere. It's all around us. Bits may be passing through your body right now encoded at 802.11b or as CDMA packets. Servers and clients are all over the world and in orbit above our heads. Sure the net stops where there is no electricity to drive the devices or where the cellular signal drops off to nothing but these are only minor technological limitations. This notion of the web as an omnipresent space fascinates me. Equally fascinating is that traveling within this space requires us to still obey very fundamental physical limitations not the least of which is the speed of light which, for the time being, no signal can travel beyond this limit.

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