NotCon 04 – The main website – The Wiki

Ok so I'm at Notcon04, which is taking place at Imperial College's Union house. Its still early and people are starting to come into the grand garden court. I didnt expect to get here so early but transport for london lied about how long it would take to get here. Anyway I've opened up my tablet and attempted to get a wireless signal, and the good news is that I'm on. So I'm hoping batteries depending I can live blog my thoughts on notcon04 as it happens.

Now this might be a little trouble-some because I prefer to use an outliner for my notes but we shall see. I may have to adapt my style for the purpose of live blogging.

Humm isnt that Violet Berlin in the queue? pretty sure it is but didnt realise she was that short? The crowd of people hanging around are quite cool. Your usual 90% white male and about 10% women. As per usual theres not exactly the most diverse group of people in the world but interesting non the less. (Usual ipod wearing london crowds) Bill Thompson, Cory Doctorow, Tom Coats and Nico Macdonald has also turned up and I'm sure theres some other internet celeb's around but honestly I couldnt care less. I have however noticed Ben Metcalfe and a MA student from Ravensbourne.

Ok time to kick off soon, were watching some show called Heatvision and Jack or something? Got that guy from the school of rock?Jack Black or something? Ok on to LifeHacks. For some reason I cant get on at all by the way

Interetsing talk looking at peoples (supergeek) desktops. Got Paul fords, Google geek, Eric thingys, etc. Getting into why we should use command lines more over GUI's? Mainly people use cmds to talk or use another machine from one machine. People still use todo.txt? Wow no complex apps, what a revelation – not…Interesting enoght a guy from prefers txt to tagging. Incremental search useful feature for todo.txt, works in Vi, Emacs, Mozilla etc…Bleeding into OS to launch apps
People trust notepad programs over large apps.
Now were going into using one more app for everything. Cory likes email, some like excel (are they nuts?) one nutter (dom lancaneter) love postscript.
Ok now were talking about the private blog? Using a blog to talk to themselves, hands up myself. Plod software for mass blog apps. I'm quite happy with my route of using wblogger at the moment. Interesting about private rss feeds. have to question why private?

Now Dan is looking at secret software. Things the geeks have, random sig generators, netscape killers, ssh foo and mail wrang ling.
Syncing apps, people didnt trust isync, activesync, etc. most built around rsync unix standard.
Boilerplates often used through-out the supergeeks. Interesting app on KDE which shows you the files which are using space futher down your tree. Interesting no one writing much cross appliication automation, no geeks writing it. People love webscaping, agree with that… Ah at long last, people like to make it public. Edd Dumbhill has a interesting quote about giving away ideas which i should copy here really.

Other peoples notes on the same talk – NotCon 04 – Life Hacks

Politics OF the net
Against Politics on the net.
Bill's part – Is there a net only politics, is there a internet? The net has no values, the protocals have values not the net. Talks about the progressive internet and how any machine you plug into the net should talk to the others. End to end is very important and we should fight for it not against closed clusters, trusted nets, etc. Not regulate anything is not the answer, the internet relys on standards, regulation and policies. The internet will dispear and we need to fight for something else.

Cory is on form! Putting a slash dot through bills ideas. The net is free because we fighted for it to be free. Netrual networks is more important than marketshare or interests. Freenet allows chinese people to speak. Freenet works because it allows End to end, peer to peer. No such thing as lawful or non lawful packets. Tim burners lee made the web so he could share end to end. Plug for WIPO just like at my copyright vs lectures. DRM always breaks end to end, because there not open – Drm relys on law because if you give the key and the secret they you have everything to break it.

Will from iSocity. Micro-politics and how they become very hiarchy based even though they fight for self-organising. A lot of users choice not to look at how they are creating the gated communities of the internet.

Chinese people get around firewalls by typing in the ip address of the site they want to get to. Chinese kids are not bothered by it. DRM doesnt work because it only takes about 10% to make it usable, just like how 8% of people made polltax totally unworkable, because the cost of collecting the tax was too much.

Other peoples notes on the same talk – NotCon 04 – Politics Of the Internet

Bristol Wireless
Bringing the hackers and the artist together, have become a community coop. Open network over disallowing people from accessing the network, has worked for 2-3 years without serious disruption. The legal aspects of wireless? Picopeering = meshnetworking servalance? Network commons a place where the small networks can collabrate together.

After lunch…

I missed most of Brewster Kahle, but its good to hear the BBC (through Paula, who i'm meeting Tuesday). Now I grabbed a chair in the panel. Cory is strong again, Rob Hamadi is boring and oh my goodness what is he doing on the panel? Cory points out that the publishers association have the clott to change the governments mind on how to do takedowns but why dont they question takedowns all togther? Dan moves the talk on to WIPO and the EUCD.

Other peoples notes on the same talk – Notcon 04 – Universal access to human knowledge – Brewster Kahle
Other peoples notes on the same talk – NotCon 04 – Copyright part 2

Freenet and Peer2Peer
Freenet was inspired by emergance. Ian finds it very fault tolerant and robust. Everyone should be able to send and recieve annoyminsly. It must be completly decentralised. Cites the six degrees study as it didnt need to go through a central authority to get to its end point. Freenet works on local information from its nodes.
Interesting enough Ian points out that Freenet has almost never been done before unlike the linux project which aims to make an open operating system. So they never had a model to work from. Freenet actual died for a while because 3rd party software would make too many requests. So they introduced a certain amount of live to the nodes. certain amount of limited, memory, bandwidth, etc = a low balancing method (break limiting). The node should use 100% of its least amount of resources and not more than its maximum resources limit. If more requests come through the node will simply wait a specified time. Yeah yeah its all about maths forumlas…

Other peoples notes on the same talk – NotCon 04 Freenet – Ian Clarke

Theres a common theme running through Notcon04, the serious lack of questions from the crowd. I mean in the freenet talk, there were 2 questions in the middle and only 1 at the end! Maybe next time I should just wait for someone to set up a live stream and listen from my home? Theres also been a serious lack of power generally for laptop users which seriously seems to be about 20% of people here. I'm one of the lucky ones sharing power with someone else and a wireless node through one plug. Reminds me next time to bring a cheap as chips Ikea 3 ways. Saying that the wireless has been pretty consistent, with free2air ssid on the top floor and notcon ssid on the ground floor. Anyway on with the second part of peer2peer…

Why do we need annoymus peer2peer networks? because we have realised were not actually annoymus on the internet since napster. Hey isnt annoyminty a given right in this country? Mantis works different from freenet, people know what being shared – sounds interesting. They believe in clients/servers and peers unlike the freenet emerging system. Mantis based on MUTE – Problems with Mute, avi files are large and peers are selfish. Mantis is all three hats at once, you share with 5 people all the time. It sounds more like 6 degrees than emergance – Now thats interesting, new take on p2p. Every node is a leaf of a tree and they dont actually know how big the tree is or what another branch are doing. When nodes find each other for large download they use a back stream, where the server spoofs its IP and just sends the file. What happens when isp dont allowed spoofed traffic, well it starts with Stupidly spoofed addresses then tries more legitmit addresses till it gives up. If Isp's use real filters then Matis will die but it will stop DOS attacks, worms and virus which usually spoof ip addresses anyway. Disadvantage, Matis is open to the man in the middle attack because the client doesnt know the real address of the server. Matis should be out this summer…

P2PQ – sharing your knowledge online and maybe selling it? Its a client server knowledge management system. To ask a question you only need to use a webpage and ask your question. The server sends the question onwards to a pool of randomly choosen person. They dont have a category list, the list just grows depending on the questions asked. The answers are then displayed like a google search page. You make money by reverse SMS billing, humm interesting but what happens when you got google in your hand? However can work by people offering there services. So for example user asks for a lift to airport, people respond with a cost amount to take the person to the airport. Akin – needs developers to take it to 1.0.

Darker Bit torrent –
Bittorrent at the moment is too loud, shouts out and says I use bittorrent. Performance modelling = boring but kinda of interesting in a geeky way.
Darker ways – Redirection, Steganorgraphy, Publish, publish, publish
A bit like how in contact the movie the sound wave has pictures and maps inside of the orginal signal – very cool!
How can they stop us? Taking bandwidth away and taking the boxes away through laws. A darker bit torrent inst a huge advance but fun. – –

Gmail search and content discovery – Simulating p2p with gmail.
content discovery – looking at content by consensus, do you agree with content? Historical facts usually has consensus but looking for the best trance song may not.
search – can we take an overview of searching, like the google page rank? worked on freenet and injected a file fill with metadata back into freenet. Most people dont like to rate content but the people who do are usually blogger types. If you get bloggers to submit ratings meta into gmail you could search on that? Yes i'm lost too! need to get the page and read it again. Will email and ask for the web address. Ah I think I know what he's getting at. He's more interested in a system which searchs for people not the content. As you will trust your searches with that person more.

Tansparent socity the book comes up in the questioning. Is there really conflict between privicy and freedom of information. Akin makes the point that the triangle is unbalanced because we can only make our feelings felt once every 4 years. While the government can make its feeling felt about what we do when ever they like.
Ahh good question Paula, the nodes are starting to built up a database of rep and respect for certain other nodes, the nodes wear hats. We need to beable to throw away our hats and dis-connect ourselves from the rep. Its kind of like losing your ebay account, but its linked up to the 160 char string in freenet. You own the ID not the ID owning you…

Shame I missed Politics on the net- NotCon04 Politics ON the net

Looking back
Pictures from notcon04 by the way
I have to say I really enjoyed the day, the wireless was pretty good even with a lot of people using there laptops. The search for power to charge laptops was a bit of a bugger but not all bad. If I had my scooter, I would have brough my 15 meters extention cable and a couple of ikea 3 ways. Maybe next time I will bring it for sure, I know lot of laptop users would have said thanks if I did. Just interesting enough a lot of the mac users! But saying that there were tons of PC users more than mac users at least.
Other things, I wish there was a way to have been at most of the sessions. Putting two great sessions back to back was frustrating, I actually kept running up and down stairs trying to get into each one. And when you got downstairs the serious lack of chairs made it feel very uncomfitable. I would have said most of the session downstairs should have took place upstairs where there was lots of room. But god couldnt someone have straighten the white sheet behind the speakers? I mean at least put some bricks or something on the sheet so it was at least plauseable as a screen? I missed the closing spech because I was in the bar talking to the guys from the peer 2 peer session, but I felt there needed to be somekind of chillout or sligtly clubby? music after the event so people could sit and talk about the day. Oh that reminds me the gaps between sessions were pretty small. I mean 30mins for lunch? I ran down to south kesington station and ran back to make the bristol wireless and wireless in general sessions. Besides all that it was great and much better run that other events I have been to before. I felt quite at home just tapping someone on the back and asking them a question. Man I even went to dinner (wagamma's?) with a group of people I only met 2 hrs before. Wicked stuff, cant wait for the next one, and maybe this time I will do a talk myself…

Respect to all the crew for making it happen, see you in November?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and