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Web of Trust Audio News Distribution 168

Posted by michael
from the happy-birthday-stephanie dept.
c0rtex writes "Wearlab (University of Bremen) has designed a cool web of trust voice message routing system with a decaying credibility metric. It supports xmms and winamp. Source available for Linux and win32. "MPN makes it possible to deliver completely decentralized and independent news. Everyone has the possibility to be a reporter, no filtering publisher is required...""
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Web of Trust Audio News Distribution

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  • by tps12 (105590) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:38PM (#4858182) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like Slashdot.
    • by ekrout (139379) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:42PM (#4858216) Journal
      I visit Slashdot, but I'm skeptical as to whether the true spirit of the original site will persist.

      The ideas and expressions that once comprised geek culture have changed so much that the original Slashdot themes of individualist strength and moral integrity in the face of monopolistic powers will probably be cast aside in favor of a more contemporary populist sensibility.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Annonymous Coward --
        We are legion, come, join us!
      • "I visit Slashdot, but I'm skeptical as to whether the true spirit of the original site will persist.
        The ideas and expressions that once comprised geek culture have changed so much that the original Slashdot themes of individualist strength and moral integrity in the face of monopolistic powers will probably be cast aside in favor of a more contemporary populist sensibility."


        I ache for a Bable Fish.
    • I have been tracking said Slashdot metrics and found that there was a significant drop relating to some -Junis- activity.

      Slurpees [angelfire.com]?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:40PM (#4858200)
    Quick! Call John Ashcroft! These pirates want to take copyrighted "news stories" and distribute them freely! This will take away the incentive for news to occur. News occurs only because news has an incentive to occur. Take away that incentive and it won't occur anymore. See what you've done? You can't just take news and distribute it without lots of damage. I say it's time for an FBI raid.
    • Quick! Call John Ashcroft! These pirates want to take copyrighted "news stories" and distribute them freely!

      Nah, if you really want to shut it down, point out to the Oval Office that this network could be used during Desert Storm II: The Final Battle (coming Spring 2003, buy your tickets) to provide uncensored reports of the results of U.S. military operations. You'll have the FBI kicking this guy's door in within an hour.

      Jay (=
  • by Greedo (304385) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:41PM (#4858213) Homepage Journal
    ... but someone seems to have their caps-lock key stuck.

    A whole page of CAPS? My eyes started to hurt after the 3rd paragraph.
  • Oh no... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bdesham (533897) <bdesham@ g m ail.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:42PM (#4858215) Journal
    ...now we can have /.-style moderation of the news...

    Al-Qaeda Destroys White House, Pentagon (-1, Troll)
  • Why bother? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aridhol (112307) <ka_lac@hotmail.com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:43PM (#4858232) Homepage Journal
    Why would I bother with something like this? If I want local news, I know where to find it on the web. I can find personal home pages near me through the local ISPs. Why do I need yet another way to get information?

    In addition, I'd rather read my news. It lets me go at my own pace, skip over the summary to the details, translate it, easily quote from it for rebuttal, etc.

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by smd4985 (203677) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:49PM (#4858298) Homepage
      I think it would be useful to have a moderated discussion without having to maintain a bunch of central servers.

      1) like p2p, it seems to leverage the resources of every partipant on the network.
      2) like slashdot, it vests control of what is heard in a distributed way, as certain (all?) nodes will moderate what is listened to.

      i agree applications currently seems non-existent, but like all research i think exploring the system is a good idea in and of itself.
      • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aridhol (112307)
        OK, but why do it in audio then? Text is more portable, you don't need to worry about having the correct codec. It would use less bandwidth. It would give just as much information (or possibly more, 'cause you can put more in without worrying about bandwidth).
        • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

          "OK, but why do it in audio then? Text is more portable, you don't need to worry about having the correct codec. It would use less bandwidth. It would give just as much information (or possibly more, 'cause you can put more in without worrying about bandwidth)."

          I have days at work where I'm working on visual projects (I.e. artwork or a demo or something), and I'm basically running on auto-pilot. On those days, I listen to music. I've had days, though, where I'd rather listen to the news. Now remember, my eyes are occupied so reading the text is out of the question. Fortunately, I have a local news station that does audio streaming. The only downside is that they think Dr. Laura needs to be on in the morning.

          There's other reasons too. I'm just giving you an example of why this article caught my eye.

          The problem with saying "why do I need this?" is that what you're really saying is "I can make due without it if I just work harder!" Well, that's pretty much true of any technology. "I don't need glasses, I can just move my face closer to the monitor!" See what I'm saying? That's just not a useful attitude to have. If you're not sold on something, it's because you're not getting it. It's not because there's a fundamental problem with it.
          • If you're not sold on something, it's because you're not getting it. It's not because there's a fundamental problem with it.

            So, there's no such thing as stupid ideas... merely stupid people who don't get it?

            Most slashdotters are what the marketroids call "early adopters". We eagerly seek new technology which either solves problems, or is just interesting per se. While some of us are quick to dismiss off-the wall ideas, others are more open minded. But to say that anyone who isn't sold on a concept just "doesn't get it" is quite an insult.

            If I were you, I would give a little more credit to even the knee-jerk responses that are posted here. If we early adopters don't "get it", then niether will the broader public, and thus the idea will most likely fail.
    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qrlx (258924) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:55PM (#4858350) Homepage Journal
      Why do I need yet another way to get information?

      You could have made that same argument before the advent of the Internet, you know. Want local news? Hang out at the barbershop. The coffee house. Talk to the kids on the street. Attend a city hall meeting.

      I do agree that reading would be way better than just audio. There's simply no point to limiting the "stream" to audio-only. I can understand a bandwidth cap, but there should be a way to introduce a text stream, and maybe a video stream if exists the bandwitdh to push it without crowding out others.

      It has become increasingly obvious that The Names You've Gradually Grown To Trust (like NYT) are less and less worthy of that trust -- marketing and the need for sensationalism drives their agenda and clouds their judgement. I get my news from The Economist and Funny Times and everything in between. The more sources, the better!
      • Before the internet, how would you get non-local news? How could you be active in a discussion that includes people from around the world?

        What does this new system give us that we don't already have?

        • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mackstann (586043)
          How could you be active in a discussion that includes people from around the world?

          What does this new system give us that we don't already have?

          fair enough, but..

          Before the internet, how would you get non-local news?

          you know, the world didnt go straight from horse & buggy to the internet, there WAS a world before the internet! remember TV news? newspapers? magazines? hello???

          • Maybe I said that wrong. I didn't mean getting non-local news. I meant discussing it (as in the barbershop example given above).
      • Re:Why bother? (Score:2, Informative)

        by John Hasler (414242)
        > It has become increasingly obvious that The Names
        > You've Gradually Grown To Trust (like NYT) are
        > less and less worthy of that trust...

        No they haven't. They were never worthy of the trust you put in them.
      • weeow, shit (Score:3, Funny)

        by _KhlER3L (601441)
        Want local news? Hang out at the barbershop. The coffee house. Talk to the kids on the street. Attend a city hall meeting.

        You mean, go outside? Well, fuck me, I'll try anything once!

        _khl

  • biteme (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nanite (220404) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:44PM (#4858239)
    Sound cool, but what keeps people from spreading false news around? Any enterprising young H.G. Wells want to pull a 'War of the Worlds' all over again?

    Nan
    • I think the idea would be that as people realize that a person's credibility is poor, they will decrease the "credibility rating" they give to that person, so gradually they will be shut up by the system. As to how well this will actually work, I have some doubts :)
      • Imagine eBay had no feedback except a 1-10 numerical score for each seller/buyer. A fraud artist makes sure to make a number of 100% honest purchases/sales, delivered/paid for promptly. Then (s)he simultaneously bilks a bunch of people who haven't had a chance to see anything but the initial glowing feedback. A lot of damage has been done in a short period of time, the fraud artist starts again with a new user ID. As long as user ID's are not "tied" to the user, this system could work for "news credibility" or any similar system.
    • H.G. Wells wrote the book, but it was Orson Welles that spread it on the radio. Theres no relation. Its just coincedence that thier last names are pronounced the same.
    • You mean the man who wrote and produced the radio play that produced panic in 1938 - Orson Wells, not Herbert George Wells, the man who wrote the book in 1898 well before the advent of commercial radio.

      Welles made an change in the way the play was produced: under his direction the play was written and performed so it would sound like a news broadcast about an invasion from Mars, a technique that, presumably, was intended to heighten the dramatic effect.

      Read the story at War of the Worlds, Orson Welles [transparencynow.com].
    • Re:biteme (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilviper (135110)
      What keeps a random website from spreading false news? What keeps slashdot from spreading false news? What keeps cnn.com from spreading false news? What keeps anyone from spreading false news? What keeps me from walking up to you and telling you your car is on fire?
      • Uh... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheAwfulTruth (325623) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @08:54PM (#4859095) Homepage
        Slashdot does it ALL THE TIME. Spreading false and misleading news. And when it happens 90% of everyone here swallows it hook line and sinker. Never bothering to check the actual article or any other sources that may contain possibly contradictory information. Slashdot has posted completely false stories and frequently picks out inflamitory and mostly incorrect stories to feed our insatiable lust for gossip.

        Slashdot is itself one of the best examples of why this will fail as a "news" source. Slashdot is a self-feeding FUD machine where people come to hear what they want to hear and to oppress any thought that they do not want to consider. Slashdot is a popular gossip site but is an utter failure as a "news" site.

        So if what you want is a giant audio gossip system, It'll go gang-busters. But reliable news? Not possible. You'll get prefiltered news for a particular segment of people. Anyone with an unpopular opinion will be "untrusted" out of the system just like they are "moderated" out of the system here. Popular news for the popular masses is no news at all.
        • Slashdot does it ALL THE TIME.

          And if the main stories could be moderated, slashdot would be seriously untrusted.

          Sure, slashdot is terrible as a news site, but nobody trusts it as a news site, just as nobody trusts any site that is not accurate. Sure, some people will distrust those sources that don't slant news to their views, but I suspect that enough people will trust the accurate reporting that it won't be a problem. The only things that stand to loose out are the extremeist news sources that put their slant on everything.

          Besides, so what if it fails? It's worth the risk just on the odd chance that is does work out well. It's not that you loose out because of their efforts. I'd be willing to work on the project myself just to try and break out of the current rut of every news source just being a mouthpiece.
      • What keeps a random website from spreading false news?

        Nothing.

        What keeps slashdot from spreading false news?

        Theoretically moderation and Malda et al. Otherwise, the vague sense that they'd like to be taken seriously. Beyond that...nothing.

        What keeps cnn.com from spreading false news?

        The fact that they can be held publicly accountable. Libel/slander lawsuits prevent them from spreading false news about a particular person or organization. Public/political/advertiser pressure prevent them from spreading patently false news. Their reputation is important to them and they should, theoretically anyway, protect that.

        What's cool about this idea is that you get your news weighted and vetted by people you consider trustworthy. The downside is that you need to already have a network of these people and have to know how much you can trust their judgement. If you already have such a network however, you're probably already getting emails/IMs from these people saying, "d00d...did you see this article over on totallyfuckingcoolnews.com," which renders this system redundant.

        Personally, all the people that I would trust to point out interesting news to me are getting their info from the same places I am.

        Cool in principle anyway. I agree with the poster who said something to the effect of, "just because you don't see the use for this doesn't mean it's not cool."

        BFL
        • The answer is "nothing" to all of them. If one of these sources was not accurate, people would just ignore the 'news' they report in the future.

          Perhaps I should have included "The Sun" and "The Inquirer" in my list.
    • "Sound cool, but what keeps people from spreading false news around? Any enterprising young H.G. Wells want to pull a 'War of the Worlds' all over again?"

      Common sense. Don't believe me? Look at the people who still insist the moon landing was faked.
    • There seems to be some lumping together going on here. A Slashdot-like moderation system is not exactly the same thing as a web-of-trust (unless you would consider every moderator on /. to be trusted by you). The web of trust would be more like saying, "mod all comments posted by my friends +1, and all comments by my foes -1".

      This way, a post could be widely popular, but you and your group would be less likely to see it above your threshold if your peers didn't generally like it.

      That's a simplification. Naturally, look up "web of trust" on el goog for more information.

  • Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by droid_rage (535157) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:45PM (#4858254) Journal
    One of the key concepts of developing technology that depends on decentralization is simplicity.
    Setting this up will not be simple. You have to chose who you trust and how much of what they trust you trust. In order to do that, you have to get some idea what a whole bunch of people like. Getting this up and working correctly will be a headache.
    Now, a directed news system based on previous picks and voting a la amazon might not be a bad idea...
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:45PM (#4858259) Homepage Journal
    I MEAN, COME ON, POSTING TECHNICAL SPECS IN ALL CAPS? AND THAT BACKGROUND CHOICE?

    Also, the problem with "decentralized news" is the same problem with posts to /. - people .

    Do you really want your news be mostly "First Post", penis bird, goatse.cx, Beowulf clusters of grits, and NPN&P?

    Until you have a means of creating a real trust metric, so that I can insure those I get my news from are marginally competent, the distribution method is meaningless.

    And please, don't suggest M1 and M2 for news....
    • The funny thing about your post is that it proved to me the exact oppisite of what it said. As I scroll down the page here i see no "First Post", penis bird, goatse.cx, Beowulf clusters of grits, and NPN&P. Thats because I have my threashold set high enough to filter all of those out. No, Its not perfect but Its not bad either. I think thats what they're trying to do here. Allow anyone to publish, but have a distributed moderation system.
      • Ah, yes, but look at what the very first moderation to my post was:

        -1 Troll.

        Also, look at how high you have your threshold set - mine is set to 3, just to cut the crap factor down to a reasonable level.
        • Ah yes, but see how that fixed itself? Your comment did make a good point but some ass-hole modded your post down. Since most of the moderators are not ass-holes, they recognized this and modded you back up and now you are above my threashold. Thats how I saw your post to reply to it.

          FYI, mine is set to 3 aswell
          • So you probably can't see your own comment then...since it's only got a 2.
            • Nope, I can't. But the important parts of this argument were the orgional message and my reply. Which are rated 4 and 3 right now :) But that dosent really matter. The point I was trying to make is that the moderation system on slashdot produces acceptiable(sp?) results. Some good comments dont get moded up, and some bad ones do. Like I said its not perfect, but is is good enough.
        • It was marked a troll because before you made your good point, you trolled for AOL users.
    • > Do you really want your news be mostly "First
      > Post", penis bird, goatse.cx, Beowulf clusters of
      > grits, and NPN&P?

      No. If I wanted that I'd watch television.
  • Great..... (Score:2, Funny)

    by kinshadow (548757)

    Now I get to hear those "In Soviet Russia" jokes over my web radio.

  • by johnthorensen (539527) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:46PM (#4858263)
    The technology claims to be able to provide "news that you can trust in", but it should be noted that trust != truth.

    As in traditional trust systems (Karma, anyone?), someone being trusted does not necessarily mean that their information is valid.

    -JT
    • by ImaLamer (260199)
      This will let even more people say that you can't believe anything on the Internet.

      Now I've even got computer professors telling me that line, and I don't think it's something that can be perpetuated to much. There is credible information.

      What is needed is something better, this does nothing to improve on the confidence of users. If we had a system that used already published material, donated to the public domain with all brandings intact (FDL-like?), then anything I serve will automatically carry more weight.

      There isn't much wrong with news that is published today - the problem is that mainstream news goes through those editors that control what gets reported. A system needs to be designed which spreads less reported news, and archives news.

      Actually it hits on a good idea, decentralization is the key to free news, and maybe users can add their own comments but that doesn't belong in the system. If the system uses "copyrighted" or should I say "published" news then their branding would hold that trust, your own "made up" news would hold your branding so then I would know who to trust. Public key signing comes to mind when thinking of how to keep that "branding" authentic.

      But I think an even bigger system is in order. (Right now in fact I was going to look for web-space to lay out my full plans for this system) I think with the amount of information that is out there through PBS, Discovery (and their many networks), et. al. we should/could put together a gnutella-like system to share information in video form.

      Taking the strain off of the producers of these videos bandwidth could swing favor to get some published over a P2P system. A system which can bring up videos (streaming... peercast?) on Ancient Egypt or NASA would be a great educational tool and would liken to cable in the classroom.

      There is a lot more details that I have worked out, but I'm not going to bother right now.

      Basically P2P systems can be more than music and pr0n (not that I complain). We should use these systems because I see an Internet in the future which says double you, double you, who?!

      • Christ, you are a lamer.

        What is needed is something better, this does nothing to improve on the confidence of users. If we had a system that used already published material, donated to the public domain with all brandings intact (FDL-like?), then anything I serve will automatically carry more weight.

        What gives PBS and Discovery credibility or authority? How do we crib that and make it available to the netizens. Empower us to make rather than just consume; PBS can play as one more peer. These folks at MPN have the right idea, explore ways to crack the credibility nut.
    • The news outlets claims to be able to provide "news", but it should be noted that "printed word" != truth.

      As in any news systems, someone being said something does not necessarily mean that their information is valid.

      -VD

      P.S. Man, this is exactly what this system is about. You have to work it out. YOU've got to decide what is worth your attention, and what is not.
    • Assertion: In order to accept something as truth, trust is required if you can't verify it directly through personal experience.

      Is that an absolute or is there a way around that? Your point (trust != truth) is valid but the point it suggests (that it requiring trust is a downside) is not valid. What's the alternative?

      Even relying on an "independent third party" to verify a happening only offloads the trust burden. It's still there.

      Perhaps a network of verification sources where their combined viability is inversely proportional to the connection between the sources? (If they're in bed together often, then they're not as trustworthy put together.)
  • by core plexus (599119) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:46PM (#4858269) Homepage
    not only does there seem to be a large number of audio-related posts this day, but...

    I can't remember when the last time I listened or watched a news program. I find that I can suck up all the news I need from less than a dozen sites (including /., of course) during the course of a day and all my reading and clicking is still less than the 11-15 minutes of someone droning on between advertisements backed up by video clips and sound bites.

    "Hey! Who grabbed my ass?"

  • by ChrisNowinski (606426) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:46PM (#4858274) Homepage
    If it means your computer broadcasts other peoples voices on your computer, imagine what damage would be caused by someone reading breaking news stories for a day or two (getting trust), and then screaming out stories like "I spanked your mom! GOATSE!" all day.

    Much like slashdot, actually.
    • "If it means your computer broadcasts other peoples voices on your computer, imagine what damage would be caused by someone reading breaking news stories for a day or two (getting trust), and then screaming out stories like "I spanked your mom! GOATSE!" all day."

      Wait a minute.. are you saying that with the right pair of headphones I could listen to porn at work?!
  • Why audio? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by g4dget (579145) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:47PM (#4858281)
    Putting together a good news story with audio is much harder than writing. Why not start with a "credibility system" for text?
  • REALLY annoying spam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nsample (261457) <nsampleNO@SPAMstanford.edu> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:48PM (#4858287) Homepage


    For better or worse (almost certainly worse), spammers will target this sort of medium with a fury. It's a medium for open *audio* transmissions... it's like telemarketing, sans feedback.

    Hopefully there will be an additional decision metric that allows users to selectively change their rankings for messages that they've listened to. If I like something, I want to give it a +1 regardless of which ID it came from! Then again, spammers want the capability to do the same thing.


    *sigh*

    • Yeah, I couldn't agree with you more here. Look at commercial, privatized radio...it's like 60% advertisements (perhaps 30% advertisements and 30% ads thinly vieled as songs). Think about email...about 1/3 of email is spam. What's gonna happen when you combine these two together?
  • by PFactor (135319) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:48PM (#4858292) Journal
    I think that crackdowns on P2P-ers will be dramatically smaller than what will happen to those that use this. Once people start using this to "publish" information that [insert evil government of choice here] doesn't want widely publicized, expect all hades to break loose.

    Add the "traditional" news outlets (who aren't nearly as flexible and fast moving as they'd like to believe) into the fray and you have tons of people in whose best interest it is that this never take off.

    Of course, all the above reasons are why I absolutely LOVE this idea!
  • by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003@colum[ ].edu ['bia' in gap]> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:49PM (#4858294) Homepage Journal
    I see two ways this could work, depending on how most people configure themselves.

    1) The plurality opinion, among those who care enough to broadcast, dominates what is "credible." Aliens kidnap people. School prayer should be mandatory. The list goes on. The internet is already like this.

    2) The service fragments into cliques. You only hear from people who agree with you. Within any given clique, whatever you already believe to be true - this is credible. Nothing else is. The internet is already like this.

    The big advantage to this is that it will give anti-p2p lawyers brain hemmorhages. As soon as p2p is a delivery vehicle, even secondarily, for political speech, it is sacrosanct. Untouchable. Yippee.
    • Exactly. You only have to look at those insane "indy media" sites, or hell, look at Kuro5hin to see what happens when the lunatics run the asylum.

      As much contempt as I have for the national media and professional reporters in general (they are generally the least intelligent people in any profession), they at least half-try to check facts and do multiple sourcing.

    • Ah, but there is one very important point you are missing, well actually two points:

      Point 1: This re-establishes the freedom of choice about where people get their news and stay informed about their world. No longer will peole be beholden to the large corporate monied interests.

      Point 2: Although it is true, that most of the alternative news sources lack credibility, isn't that the whole point of a free press? Like any darwinian game, the more credible sources will eventually establish themseleves as such through the decntralized and emerging reputations systems of the net. That is real democracy. Again, news filtered through reputation not who has the most money to throw at it.

      Planet P [planetp.cc] - Liberty with Technology.
    • by twitter (104583)
      you don't see much, and that is your choice. You say. I see two ways this could work, depending on how most people configure themselves.

      1) The plurality opinion, among those who care enough to broadcast, dominates what is "credible." Aliens kidnap people. School prayer should be mandatory. The list goes on. The internet is already like this.

      So you want to kill the internet too?

      2) The service fragments into cliques. You only hear from people who agree with you. Within any given clique, whatever you already believe to be true - this is credible. Nothing else is. The internet is already like this.

      What's new? People pass what they hear through a bullshit filter called education and experience. Your post put mine offscale, and the flaws were easily demonstrated. The internet brought me this silly post of yours extolling lawyers with brain hemmorages. The same page your message came in had useful content. I suppose I could tell my agent to block your account, but that might keep me from reading something you say one day that makes sense.

      Choice and freedom to chose are good. Contemptuous ignorance is anoying.

  • Uses? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnthorensen (539527) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:50PM (#4858306)
    As far as I can tell, actual real-life uses for this are not really in the area of getting the daily news. Rather, it seems better suited to "man-on-the-street" type coverage where unfamiliar parties are thrown together. Perhaps some types of urban warfare??? It's not so hard to envision trust metrics changing based on the consortium-of-the-week in some third-world environment where transmissions need to be made in the clear but some sort of filter is necessary and identity verification is important.

    -JT
  • by Torinaga-Sama (189890) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @06:52PM (#4858320) Homepage
    I barely trust people who make a living on knowing what they are talking about.

    Maybe I don't understand the underlying concept, but it sounds kinda like a big game of telephone.

    Also what good is a source that cannot be identified outright? How will this get us unfiltered news when the you have to filter everything (in your head) for truth or logic?

    If I miss the point please explain as this has piqued my interest.
    • All information gathered is suspect. Philosophy 101 teaches us that our sensorium and interpreters are imperfect. Even the news on TV and in the news is full of bias and inaccuracies. That is the nature of any medium, though, so this concept doesn't introduce any real new trust issues.

      As with the source that cannot be identified, trust is again necessary. Do you really KNOW who's writing the stories for TV/Radio? Probably not, and even if the reporter reading the story actually wrote it, you have no way of knowing immediately whether or not they speak the truth.

      You can, however, research their information for inconsistencies and what-not.

      Back to the issue of unidentified sources, if someone using a handle gains a reputation for accurate reportage, they might become thought of as a reliable source. This is entirely based on perception, as we have no real determination for the credibility of an academic journal versus a tabloid.

      Finally, this can be likened to any Newsgroup service, only with P2P format, advanced preferences, and alternate media streams. Do you trust your Newsgroup? Do you trust the opinions of particular people due to the consistency and accuracy of their posts? If so, then this technology may be useful to you. If not, then you are well off without it. For that matter, do you implicitly trust Slashdot without research and consistency of journalism? :D

      Ultimately, though, no distribution medium is without error. However, this broadcast medium excites me a great deal.

      • Thank you for your insight.

        I may check it out eventually. I don't usually read newsgroups, except on things that I confirm true, such as how to accomplish a task using Perl, but even then I find it is easier to just search the web. I tend not to deal in anything that would be considered "news" without the anti-bs goggles.
  • But who are we kidding, people?

    We have seen how long it's taken Linux and its related applications to gain acceptance. When Microsoft executives aren't crying to the press about us "communists" as we've been labelled, we find Linux getting a bad name for itself by information technology research groups like Gardner and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    Decentralized news seems nice, but that's until one thinks about financing such an endeavor.

    I ask you now, in front of your friends and peers:

    - Who will pay the on-air personalities?
    - Who will pay the reporters?
    - Who would write code updates for free?
    - Who would prevent Digital Rights Management (DRM) from becoming the black plague of Decentralized News Services (DNS)?

    There are so many great ideas out there, people. So many. And I wish they could all succeed, but the hard facts and Lady Luck don't seem to be on the side of those who ignore capitalistic principles.

    This is America. It's not East Germany circa 1940. It's not China under Mao. It's America under George W. Bush, and "because it's cool and geeky" just doesn't cut it anymore.

    Money talks, the economy sucks, and free-spirited software movements are on the out and out.
    • And what exactly are the differences between those three examples? Oh, wait. I know. George W. is taking our rights away for our own good, to protect us from terrorists.
    • Ummm, as far as payment I'm guessing time is dedicated for free, as it oftne is, and will be in the future.

      But, you seem to be trolling anyhow, I probably shouldn't have fed you.
    • This is America? Anyone have the demographics stats on slashdot visitors? Are you *really* sure that 'this is America'?

    • >> - Who will pay the on-air personalities?
      >> - Who will pay the reporters?

      Who pays for the kuro5hin articles? [kuro5hin.org]
      Who paid you for your 588 /. comments? [slashdot.org]

      >> - Who would write code updates for free?

      Who wrote Scoop? [kuro5hin.org]

      >> - Who would prevent Digital Rights Management (DRM) from becoming the black plague of Decentralized News Services (DNS)?

      Who prevents it from becoming the bane of /.? The EFF and ACLU might even want to have a say in this matter...

      >> This is America. It's not East Germany circa 1940.

      I'm not American, you insensitive clod. Actually the project is happening in Bremen, former Western Germany, which in 1940 was part of "das Reich" - and solidly unified with what would later become Eastern Germany, Austria, Poland and Soviet Russia. (Where history learns YOU!)
      • Actually the project is happening in Bremen, former Western Germany, which in 1940 was part of "das Reich" - and solidly unified with what would later become Eastern Germany, Austria, Poland and Soviet Russia. (Where history learns YOU!)

        Use the Preview Button! Or whatever. I meant to say, that it "would later become Eastern Germany, Austria and part of Poland and Soviet Russia.
    • You've got to be kidding. It sounds like you believe that basically any adopted cause, anything that "gets done" has to be able to be explained by economic principles in order for it to be viable or free.

      Capitalism does not surround (nor does it claim to) principles like passion, integrity, emotionality. Your questions are false:

      - Who will pay the on-air personalities?

      Maybe no one. Maybe the on-air personalities that only would do it for money wouldn't have a place. But who says there wouldn't be on-air personalities that would be willing to do it for free? It happens all the time.

      - Who will pay the reporters?

      Maybe no one needs to. I write brief articles all the time for free. I wouldn't do it forty hours a week for free. But look at indymedia. They don't get paid. A lot of the articles suck and the veracity is suspect, but some of them are good.

      - Who would write code updates for free?

      Uh. Duh. Halfway through my reply I'm wondering if I got sucked into some troll's logic. People do it sometimes not for the promise of future money, but because they CARE.

      I don't understand your fourth question.

      There are a lot of things that shouldn't exist due to economic theory, but do anyway. The only people that this confuses are those that stupidly insist that economic theory should apply to causes that didn't even come from economic ideals.

  • by bittmann (118697) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:01PM (#4858395) Journal
    I mean, think of it this way...

    So we have the opportunity to pick up "news" that is placed in front of us by people who are unaccountable for the veracity of the facts they present, who are driven by their own agendas, who are shamelessly self-promoting, who in some cases are not experienced nor educated in the subjects on which they report, and who are unlikely to hesitate before reporting information that is confidential, damaging, endangering, or even (legally) secret.

    On the other hand, we could get our news from "Web of Trust"...

    (grin)
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:02PM (#4858406) Homepage Journal
    Might be a good way for musicians to distribute music, and vote the cream to the top.
    But people *reading* their news? I can barely stand listening to regular people talk (Here in MN).

    God forbid someone from Minnesota reads the news.

    "YAAAAAAA...tudayee its reahl col, yah. Daah Nord Chore got some wedder 'day. Yahh. Dat 'torm waz ah reahl bigun, donchaa know...YAAAAAAAAAAAAA it wahz..." *Shudder*

    Perhaps we can just make it text-based.

  • by ekrout (139379) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:05PM (#4858430) Journal

    I've been reading about decentralized news for quite awhile now and have been waiting for some real, concrete results/products to be released. As such, here are some of my Mozilla bookmarks from my Decentralized News folder. Please enjoy!

    infoAnarchy || Comments || The Circle: a new decentralized search ... [infoanarchy.org]
    ... Gossip: This is a decentralized news service, with a trust system kind of
    like Advogato. Nodes on the network swap gossip with their friends. ...
    www.infoanarchy.org/comments/ 2002/1/15/82223/3481?pid=1 - 12k - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    Scripting News [userland.com]
    ... Call us cockroaches if you want, I'm sure IBM thought Apple, Microsoft and Intel
    were cute and dirty too, but distributed and decentralized news is rapidly ...
    scriptingnews.userland.com/backIssues/2002/02/15 - 25k - Dec. 9, 2002 - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    Research News: TVC Alert, 31 May 2002 [virtualchase.com]
    ... Before summarizing software available for reading RSS/XML news feeds (end of article),
    the author opines about the value of decentralized news or information ...
    www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/may02/31may02.html - 38k - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    Hoosier Review [hoosierreview.com]
    ... used to their privileges as brokers of information in a top-down world, threatened
    by the rise of new, bizarre, egalitarian and decentralized news sources? ...
    www.hoosierreview.com/musgrave10.html - 12k - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    Netizens Info [columbia.edu]
    ... Non-electronic Reference Sources. Bellovin, Steve M. and Mark Horton, USENET
    - A Distributed Decentralized News System, an unpublished manuscript, 1985. ...
    www.columbia.edu/~hauben/CMC/netizen_thoughts.ht ml - 11k - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    www.columbia.edu/~hauben/CS/netizen_thoughts.txt [columbia.edu]
    ... and future of the data highway Non-electronic Reference Sources Bellovin, Steve
    M. and Mark Horton, USENET - A Distributed Decentralized News System, an ...
    8k - Cached [216.239.51.100]
    [ More results from www.columbia.edu [slashdot.org] ]

    MetaLog [larkfarm.com]
    ... just recycled news from major outlets. But what the weblogs did do
    was provide a decentralized news source. At a time when all of ...
    www.larkfarm.com/metalog.asp - 18k - Dec. 9, 2002 -

    Michael Barone [jewishworldreview.com]
    ... years ago. That's how it's bound to be in a country with increasingly
    decentralized news media and a fragmented electorate. The ...
    www.jewishworldreview.com/michael/barone100300.a sp - 17k - Dec. 9, 2002 - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    SubIntSoc.net: The Suboctagon Report - The Center Cannot Hold, ... [subintsoc.net]
    ... Another example: personal video cameras. People on the streets with cameras formed
    a decentralized news-gathering system that the TV networks couldn't match. ...
    subintsoc.net/suboctagon_20011121.php - 39k - Dec. 9, 2002 - Cached [216.239.51.100]

    Wired Online: Brain Tennis [lycos.com]
    ... Or will the many-to-many nature of the Net lead to self-correcting, decentralized
    news media that nobody owns and everybody contributes to? ...
    hotwired.lycos.com/braintennis/96/23/index2a.htm l - 11k -

  • How would people be able to filter out what's signal and what's just plain noise?
  • OGG.DLL Where? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yelligsc (451575)

    Alright.. Im stupid. I tried to install this thing, but it keeps complaining about not having an OGG.DLL. Where can I get it?

    Scott.
  • by limekiller4 (451497) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:23PM (#4858536) Homepage
    From the site [wearlab.de]:
    You want to hear news every 10 minutes? Fine.
    You want to hear only one minute each hour? Also fine.
    You want to hear the news as soon as possible? Why not.
    You want news from another country? Who does not.
    You want news from a specific person? Go ahead.
    You want to know about a specific topic? Sure.
    You want news you can trust in? That is our business.


    Yeah, it's the last item that bugs me. Trust is still being vested in someone to create the trust model.

    Someone has to be holding the keys and the keys here are the weights. For example, the rate of trust decay could be increased to marginalize the "small reporter." I'm not suggesting that these guys are some ill-intentioned neer-do-well's, I'm just suggesting that keys of power are merely being shifted, not eliminated.

    Frankly, if I'm wrong, someone PLEASE speak up and tell me why. I've never wanted to be so wrong in my life. =)
    • The way I understand the system, you control the rate of trust decay by assigning weights to each of your friends in the network.

      If you trust everyone with weight 1.0 (implicit total trust), then your node will not contribute to decay.
  • by slipgun (316092) on Tuesday December 10, 2002 @07:32PM (#4858587)
    Everyone has the possibility to be a reporter, no filtering publisher is required...

    Sounds like a great place for Jon Katz.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have read most of the posts here, and most of you don't realize that this was made with 'wearable' in mind. Meaning that you have a slow connection to the internet, and a quick connection to the intranet. Let me give you an example. You have a wearable device that has a 128kbps uplink (think cellmodem) and you have an IR port on your shoulder that can communicate with other people within the line of sight at 4mb/sec. With this system, your buddy who listens to the radio can record and re-distribute the stories to his buddies over the IR link. If you bump into them during the day, you could instantly be updated on the latest news.
  • heh (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by zapfie (560589)
    Someone needs to introduce the webmaster of that site to the wonderful concept of TURNING OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK KEY. SO THE WHOLE PAGE DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THIS.
    • You know what the truly funny part is? They didn't even have their Caps Lock key on. They wrote the whole text normally and then used css text-transform to have the browser make it uppercase. It took skill for them to make the web page that annoying to read...
  • I have to say that I echo the concerns that others have expressed over the reliability and veracity of news reports filed through an informal network of uncertified sources.

    News that you can't rely on to be timely *and* accurate is worse than no news at all.

    The big problem is that the immediacy (and high levels of competition) of news on the Net puts enormous pressure on publishers to be "first" with a breaking story and I've already witnessed numerous instances where this has resulted in even the "big names" getting their facts wrong.

    There are three factors that a news organization needs to be successful:

    1. Timeliness
    2. Accuracy
    3. Credibility

    Without the first two, you don't get the third -- but without the third, the first two are squandered.

    • > I have to say that I echo the concerns that
      > others have expressed over the reliability and
      > veracity of news reports filed through an
      > informal network of uncertified sources.

      Would you mind telling us who certifies news sources and why we should care?

      > News that you can't rely on to be timely *and*
      > accurate is worse than no news at all.

      Nonetheless that's just what we get from the conventional media.

      > I've already witnessed numerous instances where
      > this has resulted in even the "big names"
      > getting their facts wrong.

      I've seen no evidence that the "big names" are any more likely to get their facts right off the Net than on.
  • by Now15 (9715)
    APPARENTLY THE AUDIO QUALITY DECAYS ALONG WITH ITS CREDIBILITY, WHICH IS WHY IT'S NECESSARY TO SHOUT OUT EVERYTHING...

    --
    Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.
    Therefore, I have to pad my mildly chucklable reply with somewhat less funny text... honk honk!
  • Start an *internet* one.

    Simple: Use P2P and magnet links to distribute content. Have a bunch of online friends, say, 20, produce content. Then post a magnet link with the video. You can have weekly news, comments, animation, movies, whatever you want.

    It's possible, today, to start your own video distribution system. You can call it "video-blog" too, or "vilog".
  • Did anyone try to install this?

    I had a hell of a time, and you have to configure most of it by hand (re: pull out your editor and hit the conf files). I'm not usually against this sort of thing, being a System Admin, but geeeeesh.

    Granted I went the lame way out with Winders, but geeeeesh.

    Anyone have any luck?
    • I tried the win32 version, and after getting everything configured, I fire up winamp, choose the plugin...and winamp causes a GPF in kernel32.dll

      Oh well, time to sit on their ML and see what ideas they have.

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