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The Internet Software

The World Wide Computer, Monopolies and Control 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-cant-do-that-dave dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Nick Carr has generated a lot of discussion following his recent comments about the IT department fading away, but there are several other points he is trying to make about the rise of utility computing. He believes that the Web has evolved into a massive, programmable computer (the "World Wide Computer") that essentially lets any person or organization customize it to meet their needs. This relates to another trend he sees — a shift toward centralization. Carr draws interesting parallels to the rise of electricity suppliers during the Industrial Revolution. He says in a book excerpt printed on his blog that while decentralized technologies — the PC, Internet, etc. — can empower individuals, institutions have proven to be quite skilled at reestablishing control. 'Even though the Internet still has no center, technically speaking, control can now be wielded, through software code, from anywhere. What's different, in comparison to the physical world, is that acts of control become harder to detect and those wielding control more difficult to discern.'"
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The World Wide Computer, Monopolies and Control

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  • So just start a ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Talkischeap (306364) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:08PM (#22089258) Homepage

    So just start a solar/wind/hydro/? powered wireless world wide net.

    The Peoples Net

    Using off the shelf hardware (solar), it would be a one time cost of (US) $500.00 - $1000.00 to set up self powered node.

    I'm shooting from the hip on the costs here, but I used to install solar/hydro, so I'm prolly close.

    And the deep cycle batteries would have to be replaced after 5 - 8 years (with good maintenance, if wet cells).

    But that would be a truly non centralized network.

    Amateur Packet Radio works in a similar way, as I recall (but I'm a lowly Tech, so I can't know anything).

  • by caramuru (600877) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:38PM (#22089456)
    Carr wrote the May 2003 Harvard Business Review's "IT Doesn't Matter." His argument (grossly simplified) was that IT is a "utility" and businesses should not invest in IT because IT cannot differentiate one firm from another. In a well known (to the business community, but apparently not to ./) rebuttal to Carr's article (Smith & Fingar's "IT Doesn't Matter, Business Processes Do", Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2003,) it is argued (again, grossly simplified) that IT is critical to optimizing business processes - the true source of enterprise value. A business that optimizes its processes differentiates itself (positively) from its competitors. In fact, Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) is a new layer on the enterprise software stack. For those of you coming from the SOA space, BPMS is the choreography layer.

    Carr's current article's argument that IT functions should be taken over by functional units only perpetuates the silo thinking of most organizations. Budgeting IT resources on a departmental basis perpetuates islands of automation, redundant/conflicting rules, ridiculous internal interfaces., etc. Outsourcing some or all IT functions may be reasonable in some cases, but turning control of IT over to the various functional units in an organization is insane.

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