In my opinion, there's something conscious and subconscious going on here, with respect to the vitriolic calls for assassination, and so forth.
The conscious thing is simple: "we want to kill him because he released sensitive shit that's detrimental to us, either personally or strategically".
But I sense an unspoken outrage here, not so much at the content of the cables, but at the disruptive nature of what those in power see as a "flagrant violation of the rules". There have been countless examples of this throughout history...American revolutionaries employing guerrilla tactics against an enemy fighting an old-style war, to name but one.
Ultimately, I think the way this stuff goes down, in the old world, is that news outlets get ahold of a bunch of sensitive shit, and then they schedule lunch with the people on the ass-end of the offensive shit, and they say "look, do some stuff that helps us and we'll release A, B and C, but we'll gloss over D, E and F." And I think this happens largely because media are either for-profit concerns, or else funded by the governments. They can only go so far in exposing the truth.
Wikileaks, in the new world, has basically said "Fuck that. We're not going to play by the old rules. We're releasing all this stuff, but if you want you can help us redact some of it." They can only do that because they have little financial stake in the outcome of their actions. And I think that among the people used to the old system, this is an affront to the assumptions of people well-versed in these well-developed social and cultural mores. And furthermore, I think vast swaths of the public go along with the outrage simply because they really don't want to know "the truth". They'd rather accept some version of the truth that doesn't upset the apple cart, because they have more mundane concerns like putting their kids through school.
The lesson from all this, IMO, is that Wikileaks, basically, is the Internet (metaphorically because of what it represents). It's a game-changer. Since the mid-90's, when we saw this new communications medium emerge, this is what we all envisioned: information in control of the masses, citizen journalism, etc. and so on. It has finally emerged in the form of Wikileaks (and if they are destroyed, it will re-form under a different guise. The implication is this: the way the world works is going to change. This diplomatic cable leak will be remembered as a moment that the old-accepted rules started to be trampled on.
No matter what, it's going to be fascinating how it all shakes out. And, some people might die, lose their jobs, increase or decrease in terms of relevance. But ultimately life will go on. It always does.
One final comment related to the above poster: really, Wikileaks isn't leaking this information at all. The Guardian is. The New York Times is. Der Spiegel is. Le Monde is. Wikileaks just dumped the documents. But it's these news organizations that are making money off packaging all the supposedly damaging information into bite-sized chunks that the average consumer can digest. Yet, I haven't heard any calls for the assassination of the editor in chief of the New York Times.
Figured I'd add onto this...the problem with first-person shooters, for me (or, say...in the F1 racing game where you can have a "looking out the windshield" view vs. a view from behind the car), is that in first-person shooters, you're in a tunnel with no peripheral vision.
In real life, if I was sneaking around with a gun trying to shoot people, I'd be relying on my peripheral vision as much or more than my direct vision. This is why I, too, prefer the third-person view, because at least it opens up the field of view a bit.
I don't disagree completely, but just to put out an alternative viewpoint: the key part of your post is "so far".
But me, I don't think we spend millions of dollars building these things purely for diplomatic value. I think - even if by accident! - that the nukes will fly someday. Just one accidental explosion somewhere, or one action by one rogue official, and the way this whole intricate web is weaved, it seems very likely that if one goes off, they all (or many) go off.
On a slightly different note, I look at this as one way nature will control the human population. We're quickly expanding our population to the point the earth can't sustain us anymore. A nuclear war, whenever it happens, will solve that problem. (Yes, I'm being somewhat sarcastic, but...only somewhat.)
Anyway, I think MAD will continue to work...until it doesn't.
Just to play devil's advocate, I'd say that the difference is that the two examples given never got to the point where they became de facto "standards". I mean, every news site online now has twitter and facebook integration.
The biggest headache online now has got to be registering. As a user, I don't even know how many sites I have a login for, in order to post comments, or use features, etc. Both twitter and facebook have initiatives to become the "universal login". If either of them is successful...providing a service that allows web developers to very easily add registration capability to their sites, and piggyback on the traffic those sites can provide, then the future for twitter and facebook will be very different from myspace and friendster.
I worry that, as they come to be relied on as "services", and fall into the wrong hands, they could make online life suck quite a bit.
This will be a somewhat general statement, but I'm an American and the endless flood of stories like this is quite disheartening. I've left the USA now, because it seems to be in decline, but more importantly because no one seems to give a damn. Just today I read the article about China (where I currently live) leapfrogging the West in renewable energy products (which is clearly happening, despite the West's complaints), as well as an article on Cringely's blog about upcoming cuts to NASA (which is probably the single most important government agency for the future of humanity).
Then, I go over to facebook, and all I see are status messages from politically-minded friends, essentially acting like children watching a football game "Go Democrats! Fuck Republicans!" "Go Republicans! Fuck Democrats!", and no one seems to give a flying fuck about actually making changes that position the country for the future.
Take China as an example. Like every other country, they injected a huge financial stimulus into their economy, but they are doing it with purpose. They're building new highways to serve parts of the country presently unserved; they're building bullet trains faster than those in Japan, Korea and France; they're upgrading their power grid to technologies surpassing that of any other country. When all is said and done, they will have used the downturn as an opportunity to improve their country's efficiency.
Meanwhile, in the USA, they bailed out the oligarchy that runs the banking system, and then gave money to a bunch of aimless projects that just put band-aids on current infrastructure. There was no national call to action (for example..."we're going to put unemployed auto workers to work building an all-new high-speed rail system to link our urban areas" or "we're going to use this opportunity to completely replace our power grid, because we lose such a high percentage of power to inefficiency of the lines") that would have solidly improved the country for the long-term, improve its ability to transact business.
Anyone to this site ought to understand that networks are important. The Internet, power grid, airports, train system, highway system...all networks, that allow society to function. In the USA, only the Internet and highways actually work well (the power grid is antiquated and incredibly inefficient, the air traffic control system is a dinosaur and most U.S. airports are shitholes comparatively speaking to the many other countries, and although highways work well, they depend on a resource that is finite and running out). When will Americans wake up and start pushing the country to actually upgrade the country's networked infrastructure; prepare the country for the future?
I know this seems to be out of place here, but the fact that the USA is doing essentially nothing on the renewable energy front is just another example. After a while, it gets pretty disheartening.
There's no point in arguing with religious people about religion unless you have the answer. And even if you have the answer, there's considerable evidence from psychological studies and the like that confronting people with evidence disproving their beliefs only makes them believe more firmly in them.
I think the root of religion, put very simply, is most people's inability to deal with not having an answer.
When the earth shook, basically, people wanted answers. "What the fuck is going on here? This sucks!". And they start freaking out. Well, they didn't have any answers. So in an effort to quell the panic, out pops the shaman and he says "It's because god is angry. Sacrifice a goat and dance for three days and we will appease him."
And then everyone's like "Phew. At least we can *do* something."
The alternative (which I believe to be the truth) is that we're basically useless, meaningless, and completely unimportant to pretty much everything. We're flying around on a rock, held in place "just so" by gravity, around a sun that just hot enough, under a precarious atmosphere, on top of land we don't control...all of which things can kill us at any moment.
Only certain people can deal with this truth. Most people would prefer comfort, and that's what religious "answers" (no matter how ridiculous) give them, so they can not freak out, and go on with their lives.
If Google come up with software that allows me to make 60-way calls while also making toast and watering the garden, then there should be no reason for Apple to stop them; "we made the best hardware and the best interface to that hardware around. That's all we care about. Go for it!"
In other words, why is there a problem in the first place? Does Apple really make enough additional money in its contracts with at&t et al to justify meddling in software developers' affairs?
There are so many angles to it it's hard to pin down, but it's interesting to speculate. I can think of two issues:
1. If Apple's indeed making money off the contracts, then I guess that makes them part-carrier, and therefore, not desirous of allowing things that undermine the potential profit from the call-making business.
2. Apple can't buy Google. If Google Voice completely takes over and blitzkriegs the whole voice calling industry, it could become like...say...the microwave oven. That thing that no one knew they needed, and then it came along., and now everyone "needs" one. (Honestly, I don't think that's far-fetched. About the only thing keeping VoIP from completely crushing the whole phone industry is call quality and anticompetitive practices from the entrenched players. Google's been spending years building up a network that's worldwide, that could actually handle this gracefully. I think Skype, Vonage and all the others are screwed, not to mention T-Mobile and At&T and Orange and all of them.) Anyway, the point is, if Google Voice becomes the microwave oven, Apple can't buy Google and take over the tech. Google will have something to hold over their heads in negotiations.
I think Apple has been attempting to preempt or delay these threats, but lying to the FCC is really not the most graceful way to go about it.
I agree with your second point, actually, and that may well be something that concerns Apple. But I disagree with the assertion in the second paragraph: Apple likes to control the software on its devices, because...they really aren't a hardware company. If they were, they'd have been dead long ago.
Apple's always been a 'solutions' company; that's what they sell. The iPhone is not the flash memory and processor and screen; it's a package, where they fairly seamlessly combined software and hardware together into a complete whole.
I didn't buy my MacBook Pro because it has a 2.8 Ghz Intel processor and blah blah...all laptops on the market are essentially the same. I bought it because it runs OS X well, without hackery, and is generally well made. I don't necessarily use all of them, but iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iWork, and so on are all very nice pieces of software in their own ways, but Apple doesn't try to profit hugely directly from them.
So the point is: Apple's always been part (and maybe mostly) software company; the difference between them and Microsoft (in most markets) is that Apple just uses the software to sell hardware, whereas Microsoft's empire was all about the software sales itself. So, I can see why Apple's threatened by Google (though as an Apple consumer, I wish they'd get over it and compete instead of trying to block everyone that's outdoing them).
How are we supposed to know what would be worth it to you and what shouldn't? We could sit here and name stuff all day, but maybe it's not stuff you care about. Or maybe it is. Who knows? The only way for you to know is to investigate on your own.
Personally, for me I haven't jail-broken my phone because it's unlocked. I would have wanted to jailbreak to avoid AT&T, but not necessary given the circumstances. In short, I haven't yet found an app that I needed that I couldn't have. But I'm starting to feel like it might be a necessity in the long run, since Apple is banning stuff arbitrarily (i.e., one app can use "fuck" and another one can't), and that really bothers me.
We cannot command nature except by obeying her. -- Sir Francis Bacon