Pluralistic: Cloudburst (03 August 2023)

Today’s links Cloudburst: The timely surge of “local-first computing.” Hey look at this: Delights to delectate. This day in history: 2003, 2013, 2018 Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading Cloudburst (permalink) Enshittification isn’t inevitable: under different conditions and constraints, the old, good internet could have given way to a new, good internet. Enshittification is the result of specific policy choices: encouraging monopolies; enabling high-speed, digital shell games; and blocking interoperability. First we allowed companies to buy up their competitors. Google is the shining example here: having made one good product (search), they then fielded an essentially unbroken string of in-house flops, but it didn’t matter, because they were able to buy their way to glory: video, mobile, ad-tech, server management, docs, navigation…They’re not Willy Wonka’s idea factory, they’re Rich Uncle Pennybags, making up for their lack of invention by buying out everyone else: But this acquisition-fueled growth isn’t unique to tech. Every administration since Reagan (but not Biden! more on this later) has chipped away at antitrust enforcement, so that every sector has undergone an orgy of mergers, from athletic shoes to sea freight, eyeglasses to pro wrestling: But tech is different, because digital is flexible in a way that analog can never be. Tech companies can “twiddle” the back-ends of their clouds to change the rules of the business from moment to moment, in a high-speed shell-game that can make it impossible to know what kind of deal you’re getting: To make…Pluralistic: Cloudburst (03 August 2023)

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