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Sunday
Jul272008

Cellular Data Services & Customizing the Infrastructure

Great post by Doc Searls, for a couple of reasons. First, the topic at hand -- the cellular telephony's data service and it's impact on the distribution and use of (relatively low-level) streaming content. Internet audio content - whether streamed or delivered as podcasts - has always held very high value for me. Since the update to iPhone 2.0 and the arrival of apps like Pandora, I find that I'm running my battery down to the "red zone" a lot more often. And it's better than "acceptable" audio quality... it's really good!

But the money quote comes in the middle of the modest post. "The internet is the ultimate software-eats-hardware story, and that applies to hardware infrastructure as well." This is so clearly the story when considering Replicate's industry -- virtualized infrastructure for the datacenter. Doesn't sound much like internet radio, now, does it?

The high concept for virtualization is about utilizing non-differentiated (or "less differentiated") hardware to flatten and commodify the hardware infrastructure, after which customization and differentiated infrastructure is established through the application of software. I know... I know. It's what we've all heard for years about the use of computing in general and the role of software. Yet, I can't help but be startled and delighted when jumps out at me again, standing in high relief.

Opening the Cellwaves | Linux Journal

The history of infrastructure is one of endlessly repurposed uses. Cow paths become dirt roads that become railroads that become bike trails. Railroads and power line easements play host to fiber optic cabling buried in the ground or draped from tower to tower in the sky. Power poles become telephone poles that also serve as cable TV poles and fiber optic Internet poles.

The Internet is the ultimate software-eats-hardware story, and that applies to hardware infrastructure as well. Hardware is still required, of course, but not for its original narrow purposes. Those purposes in many cases (including telephony, television and radio) are subsumed by the Internet and its protocols. While those protocols might not be ideal for, say, radio transmission of the customary sort, they're good enough. And in the real world good-enough wins when widespread deployment and adoption is easy.

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