Section Notes 6: Punk Page Podcast
This section follows a discussion format adopted for podcast media. A podcast’s moderator invites Interviewees for their expertise, objectivity, edginess, humor, or notoriety. Listeners become engaged in each topic through questioning and bantering to present a flow of information.
Marilyn hypothesizes a book to address rebuilding the web based on lessons from the quirky technical and social actions in the ongoing Punk Page Rampage”. She calls on her Team 3G colleagues for historical, generational, and motivational material. This framed presentation of WWW issues should jumpstart her journalistic career re-entry.
The next to last episode is a threat-filled scenario drawn by Casey to dramatize a web collapse coinciding with cataclysmic events.
Keywords: netizen; ArpaNet/Internet/Usenet; use cases; hypertext links; Domain Object Model; Cascading Style Sheets; progressive enhancement; accessibility; dyslexia; World Wide Web; software subversion; insider threat; continuous partial attention; hypertext.
History: Sputnik/DARPA/ArpaNet; NSFNet/Internet; Internet commercialization; WWW, Sir Tim Berners-Lee; RSS, Scripting News, Dave Winer; attention, Linda Stone; knowing the Internet, Anil Dash; a nanosecond, Admiral Grace Hopper; Little Brother security, Cory Doctorow; hypertext models.
Chapter 1:Listen Up, Netizens!
Marilyn introduces her podcast rationale using an early Internet concept of a “netizen” who appreciates the potential of the Internet as it evolves into the WWW. The meme was overcome by advertising and social media known as “surveillance capitalism”. The Punk Page Podcast urges listeners to stand back, think about various possibilities of web evolution, then take personal responsibility and action.
- A “Netizen” is a person who actively uses the Internet, especially in a proper and responsible way” (Merriam-Webster). “The term netizen” (Wikipedia) originated in the spirit of Usenet, mailing lists, and library-based methods of sharing information then dissolved after the Dawn of Web Time and the emergence of “surveillance capitalism”, (Book by Shoshana Zuboff).
- The *”Oxbridge School for Informatics” suggests an institution dedicated to study of the social, economic, and ethical issues associated with the use of Internet-based information systems. Current examples are: Oxford Internet Institute,Microsoft-funded Data and Society, Harvard Berkman-Klein Center (with podcasts) , and many cyber specialities in law Schools.
Chapter 2: The Road to WWW
Marilyn interviews Casey about the evolution of networks. She recounts stories of the people and culture when there was only a backbone of nodes exchanging files. She then tracks the Internet’s appearance in the 1980s, while extolling UseNet discussion groups for social growth and professional opportunities.
Casey explain Internet commercialization as it emerged from NSFNet over telecom industry systems. “, The founders of pre-WWW technology went on to invent RSS, the Wayback Machine, Digital Libraries, and Usenet.
Not to belittle dissemination of the initial WWW, but a “web” might have happened differently. Casey explains “loose links” that lost traceability. That is, society might have taken different paths than Surveillance Capitalism, monopolies, and junk information.
- Brief History of the Internet describes the activities of many inter-locking organizations coordinated by the wisdom of Request For Comment” editor Jon Postel.
- The Internet architecture emerged slowly with sustained government funding starting from the era of first messages described in Where Wizards Stay Up late” by Katie Hafner, “A Personal History” by Leo Beranek, and “Inventing the Internet” by Janet Abbate.
- First networked spam 1978 shows early understanding of network manners and policies.
- NSF special report on Cyber Infrastructure NSFNet and Science Centers and Book “How the Internet Became Commercial” describes the NSFNet, network infrastructure, and government policy changes invoked by “information superhighway” visionary Senator Al Gore.
- Usenet (for User Network) grew during the 1980s as a hierarchy of newsgroups distributed across servers with mail-style readers at user terminals, e.g. Forte Agent. Usenet created patterns of discussions that influence modern social networks, e.g. Godwin’s “law”, or meme, that Nazi references end a discussion
- Domain Name System vulnerabilities to cameras generalizes to Bruce Schneier’s book “Click here to kill everyone”. IOT=
“Internet of Things” introduces software threats into homes and myriad connected devices.
- Hypertext theory (IEEE Survey) matured into many implementations. Patterns for hypertext applications were studied in Robert Horn’s “Mapping Hypertext” and later in “Information Architecture”. Visions of hypertext-driven worlds appeared early in Vannevar Bush MEMEX article “As We May Think” and Ted Nelson’s Xanadu.
- “Loose links” powered the WWW away from “Hypertext” (Wikipedia). “Search Engine Land” compared engines and tracked progress as they empowered “Googlearchy” power laws which influenced policies and misinformation that combined with “Surveillance capitalism through behavior modification using social media and advertising which merged with post 9-11 “Total Information Awareness” to evoke the the “Great Trickster” from mythology.
- “First Monday” publishes lightly reviewed articles on Internet-related topics such as “Do Search Engines Suppress Controversy?”, origin of the Controversy Discovery Engine in Appendix B.
Chapter 3: Plain Reading
Sally brings attitudes of computational thinking shared with her contemporary Casey, who lived deeper within working system code. Sally explains abstraction from appearance to structured HTML content as essential for accessibility to overcome her visual limits. She explains the architecture of web pages and riffs on how much effort goes into unneeded appearance features. She praises the ‘Reader’ feature on many web sites as sighted users also seek easier access to essential content.
Sally explains how the DOM-CSS architecture enables the Punk Page Rampage through easy defacing with a little insider evil help. While the Punk Page Rampage has exacerbated social unrest brought on by Great Trickster dissension, the ultimate effects are described further in Chapter 6 where Casey’s short story mixes with a cluster of catastrophes.
- DOM, the Document Object Model enables applications and browsers to represent web pages for display and interaction. A Screen Reader, NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) interprets objects, such as buttons, and reads text using synthetic voices, or “text to speech”. Unfortunately, synthetic voices present threats of “vocal terrorism” (see Section 2)).
- CSS, “Cascading Style Sheets” is a language for displaying web pages in browsers, performing tasks standardized by the World Wide Consortium (W3C). WCAG Accessibility Guidelines specify properties of robustness and usability to be met by web pages using CSS and the DOM, e.g. an order of focus using keyboard input.
- “Progressive enhancement” and “Graceful Degradation” offer design philosophies to address multiple browsers, operational failures, upgrades, and related engineering issues. “Cult of Complex” shows how many small design decisions enabling web page interaction become complex when combined.
- “The Dark Side Of Software” book by Robert Glass details the types and numbers of cases where software developers subvert their projects and products.
Chapter 4Growing Minds
After compiling the wit and wisdom of elders Casey and Sally, moderator Marilyn tries to understand the conventions of younger Team 3G members Matt and Bob. Discussions at their Team 3G bonding dinner helped Matt to realize that his career aspirations would benefit from awareness of technology ideas before he hit his entrepreneurial jackpot. Bob is susceptible to mis-steps into dangerous social groups.
Marilyn engages the young men through identification of technology hero’s who might reclaim the potential of their technologies and solve modern WWW problems.
- Visions of hypertext-driven worlds appeared in Vannevar Bush MEMEX article “As We May Think”. Imagine your research practices if you could follow a trail of references rather than repeat messy searches in Google. Vannevar.com is a historic web address. Explore Vannevar.com in the Wayback Machine.
- Admiral Grace Hopper (Wikipedia) lectured widely in the 1980s and explained “how long is a nanosecond?”.
- The Guardian Tim Berner Lee technology articles celebrates and mourns the World wide Web as *TimBL. New WWW model SOLID separates data among owners and users. Podcast “Chips with Everything” interviews record history and WWW issues.
- RSS syndication method underlies blogs, podcasts, and news distribution. *StreamMan represents Dave Winer and “Scripting News”
- Anil Dash “Things to know about technology” and Function podcast record history, ethics, and culture in netizen terms.
- “Continuous, partial attention” how we work by Linda Stone, aka *Stoner questions multi-tasking.
- “Little Brother” novel series by Corey Doctorow leads young adults through the perils of privacy and security.
- Dyslexia simulation and accessibility issues require accommodations discussed in Sally’s interview.
Chapter 5: Raiders of the Punk Sage
Marilyn questions Rowdy Roger, who is a professed raider on the Punk Page circuit. RR explain the weapons of defacing a website with expectations that web pages will be difficult to reproduce, if even the defect is noticed. Several examples of Punk Pages are given as sidebars to articles in this Section.
This interviewee is also a counselor in the Little Bro movement that offers education on security techniques and ethics.
- The eyeball on the dollar and the Total Information Awareness project is an impressive symbol for Roger.
- Roger mentions the “Internet of Things” evolution and its dangers.
- Underwriters Laboratory (UL) testing the Internet of Things (IoT).
Chapter 6 Magnified Web Woes
Threat-caster (Cassandra) Casey wrote this scenario to help Team 3G understand ramifications of an unexpected burst of Punk Page attacks co-inciting with a cluster of environmental catastrophes. A diary captures the dystopian spirit of losing control of one’s Internet/WWW environment just when its critical information is needed for defensive action. Casey had earlier experienced (Section 2) with a half-day collapse of her community communications systems as well as a thought exercise on possible terrorist attacks masked by synthetic voices. Readers should ask themselves how to prepare for a confusing deterioration of their information environments.
Chapter 7: Whither the WWW?
Marilyn analyzes the powerful arguments she has elicited from her podcast interviewees from Team 3G plus Rowdy Roger. She has accumulated multi-generational viewpoints and background concepts for her projected book in the midst of a WWW rehabilitation movement. Whose lessons will she adopt?
Citation notes. Web searches were performed during April/May 2019 using the privacy protecting search engine DuckDuckGo with occasional deeper Google searches using the Controversy Discovery Engine template. Articles are not cited when behind firewalls, which unfortunately excludes most IEEE and ACM computing literature. Wikipedia articles are identified for generalized, deeper reading on a topic, which continues to warrant and value donation. Often articles off the beaten track were found and cited. The Bookshare.org provides electronic versions for books cited, and available to persons with print disability.