Week 03 - Reflection of Reading: Protocol

Foreword: Protocol Is as Protocol Does

"[The early 1980s culture] was ... a culture of perceived conflicts between computer meg-corpoations and an emerging hacker subculture, both hatched in the midst of Reaganomics and the Japanese microelectronics boom."
"The development of the personal computer ... had a profound stratified impact on the wa in which social, political, and economic life is experienced."

social change is indissociable from technological development

power, control, and dcentralization

"Code is a et of procedures, actions, and practices, designed in particular ways to achieve partcuar ens in articular contexts. Code = praxis."

""Reading" code is thus more programming or development or debugging tan explnation."

information networks, computer software, and industry standardization

"A code is a series of activated mechanical gears, or a stack of punched cards circulating through a tape-reading machine, or a flow of light-pulses or bits in transistor or on silicon, r a vat of binding interactions between DNA fragments.

"The networkas real-but-abstract may involve "information" as an immaterial entity, ... thus, ... networks are not metphors."

networks as materialized and maerializing media

"A network is not simply a free-for-all of information "out there," nor is it a dystopia of databanks owned by ocrportions. It is a set of technical procedures for defining, managing, modulating, and distributing informaion througout a flexible yet robust delivery infrastructre."

"The internet is not a simple "ask and you shall receive" tool. It is constituted by a bi-level logic."

"TCP/IP enables the Internet to create horizonta distributions of information from one computer to aother."

"DNS vertically stratifies that horizontal logic through aset of regulatory bodies that manage Internet addresses and names."

"The founding principle of the Net is control,not freedom -- control has existed from the beginning."

"The examples of "software art," open source activities, and network politics, all provide examples of potentials for 'counterprotocol" practices."

"Its horizontaity (community networks; TCP/IP) ad its verticality (its stratification; DNS)."

"Every network is a network because it is constituted by a protocol."

"Power relations are in the process of being transformed in a way tat is resonantwith the flexibility and constraints of information techology. The Internet is not simpy "open" or "close" but above alla form that is modulated."

Chapter 1: How Control Exists After Decentralization

a diagram, a technoogy, and a management style

"The diagram is the distributed network, a structural form without center that resembles a web or eshwork. The technology is the digital computer, an abstract machine able to perfor the work of any other machine. The management style is protocol, the principle of organization native to computers in distributed networks. All three come together to define a new apparatus of control that has achieved importanc at the start of the new millennium."

1. sovereign societies of the classical era, characterizedd by centralized power and sovereign fiat, control existed as an extension of the word and deed of the master, assisted by vioence and other coercive factors

2. later, the disciplinary societies of the modern era took hold, replacingviolence with more bureaucratic forms of command nd control

3. after the disciplinary socities come the socities of control

TCP/IP allowed for cheap, ubiquitous conectivity

"At the core of networked computing i the concept of protocol. A computer protocol is a set of recommendations and rules that outline specific technical standards. The protocols that overnmuch of the Internet are contained in what are called RFC (Request For comments) documents. Called "the primary documentation of the Internet, these technical emoranda detail the vast majority of standards and protocols in use on the Internet today."

"Many of the protocols used on the World Wide web (a network within the Internet) are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This internatioal consortium was created in October 1994 to dvelop common protocols such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets."

"[Protocols refer] to any type of correct or proper behavior within a specific system f conventions."

"Now, protocols refer specifically to standards governing the implementation of specific technologies."

"Protocol is a technique for achieving voluntary regulation within a cntingent environment. These regulations always operate at the level of coding -- they encode ackets of information so they may be transpored; they code documents so they may be effectively parsed; theycode communication so local devices may effectively communicate with foriegn devices. Protocols are highly formal; that is, they encasulate informtion inside a technically defined wrapper, while remaining relatively indifferent to the content of informtion contained within. Viewed as a hole, protocol is a distributed management system that allws control to exist within a heterogeneous material milieu."

"Protocol is how technological control exists after decentraliation."

"Protocol is based on a cntradition between two opposing matchines: One machine radically distributes control into autonomous locales, the other machine focuses control into rigidly defined hierachies. The tension between these two machines -- a dialetical tension -- creates a hosptable climate for protocological control."

"TCP and IP work together to establish connetions btween computers and move data packets effectively through those connections, ... resulting in a nonhierachical, peer-to-peer relationship."

"DNS is a largedecentalized database that maps network addresses to network names."

"All DNS information is controled in a hierachical, inverted-tree structure. Ironically, nearly all Web traffic must submit to a hierachical structure (DNS) t gain access to the anarchic and radically horizontal structureof the Internet."

"The process of converting domain names to IP addresses is called resolutio. At the top of this inverted tree area handful of so-called "root" servers holding ultimate control and delegating lesser control to loer brunches in the hierachy."

"DNS system is structured like an inverted tree, each brunch of the tree holds absolute control over everything below it."

"The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, describes the DNS system as the "one centralized Achilles' heel by which the Web cn all be brought down or controlled."

"With the stroke of a delete key, whol countries can be blacked out from the rest off the net. With the "." [root file] centralized, this is asily done. Control the "." and you control access."

"Protocol's native lanscape is the distributed network."

"A distributed network differs from other networks such as centrlized and decentralized networks in the arrangement ofits internal structure. A centralized network consists of asingle central power point (a host), from which are attached radial nods."

"Shared protocols are what defines the landscape of the network -- who is connected to whom."

"Without a shared protocol there is no network."

"The old power of death that symbolized sovereign power was now carefully supplanted by the dministration of bodis and the calculated management of life."

1. When power takes life as its aim or object, tenresistance to power already puts itself on the side of life, and turns life against power.

2. Life becomes resistance to power hen power takes life as its object."

3. When power becomes bio-power resistance becomes the powerof life, a vital power that cannot be confined witin species, environment or the paths of a particular diagram."

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