Viral Communications

I’m not sure why this paper is called ‘Viral Communications” (pdf) but it’s fun and two things leapt out at me.

Future Proof: “Upon installation, the purchaser will have the expectation that they should work for the expected lifetime of the device itself independent of any other changes in the … environment.”

“… a commons where each new cow adds grass.”

I need to go back and add “future proof” to the reasons why people standardize; it’s a varation on what I call there “prevent stranding.” The cow line is a nice way of framing the club-good boundary maintenance problem.

My problem with the term ‘viral communications’ is that it’s so similar to ‘viral marketing.’ I know what viral marketing it; it’s marketing communication that manages to parasite on somebody else’s communication and there by captures some legitimacy which it can use to get past the recipient’s defenses against marketing. The paper is about systems of collaborating devices that use a modicum of coordination to create scalable distributed networks with lots of bandwidth. The vision is to use standards (the ones that guide that collaboration) as a substitute for the lawyers at the FCC.

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