Recommended Books Archives

June 30, 2000

The Swarm

Is it sharing or stealing? Entertainment moguls may not be able to stop Napster and Gnutella Fred Vogelstein 06/12/2000 U.S. News & World Report

The moment he laid eyes on it, Gene Kan, 23, knew he had stumbled across something big--really big. Hundreds of music tracks were coming up on his computer screen. A program called Gnutella had connected him to thousands of individual computers around the world, and now he and everyone on this spontaneously created network could search one another's files for songs.

"I realized that this wasn't about swapping MP3s [music files] but a cool new technology." It was the basis of a New Age search engine--one that wouldn't just search for music on people's computers but would hunt down anything anyone wanted to anonymously share with the outside world,”

Intel Chairman Andy Grove and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, the man who developed the first Web browser, think file sharing is an important trend. "The idea of file sharing is the most important development on the Web since the browser," says Andreesen. One of the problems with the recent evolution of the Internet is that it has become too centralized, he says. "It's all up to something in the middle to determine what you see. Gnutella's technology blows that up. It mirrors the original architecture of the Internet."

File-Swapping Networks and related sites:

§ Napster: (First to get big PR though and others where around earlier)
§ Gnutella:
§ FreeNet:
§ Filetopia:
§ iMesh:
§ Scour:
§ CuteMX:
§ Riffshare:
§ Spinfrenzy:
§ Gigabeat:
§ Gnarly:
§ MyPlay:
§ Wrapster:

See also Viewpoint
The Digital Reckoning Listen up. The music industry is being "kidnapstered," and it's fighting mad Karl Taro Greenfeld 05/22/2000 Time Magazine Time Inc. 56

Almost any news search will bring up many listings. Most of the file-sharing sites above are linking into PR references.

FreeNet hompages at

Freenet is a peer-to-peer network designed to allow the distribution of information over the Internet in an efficient manner, without fear of censorship. Freenet is completely decentralized, meaning that there is no person, computer, or organisation in control of Freenet or essential to its operation. This means that Freenet cannot be attacked like centralized peer-to-peer systems such as Napster. Freenet also employs intelligent routing and caching meaning that it learns to route requests more efficiently, automatically mirrors popular data, makes network flooding almost impossible, and moves data to where it is in greatest demand. All of this makes it much more efficient and scalable than systems such as Gnutella.

The original Freenet design was created by Ian Clarke as his final year project in a degree in Artificial Intelligence and Computer science at Edinburgh University, Scotland. The project was completed in June 1999 when Ian made it available on the Internet in the hope that others would see the potential in the design and use it to make Freenet a reality. The software can now be downloaded.

The FreeNet publicity pages contain a number of articles on the evolution of Freenet

April 16, 2000: Freshmeat This may no longer be available hard copy attached.
Client As Server: The New Model
An interesting article discussing distributed systems and how systems like Freenet are actually in a similar spirit to the original Internet.

Cybiko</b> – Toy or Prophesy?
For an on going update on the changing tech environment see one of the more useful e-mail discussion letters found at and click-through to the recent issue dated 05/08/2000 on “Changing Our Internet Rules” - Yet Again. An earlier letter speculated on and now new toys are emerging for the summer and fall

A recent new clip included: “Now imagine the same scene, but in this version there is hardly a sound. Children carry low-cost, high-tech devices capable of beaming voice and text messages wirelessly to fellow students packing similar devices. By speaking directly into the devices or tapping tiny keyboards or writing with styluses on touch screens, they dispatch and receive juvenile jokes, jabs and gossip over radio waves.”

IndraNet Technologies

IndraNetTM networks are self-managing and evolving. They are based on a new approach to telecommunications and artificial intelligence. They suggest a possible breakaway evolution based self-managing and evolving systems. For a functionality overview refer:
For further detail on concepts see:
For their scenario of applications see:
For IndraNet issues relating to Telecommunications and Network Technology and how the IndraNet system will differ with related patent discussion see


This new entrant recently came to our attention. Worth looking at the investing partners alone. Graviton combines proprietary technologies in wireless communication, micro-electrical sensors, and object-oriented data management solutions to enable distributed, self-organizing, device-to-device communication networks. graviton sensor networks can measure “anything at anytime”.

In the 21st Century, sensors will play an increasingly important role in the network economy as “trillions” of devices are interconnected in distributed wireless networks. By cost-effective management of data traffic from these networks, graviton’s custom solutions and services will provide dramatic benefits to home and industrial users.

This book is the best management guide to complexity theory I have ever seen. It is well worth the read. It has been out of print and only recently relisted. Buy it at

Navigating Complexity: The Essential Guide to Complexity in Business and Management
by Arthur Battram Navigating Complexity

An excellent source for further reading, including Reciever Based Communications (Fly-by-Wire) and autopoiesis which applies to all living systems and suggests approaches beyond receiver and sender based communications.

October 28, 2002

Cultivating Communities of Practice

Just received "Cultivating Communites of Practice" by Wenger, McDermott and Snyder. You can also contact them at CPSQUARE and link to the book which has favorable reivew at Amazon.

Look forward to adding my book review notes.

BK Culitvating Communities of Practice

October 29, 2002

The Sixth Sense

No this is not a review on a movie. Still the techniques could well be used on a movie. "The Sixth Sense" the movie may well be about overturning malovent spirits, --- here we are talking of the organizational kind. The kind that leave organizations frozen in their tracks, unable to respond, despite likely intuition to the contrary.

The Sixth Sense Scenarios

I've been waiting to read Kee's new book "The Sixth Sense" for awhile. After his bible on "Scenarios" his new read is a welcome follow-up. Taking us beyond "Scenarios" ( a brilliant practitioners guide), here we have a book with much broader appeal, practical suggestions and examples. While the emphasis is on bringing strategy and organizational development together the real meat is in a subtle conceptual shift.

To accelerate learning, requires Scenarios that inspire a ruthless curiosity about emergent possibilites. In this book practical suggestions for getting the organization involved are presented. No longer can a scenario process be hit with "Who cares? They are only Scenarios!" By creating a learning agenda, scenarios are brought out of the back room and into everyday exchanges. Where they should be.

Thus reframed scenarios are freed to go beyond testing the mental models of managment. The strategic conversation becomes enabling, simulations, conceptual prototyping, adding new creativity and insight. In this way Scenarios become central to creating and leading more adaptive enterprizes into the future. Adoption means -- no more business as usual, and what could be more important in these uncertain times.

If you have an interst in scenarios you should read this book. .

November 13, 2002

Dynamic David's Spaces

Author, programmer, tech analyst and future open source entrepreneur David Duval is worth following.

I think he is playing with more than words when today's blognovel picks up the theme below. Is this about SPACES or is the context just paraphased here?"

"You close your eyes, open them again, and nothing will ever be the same. It might not be obvious at first. It might not even be obvious later. But it's still there, that newfound feeling of uncertainty, of something lost, and something found, only you don't know what it means yet. " PlanB

Maybe I will have to read his serial. There are at least three threads here. David Duval - interesting person, PlanB- his blognovel and lastly the software application Spaces. Take some time and follow the links.

THREAD ONE: David lists his research interests as "self-organizing and wireless networks, complexity theory, dynamical systems, and molecular nanotechnology among others....... Other than that, he's clearly a good bloke who knows where to find an Irish pint!

THREAD TWO: His blognovel runs on the serial concept. StoryTelling opportunities, serial, case studies etc. There are many applications here and some new opportunities. For more proof that there is a bigger debate around blogging opportunties see Slashdot. Enjoy the FAQ
Stories usually have a strong element of time built into them, just like a weblog. A weblog, however, is a story where the beginning changes every day: what we see is the last element that was posted. Follow this link to PlanB's description.

THREAD THREE: DynamicObjects has just lauched an alpha PIM. It is naturally object oriented. I sense the objectives again to create a more collaborative space. Perhaps today we have the answer in the making to yesterday's PLAXO. David writes: "... spaces is qualitatively different. It shares many features with standard email/PIM software like Evolution or Outlook. However, its abstractions over information management are designed to simplify organization and access to information and for collaboration from the ground up. Along with the simplicity of its user interface, these elements will not only make spaces a better PIM, they will also allow it to be an ideal tool for collaboration between individuals and small groups....

......Using self-organizing P2P technologies, there will be no need for servers. Having designed the interface for collaboration from the ground up, there will be no need for five different programs that always do things differently and need a subpoena to talk to each other. The FAQ contains more information on what features are available now and the schedule for additional features.

To this layman... that sounds pretty good.

Then there is the final story of how I got this post. It goes like this. I was again searching MoveableType. Looking for answers. For the first time I noted that MT actually has a list on their home page of recently update MT sites. (I have paid my donation and no I haven't solved my automated ping yet). I clicked on an interested name... Orbitalworks and noted the link to spaces. Captured by Names and a good hour of reading. Hope I've simplified the places to look

November 15, 2002


Articles About Blogging; Anti-Blog Article; Books About Blogging. All in all getting broader recognition than I thought. The last year has been big for blogs. The next year will be bigger.

Sourced from Cynthia Typaldos who wrote 12 Principles of Collaborationa piece I really enjoyed a few years back. She also runs a yahoo group called webcommunities . where I picked up the links below. Running a search on webcommunites provided an interesting list. Will have to talk to Cynthia next week.

Still I wish the post had been blogged! Then I could have just linked it or forwarded it as news. Still I've spent the time and formated it for blogdom. However the real reason is I have a few friends to convert. Out of which I believe something interesting will emerge.

Articles About Blogging
The Blogging Revolution
Blog Nation
Weblogs Make the Web Work for You
Use the blog, Luke

Anti-Blog Article
Secret CIO: Beware The Blog In Your Company's Future

More Articles

Living Reflections : All about blogs
GOOGLE media blogging articles

Essential Blogging Books About Blogging none of which I've read. A quick search and knowing who the authors are points to the Oreilly book Essential Blogging as probably the one to choose. However I'm not buying it. The discussion groups and real-time blog players are moving too fast. We Blog

We Blog, ISBN 0764549626
Blog On, ISBN 0072227125
Blogging, ISBN 0735712999
[Essential Blogging], ISBN 0596003889
The Weblog Handbook, ISBN 073820756X
Weve Got Blog, ISBN 0738207411

November 20, 2002



Smart Mobs
Today's post reviews SMART MOBS by Howard Rheingold who many have admired for his passion and thinking development around communities. SMART MOBS recognizes and captures a new paradigm. As he says "....a technology that is going to change my life in ways I can scarcely imagine..." Ultimately that is my real bone of contention with this book.

It's unfinished. We must collaborate on dreams to seed tomorrow's solutions.

My attraction to SMART MOBS was the language that enables swarms to emerge from science and appear in our daily lives. The theories aren’t really new and neither are the observations, which never break any new ground. It is a masterful collection of sources capable of leading you on a merry journey. Yet someone not already partially aware may find it tedious, for within a descriptive prose it fails to uncover real dreams for tomorrow. As a result it won’t create many inspiring new options for you. It may stimulate further inquiry. It is timely and yet primarily observational tracing to Howard Rheingold’s 2001 journey of discovery.

If you are new to Napster, SMS and Seti, or books by Kurzwiel or Mann and don’t know what 802.11b is, then this book may provide plenty to think about. Did I mention Lessig, Winer and Searles, or Seattle, participation on eBay, surveillance? The list could go on.

This book is exploratory not prescriptive. Not all the facts and observations are likely to be correct. It fails to address questions that CEO’s marketers and strategists should ask about a SMART MOB world. If you send it to your CEO friend (not HP, Motorola, Sony IBM etc. who better be very familiar with the concepts) for Christmas make sure you make it your job to get them thinking constructively beyond this book. Sell them a Learning Journey; collapse Howard’s travels over two years into two days. Then help them create. Here there is not enough to move the majority of businesses forward. If you see possible impacts on your business the challenge will be to create a dream and road map for action. For CEO’s it fails to conceptualize how smart mobs will affect the business model. Or how will money be made in a world like this? What does marketing mean in a smart mob world?

So let’s give FIVE STARS for those that need SMART MOBS as a wake-up call, and realize that the book is out of date. I believe much is inevitable. Hidden within are market-changing concepts and ideas. Believe and you will ultimately need to rethink everything regardless of market and industry, from Inventory to customer complaints.

Smart Mobs covers a lot of ground. Some like music sharing or texting we take for granted now. Not all of it exists on our doorsteps. The changes are global and local. However the emergence and impact can’t be confined to your business, market or learning environment. The challenge is also personal. I wish HR had spelled it out more boldly. You will need to take a stand. A revolution is in the making. It will tip the whole system, as we know it. Think about your position on intellectual property, digital exchanges. How should wireless spectrum be regulated? What is the future of publishing? Are you managing your reputation? Where do you place your bets and investments? How should learning and education change? Will this affect my government? Etc.

If you have views on these things and need examples, use this book. Don’t wait for a follow-up edition. Share your motivation to learn and swarm on curiosity seeking answers collaboratively in real-time. For the next hit about SMART MOBS won’t be written by an individual. It will emerge collectively perhaps bloggedly with many faces, contributing. Despite today’s uncertainty the web is already a better place to learn, experiment and prototype these things. Resorting to a book is catch-up! There are daily blogs that provide more up to date perspectives. The supportive SMART MOBS blog tries to step into real time. It has a nice focus. It has a theme to clip around. Absorb the postings and you will probably be on your way.

My largest learning’s in the book came from the link made to Steve Mann and CYBORG. Again this is not news. Mann has been a roving CYBORG for twenty years. His experience shows there is a problem in the language. The link that Howard makes bringing Cyborgs into this picture was interesting to me. His quoting of Mann was worth reading the book for: “The smart room is a retrograde concept that empowers the structure over the individual, imbuing our houses, streets and public spaces with the right to constantly observe and monitor us for the purported benefit of ensuring we are never uncomfortable or forced to get up from the armchair to switch on a lamp…” Naturally Mann’s research is working to foster independence using wearable computers. Bring it back to today. Now look at networking your house. Will you wire it? Or simply go wireless? Wireless is already winning on cost!

For those that know how technologies trickle down and where to look, Smart Mobs gives great examples out of DARPA. (Mesh networks and more.) When our kids and soldiers operate this way. Take notice. The book may also help you understand quickly why the regulations around wireless and selling bandwidth have been a mistake. We now have incumbents with enormous investments trying to protect and maintain a system that is no longer effective. Change the way Wireless is regulated or simply watch it overturned by consumers.

I am not raving madly about this book for I’d like a stronger conclusion. I really believe Howard is on the side of decentralization, collaborative communities, protecting the innovation commons and thinking about governing in a world of SMART MOBS. SMART MOBS is simply another name for communities of consumers (COMSUMERS) empowered and collaborating to accelerate the use of their information assets. Are costs for moving to unbound systems rapidly dropping? SMART MONEY will be on invisibly aggregating these new markets while consumers stay in control.

There is a thread. Not one I found blaring out in the book. SMART MOBS accelerate learning. Whether you are part of a music sharing community, fighting on a battlefield, a human cyborg, all are part of collaborative SMART MOBS prototyping real-time solutions. They are more open source by nature. The thread is there. Napster hot lists and the emergent subscription communities around blogging for example.

Despite underscoring SMART MOBS as the next social revolution there is little clarity on when the revolution will tip. What is the tipping point? As examples from Philippines to Seattle show, systems can tip in just a few days. There is an inherent suggestion that systems around wireless may tip and become P2P based. I remember writing such a Scenario a couple of years ago. As we wrote it CYBIKO was announced (another example in the book) which added credibility to our scenario. That stimulated a financial discussion (the book lacks any financial insight about tipping points). How close is it? That will be for you the reader to guesstimate.

This decade will continue to challenge us all. The way we live, collaborate, and connect though communities that swarm, sometimes for seconds and others towards eternity. Smart Mobs goes beyond just applying Moore’s, Reid’s, and Metcalf’s laws and yet never really brings urgency to the challenges that face us. As a business you cannot afford to wait!

November 28, 2002


Michael Crichton has done it again. Written a book that will make a powerful screen play and a great movie. I was attracted to Prey as soon as I heard that this nano - machines exploration was released. It's a quick read, a tale greed and scientific disregard. Prey is composed of nano-particles, acting intelligently, learning from the environment. They are growing exponetially more dangerous. The story and characters remain fictitious. Yet Crichton's descriptions of swarms, flocking, and complexity brings the convergence of biotechnology, computing, and nano-technology into our lives in a way that will make you think. Let's hope this is not the future we pray for! Let's hope the likely movie follow-up makes sure of it!

Don't discard this from your realm of future possibilities.

May 12, 2003

Living Networks

I met with Ross Dawson today he was in SF for a book launch and I was about to fly out for Paris. Ross kindly gave me a copy of his latest book “Living Networks” which then became my flight reading material. Our conversations included the speed of developments, blogging, collaborative filters, P2P updates and trust. Trust really will be a key to seeing Living Networks emerge.

I’d have to recommend this book to anyone whose enterprise is yet to think deeply about network strategies in a world of pervasive global connectivity. It impressed me for its currency. So many books are out of date by months when published. If you want an update on everything all in one place this is a good investment. Ross’s examples are up to date, global in perspective and consistently woven throughout the book. It’s an easy read, much more strategic than theoretical or observational a book clearly targeted a the professional manager. An excellent synthesis and encouraging read. Thanks Ross.

September 9, 2004

Exit Strategy

I'd missed Exit Strategy by Douglas Rushkoff until it landed on my desk this week. It's a late 20th century satire complete with footnotes from the open source online edition chosen by the author. In a quick flip I discovered this one and liked it.

"Until 2020, most computer software was still produced with encrypted code. This meant that only the company that published and owned the software could modify it! It was an anti-evolutionary posture adopted by most of the software industry that stunted technological development. Current analysis indicates that by 2009, computer software was thirty years behind where it would have been had open source been the dominant development model." --- Sabina Samuels

Now for a little pleasure reading something different.

Although the book takes place in the near future, the text itself only "surfaced" online in the 23rd Century. The entire text is annotated with footnotes so that terms like "Microsoft" and "NASDAQ" make sense to the future reader who, presumably, lives in a world beyond such things. :: Douglas Rushkoff ::

About Recommended Books

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in the Recommended Books category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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