Unauthorised and un-paid-for advertising

I was reading the Guardian this morning and chanced across this article. [How nice it is to be able to reference something in the press without having a zillion passwords and accounts…. thank you, Guardian].

The article refers to tonight’s California bake-off between Esther Dyson of Release 1.0 and PC Forum and Flight School fame,  and Danny O’Brien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation,  on the question of paid-for mail.

I know and respect Esther; while I don’t know Danny, I have a lot of time for Cory and for the EFF. So I look forward to learning some things I didn’t know tonight, particularly about why paid-for mail could be a good thing, why it could be a bad thing, and why this might create a two-tier internet, which is definitely not a good thing. These are important issues for anyone interested in information.

While on the subject of two-tier internet, you should visit http://pulver.com/savethenet/ when you get the chance. Jeff Pulver has done a brave thing and challenged us all. Take a look and, even better, enter the competition. A truly viral competition.

Which brings me back toThe Esther-Danny bake-off. Reading the article made me think. [Dangerous, I know, but forgive me]. In the same way as I used to consider all viruses to be a special case of software agent, I can’t help thinking of all spam and spim and splog as unauthorised and un-paid-for advertising.

I’m used to the ad-free space of the BBC, as and when I get the time to watch television. Watching ITV or Sky irritates me somewhat as a result, though I still manage to watch The Simpsons every now and then. So when I travel to the US, I can’t abide the television except for news channels. And, to my absolute horror, when I went to India earlier this month, I found that people watched advertising occasionally interspersed with programming.

A tangential aside. Born and raised in Calcutta, I was used to telling people to drive in the potholes and to try and avoid the bits of road that came up every now and then. That’s the way television in India now feels to me.

A tangential tangential aside. Watch this if you’re interested in Indian driving. Incredible.


I get irritated with DVDs where I have to sit through advertisements before the main feature.

I get irritated with pop-ups.

I like things like TiVo because I can filter out the garbage.

Even if the garbage pays for the programming that gets to me.

I don’t like garbage.

If I start thinking of spam as advertising, and I start concerning myself with all the forms of advertising that I get irritated with, then I’m prepared to pay to prevent receiving it. More later.

Let me know what you think

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