No toilet or running water or no Internet? Easy decision, right?

The Post-Productive Economy:

Everything changed, however, when computers married the telephone. This is when ordinary people noticed computers. They could get online. Everything went online. Retail changed, production changed, occupations changed. This communication revolution accelerated change elsewhere. Processes and gizmos got smarter because they were connected. Now the advantages of personal computers made sense because in fact they were just local terminals in something bigger: the network. As the Sun Computer company famously put it: the network is the computer.

[snippage, realignment, etc. -ed.]

The farmers in rural China have chosen cell phones and twitter over toilets and running water. To them, this is not a hypothetical choice at all, but a real one. and they have made their decision in massive numbers. Tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions, if not billions of people in the rest of Asia, Africa and South America have chosen Option B. You can go to almost any African village to see this. And it is not because they are too poor to afford a toilet. As you can see from these farmers’ homes in Yunnan, they definitely could have at least built an outhouse if they found it valuable. (I know they don’t have a toilet because I’ve stayed in many of their homes.) But instead they found the intangible benefits of connection to be greater than the physical comforts of running water.

[Like I said in the previous piece, Internet inequality due to weak or nonexistent connections is a far greater problem than people realize, whether here in the States, or around the world. And communities recognize that in significant ways.]

Source: The Technium

What is Silicon Valley?

Thread: What is Silicon Valley?:

Yet the Net is not equal everywhere, and that will be an issue for Silicon Valley in the coming decades. Because doing what’s best for the Net hasn’t been a top priority there, with one notable exception: Google. But with Google, the exception is actually in Kansas City, where Google Fiber is being deployed. Right now it looks like yet another cable+internet boxed services play. But that masks a different agenda: attracting new business, new uses and new innovation in boundless variety.
Today, while Big Data gets the big buzz, few talk about how little that data is worth if the pipes it travels are biased as one-way sluices for “content” mills, which is what most cable connections are optimized for. It will take a few years for the tech world to smell the coffee brewing in Kansas City, Lafayette, Chatanooga, and a few dozen other enlightened places that have troubled to get ahead of the curve. Here’s a new years toast to them.

[It makes a far greater difference than one would expect.]