Bruce Sterling on the Internet of Things

I had previously blogged about and quoted bits of the Bruce Sterling “Internet of things” talk as it was edited and aired on O’Reilly’s Distributing the Future. Yesterday I heard the full talk from IT Conversations which I found superior. It’s a really good talk, and it made me feel better about the occasional contentiousness amongst the denizens on the new media frontiers. “It’s a clash of sensibilities that really need to clash” indeed.

As an aside, I don’t know what to make of Distributing the Future. It is highly produced, which I think is my problem with it. It’s well edited and has all the stuff going on, but that actually puts me off. The highly compressed voices, the zippy editing and such leave me cold, especially compared to the similar or same material on IT Conversations where it isn’t so highly treated. I’ve actually unsusbcribed and resubscribed to DTF several times. When I hear the arguments about how “no one will listen unless the production standards are as good as NPR” I think about this show, one that I’d like better if they didn’t produce it so much and instead gave it more room to breathe.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

6 thoughts on “Bruce Sterling on the Internet of Things”

  1. Hey Dave. I’m a fan of DTF but because of what it does – how it does it doesn’t worry me. For me it’s about getting the awareness in snippets I find handy. Then if I want more I’ll watch for the full thing.
    I’m not much of a ‘sound jockey’ so for me it’s all about the content not the production – as long as I can hear it I’m happy.
    I worry that standards of production push everyone into a ‘one-upmanship’ sometimes and that would definately be a shame. However I don’t by that mean we should all pull everyone down to lowest common denominator either. Heck, don’t really know what I think….yes I do….I think for me it doesn’t matter, for others it may. We all can get different things out of the same media. That’s a pretty good thing.

  2. dave says:

    Dave, the snippets are part of what I don’t like. I found that after listening to the full talk, I waaaaay preferred it to what DTF presented. Listening to it, with the editing and all the audio production puts a level of artifice on it that makes it sound (relatively) fake and glib and inauthentic to me. This has nothing to do with what anyone is saying, but just the meta layer from the way it is prepared. McLuhan kind of stuff, you know.

  3. Dave, no, McLuhan kind of stuff I didn’t know, but having looked at it see where you’re coming from. I’m not saying I prefer a shortened version, just that by having a snippet I can become aware of things I hadn’t heard of – attention. For example I heard of Bruce via DTF and because of that combined with the fact you said it was good I’ll listen to the full version. I did similar with Linda Stone’s Supernova 2005 address, although in that instance the attention getter was Tim O’reilly writing about it.
    Just heard this second on your interview with Robert X. Cringely, Robert say “the great challenge of web 2.0 is helping you find the good stuff”. That’s what a snippets thing like DTF does for me…and about all I expect from it.
    Do you think expectation has something to do with it?

  4. dave says:

    Dave, without a doubt expectation plays a great part – it does with almost everything. From my perspective, having spent nearly two years during which I’ve listened to almost everything published by IT Conversations, I find that the treated and excerpted bits don’t do it for me. I suppose it might for some people, but I’m not making a general universal statement just my personal observations.

  5. Ken Kennedy says:

    I agree 100%, Dave…I liked the edited version on DTF when I first heard it, but the ITC unedited piece is far, far superior. Great stuff.

    The whole “slickness” of DTF doesn’t bother me quite as much as it appears to bother you, but I do note that my very top tier podcast favorites (you, Gday World, Gadget Show, Digital Village), all are of what some would consider “lower production quality”. I say…whatEVER. I like the stuff that I like, and as you’ve said before, there’s no scarcity of Internet distribution channels that requires a good, raw podcast to be over-produced, so that it can make it in a constrained environment.

    I have a few “high production value” podcasts in my second tier stuff; things I listen to when I have extra time. But nothing in my Can’t Miss queue is of that type.

    Viva la Long Tail!

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