This isn’t a sharing economy

Technollama has written a piece critiquing the sharing economy The sharing economy is anything but where he points out that sharing isn’t really what is happening in most cases. We are trading goods for cash and a middleman is taking a cut. Also the great profitability often comes from the dismantling of protections which have been put into place in order to protect either the consumer, the industry or wider social interests.

He closes his post with

A true decentralised model would connect users and providers without an intermediary, probably by the existence of nodes and connectors, much in the way in which truly decentralised services operate. Couchsurfing is closer to the ideal sharing economy, where people offer a space for free., while BeWelcome is a true Airbnb alternative that is peer-to-peer and open, without nodes and using open source software. I find all of these services much more interesting than the headlines, because their disruption is not a libertarian ruse to bypass regulation, but it is a true sign of decentralisation and openness.

This isn’t a pipe

Aside from ignoring regulations (often put in place to ensure a common good) many of these services are circumventing sales taxes, income taxes and licensing laws. Some are creating unfair advantages and harming legitimate businesses which pay taxes and employ people. So we should be more careful when praising this new thing and also more vigilant in observing the true costs to individuals, organizations and society.

The costs of other people “sharing” will be carried by us all, it will make the middlemen wealthy and probably not really be all that great for those who “work” in this industry.

How to share wifi from wifi (without Ethernet)

If hotel rooms are supposed to become my home away from home then there is one thing that I absolutely hate: the unfriendly wifi.

  1. I dislike paying extra for wifi
  2. I dislike having to log on with superlong codes each time I need to use wifi
  3. I dislike having to buy wifi for each of my devices separately!

The first two are unfortunately not going to go away until hotels come to their senses but the third can be resolved by without relying on the hotels.

This is a guide to creating your own wifi in a room where the only Internet connection is wifi (i.e. no Ethernet). You will need laptop, wireless router, Ethernet cable. I have done this with my Apple equipment. I am sure you can do this in other connections but I have not tried it. I have not done this all too often and remembering these settings are the reason I wrote this guide.

Begin by Logging into the wifi with your laptop.

Go to sharing (Settings->sharing->Internet Sharing) Select from wifi share via Ethernet and turn it on. When troubleshooting turning sharing on/off again has sometimes resolved the problem.

Connect your Wireless router to the computer. I use the new small Airport Express its lightweight for travel. Connect you Ethernet cable from the laptop to the Ethernet WAN port.

Then its time to set up the Wifi

Go to the Airport Utility (Applications -> Utilities -> Airport Utility)

Base Station: pick a name and password for the base station. This is not the wifi net or password but the way to log into the base station to make changes if need be.

Network: You are creating a wireless network. Pick name for that wifi and password. Chose Bridge mode.

Note some situations may not like you doing all this so picking a wifi name that screams out whom you are may be unwise. Obviously be wise about passwords as well.

Internet Connection: This is the hotel wifi that you logged into in the beginning of this guide.

The update and you are away. You should now log all your devices onto the wifi you have created and they are all sharing the internet connection that you are paying for.

When culture isn't shared

Yesterday Clarinette sent out a series of three tweets about the way in which we no longer are able to share culture as we used to. Mostly this is because much of our culture is locked into specific devices or user accounts.

Have you ever thought how much are devices have become ‘indivudualized’ ? Can’t share laptops, phones, iPads, eBooks or music anymore. (5:56 PM – 25 Jul 12).


Culture is becoming ‘individual’, not shared. Can’t pass in books, music, devices. Itunes music dies after death. Even picz stored online. (5:58 PM – 25 Jul 12).


Wondering what we will leave behind after death. I surely print much less picz, write very little on paper, most music is online…. (6:03 PM – 25 Jul 12).

Her comments are interesting as they illustrate the paradox that we probably have access to more cultural material than ever before but this culture is not shared between family, local community or even nationality. We do share culture – consuming is a form of sharing – but not in the same way as we did before. In many cases to share culture almost requires each sharer to have his or her own device (and of course that the cultural expression is not locked-in with DRM).

A friend of mine complained some time ago that it was not enough to buy one e-book reader for the family but each member needed to have their own device. When everyone had their own device the family’s reading habits changed – they no longer read the same book and talked about it. In one sense the sharing of culture within the family broke down.

In the long term this should also have an effect on the collected culture we leave behind (see for example Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books? and Memory in the digital age). Not to mention the amount of stuff we “lose” somewhere on old hard disks.

The increased ability to chose, the diminished ability to share and the decreased ability to leave a collection of culture to the next generation. Will this change who we are?

Family photo’s a thing of the past? My Grandfather & I

To end on a nicely paranoid note: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), Chapter 3.

Museums are doing it

Today I came across a notice that the Powerhouse Museum is adopting the attribution, non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons license (for the material it owns)

This licence is used on some parts of our website. Examples are our own photography in the Photo of the Day blog and also for children’s activities on our Play at Powerhouse website. This licence means that you can republish this material for any non-commercial purpose as long as you give attribution back to the Powerhouse Museum as the creator and that you do not modify the work in any way. A more detailed explanation of this licence is available from Creative Commons.

And not long ago I found that the Brooklyn Museum was also using the same license.

This is in addition to the great collection of museums and institutions which have chosen to join the Flickr Commons.

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

Among the 23 organisations in the Flickr Commons is the Swedish National Heritage Board which has begun putting photographs online. How about this photo from the small fishing town of Lysekil

Photograph: People in old Lysekil by Carl Curman (c:a 1870) uploaded RÄA