I can always count on the hop across the big pond to London will produce a couple of serious nights of insomnia. That’s the downside. On the upside, I get the quiet time needed to finish up these show notes for Tech Podcast 263, which have been languishing in my addled brain for a number of days, forgotten, despite all of my electronic attempts to remind me that I needed to write them up. Ahhh, and that leads us to the highlight of WTP 263: an interview with author Viktor Mayer-Schönberger about his new book, called Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in The Digital Age. It’s a fascinating look at how digital technologies, and especially the growing capacity for storage, has made us forget how to forget. You might think that’s a good thing, but truth be told, says Mayer-Schönberger, it’s absolutely critical that humans be able to forget. In fact, it’s part of what has defined us as human. He makes a compelling argument, and even offers up a solution; namely, that each and every piece of digital information that we store give us the option of an “expiry date,” after which it is deleted (or we’re given the chance to determine whether that piece of information is still relevant). Those of us with 7,000 badly snapped digital photos squirreled away on hard drives might give this idea the thumbs up. In a delicious piece of irony, by the way, Viktor turned up at the studios exactly a week before my calendar said he was going to be there. The stored information, obviously, is only as good as the data entry entity. Duh, Clark.
Along the way to that interview, we have numerous other fun and thrilling stops. We hear about not one, but two fiber-optic cables that might soon be headed toward Havana, Cuba. A Miami-based company says it’s gotten the go ahead from the United States government to build one. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez says his country will also build one. Read more about both of those proposals here. We talk with Robert Faris at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society about what impact fiber-optics and high-speed Intenret might have on ordinary Cubans’ online access. See here for the Open Net Initiative’s write-up on Cuban Internet access.
Also, Cyrus Farivar talks with Suvi Linden, Finland’s Minister of Communications, about the country’s decision to give each and every Finn the right to a 1 MB broadband connection. You think that’s cool? A few years down the road, they want to guarantee the right to a 100MB connection.
And our final item brings us back nicely to Britain, where Twitter recently trumped the newspapers on a major news story. You can read all about the kerfluffle over Twitter and Trafigura here. You can find more links, and read a transcript of the interview that appears in the podcast here. And, since I’m over in London for the week, I thought I’d try to organize another WTP meet-up at the old Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden. Directions here. Based on the feedback I’m getting so far, it looks like Thursday evening, October 22. I’ll be there, providing I have more luck finding it this time than I did last time, from about 5:30PM. Hope to see you there!
Remember, we’re on Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed. Also, listener Pepe said I should start putting more information about the music in the show notes. Good idea, Pepe. This week, Spanish rockers Jarabedepalo provided our cool and groovy tune, a track called La Flaca.