The United States, Screwdriver Economy of the Web?

A sad and undignified tale from LeWeb3; it’s chilly and the conference WLAN doesn’t work, so a whole gaggle of US microsleb gadgetbloggers staged a queeny flounce. And, of course, it’s all more evidence of the eventual demise of Europe. Isn’t it always? Not so long ago, we were apparently faced with the French civil war as the first wave of the Muslim takeover. Oddly enough, the riots in Greece don’t count – the wrong kind of suntan, I suppose.

Charles Arthur points out, sensibly, that a hell of a lot of the technologies that all the other Web 3.14159 tiddlers rely on are the products of European innovation. Linux started in Finland, Skype in Estonia and Sweden, MySQL in Sweden, PHP with a Dane in Greenland.

But that’s far from an exhaustive list; he could have mentioned Python, which originates at the Dutch National Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in 1991, the KDE desktop for Linux from Tübingen, the KML geo-descriptive language which underpins Google Earth, Google Maps, and which might have originated with an idea of Chris Lightfoot’s which I can’t now trace, GSM, UMTS and LTE mobile phone networks – so let’s leave it at the OpenStreetMap, the Symbian and UIQ mobile device operating systems, the world’s best political software team at MySociety, and even Internet exchanges themselves.

(It’s just come to mind that I use all of these.)

After all, most of the European delegates at LeWeb3 would have had their own HSPA cellular data dongles on hand; as a regular tech conference attendee, I’d say nothing is more likely than crappy Wi-Fi service, especially if it’s provided by a commercial hotspot firm who happen to have a presence in the building. There is never enough capacity, and usually it’s the combination of the Web server that serves up the login page and the RADIUS (or whatever) box that does the provisioning that fails under pressure.

But, sadly, the US delegates wouldn’t, because they don’t have proper mobile telephony there. Well, I’m taking the piss; there’s a good European company like T-Mobile, who even refused to take part in the illegal call-record analysis. I’m still taking the piss – but only a little now.

2 thoughts on “The United States, Screwdriver Economy of the Web?

  1. And of course the World Wide Web itself was created by an Englishman with help from a Belgian working in a project largely funded by Europeans.

    /pointing out the obvious

  2. Pingback: Last week’s letters and blog pingbacks in full | Richard Hartley

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