year-end links; war on general purpose computing

Paddy Johnson invited 34 people to cite their favorites links of 2011.
Mine was Even in its current semi-visible, invitation-only state it continues to be a creative force on the Internet.

My second choice might be Cory Doctorow's talk "The coming war upon general purpose computation." (General purpose or Turing-complete computers as opposed to chips in appliances that only perform one function.)

Doctorow believes the battle over SOPA is preparing us for a larger battle, which is the use of rootkits and hardware keys to disable computers for other purposes besides copyright enforcement. He mentions the control of gene-sequencing or radio frequencies as places where the need for government intervention may become stronger in the future, but of course the danger is that the control goes beyond regulating these areas into all-purpose political meddling. He thinks winning at the SOPA/copyright stage might slow down later, larger attempts at techno-repression.

He's entirely too optimistic in believing (i) that efforts to make "unhackable" computers aren't already underway and (ii) that people aren't willing to shackle themselves through the use of iPhones and large-scale social media platforms. Regarding the latter, he believes "middle class," Western, "technocratic" people know they can always hack around such systems and will not become too dependent on them. This suggests he is living in a bubble of other professional futurists and tech-savvy folk and has no idea how easily the "middle class" could allow itself to be controlled and vote "yes" to, say, computer-disabling to "fight terrorism."