[iDC] Citizen reports

nick knouf nknouf at media.mit.edu
Tue Aug 1 17:38:13 EDT 2006

I just wanted to follow-up on a few things before we move on to  
another topic for another month.

On Jul 30, 2006, at 10:31 AM, Eric Goldhagen wrote:
>> We've seen the result of this already when in 2004 T-Mobile  
>> blocked TxtMob [1] messages during the Republication National  
>> Convention in the US [2].
> I just need to correct something that you seem to imply in this  
> statement.
> [snip]

Thanks for the correction; I missed the subtlety in my original e- 
mail.  Even so, I think it's important to remember who _does_ own the  
networks and realize that their acceptable use policies allow them to  
decide on their own terms what is objectionable [1].

> I think that your idea of bluetooth networking is interesting but  
> not all that practical given the limitations of broadcast distance  
> in bluetooth.

I agree that bluetooth has definite limitations in terms of the  
physical dimensions of any one node in the network.  However, this is  
where I think it becomes interesting: how does a network evolve, and  
messages be passed, when the nodes are constantly in contact with  
other nodes, who are moving about in their own spatial trajectory?   
Especially given the vast distances that people can travel in short  
periods of time, how can we leverage these mutable networks for the  
passing of data?

Your point about covering the island of Manhattan with mesh  
networking is especially well-taken, and I'd want to see it developed  
in any event.  Yet I'm thinking of a less stable, but potentially  
just-as-functional network.  This brings me to Liz's comments:

On Jul 30, 2006, at 2:04 PM, Elizabeth Goodman wrote:
> As Eric said, bluetooth outside of a very short range is  
> impractical, but you may want to look at the academic work done on  
> "data mules" (evocative name, that) which are digital devices that  
> work within delay-tolerant networks (often called DTNs) to relay  
> data whenever possible to gradually get the data towards a  
> destination. They include wifi nodes, short-range wireless networks  
> (like bluetooth). See: http://www.dtnrg.org/wiki/About for examples.

Just the name I was looking for, but didn't know that it existed!   
What I am envisioning here is a situation where, yes, the goal is to  
get a message towards some sort of destination (perhaps not  
explicitly given, but implicitly based on geographic location,  
perhaps), where delays are tolerated and not much is known about the  
topology or spatial trajectory of the nodes.  My brute-force idea is  
to simply try and put a message on any device that currently does not  
have said message, but I would bet that there are better algorithms  
than that.  This idea seems to have something in common (at least in  
name) to the "data mules" [2] for sensor networks.

Again, if people are interested in talking this idea further, let me  
know off-list.  While we're all busy, I'm at least interested in  
spending some time talking about this and potentially trying to  
develop something.



[1]  See section 7.f on this page:  http://www.t-mobile.com/Templates/ 
[2]  http://www.ee.ucla.edu/~dcjea/papers/dcoss05.pdf

More information about the iDC mailing list