A couple of clicks away from Ven Portman’s call to arms, posted yesterday, is Project Meshnet. When I suggested we needed to help each other learn about distributed computing, this is the kind of thing I had in mind. I like how this video is produced, and I like what it’s selling:
One gripe though. The video explains it’s distributed architecture by making an analogy to a room full of people, mysteriously unable to move, but just close enough to be able to pass notes around. Well, what is wrong with these people? Did a crazy man nail their feet to the floor? Are we living in a horror movie? Real people move, they move all the time. They move on buses, in cars, on trains and in ships and on aeroplanes. In vehicles with built in power sources. If you are sat still, chances are you are not too far from someone who isn’t. People’s stuff moves all the time too, with ever greater efficiency.
My computer internals lecturer, on a tangent about networks, said “never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck full of tapes” if you can tolerate the lag, a truck full of tapes has immense bandwidth. I say “never underestimate the bandwidth of a 747 full of iPhones” and I’ve often wondered, from the perspective of a geek that never got into electronics, why a mesh style network needs to assume stationary nodes and treat moving ones as an error condition to be fixed. Surely a moving node, one able to exchange data wirelessly as it passes by other nodes, is a source of bit transport more potent, and harder to nail down, than cables.