Interesting links on decentralization, mesh networking, protocols, telecommunications & any other goTenna Mesh-relevant topic!



I’m going to have to share that if that’s ok.
And go read the book!


goTenna Mesh (and other cool tech) in a Wall Street Journal about our post-net neutrality world:

Since it’s behind a paywall, I’ll share the goTenna bits here (which includes a quote from Mesh Community member @linenoise!):

Daniela Per­domo is con­cerned about the power of U.S. tele­com gi­ants that stand to gain from the re­peal of “net neu­tral­ity” rules. Her com­pany of­fers a way around them: A $90 an­tenna that lets users send mes­sages with­out cel­lu­lar ser­vice or Wi-Fi.

Ms. Per­domo is among the en­tre­pre­neurs whose vi­sion for an al­ter­na­tive route to in­ter­net ac­cess is find­ing tak­ers in Sil­i­con Val­ley, where tech types were rat­tled by a re­cent gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion to over­turn rules that re­quired big in­ter­net providers to treat all traf­fic equally.

“So­ci­ety re­quires con­nec­tiv­ity to func­tion and to ad­vance but we are leav­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the hands of a few large cor­po­ra­tions,” Ms. Per­domo said. “The lack of a choice is a prob­lem.”


A mesh net­work may be an­other al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional in­ter­net ac­cess. In­stead of ac­cess­ing the in­ter­net through one provider, users of a mesh net­work pull bits of in­for­ma­tion from many dif­fer­ent nodes—such as phones, lap­tops and an­ten­nas—around them, and of­ten serve as a node them­selves.

That is the idea be­hind Ms. Per­do­mo’s com­pany goTenna Inc., which makes a strap-on an­tenna the size of a smart­phone that can con­nect with sis­ter de­vices sev­eral miles away us­ing a ra­dio sig­nal. The de­vices sync to phones for a con­nec­tion strong enough to send en­crypted texts and GPS co­or­di­nates be­tween de­vices.

As more an­ten­nas are added to the net­work, the mes­sages can be sent over dis­tances sur­pass­ing 4 miles. Rather than Wi-Fi or cel­lu­lar sig­nal, goTenna re­lies on pub­licly avail­able ra­dio fre­quen­cies.

Ms. Per­domo, a New Yorker who dreamed up goTenna when Hur­ri­cane Sandy ren­dered the city’s cell­phone ser­vice un­re­li­able in 2012, said her broader goal is to build a free, “bot­tom up” com­mu­ni­ca-tion net­work ac­ces­si­ble to all and more re­li­able than the “top down” net­works con­trolled by a few large com­pa­nies.

Matt Filip, a 33-year-old field en­gi­neer in Down­ers Grove, Ill., bought a goTenna ear­lier this year and has since used it to com­mu­ni­cate with friends on hunt­ing trips in re­mote lo­ca­tions. He said he likes the idea of com­mand­ing an al­ter­na­tive net­work to wire­less car­ri­ers and plans to set it up at home to sup­port other goTenna users.

Introducing Categories

I think it’s very telling — and a sign of the times — that Mark Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2018 is to think harder about decentralization. I am personally very interested in hearing what incumbents, like Facebook, are going to add to the conversation, and of course, how they’re going to act.

Below is the most relevant part of his post; highlights my own:



I too am very eager to hear what the big incumbents will have to say to the growing wave of popular enthusiasm for decentralization. It’s also telling to hear what they don’t say. For instance:

“With the rise of big tech companies… many people now believe that technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.”

There is one big tech company in particular that comes to mind when I read this, a company that is especially responsible for creating the social climate in which so many people have “lost faith” in tech’s ability to decentralize power? It’s on the tip of my tongue, and Zuckerberg’s too, it seems.

This is a short post, but there is, as they say, a lot going on here. If you went through this post and noted down every time he opts to go general rather than specific, I think you would have a pretty good list of questions to think about as the decentralization train picks up steam. A few that leapt out at me:

“There are important counter-trends to this… that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands.”

What kind of power are we talking about? What are the “centralized systems” that have it now? How will technology take it away from them and deliver it to the people? Who are “people” in question?

“But they come with the risk of being harder to control.”

Harder for whom to control? What does it mean to control a counter-trend? How is control different from power?

“I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services?”

What does he mean by positive? What does he mean by negative? Who is he talking about when he says ‘our services’? Facebook? The people? The people doing the control?

Zuckerberg leaves all of these questions hanging. Which is fine, it’s just a short post after all, no one expects or even needs a treatise.

But it does point to one of the things that I think is most exciting about decentralization: we don’t have to wonder how Mark Zuckerberg would answer these questions. We have to answer them ourselves.


Interesting article about the forums that Uber and Lyft drivers are making as community resources, and how that shifts the dynamics of the platform economy.

“Online forums aren’t just helping drivers like Cole navigate the challenges of their work, and helping those of us who use and study these platforms grasp those challenges too. They show how as employment relationships grow more remote and distributed across the network, workers can adapt, using technology to forge their own workplace culture.”

I definitely have feelings about this, but I’m curious what you guys think?


A firsthand account of the device “two yahoos from the middle of Ohio” presented to the DoD - it remotely stops drones in mid-air!


Gotenna mesh should be the “extended bluetooth standard” for burst data communication independent of the internet. It would be very pratical to have a mesh point in every Tesla powerwall as standard equipment.



This is a pretty long blog post, but I would be extremely interested to hear what people on this thread have to say about it:


This dovetails really nicely with the last article I linked here, in the sense that it highlights the economic and political systems in place that determine internet access in the US.

In the post above, Rosenthal described what he called the “slow AI” of fiduciary logic that compels big tech companies to make decisions in the way that they do. The article below shows how that same “slow AI” - which is really just a very clever euphemism for “prioritizing profits” - leads incumbent ISPs to underperform in a few revealing ways. Interesting read.

“Running an open access network (where multiple ISPs can come in and compete) usually dramatically ramps up this competition. In fact, a 2009 FCC-sponsored Harvard study found that open access networks routinely result in lower prices and better service. The more competition, the better the service, faster the speeds, and lower the rates.”




Who knew that you could put existentialism on the blockchain?

Another example of how decentralization inspires innovation for enterprises is actual blockchain work in the area of identity. Authentication answers the question “Am I who I say I am?,” while identity answers the deeper question — “Who am I?”


An NYT reader responds to the Sunday Magazine article about blockchain:


The entire 106 acre stand of Aspens in Utah is all a single tree. Every tree is genetically identical, connected by a sprawling underground root structure. It’s a decentralized tree! Some scientists believe it is the largest (by mass) organism on earth.


A natural mesh network!!


Over the weekend some friends told me that Uganda had used Blockchain in a national election!

Well, it turns out my friends know more about Blockchain than they do about African geography & politics. Sierra Leone was actually the country that used Blockchain to tally votes in their presidential election, in partnership with the Swiss company Agora.

According to this article, that makes them the first nation in history to implement Blockchain in a national election:


Somebody sent this to me this morning and I thought “Sweet!”

It’s a wiki for collaborative research about arts, media, and humanities, but their angle on these topics seems to skew a little bit towards the obscure, the DIY, and the retro-technical. Scrolling through the homepage is like walking into a really well-curated used bookstore. Cool stuff!


Another similar website that I like a lot is :wink:


A few months ago there was a conversation on here about decentralized art. Today I came across this article (from Kamal Sinclair of the Sundance New Frontiers Lab) that provides a taxonomy of emerging media.

It’s really comprehensive, and definitely worth checking out for anyone who is interested thinking about how decentralization can appear in art and storytelling.


UPDATE: The National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone denies that this election was the first to use blockchain. "

“Was Agora simply attempting a PR stunt in support of its upcoming token sale. That’s unclear. What is clear is the disappointment in Sierra Leone regarding their efforts.”