3 minute read

So, between getting back from Peace Corps and coming to DC for grad school, I lived in a rather unique house, which fuels stories from cross-border under-the-wire monetary transactions using Final Fantasy XII codes, to City Council politics and communal living. Bram Cohen stayed there (he and my roommate were good friends from the p2p scene) during SXSW-05 (So, when I joke about having a third of the Internet traffic in my living room at one point, I'm only partially kidding.

Anyhow. That's a very longwinded way to plug this former roommate's current project, which can be thought about as streaming bittorrent-like downloading for video. That's a gross simplification I'm sure (he once showed me a three-dimensional model of his p2p networking algorithm, my brain has yet to quite recover):

ActLab TV, a project of the Foundation for Decentralization Research, is hosting their Launch Party (if you're lucky enough to be in Austin) and a Video Festival for the rest of us to watch online through their snazzy technology.

The cool part of this technology is that is can potentially put video broadcasting on a level where amateurs can successfully create and distribute content without killing their bandwidth. This has important consequences for NGOs and non-profits interested in making video documentary (of human rights abuses, labor law violations, etc) widely available. The same technology could be used at a demonstration to record and broadcase the event live using a high-speed cell-phone connection or a wifi mesh network with someone on it providing and uplink -- which means that the videographer could be arrested and his/her gear confiscated -- but the video would already be in distribution and potentially cached remotely.

Of course, it's still a beta technology, and even at full production power, it would require some technological know-how to implement, but at least it provides a distribution channel.