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Want to hear news as it really is?
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2002-12-16
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You want to hear news every 10 minutes? Fine.
You want to hear only one minute each hour? Also fine.
You want to hear the news as soon as possible? Why not.
You want news from another country? Who does not.
You want news from a specific person? Go ahead.
You want to know about a specific topic? Sure.
You want news you can trust in? That is our business.

That's MPN, a Linux/Windows p2p app from Germany for delivering decentralized, personalized and independent news.

And one of the interesting things about it is: it was started in the summer when Net radio fees in the US were the hot item, say MPN creators Tom Nicolai and Ansgar Schmidt.

"It was developed with the hope to add spoken news and gossip to all the great internet-radio stations in order to combine the world of good music (without advertisings) with the world of independent news that matches individual interests," Ansgar and Tom told p2pnet.net.

"Your favourite music with news that matters (on a personal basis). It also makes internet contacts less anonymous, as you are in contact with people, you are somehow related to."

So, sincere thanks to ace Carpist Hilary 'Reach Out' Rosen whose systematic efforts to kill Webcasts not owned, operated or approved by Hollywood gave life to yet another fascinating application which might come to haunt Hollywood.

As Ansgar ("GIDS: Global Identification System based on p2p") and Tom ("Reconfigured: Program Structuring for Wearable Computers") say, "Good ideas are often born out of a crisis."

MPN, which supports XMMS and WinAmp, sends short voice messages through a web of trust, say its developers at the University of Bremen's Center for Computing Technologies. 'Credibility' decays until a threshold is reached where the message is dropped.

Tom and Ansgar say MPN solves some of the problems inherent with "the open publishing idea: personalized delivery; and, no single point of failure/attack.

"It also has experimental support for reporting by normal phone calls. That means that you are able to make a radio report with your normal cell phone from anywhere.

"We have set up some bots that read slashdot and heise (German IT news, similar to slashdot), as well as an irc-reading bot.

"It is interesting that - even when you only consume news - you actively participate, because you automatically recommend news to others. This is very different from listening radio, which is really passive."

'Stupid' servers (they have no knowledge about the network itself, or the connections within) store and publish data, but, "In spite of the servers, MPN is a peer to peer network," say the developers. "The intelligence resides in the peer machines ... "

MPN comes with a program for recording and sending messages, as well as XMMS and WinAmp plugins.

Mailinglist for the project: matrixpn-tech@auriga.wearlab.de

IRC channel: "#wearlab" at the freenode network (irc.freenode.net)

As Jack Spratts says on Napsterites Underground, .".. we'll be seeing more and more of these clever applications as time goes by, assuming the cable barons and monopoly telcos keep net access somewhat free. each day that passes brings us farther from the centralized internet depicted in tv commercials and business plans and closer to the real internet, where each of us converses with as many or as few as we wish, as publicly or as intimately as we desire."

And as nu's Tank Girl points out, "The trust and filtering mechanisms needed in an open p2p environment pose a whole new set of technical and social challenges to solve."

That's good : )


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