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Start your own revolution
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    The Sticker Network
    Project: Start your own revolution
    The sticker network is a network made with wirelless stickers.
    Control over the internet leads to a new form of independent network: the sticker network. This is in fact an open internet wich may interconnect wirelless routers or work as standalone. All you have to do is stick arround. Glue stickers everywhere.
    Large quantities of stickers are cheap. These special sticker work as antena mirrors shortening the path between open wifi routers and allowing free internet access for everyone. You can glue the stickers anywhere, and by doing it you are creating ad hoc networks. Wich may be independent from ISPs.

    Look for this sticker symbol:

    Mon, Nov 30, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: Networking
    Sent to project: Start your own revolution
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         Mon, Nov 30, 2009  Permanent link
    Is this just a concept or is it in action?
    lapisdecor     Wed, Dec 2, 2009  Permanent link
    its just a concept, but perfectly doable.
    BenRayfield     Sat, Jul 31, 2010  Permanent link
    I wrote about centrally controlled internet hardware compared to peer-to-peer internet hardware, like "the sticker network", in these threads:

    This thread is about a theoretical network of solar-powered stickers that form a wireless network, instead of needing (but optionally using) internet service providers (ISPs). Its the best way to solve internet censoring, payments for what should be free, and bottlenecks.

    If explained the right way, we could get lots of people do donate money to design, prototype, and mass-produce such stickers for maybe $5 each, or a higher cost for stickers with bigger batteries and wireless range. If this project really gets started, I want to be part of it.

    How much money would it cost to design and create a few prototype stickers and use them?

    If we do it without patents, like  is a software and hardware (for brain-computer communication through the electricity on the skin of your head), then  would be a good place to look for money.

    If we do it with patents, then "angel investors" (which have more freedom and less money than "venture capitalists"), like in Silicon Valley (where I worked for 3 years), would be a good place to start.

    Such investors usually do 2 or 3 rounds of funding, each time making a new deal and adjusting the plans for the project, eventually leading to an "exit" (as they call it) where you pay them millions of dollars and then the business is completely yours.

    I prefer to do it the open-source way without patents, but that way is harder to get started, and whatever money you make is much more indirect, like you would become noticed as someone who did something amazing and therefore people would want to include you in other business deals.

    My main interest in this is to free the internet from central control and start the slow process of putting up peer-to-peer network routers (as stickers, for example). But if we can't do it that way, letting investors own some of it for a few years is better than not doing it at all.

    Who wants to help with this project?

    We need people specialized in peer-to-peer networks, internet hardware, the legal issues involving putting up a network that can't be regulated or censored, and hardware designers, people to test the prototypes, and somebody who can get a factory to mass-produce it. Did I miss any of the abilities we need?

    I'm sure theres many businesses and parts of the USA government that would want to prevent us from creating such a sticker network. They will not be too much of a problem, because their only 3 choices are:

    (1) Publicly announce that it is illegal to communicate in ways they can not control, which violates "the right to free speech" (which in court rulings has expanded to computer communications). The USA government would not dare choose this option because it could result in civil war as a result of directly saying we do not have the right to free speech even if we do all the work to communicate. OR

    (2) Resist us in any way, which would result in a court case about "free speech", which the government would lose because that part of the USA Constitution has not been repealed, and they would not dare oppose it so directly. They would only oppose it indirectly by controlling busineses. (2) leads to (1). OR

    (3) Allow us to create the sticker network, as freedom of speech allows us to do. (2) and (1), if the government chooses those, lead to (3).

    In any case, government resistance to such a sticker network will not be a permanent problem, and we should build it.

    The biggest benefit of starting such a sticker network is it eventually would lead to some or all internet service providers (ISPs), television and radio businesses, cell phone towers, cell phone businesses, all going out of business or being forced to compete in a fair market without their monopoly advantages. Lets create our own communication infrastructure, our own cell-phones that don't cost $2 per megabyte to use the internet, and obsolete the centrally controlled infrastructure. Lets start with a small sticker network and let it grow as people see it has more freedom.

    If the power grid goes down, our solar-powered communication network stays up. The original purpose of the internet (when it was called ARPANET) was more reliable communication, especially during wars. We can improve on that. Cut every power line, phone line, bomb every building in the country, and our infrastructure would still work.

    There is still the question of how to do addresses in this network. Except for backward-compatibility with the existing internet, I don't see a need to have anything like IP addresses or any way to uniquely identify a certain sticker or computer connected to them. Do it all by content instead of symbols for from/to addresses, totally anonymous and by behavior instead of labels, except for connecting to the existing internet.

    Bluetooth, I've heard, negotiates frequencies with other bluetooth devices in an emergent way. We could do something similar. If bluetooth has patents on all possible ways to create a peer-to-peer network, then we invalidate their patents for being a monopoly on all possible ways to build a new kind of peer-to-peer wireless network. Legally we have the right to create such a network, as explained above, therefore any patents blocking us from it are invalid.

    Optionally, if I can get my planned (but not built) Schrodingers Network Router software to work any small amount, then we could use a similar design (but different since its wireless which is more analog and closer to the speed of light) to create a "sticker network" across this Earth and across an infinite number of parallel Earths in the same way that Schrodinger's Cat can be both alive and dead at the same time in 2 parallel Earths, as multiverse physics says. This part will depend on if such experiments work or not, and I don't know when I'll have time to do them, but I will get to it. The sticker network is also a long-term project. Basically the way a sticker could be a multiverse network router is to choose the outgoing routing directions based on small changes in the timing and content of incoming data, and based on some learned reaction to it that allows the output now to statistically influence the input half a second from now more than you would expect it to happen without using the multiverse. Optionally, for little extra cost per sticker, they can expand the internet into an infinite number of parallel Earths, which should solve the bandwidth problems caused by small batteries.
    Olena     Tue, Aug 24, 2010  Permanent link
    This sounds amazing.
    Reminds me of political graffiti in the 80's...
    Anyway if this gets going and you need a designer (or other help), I'm on your team.
    BenRayfield     Tue, Aug 24, 2010  Permanent link
    Olena, what kind of designing can you do?

    The first thing we would need is somebody to build a few wireless network routers and test them as a chain between 2 computers in the simplest possible way: sending 1 bit at a time.

    After we know we can do the simplest thing, start making improvements like making it solar powered, small enough to fit on a sticker, ok to get rained on when stuck on something outside, bigger range, more efficient power usage, and most importantly invent some new algorithms to make it work in a peer-to-peer way and test that. We need hardware people first. I can design some of the software for it (maybe to be embedded as part of the hardware).

    This can be done easiest in Linux because the core of Linux is open-source (and some versions, like gNewSense Linux, are completely open-source), so we don't have to deal with any businesses. If we get stuck on how to build hardware without any patents or businesses, see how  did it.

    Addresses: Most of the internet today uses  and lots of complex protocols built on top of that, but we don't need any of that in the stickers. We simply need 1 way to give a label (an address) to each sticker, and a separate device to do the complex IP4 stuff and other stuff for compatibility with the existing internet. We can build a much simpler way to do addresses in our peer-to-peer network, and only translate it to the complex stuff in the devices people connect to their computers which access our network and the normal internet. IP4 uses 48 bit addresses (32 bits for IP address and 16 bits for port). IP6 uses 128 bit addresses. I think The Sticker Network should use variable size addresses. The first part should be a 16 bit number that tells the size of the address, so we can have addresses anywhere between 17 and 65536 (2^16) bits, counting the first 16 bits that tell the size of the address number as part of the address number. A 17 bit address would be "0000 0000 0001 0001 0" or "0000 0000 0001 0001 1" because 10001 is 17 and they each have 17 digits. Since the first 16 digits always tell the total size of the address, a 17 bit address can only cover a network of 2 computers, so most addresses will be bigger. I want to allow addresses up to 65536 bits (instead of 48 for IP4 or 128 for IP6) so we can add some intelligence into the address, like a small algorithm that defines which path it should take depending on what the current Sticker is doing. Theres lots of possibilities when you allow variable size addresses, and its easy to start doing because you can start with 19 bit addresses (for example) for a network of up to 8 (2^(19-16)) computers and stickers.

    A sticker has to be a little like a computer, so we want it to be the simplest and cheapest kind of computer, and that is a Lisp Machine. Of course we can't use that particular kind of computer, but I think The Sticker Network should support the most important and simplest parts of the Lisp programming language because its very flexible and almost the simplest language possible. All simpler languages are so hard to use for practical things that they're only used in programming competitions and things like that. A hardware that runs Lisp can be built very cheaply and simply, and can be reprogrammed when we create the next version of the network router software. Each sticker in The Sticker Network should be a programmable Lisp computer, and still cost only a few dollars. How much does a 10 megahertz (not gigahertz) CPU cost? Not much more than the silicon its printed on. They don't have to be fast or have a lot of memory. They just have to work in a very simple way. A few dollars per sticker can be done.

    When I say Lisp, I mean the most pure form of it, before it got merged with non-Lisp languages that have things like integers, floating-point numbers, and other optimizations. I think The Sticker Network should be a much simpler hardware than that which runs pure Lambda Calculus. If you want a multiply function, build your numbers from bits, and define the multiply function as a Lambda function on 2 sequences of bits. Lambda is the core of Lisp, and we should not complicate The Sticker Network by adding anything that can be derived from simpler things.

    Whoever works on this should keep good records of what they do, including videos and grids of numbers and writing about what the numbers mean. If this is going to happen, we can't have people thinking we're making it up. We need to make progress and prove it.
         Tue, Aug 24, 2010  Permanent link
    I like your ideas on this a lot, benrayfield! The lisp one might, however, mess with the project's scope a bit... I don't really know many people who can wrap their heads around pure lisp. Any project, if it's likely to get off the ground and into the heaven that we're trying to make our reality into, needs to restrict its requirements in order to avoid what's known as scope creep.

    I'm pretty sure that just stickers within such an infrastructure would be an incomplete way of doing things, though. I just couldn't see enough viable places to put stickers outside the city, for example, so how would the sticker network really manage to stretch from LA to NY with nothing but stickers peeling off in the hot sun from telephone poles and cows? I'm considering this project in a more macro perspective right now, and the thing is that at some point down the line of a project like this someone would probably configure a bridge to the internet anyways.

    What about the idea of encrypting all communications within the sticker network? Otherwise, it's at the mercy of pretty much anyone who can take the time to learn how to sniff traffic. This should be a mandatory part of the network layer, in my opinion, but still something that's updateable.

    I got a bunch of friends who are (talented, no toys) graffiti artists who I'm sure would really love to be a part of this. I'll bring up the idea to them and see what they gotta say (Got a couple of them already into it as I type this actually, haha)... I think that making the artwork modular on something like this, while still incorporating a signifying symbol clearly enough, would be a really great idea, too. It'd completely increase the amount of stickers getting slapped around, and would increase exposure.
    BenRayfield     Tue, Aug 24, 2010  Permanent link
    Each Sticker should be a kind of Lisp Machine because that is the best way to avoid scope creep. There is no electronic device, except a watch or a timer etc, that is simpler than a Lisp machine. Your cell phone is much more complex. It is impractical to put up new stickers each time the network routing behaviors need to change, and they will need to change because there will always be hackers and we will need to find ways to make it harder to hack.

    You say most people do not know Lisp. Thats ok, because most people do not know how to create software drivers for their network routers either. Most people will simply buy a USB stick for their computer and it will just work. They don't need to know Lisp. But I need it to run Lisp because the CPU and memory parts will be much cheaper and simpler that way.

    There are well known ways to send secret messages in public, so adding encryption into the hardware is not necessary. If we added encryption to the hardware, for example at 128 bits, then those who are against the network (like Internet2 which is against freedom on the internet so people will have to pay monopoly prices to use their new infrastructure) could pay to create a new law that makes the maximum legal encryption be 127 bits (or maybe 64 if they like powers of 2). Any way we go about this, theres a lot of businesses and politicians that will put lots of effort and resources into making us fail, so they can make more money exploiting people. They just haven't noticed it yet. If encryption is in the hardware, I would leave the project and start my own project without encryption. Encryption can be added on top of public communication, as it is done in the existing Internet.

    If somebody wants to "sniff traffic", there will be no way for them to find specific traffic, because nobody and no sticker and no computer will know what path any specific packet will go unless it chooses to use a very simple type of address.

    The variable size addresses I proposed are to keep it simple. The existing Internet has lots of different ways of sending sequences of bits because they started with inflexible requirements. They are stuck on IP4 even though IP6 has been available for over 10 years and would solve many problems. I will only help with a project that is flexible enough to avoid all existing problems in the Internet.

    If you think stickers are not the best way to do this, you're in the wrong thread. "Sticker" is in the title. As I wrote above, there should be more than 1 kind of device. You need a more complex device to connect to your computer to "bridge" The Sticker Network and the existing Internet. We agree on that.

    Where to put the Stickers? How about on your car? On the back of street signs (It is my legal position that we have the Constitutional right to do this in USA, but it will have to be proven in court), on the side of businesses which you get permission from, in trash cans, tied on a string and hung on the branches of trees, or lots of other places. Or maybe we could invent some kind of gun that shoots them into the side of trees from far away, and shoot them as we're driving along the highway. Not all kinds of "drive by shootings" are bad.

    The designs I proposed are to keep it simple, cheap, and flexible. If we copy what is normally done, it will get complex really fast. What is normally done is usually to serve those in power instead of because it works or is efficient. Keep it simple and cheap and a turing-complete amount of flexible or I'll find somebody else to do it that way with me.

    Most importantly, The Sticker Network is about an internet that has no central authority (peer to peer), and putting encryption in the hardware creates a way for a central authority to control it. If you can control it through your encryption codes, you are that central authority, and as normally happens when anyone has a little authority, the government threatens them indirectly and takes some of that authority, resulting in a government controlled Sticker Network.

    If we build it as I proposed, with the variable-size addresses, then such addresses would support simple numbers (like IP4) and things like including an encryption algorithm (written in Lambda Calculus) in the address, because addresses can be simple numbers or numbers that represent a string of Lisp code and some numbers for it to operate on. I proposed the simplest possible design that is flexible enough to do everything you said and everything we will ever need to do. The addresses are Turing Complete, but the data is whatever the computers (connected through USB sticks) send through the network. It can put time limits on running the code in the addresses. With that much flexibility (which costs us very little since its just Lambda Calculus), every internet protocol that exists can be implemented in an address. The difference between what me and you proposed is no Sticker would be forced to accept any algorithm or packet, so you could only get them to do encryption if large parts of The Sticker Network wanted to accept your algorithm. Its a decentralized democracy that way.
         Tue, Sep 14, 2010  Permanent link
    You know what you're talking about more than I did, well said. I like the way you think.

    What kind of physical hardware should we be using for this exactly? Anyone got any ideas for anything that would would work optimally for durability, size, and everything? I'm also wondering if solar power is something that could really work completely here. I mean ideally any light could pull it off like with your average pocket calculator, but then that adds this visibility factor which might not play nice if certain entities started trying to take something like this out. Is there alternatives to that?
    gamma     Sat, Sep 18, 2010  Permanent link
    I planned a future for you Ben, at AT 'n' T. Evolving dialing tones would be a killer.
    BenRayfield     Sun, Oct 3, 2010  Permanent link
    gamma, if you want to evolve something that sounds like dial tones (until it becomes music), I built this software for evoving musical instruments you play with the mouse:

    dmitri, it has to be solar powered because it has to work for longer than a battery will last (wireless transmitting takes a lot of power, even if its done infrequently and for short distances) and because it has to go in many places that have no electric wires near. Unless you want to derive power from the electric difference between 2 places in the ground (stick 2 wires in the ground from each "sticker") then solar power is the only practical thing. The appearance of it is a separate question. I'm sure we could put something over the solar parts if they let half the light through, if it needed to be hidden from those who want us to fail.

    Those who want us to fail... for example, this proposed law (9/20/10, hasn't passed yet, so do something if you can...), lets the USA government turn off websites and force businesses not to do business with them BEFORE the websites are proven in court to be doing anything illegal. Guilty until proven innocent. And it makes a few more things illegal, like certain patterns of linking to websites doing illegal things. Its like arresting someone for saying "You see John over there? He's a criminal." You linked to john verbally. He did the crime. You do the time. But because of my strategic planning, that proposed law can not ever apply to "the sticker network", regardless of how many criminals use it, because if its made entirely of Lisp Machines (each sticker is a mini computer that has no programming except what it receives through the network, completely unbiased and unrelated to crime on average), the following can never apply to it:

    "(B) engaged in the activities described in subparagraph (A), and when taken together, such activities are central to the activity of the Internet site or sites accessed through a specific domain name."

    Read the rest of the USA government's latest attempt at censoring the internet here:

    When designing "the sticker network" we have to be very careful not to give those control-freaks even 1 thing they could possibly make a law against. They're trying to make a law against linking to bad websites. They would make a law against uncensored computers if they could. But they can't. If we stay unbiased and strategicly choose only designs they can not make demands about, we may be able to build a system to save our freedom of speech/communication/files/etc, and extend the internet into new places and avoid monopoly prices.

    To the pawns of businesses which we call "members of congress" who are voting on that, you don't want a legal battle with me about "the sticker network", because I find the loopholes in laws before the laws are ever spoken about or written. Your actions are predictable, and your overall strategy is flawed. (and for those who like that song by the Flobots...) I see the strings that control the system. I can do all of this needing no permission. I tied a double-knot in a cherry stem. And I can ride my bike with no handlebars.
    Infinitas     Wed, Jan 12, 2011  Permanent link
    I don't know much about open source networking or programming, but an idea and some questions just popped into my head. Regardless of phones being much more complex than a basic Lisp machine (as Ben said above), with all of these smart phones everyone has, would it be possible to just turn them into the wifi "stickers"? For example, could you jailbreak an iPhone, rig it and use it's wifi hotspot capability as a starting point? Get a bunch of phones, build and test out a small network? I don't doubt that the telecoms and phone manufacturers would start looking over your shoulder, but I am just wondering if this is a possible starting point, albeit an expensive one.
    BenRayfield     Wed, Jan 12, 2011  Permanent link
    I'll explain the problem with that as a conversation I had just before I bought my cell phone from Verizon:

    I said: How much does it cost to use the phone's camera?
    Verizon guy said: Its free.
    I said: So I can take pictures and put them on my computer for free?
    Verizon: No that phone doesn't support transfer to the computer as it is now, but if you pay us 25 cents per picture we will allow you to use our network, or if you buy this wire for 20 dollars you can connect that phone to the computer.
    I said: But I can put the pictures somewhere, right?
    Verizon: No, they would have to stay on the camera.
    I said: So it costs 25 cents per picture or 20 dollars one time, to use the camera?
    Verizon: No, It's free because you can look at the pictures on the small screen in the phone for free, but I guess you could interpret it that way.

    Its not just Verizon. Its most businesses that have control of technology we need.

    I'm only willing to help with a sticker network type project if its built on technology that businesses can't hold over us, because when it becomes too popular and people start getting angry at those businesses for taking advantage of their customers (which people will see when compared to the sticker network) then those businesses will pull the plug on it before too many people hear about it. Lets keep the designs open or not do it at all.

    Here's something from Verizon's legal agreement:

    "Your wireless device must comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations, be certified for use on our network, and be compatible with your Service. Please be aware that we may change your wireless device's software, applications or programming remotely, without notice. This could affect your stored data, or how you've programmed or use your wireless device. By activating Service that uses a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card, you agree we own the intellectual property and software in the SIM card, that we may change the software or other data in the SIM card remotely and without notice, and we may utilize any capacity in the SIM card for administrative, network, business and/or commercial purposes. ... We can, without notice, limit, suspend or end your Service or any agreement with you for any good cause, including, but not limited to: (1) if you: (a) breach this agreement; (b) resell your Service; ... (d) install, deploy or use any regeneration equipment or similar mechanism (for example, a repeater) to originate, amplify, enhance, retransmit or regenerate an RF signal without our permission; ... (d) modify your device from its manufacturer's specifications"

    I expect you could find some cell phone business to allow your experimental networks if you paid them enough and did enough paperwork and extremely complicated it to be compatible with standards we're not interested in, but I also expect they would pull the plug if it started becoming popular. Lets keep the designs open and under everyone's control, instead of under the control of the existing infrastructure.
    Infinitas     Thu, Jan 13, 2011  Permanent link
    Gotcha, that makes sense. I kind of figured that those would be the problems, but wasn't entirely sure. And at least I now know part of the legal agreement I apparently have with Verizon. Thanks.
    BenRayfield     Thu, Jan 13, 2011  Permanent link
    Its not just Verizon. Its the normal way businesses and governments and others with power over average people do things. That's why we need our own network that we don't need their permission for any part of. Its not as hard as it sounds. The people who build software and the technology it runs on have their own organizations for fighting that kind of thing. Some places to start are:  (Free Software Foundation) and  If we make this "sticker network" happen, it could get free advertising and possibly other kinds of help from such organizations.
    Autotelic     Tue, Mar 1, 2011  Permanent link
    openmesh- not quite stickers but sounds like it has the independence from "big brother" your looking for- not to mention the FUNDING 
    lapisdecor     Sun, Sep 14, 2014  Permanent link
    Some improvements on the technology:

    This Internet of Things radio is the size of an ant