I passed the web’s last exit years ago, there’s no going back now

Friday, 1 July, 2011

Missing out on the incessantly updating online data stream is just as bad as trying to keep up with it:

It’s hard not to think “death drive” every time I go on the internet. Opening Safari is an actively destructive decision. I am asking that consciousness be taken away from me. Like the lost time between leaving a party drunk and materializing somehow at your front door, the internet robs you of a day you can visit recursively or even remember. You really want to know what it is about 20-somethings? It’s this: we live longer now. But we also live less. It sounds hyperbolic, it sounds morbid, it sounds dramatic, but in choosing the internet I am choosing not to be a certain sort of alive. Days seem over before they even begin, and I have nothing to show for myself other than the anxious feeling that I now know just enough to engage in conversations I don’t care about.

Via Jeffrey Zeldman.

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Intranet type walled gardens would prevail in a webless world

Monday, 27 June, 2011

I wrote a somewhat fanciful piece about life in a world without the internet a while ago, but an article at Armed and Dangerous looks at the prospect from another angle.

Rather than there being no ability to communicate or do anything at all online, “walled gardens” would prevail. Think smaller versions of Facebook, that wouldn’t be interconnected, or able to talk to each other, or a series of intranets, with very limited functionality, and you get the idea.

Welcome to a world of walled gardens. Your digital universe is a collection of competing fiefdoms run by CompuServe, AOL, Genie, and later entrants that came into the fray as demand rose, many of them run by big media companies. Each network has its own protocols, its own addressing conventions, and its own rigidly proprietary access software. You get the services they choose to offer and that’s it – there’s no end-to-end, no access to the bitstream.

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Browser version numbers? That’s so Web 2.0

Tuesday, 19 April, 2011

With web browsers increasingly updating/upgrading themselves automatically, often with their users little aware of the process, is there any point in continuing to publicly assign numbers, such as Firefox 4, to new versions of web browsers?

Internally, or behind the scenes, if you will, naturally you’ll have a web browser version number. It will be needed for development and support cases. But with the advent of IE10, Firefox is the only web browser who haven’t reached a two-digit version, and also with the frantic version update rate of Google Chrome, version numbers are really losing the point. Right now it seems to be only for branding and getting attention, but I think it would be much better for everyone if that focus was spent on why people should use a certain web browser (features, performance, integrity etc).

So long as everyone is receiving browser updates at the same time, and most web users have the same version of a certain browser, then sure, why not. I think web developers/designers will still need to be aware of browser version distinctions though so they are able to cater – in whatever way – for those who remain on legacy versions though.

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All you need to know, here’s what happened on the web in 2010

Friday, 28 January, 2011

The way of the web in 2010 as seen by The Oatmeal.

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Learning web, passing knowledge up through the generations

Thursday, 27 January, 2011

This is all sounds very familiar… a twelve year old explains the internet to his mother.

When a person loves a funny video very much, he or she may want to share it with someone special to them. This is called linking and if done properly, it can bring people together in a very special union of love: usually the love of sneezing animals, or bed intruders, or Bill O’Reilly having a temper tantrum. But it’s important to be sparing when you send your links. You don’t want to become the neighborhood outbox, constantly forwarding yourself around. Nobody wants that kind of reputation. Trust me, you do not want to be known as a “spammer.”

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Change or destruction, the ubiquitous, all encompassing internet?

Wednesday, 19 January, 2011

The internet is not only changing – some say destroying – our way of life, it is becoming our way of life. If that’s “bad” though, just how bad is it?

The Internet has concentrated once widely dispersed aspects of a human life into one and the same little machine: work, friendship, commerce, creativity, eros. As someone sharply put it a few years ago in an article in Slate or something like that: our work machines and our porn machines are now the same machines. This is, in short, an exceptional moment in history, next to which 19th-century anxieties about the railroad or the automated loom seem frivolous. Looms and cotton gins and similar apparatuses each only did one thing; the Internet does everything.

Brings to mind the line from The Social Network, “We lived in farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re gonna live on the internet!”

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A latter day internet user’s guide to the web

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web… a useful guide, and even introduction, to the contemporary web.

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Explaining time travel might be easier than explaining the web

Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

A flowchart that helps you to explain the internet to a 19th century British street urchin should you find yourself transported back to that time for whatever reason.

At the risk of unravelling the very fabric of the space time continuum though, it couldn’t be much harder than explaining why a mobile phone is present at a Charlie Chaplin film premiere in 1928, could it?

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The internet may one day literally become known as the internets

Thursday, 9 September, 2010

Individual commercial, statutory, and proprietary forces could in time result in the internet becoming fragmented and regionalised:

The lofty discourse on “cyberspace” has long changed. Even the term now sounds passé. Today another overused celestial metaphor holds sway: the “cloud” is code for all kinds of digital services generated in warehouses packed with computers, called data centres, and distributed over the internet. Most of the talk, though, concerns more earthly matters: privacy, antitrust, Google’s woes in China, mobile applications, green information technology (IT). Only Apple’s latest iSomethings seem to inspire religious fervour, as they did again this week. Again, this is a fair reflection of what is happening on the internet. Fifteen years after its first manifestation as a global, unifying network, it has entered its second phase: it appears to be balkanising, torn apart by three separate, but related forces.

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The web is dead but then again so is just about everything else

Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

“Wired” caused a stir – quite a stir – the other week when they declared the web to be dead. There’s a quite a number of people who can’t see what the fuss is about though. After all many other technologies and products, including e-mail, Firefox, and even the iPod, have likewise been sent the way of the dodo

For years, once-vibrant technologies, products, and companies have been dropping like teenagers in a Freddy Krueger movie. Thank heavens that tech journalists have done such a good job of documenting the carnage as it happened. Without their diligent reporting, we might not be aware that the industry is pretty much an unrelenting bloodbath.

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