Web Design - The First 100 Years

Web Design - The First 100 Years

These three visions lead to radically different worlds.

If you think the Web is a way to CONNECT KNOWLEDGE, PEOPLE, AND CATS, then your job is to get the people and cats online, put a decent font on the knowledge, and then stand back and watch the magic happen.

If you think your job is to FIX THE WORLD WITH SOFTWARE, then the web is just the very beginning. There's a lot of work left to do. Really you're going to need sensors in every house, and it will help if everyone looks through special goggles, and if every refrigerator can talk to the Internet and confess its contents.

You promise to hook up all this stuff up for us, and in return, we give you the full details of our private lives. And we don't need to worry about people doing bad things with it, because your policy is for that not to happen.

And if you think that the purpose of the Internet is to BECOME AS GODS, IMMORTAL CREATURES OF PURE ENERGY LIVING IN A CRYSTALLINE PARADISE OF OUR OWN INVENTION, then your goal is total and complete revolution. Everything must go. [...]

I realize this all sounds a little grandiose. You came here to hear about media selectors, not aviation and eschatology. But you all need to pick a side.

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9 Responses:

  1. Elusis says:

    That was the most interesting talk on technology I've ever read. (I wish that didn't sound like damning with faint praise.)

    • Ben says:

      All of his writings are quite good. He went to Yemen as a tourist. He recently did a couple articles on how completely fucked every structure around New Madrid is, which was a bit overshadowed by the article on how fucked the pacific northwest is.

      He went to Yemen as a tourist, fairly recently. I say it twice, because who the fuck goes to Yemen as a tourist?

      • Elusis says:

        I have the New Madrid articles open to read, because I grew up in Southern Indiana and still have family there. "Hm, the Midwest might have a GIANT earthquake" became a thing when I was in high school, and AFAIK, the big "be prepared" hype lasted approximately 12 months if that. Pretty sure no one in my family there keeps an earthquake kit.

  2. David Konerding says:

    I personally started at #3, then after a few years of grad school was convinced #2 was the way, but these days I can barely get through #1 (delivering cats via the internet) before I'm exhausted.

    I thought this was really clever, but on reflection, it's actually just a weak argument (not even really an argument, more of a commentary) using some tricks to make it seem clever. For example, the airplane analogy is nice, but doesn't really add anything (sure, economics makes maxxing airspeed isn't practical, but of course we still have supersonic aircraft, they're just used in very limited circumstances).

    • Matan says:

      But that's exactly the point the article was trying to make, wasn't it? For a while airspeed was growing exponentially, but then it sort of plateaued once we got to a point were it was "fast enough" and the costs of increasing it were enormous.

      Sure, there are faster planes and rockets being used in very specialized circumstances, but those are not the norm. We can do crazy things, but we don't do them. Because they're crazy.

      The author says the same might just apply to the internet (despite the internet not being bound by physics).

      • Vaci says:

        The internet is not bound by physics?

        • MetaRZA says:

          Why wouldn't it be? Silicon die size is limited by physics. Data transmission speed, both on a single die, between dies or between nodes, is also limited by physics.

          But that's not what TFA was talking about. TFA's point was that pushing the physics past "good enough" stopped becoming economically viable.

  3. gryazi says:

    Interesting corollary that we seem to have never quite needed to advance from telephones to videophones until people realized they could be used for sex.

    (Yes, I'm thinking of this.)

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