Friday, 15 January 2010

Web Gripes for 2010 and a Funny Story

Here's a post that isn't about anything, just my gripes about Web 2.0 (or whatever).

  • Cascading style sheets (why would I want to cascade a style?) AND the whole concept of jazzing up pages to unnecessary levels, when there was nothing wrong with a page of HTML with a few different-sized fonts. It's like at school, we used to write by hand, but now in schools it's "unacceptable" not to use a word processor (from what I know). They taught us the basics of HTML at college in 1997, and we happily made bulleted lists, embedded pictures, big and small fonts, and italic/bold/underline, but now, I have a degree and even I can't figure out new HTML tags - and CSS files are certainly NOT HTML.
  • If the Web really was downward-compatible, as evidenced by the version number of HTML (1.0, 2.0, 4.0, etc), then modern webpages wouldn't crash (or lock up) Netscape 4.7. But they do!
  • Twitter and unnecessary centralisation (what was wrong with blogs?)
  • YouTube and unnecessary centralisation (surely hosting and bandwidth should now be cheap enough for any website to host their own videos)
  • The death of Geocities by Yahoo for no good reason - millions of pages now gone offline (result of centralisation)
  • URL shorteners - unnecessary centralisation, and there's no doubt a URL shortener service will shut down after 2 years and wipe out billions of URLs
  • Google not spidering my pages because they don't have enough "PageRank".
  • Monopoly of embedding Flash for showing videos because web browser manufacturers are incompetent to do it themselves (and the antitrust nightmare of the buying out of Macromedia [maker of Flash] by Adobe).

And people have various catchphrases (eg, "simple is more") to explain the lack of a secure (I mean permanence and forward looking) design for the Web.

I used to be faintly optimistic about the Web, but new flaws (not bugs, but the above companies and fads) appear to have ballooned in the last 4 years or so, which threaten the integrity of the whole stupid system. (I'm not saying it has any integrity).

An old pun of mine about the Web's name: What's a web for? To catch unsuspecting flies! And it certainly is doing.

Finally, I'll finish on a funny story. I got a direct mail leaflet from Dell about the Inspiron 560. It has a 340GB hard drive, a E5400 Pentium CPU, and 2MB Memory. I knew Windows 7 was optimised, but I didn't realise how much...