Ever See That Glazed Over Look?Posted: April 20, 2004
Seems like every time I start spouting off about technology the person opposite me starts getting that glazed over look in her eyes (you know who you are). I suppose this must become my outlet now for these little rants I like to go on.
So, what is cool in the world of tech according to me? Well, recently, Google has been the hot topic of conversation. What exactly are they doing locked up in those offices anyways? Cool Shit! Now, I’m pretty much a realist, so I’m not one to wildly speculate that Google is going to change our lives. I think Google is an impressive company, and their search engine certainly returns good results. However, they could be better. I agree to a point with with the people at InternetIsShit.org. A great quote:
I can name 20 people from my old school class who aren’t in Google. I can walk into any public library, no matter how tiny and underfunded, and find facts, stories, amazing information I would never touch in a month of webcrawling. I can go into a bar and hear stories Usenet hasn’t come close to in its 22 years of waffle. “Oh but what about the stuff you CAN get on the web?” the netheads say. But they’re missing the point.
This is very true. I think the Internet is truly lacking in some key areas. Obviously, for copyright issues, most paper publications are not available online, except maybe through Lexus-Nexus. This presents a major problem however. How do we merge the paper world with the digital world, if the vast majority of what’s been written is not available? Frankly, the quality of what’s written today on the Internet is not up to the same standards as from paper publications, as anyone like yours truly can put up a website and be an author. What credentials do I have? What fact checking have I done? None, of course. Not to say that paper publications are immune from such things, let us not forget Jason Blair, but still the point remains, they are more reputable sources. So how do we merge the print world with the digital world? Well, for one, copyright extension doesn’t help. This is truly a campaign US citizens should get behind. Before we know it, works which were composed after 1923 will never enter the public domain. Project Gutenberg and it’s ilk are essential to bringing the print world to the digital world for those who are not willing to transfer their aging copyrights to a copy-left or Creative Commons license (or merely publish their works on the Internet for reading and citation). However, if nothing past 1923 will become available until 2019, I think we’re seriously missing out on an important window to foster the Internet’s usefulness as a research tool and a central repository (or decentralized, depending on your point of view, but that’s tomorrow’s blog post) for human knowledge.
However, back to my original point. Google is good, but it’s not the end all and be all. They are certainly creating cool things, but I’m skeptical about what true value they’ll be able to bring me outside of search (I don’t know that I’ll ever use them for my mail service unless I can pull the mail off and I don’t know that I want all my documents on Google, if that were to be the future). However, I think the fact that they could actually make that kind of storage affordable is certainly something that opens up a world of possibilities. However, if history is any indicator, Microsoft will come from behind and win again. Although, the fact that Google isn’t trying to directly compete yet (and they aren’t spouting off about the search engine replacing the operating system, of which Netscape was so unwise to declare the browser would do in the late 90s). I seriously hope not, as I’m certainly not Microsoft’s biggest fan, but not it’s biggest hater, either. Either way it should be an interesting time in the world of search over the next year, and hopefully the world of search will bring about changes outside of simply search, as unlike the technology press, I’m just not that impressed by what Google’s search brings outside of the web, or to my mail, that couldn’t be implemented on my PC on a smaller scale Maybe they should sell a drop in replacement of Microsoft’s Indexing Service. Oh well, I’m off-topic again. Might as well end with a doozy.
I think the most important use of the Internet is to increase our List of Known Jews so Mel Gibson and his cronies can use their propoganda to bring us back to Holocaust era attitudes toward the Jews. That’s all I’ll say about that (although I don’t have a problem with Wikipedia’s List of Jews, I just thought it was funny, which got me to thinking about being pissed off about The Passion).
OK, so I got distracted about what’s cool in tech. I’ll tell you more about what I think’s cool tomorrow (along with some theories about decentralized structures and how that relates to business based on an interesting conversation I had with Landon on IRC).