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The Web Is Flat-Out Boring!

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March 5, 2007 11:29:17 AM

"Who Designed This Crap?" returns with a vengeance as Barry Gerber bites the hand that feeds him.

More about : web flat boring

March 5, 2007 12:30:41 PM

i completly agree it wasnt until i started learning some html that i realised how limited the framed system is going to have to learn to use macromedia products for my web page as i refuse to have a boring site that looks like all the others but with mild colour change and the occasional Graphic
But as the article mentioned its going to take longer tyo develop and in business terms that means more money. plus if you visit a webpage you instantly know how to use it anything too far from the norm will discourage users from your company therefore a play on the usual is the safe bet.
its up to the users to demand better features and force change upon the internet instead of relying on developers to do it.
March 5, 2007 1:12:07 PM

First of all, I had trouble reading this article. The link to it was broken for a while. Then the link to post about it was broken. I think that the Web has taken notice and is defending itself! :twisted:

Second, remember Sturgeon's Law. The great science fiction editor once remarked something like "90% of science fiction, of everything, is crud." Why shouldn't the Web be the same?
Related resources
March 5, 2007 1:22:13 PM

As much as I like THG, it certainly falls into the boring looking website category...

On the other hand, I can instantly see what I need to see, and don't have to click to different areas and watch fancy animations that I may not really care to see. On the other, other hand, I do think that THG could use a little more pizzazz, it is something of an eyesore to me at the moment.

P.S. What would it cost, per user, to have an ad free version of the site? I certainly wouldn't have any qualms about paying a subscription fee of 3-5 dollars per month to have an ad-free, content focused website with maybe more updates.
March 5, 2007 1:56:28 PM

I'v been designing web sites for 12 years and manage over 45 web sites myself. You had some of these points mentioned but here's WHY the web is "boring" as you say: (in no particular order)

1) Search engines only index text (no flash, video, graphics etc). So "boring" text wins out by a longshot by organizations that care about search enginwe placement (all of them).

2) The time and skill it takes to create visually wonderful content vs more stanard stuff is significant. You will always have smaller companies that simply can't afford to pay a designer for a week of time vs 1 day to do something traditional.

3) Browser incompatiabilities (firefox, opera, ie, mac, windows...and then all the browsers versions under those). If you want your site to display properly you have to design for a middle ground.

4) Consistency: This is a BIG one. You are writing to a group of 20somthing readers...but the web has 10 year old kids AND their grandparents surfing and using it. Those fancy designs that use non-standard navigation and links that are not blue and underlined are HARD to use, confusing and a waste of a busy persons time. Most people would like to see the nav bar at the top of the page, secondary nav along the side and blue links in the text. You vary from that and it's guaranteed your web site is less usable. period.

5) Bandwidth. Many, many people are still on dial-up.

6) Screen size. Monitors vary from 15 to 30 inches... It's no small feat to design scalable sites that look good to every viewer. And it's even more difficult with fancy technologies and such built in. Remember, graphics (photos) do NOT scale.

7) Technology. A web designer is constantly learning new technologies while doing actual work. As soon as they learn one thing it's suddenly outdated and now there's something new and approved. It's ridiculous!!!! The web needs to STOP inventing and start perfecting what it already has. We have dozens of "standards" out there and it's a big mess... no one has time anymore to keep up.

Those are just a few reasons, there are even more if I kept thinking about it. So yes, I disagree with the tone of the article. It's like saying all cars should get 100mpg without doing the research as to why they can't.
March 5, 2007 2:27:35 PM

Agreed, though it's unrealistic.

- Bandwidth is currently a problem, not just on the user side, but on the website side also (cost-wise, at least). We'd need the whole world to be wired like Korea, except 2x better, and Optical Connections to be at the same priceline as commercial T1 connections, to enjoy a flowing form of media you describe without all dying of old age from loading, not to mention that we'd need a uniform "skip animation" hotkey that could work on all sites.

- The internet was based around the search engine for a reason, and that's because it was the internet's purpose. If it was based on entertainment originally, then the internet would be a very different place. Graphics would be a requirement, where the internet (non-gaming) might even have driven the graphics card market. In our reality though, entertainment just sort of "happened" on the internet.

- The point made on having things like magazines is good, but that's just the front cover for the most part, and the choice article, which given how things are in magazine publishing, they have a set time period of publishing to get it done so that they meet print deadlines, while the internet, more or less, doesn't have such a strict code that it follows, web publishers just seem to print on the fly comparitively. The internet is currently used to post news instantly, even before TV news gets it jaws on it and broadcasts it live over the world. You couldn't have every story have a tons of animations, but maybe a monthly feature could.

- p05esto makes a good point that because there is no real set-in-stone standard, unlike say, the magazine industry, that there's a tons of standards and technologies flying around out there that just stomp down on web designer's skulls. Standardization on the Internet is, to put it bluntly, a BITCH. Excuse my language.

Sure, we could have this utopian world you describe, but it would require the world (Not just the US and Europe) as a whole to be equipped equally as much as televisions, and require their attention spans be focused on ads.

And uh... just to let you know, p05esto... we do have cars that can get 100mpg, I work with my father in the biofuel industry. However, there's the practice known as "Patent Shelfing", and you wouldn't believe how many patents are bought and shelfed by the main car companies... mostly likely Hollywood buys scripts and shelfs then.
March 5, 2007 2:49:37 PM

It really is a fairly unintelligent article...

Bandwidth: Lots of people don't have a lot of it. And, lets say the internet DOES conform to the ideas in the article: there would literally be an increase in bandwidth for hosting on the order of THOUSANDS of times greater.
Why thousands, and not something more reasonable, like it doubling? Higher quality images, videos, and animations all take up huge amounts of bandwidth when compared to the less-than-100k websites most people are used to. Now, imagine all those high-bandwidth items being completely re-downloaded every time you visit a website, because you don't want to save 20gigs on your HD simply for web browsing.
As for compression technologies, the best are already in use. Lets nab h264 for video, for example. Oh, wait. It takes a LONG time to encode, and uses a LOT of processing power to play. Barry's solution? Make the video bigger, and make hundreds more to make the web flashier.

Usability: Put simply, the more animated a website is, the more un-usable it is. Animations take time to load, time to play, and a LOT of processing power (to make it worse, more compression = more processing needed), and prevent you from getting at the information you're looking for without a sizeable delay. Research (and common sense) consistently shows that flashier websites are generally loathed because they are only making it more difficult to accomplish what the person wants to do.
I doubt I'm the only one who is annoyed by websites that take a long time to load when I'm just going to click a link, or read the headlines on the site. When the websites that now take a second to load suddenly take over a minute, and require a fairly powerful computer to handle, how do you think most people will respond? Thrilled, clearly.

p05esto said it perfectly:
Quote:
The web needs to STOP inventing and start perfecting what it already has.

The internet is incredibly un-standardized. Sure, there are standards, but nobody follows them because they're so out-dated and useless when it comes to more interactive content. Web 2.0 stands a better chance, as it standardizes and improves (and adds) many things people have been kludging together Javascript to simulate, and gives it to the average shmoe. And how about DHTML? That's pretty handy once you get used to it.
March 5, 2007 3:10:47 PM

Quote:
"Who Designed This Crap?" returns with a vengeance as Barry Gerber bites the hand that feeds him.


Accessibility, Barry. Not everyone wants an OMG WIZZY ANIMATED FLASH WOO experience. Indeed, not everyone has the newest software, fast hardware or even the physical capability to read small text, or to distinguish between colours. Such an image-driven approach is not only inconvenient for those using the web for research, it is f***ing infuriating.

Presentation is nothing without content, the irony of this is your article, here, has neither of merit.
March 5, 2007 4:13:46 PM

For gods sake NO! I use the web for finding information, preferably more quickly than I can ever find it in newpapers or TV.

But graphics used for whiz-bang appeal just get in the way. They slow download times, bog down servers, and, once they've finished clogging up my browsers cache, usually just make it harder for me to visually locate the information I'm trying to find.

Maybe 1 site out of 20 uses graphics in a functionally appealing AND useful manner. The rest are not only crap, but aggravating crap.

Do it right, or just give me ascii text with paragraph tags, thanks.
March 5, 2007 8:46:16 PM

well i was going to launch into a tirade of "why these things aren't possible" and "in a perfect world..." statements but p05esto seems to have done a fairly good job of this.

i work as a front end developer for one of the larger web design companies in the uk. our designers work for a minimum of a week on any given project, producing two or three designs for the client to choose from. given that one of those designs almost 100% of the time is ver similar to your magazine cover idea i can tell you the industry (and especially the designers who are as bored and stifled as you are!) is trying to move that way, and it is the clients who are blocking it.

even with the resources available to commit to producing sites that will scale to fit screen size, that will validate to w3c standards and will work for any of the 4 major browsers (moz, ie, safari, opera), that will be accessible and scale for use on mobile devices, that will make use of flash elements and interactive media and all the whistles and bells you have in your creative toolbox, companies are still scared to make the change. and to be honest, i dont blame them. websites have changed so much in the past year that why would they want to invest so much time and money in something that will probably just about be running smoothly for 6 months before it starts to look dated? i mean... how long ago was it that thg had a makeover? and how long i wonder before the editors start to think about another?

i am going to reference one particular point that p05esto also touched on. you say search is the defining feature that makes the internet work, and yet you also seem to advocate flash websites. flash is still very much in it's infancy and is totally incompatible with current search technologies. i'm no expert but semantic flash is about the most difficult thing to create in front end development as far as i can tell. and you cant manage flash content with a simple cms and a copy writer/editor/researcher/photographer (i'm sorry did i say simple :)  you also need a highly skilled flash coder with mountains of time on his/her hands!

anyway, i do agree with your point about the web needing to learn from the print media, but i think it is happening. people are starting to demand more complicated web sites that do resemble magazine layouts. something to stand out from the crowd. but until we get code to produce these sites quickly and efficiently they will remain few and far between. i mean... does anyone remember when the css3 standard was due to be released? is css2 even fully supported? does css2 even exist anymore? is there a better way? do we need a more decisive body to take control of web standards or should we be looking to blame microsoft and mozilla for their less than perfect adherance to the rules?

at the end of the day i sympathise with people who want more from the web. but until we get the tools to produce it, theres really little we can do.
March 5, 2007 8:50:50 PM

First of all, what makes the web (or parts of it) interesting and/or entertaining is the content, not the flashiness of the presentation.

Once the requirement of interesting content is met, organization, accessibility and compatibility seem to me to be far more important factors than pizzazz, especially considering most people who do try to jazz up their site and make it unique end up creating something that makes your eyes bleed and forces you to turn off your sound.

All things considered, I'd rather have websites that, though aesthetically bland, don't assault my senses, render correctly in all browsers and platforms, don't require me to install 37 plugins and don't take a full minute to download.

Not to say that there are quite a few web sites that are extremely well designed, without being overly annoying or intrusive; it just takes someone with the skill and taste and resources to do it right, which is understandably very rare.

Oh, one other thing.

Frank Geary?

Frank Gehry! GEHRY!! GEHRY!!! Sheesh.
March 5, 2007 11:40:15 PM

Not only no, but HELL NO!
Bad Barry, no biscuit!

The LAST thing I want is flashy glitzy websites with noise and laggy cheesy animations.

As many others have said, I utilize the internet to get fast access to information. NOT to be bombarded with pointless animations and irritating sound.

Hell, I used to use a Pentium 150 system to browse the web until the web as a whole just got too glitzy for that to keep up. Even lower end Pentium 2s have a hard time with something that basically ammounts to reading text on a screen because advertisers and content developers want to make their pages fancy. I finally gave in and retired a P4 system for my web browsing. I should not need that kind of power to look at pictures and read text but there it is.

The internet is an INFORMATION resource. If we bog it down with all this pointless garbage then the information will be harder to get to and slower to access.

Oh and for the record.... I liked the old THG site design better. I could find things quicker on it.
March 6, 2007 12:03:57 AM

Quote:
Not only no, but HELL NO!
Bad Barry, no biscuit!

The LAST thing I want is flashy glitzy websites with noise and laggy cheesy animations.

As many others have said, I utilize the internet to get fast access to information. NOT to be bombarded with pointless animations and irritating sound.

...

The internet is an INFORMATION resource. If we bog it down with all this pointless garbage then the information will be harder to get to and slower to access.


Bingo, my thoughts exactly. Flashy animations just take too long and get in the way, even when they run as smoothly as intended. If the "wow factor" is so important, why have newspapers remained successful for so long? They're the epitome of plainly presenting information.

The worst thing is sound on web pages. I want to murder every web designer who implements them, honestly. The last thing I want is my music interrupted by some gharish set of dinky web sounds, or worse, other inferior music.

You were on the right track about web being centered around "The Search", and I was thinking you were going to move along to a point about how open the internet has become to exploitation to the point where even the best search engines are bogged down with loads of useless crap from people who exploit their programming flaws for the sake of cheap advertising.

But this stuff about needing flashier web pages, no way. (I don't read magazines either, because they've always struck me as 80% style 20% substance).
March 6, 2007 12:33:51 PM

Ookkkaayyy... very nice, offer a problem but no solution.
-cm
March 6, 2007 5:02:57 PM

A good article with several good points... Some design solutions have even become established norms today even though they really are a very bad way to provide an interface solution.. I enjoyed reading the article.. and yes.. internet has become a bit boring.. some surprises would be nice..
March 6, 2007 5:12:10 PM

Here's teh thing:

You need a balance. You need teh sites to look nice, and not like you stepped into a pile of HSN or QVC with all the flashing scrolling animated banner ads.

The magazine model may work, but you have to look at WHY it may work and not try to copy it directly.

What do people like about mags? Do they like the AD cards that drop out of them? Or the recent full page ads that LOOK like stories except for that small "advertisement" label hidden somewhere on the page?

Or do they like how some of them are put together? They like the different stories, the political cartoons (Time), the random selection of different tidbits. They like the callout pages that follow the story but do not associate directly with it (the pictures with the larger caption space with side-information about the locations or the people involved).

The key to the web is that it is fast. The best sites use things like flash, but do not make it so it takes 30 seconds to download all the animations. It also does not have a bunch of things sliding all over that are impossible to tell what the heck they are until you mouse-over them.

A good example of innovative differences can be seen with different things that Google has been more successful. Their Image search page still needs work, but seeing the little thumbnails of a bunch of things is great! Maps also works well, but they have not perfected Earth yet (I see it on Weather reports on TV, but it is still not too smooth on the web).

They are small things where the information is ranked first, and the presentation is the silver platter underneath it.

So, do they need better production tools? Yes, but they need them to concentrate more on efficiency rather than more whizz-bang. Make it tighter, not flashier.

Do we need more bandwidth? YES! But that is not something we should be focusing on. There should almost be an automatic tester that is included on the browsers taht would test the available BW and set your system to try to use what is best for it. A little light or toggle up top saying "High" "medium" or "Dial-up" that you could set if you knew more, but the general idjit out there that does not know how to right-click would still get the sites they wanted without having to do any more than double-click.

Finally, do we need more pizazz? Not really. We need tighter sites. Most sites look like they have more advertising space than actual content. That is exceedingly irritating, but part of the price we pay for a "free" service.

We just need something that woud balance these guys out and be less intrusive, but still effective at delivering the intended content to the readership, and it needs to be worked on by both the ad companies and the web producers.

Until things like this happen, we will be stuck with things that look like advertising fliers at the local supermarket or free publications that are 75% ads and not much real content.
March 6, 2007 7:25:24 PM

For want of a better word - boring is a good thing! I hate overdone sites that take forever to navigate.

The author of the article seems to have made the wrong conclusion from his own stats. He praises magazines, yet they were way down on the list. Then he bashes the internet, yet it was tied with TV, the most popular form of entertainment in our country. That is AMAZINGLY high, considering how much longer TV has been around compared to the web.
March 6, 2007 10:43:57 PM

I want 98% of the websites I visit to be boring. Aside from sites whose primary purpose is to be artistic or convey a non-verbal message I want my interfaces unobtrusive standardized.

If I cared a about stimulating presentation my library will be filled with nothing but pop-up books rather than novels and textbooks. I want to be stimulated by the content and not the packaging.

You know what else I like boring? Roads, utilities, store layouts, customer service ...
March 6, 2007 11:03:00 PM

Quote:
"Who Designed This Crap?" returns with a vengeance as Barry Gerber bites the hand that feeds him.

I agree with most of this. Web designers can learn a lot from printed publications.
But ever see Microsoft 3D maps, Yahoo, Google Maps? It's not all boring.
March 6, 2007 11:10:21 PM

Quote:
Oh and for the record.... I liked the old THG site design better. I could find things quicker on it.


I agree 100%
.
March 7, 2007 2:30:40 AM

When it comes to information, it needs to be accessible, not buried in flashiness. Anything that imposes animation or video on users also automatically imposes speed limits on the flow of information. If I click on a link to a couple minutes of video on youtube, I need to sit through the whole video to find out if its worth my while. If I click on a link for the same content presented in text, I can skim the article at my own pace and move on. If the site includes a link to video, I might click on it after I've decided the topic is worth my time.

General improvement in graphics is not a bad thing, and mixing layouts up a bit is nice. On the other hand, the reason there are standard layouts is because they're easier - and not only for the designer. If you go to multiple websites and have to search all over the page to figure out how to navigate the site, its unlikely you're going to stay long, and even less likely you'll bookmark it.

A final point: websites designed fully in flash may look pretty, but they cut down on ease of use. I have a nice mouse with a full range of buttons, and I'd like my mouse to be an extension of thought, not always be moving and clicking everywhere. If I click on something, I want to hit the back button and go back...but with flash this doesn't wok so well. A different example of ease of use...or lack thereof...can be found on the HD-DVD promotional site. Theres a page where lots of movies move around in circles as you move your mouse, and if you want more information you have to play "chase the movie" before you can click on it. That is NOT how I want to access my information!

Simple is good. Pretty is good. Let's not lose the simplicity for a little eyecandy.
March 7, 2007 4:57:14 AM

ha ha ha -- now this is a good article!!

No shit, I went from developing distributed applications that were fast, user friendly, and ad free, to developing Internet crap that is slow, limited, incredibly inefficients, but pays the bills.

Just look at Tom's Hardware for example, tons of wasted crap, adds, broken links and slow rendering.

It's capitalism taken to a new level of "in your face" consumerism.

Anyway, whatever, gotta live with it as apparently the demand is there so this wouldn't be the first time.

Is this really what people want, 95% of the bandwidth wasted on spam, ads, and other various useless portals of wrong information? But I guess that is "Drama" and drama always draws attention.

Rob.
March 7, 2007 11:48:54 AM

"The chart below from eMarketer.com shows that teens and young adults
continue to turn to other media for something they can't get on the
internet."

Hoo-rah! The sooner they turn off from the 'net completely the better. Particularly re: blogs, the less the 'net gets clogged up with the literal dribblings of these vacuous non-entities, all the more I shall be able to enjoy the 'net again.

Young People of the World: Leave the 'net and do NOT come back until you have something worthy to say!
March 7, 2007 2:40:20 PM

I agree with the majority - keep it simple, stupid. Nothing on a website should move unless I intentionally interact with it, and browsers should not make sound unless I click a Play button somewhere.

There is another reason that the web seems boring: it's old. People are used to it.

It's like television. Television can be interesting and entertaining, but how often is it amazing? Once you've seen enough of it, the answer is probably almost never. You know what to expect, and most things, by design, fall within your range of expectations.

The web is the same way. It is not new any more. It is just a normal part of life now, so the focus has long since shifted from just getting on the web to finding the most efficient ways to use it.

I've been here eleven years. In the early days, most pages were unique, because they were made by hand by people who barely knew what they were doing. There were no trends or rules, so people just did whatever they thought looked interesting at the time. It was dynamic and chaotic, and totally fascinating because you had never seen anything like it.

Nowadays everything is made with templates and scripts, and there are established ways of doing things. Personal home pages are less relevant than they used to be, because most of the information we used to get from them has been commoditized and incorporated into megasites, and they more than anyone have incentive to make sure their pages go with the flow, because they have financial interest in making sure that as many people come to the site as possible.

The days when Joe Blow put up a rainbow colored site for a dozen people to see are mostly gone, and yeah, what's left does kind of all look alike, but it works. If we are going to tamper with it, there needs to be more to gain than just "lookie at the flash thingie I just made!"

Web design is somewhat of a lowest common denominator concept, but it is a viable one. It works, and there is no reason right now to expect it to stop working. The web is doing what it was designed to do. It was not designed to be a TV with a mouse cursor, and it would be far less useful if it were turned into that.
March 7, 2007 4:46:16 PM

I dunno, some blogs (see Gizmodo) are really quite interesting and informative. You just need to find a serious professional set of blogs and they are great.
-cm
March 8, 2007 2:48:13 AM

I find all blogs boring. Can't think of an exception. Most are written with too much personal opinion or technical terminology to be worth reading to me. Anyone can write a blog. Filtering out the informative blogs from the ones who just like to see their words in print (regardless of the accuracy of the content) is more work than its worth to me.

I use the internet for work, mostly for research. It's a great tool for that. I have yet to find a better tool for research. When doing research I prefer an easy to navigate and quick loading web page over a flashy and slow loading page every time. I don't pay much attention to ads in print nor on a web page.

I wasn't all that impressed with the Popular Mechanics cover either. It just sat there in print, so why is it so much better than anything on the internet? Maybe someone needs to turn up their monitor resolution.

When it comes time to relax, I prefer to move to my recliner and turn on the TV, ditching the keyboard/mouse/monitor. The last thing I want is to read more. Needless to say, we don't subscribe to any printed newspapers nor magazines.

I don't fall into the 20 something year old (or less) range that the article seems to be targetting either, but my son does. He uses the internet much in the same way that I do.

I guess the question that comes to my mind is, why does the internet have to be the best form of media for entertainment anyway? If modern civilization relies upon the internet to fill all their entertainment needs, we'll become a society of near sighted, fat, and lazy people. I like the internet just fine as it is for the most part. :-)
March 8, 2007 2:43:09 PM

Hate to break the news to ya, but in the US we're already a majority FAT & LAZY society (easy to back this up with numbers). This happened without the Internet. The Internet/PCs only reach 1 in 5 people, TV reaches 1 in 1.

What we should be concerned about is that the Media (news/TV/magazines) use the Internet as a "research" tool -- this is a fatal flaw.

I use the internet for research also, but not when it comes to actual real meaningful data, rarely is there "meat" on the internet. The good information is closely guarded. To get "Factual" information, I still find myself making phone calls and/or paying for it.

Anyone can backup just about any lame arguement using Google, find what one needs to justify one's argument. It happens all the time. First hand experience is GOLDEN! That's why I tend to ignore the "a friend...<fill in the blank>" or some links to ad filled sites with an article on XYZ with no verifiable sources of the information.

Basic information can be found on the net and sometimes even accurate information but it is getting harder and harder to go thru the rheems of bad information to get to the truth. The more people that use the internet, the worse it gets.

Rob.
March 8, 2007 4:19:19 PM

In some ways I agree with you, and in some ways I disagree.

If you are talking about finding serious scholarly articles in peer reviewed sources then those ARE available on the internet, but you generally have to pay to get access to them.

There is plenty of factual information on the web however, and it really honestly is not that hard to find the good ones if you are used to what to look for.

Census data for instance is widely and freely available on the internet. As are several professional grade review or analysis sites.

There are numerous sources for how to do things or how things are done that are dead on and accurate.

For some topics I'd even consider Wikipedia to be fairly reliable.

Topics that are matters of serious debate among professionals in a given field however, I would not trust any site on the internet that wasn't owned by a peer reviewed magazine and even then I'd want to get at least 3 to 5 opinions on it before settling on an answer.
March 23, 2007 5:46:57 PM

I agree in part. An average user and inveterate surfer, I have found web sites that are enthralling, sites that are "schlock" (print term), sites that take days to load (it seems like) and sites that irritate me because of their design. A prime example of an "irritation site" is Cnet. My screen resolution is set at 800x600. The huge majority of sites I visit have been coded to recognize this and display well for me. However, Cnet, and they are not alone in this, has deemed that I must use their tiny resolution (making the type look small on my screen) or perform the awkward and vexatious act of scrolling left to right constantly. Yes, I can partially defeat this by enlarging the page (with one click) but why should I have to? Cnet has a stable of very well qualified programmers who could fix this. I have absolutely no desire to change my screen resolution to accommodate the few sites that tell me to lump it. I like the resolution I use. I am also bothered by the "reverse type" sites. I don't need artsy craftsy "designers" to give me eyestrain.I click out of them as soon as they are loaded. Their prose is invariably boring to me. And I am bored (and irritated) by sites that feel they must inject advertising into the article's words. Those cute little links that use words in the text, like "system, hard drive, monitor" to peddle merchandise to you. Ahem. Boring, being a relative word, is in the eye of the beholder. If I really, really want to read an article I'm going to do it. But you'd better write in clear English, remember to capitalize where you need to and punctuate properly. There are many free programs that can check one's usage. Reading the responses here makes me realize that I am not now, nor ever will be, an accomplished programmer. I admire programming, but this old head isn't capable of being amid the wiz kids you people are. My talents, according to Wild Thing, lie in entirely different areas. :idea: Nevertheless, some day I will build my own computer. (Crossing fingers.) :lol: 
March 23, 2007 9:05:18 PM

CatMoves,

800 x 600!! Oh my, it has been many many many many years since I ran at that resolution -- going back to 1994 (possibly earlier)...

And I just hate those sites in BOLD -- he he ;) 

Info,

As far as factual data -- I find it tends to be A LOT of work to determine the source of much of the information I find on the web -- sources are rarely provided and verifiable sources even harder to find.

But there is more to statistics than numbers -- how the sample data is achieved is rarely (if at all) presented. Only the very technical articles are providing testing/sample methodologies -- so the who does what, when, where, and how often is immediately open to question.

But you're correct, there is some information that is quickly available on the web that describes a process or technology that is for the most part pretty accurate -- useable knowledge can be gained from it.

But search engines are still sadly lacking in intelligence regardless of how well one defines the search criteria. 30% of the time I'll get lucky and find a hit quickly, but 70% of the time I'm scroll thru result pages or refining the search criteria some more.

But when I'm searching for very technical issues (that relate to VS 2005 and/or the OS variant) I rarely get to any meat. This might just be a reflection of my industry and the protective nature of propriatary code. Microsoft's search tools are completely useless (espeically the ones built into VS 2005).

Unfortunately, most of the real knowledge I gain comes from trial and error with first hand experience -- I wish it didn't have to be this way, but it is. About 90% of the info I find that I think is useful nearly always turns out that a small very important process was not mentioned.

These days, what I expect from the web (in terms of technical resources) is something that will get me going in the right direction and thus saving me from exploring the universe of endless possibilities.

But my humble goal in life is to retire with fully paid off house and one of these connected to my Mac: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=3392&...

and spend the rest of my years with a glass of wine, in my observatory, exploring the universe -- who knows what I might find, but at least I'll know it's real.
March 23, 2007 11:00:53 PM

Like I said. Scholarly articles associated to peer reviewed magazines or journals ARE available on the web, but you generally have to pay for access to them.

In those it is not difficult at all to find the sources.

There is plenty of information, however, that is freely available and completely accurate. Programming is just one of those fields where I suppose that is less true than others.

Medicine, psychology, pharmacology, technology, physics, chemistry, etc are all topics with abundant accurate sources.

The majority of what I use the internet for is personal research and fact finding.
March 26, 2007 1:45:48 AM

:(  Oh my. Mac? What's a Mac? Something from the fast food place? :lol:  OK. I'll give you bold type face bothers you (just wait 'til you become an old fart like me). As far as the accuracy of information on the web is concerned, it is much like the text books we used in school (yes, high school and university). "The facts," a professor said to our class, "very much depend on who is writing it for whom and how much they are getting paid." Thank you for writing. :D 
March 26, 2007 4:24:40 AM

42 going on 43 -- started young, pretty ancient in this industry actually.

Mac is what you find when you realize your done with being manipulated and the mediocrity of Microshaft. Sorta like finding God ;) 

Naaah, bold face doesn't bother me.

Rob.
June 4, 2007 4:37:43 PM

Surely the idea with the web is to stretch our existing way of life and way of doing business. Sure - we should still go fishing and climb mountains, but the tool of the web - ever changing - makes the other necessaries easier. I'm into chess - now I can buy chess computers, chess sets, play chess online, etc.
Just kidding - yeah it's boring - but it's great if you don't already have a life, you can pretend that you DO have a life. I've pretended so much I actually now believe I have an exciting chess life.
June 4, 2007 5:00:13 PM

The original concept of the web was for researchers to share ideas. It has since evolved into and capitalistic heaven for consumerism and a major distribution portal for porn and pirated music/video.

Serious researchers have moved to VPN and other methods for sharing ideas.

There is "some" good and accurate content -- this content needs to find it's way to the WWW2. WWW2 needs to require a qualification process in order to be used and must be paid for separately.

Search engines are still sadly lacking.

But from a developers perspective -- the web is hodge podge of languages, syntax, security, standards, mafia like consortiums, and more. It's the WORST and most inefficent environment to code for and is the most buggy and most unsecure environment with standards changing daily (moving target). The technology of the day, is just yet another layer -- stack'em up.

The sooner we move away from HTML and stop trying add 1000's of layers of ways to produce HTML, the better. Microshaft certainly have no major influence as their "ClickOnce" deployment and .NET framework just has NOT caught on.

You pay for what you get.
September 26, 2007 2:00:36 AM

I have to say I found the article an interesting read and agreed in sentiment with many of the points made. However, on consideration, in addition to or expansion on the many good points made by previous posters, I saw various reasons why this vision if achieved would result in a nightmarish landscape rather then a utopian wonderworld.

The article begins with some well stated positives about the Internet. But....the most important of those positives in my personal view, the freedom of speech and access to information by the many, would be undone. It has just recently been announced that the first much anticipated $100 laptops will shortly go on sale, that combined with extremely low cost versions of Windows supplied by MS offers the opportunity of Internet Internet access to many who previously had none. I can only wonder at how those machines would cope with the sort of webscape suggested. In fact, middle range machines such as my own or even higher spec boxes would seriously struggle in that kind of environment. That's fine if you have large amounts of spare cash to upgrade to what would be required, but then the Web would be for the few rather then many, so defeating its greatest virtue.

There is also another danger. There has been much comment on how, over the last few years with all the breakthroughs in computer technology, Hollywood films have more and more been about super special effects rather then acting, script, plot, atmosphere or meaningful message. The same trend could become the norm on the Web with site developers concentrating on glitz and glitter rather then on meaningful content. This would leave us all with an an even more difficult job then already currently exists of not drowning in a sea of data and finding what we need within a reasonable amount of time. This would devalue the Internet. It is also worth noting that ones brain will switch off just as quickly, if not quicker, under a constant barrage of bombastic data as with mundane or dull information presentations. There is of course a place for trashy popcorn movies or exciting, inovative and dynamic Web presentation, but balance is key.

My next point is both of a practical and philosophical nature. When looking at information films from decades ago in regard to their vision of the future of technology and how it would effect our lives there are several prevelant themes. They show a sedate world where all mundane tasks are automated and the complex is simplified, so allowing all to enjoy a slower pace of life and making each rich in free quality leisure time to spend with family and to pursue noble self imrovement. We now live in that future and know the promise to be false. Whilst technology has provided many benefits it has arguably created ten times as many problems. It has speeded up the pace of life, resulted in more complexity rather then less and we have become time poorer as a result. In regard to the computer, I am starting to lose track of all the various software I have to filter, sort, protect, back-up, display, present and navigate through all the data both on my machine/data storage devices and the Web. This all increases complication and I don't dare guess how much time I spend managing, updating, or seeking better alternatives and I constantly seem to be adding even more. The proposed Webscape would make this much worse. I have come to the point where I yearn for simplicity rather then more complexity and I now view the past with nostalgia. I feel the story of Frankenstein's Monster is a cautionary tale worth heeding. That which we create ends up controlling us, not the other way around.

I would like to see the kind of dynamism proposed, but in a limited amount of sites rather then the majority. However, you will hear no condemnations from myself of the author, in fact I applaud it and encourage him to continue. For anything positive to be created it first requires an idea, vision or even a criticism of the norm. I feel that this debate and others of a similar nature should be a constant as they give us pause for thought and cause us to constantly reasess, so perhaps giving us some limited steering of the runaway train that is the Web. My apologies to anyone if they have found this TLTR.
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