I’ve got this huge stack of Wired magazines, which I’ve been carting around for the last two or three moves (one cross-contiental). I can’t bring myself to just pitch the whole stack in the trash, but I can’t imagine ever actually needing these magazines in any way.
I recently figured out that a good way for me to deal with this sort of issue is to make it a daily goal to do a little bit of work on it. So, one of my daily tasks recently has been “cull two issues of Wired”. I’ve added several pieces to the massive collage that’s going to end up covering the closet door in my office, I’ve had several times the LD50 of tech nostalgia (hey, look, print ads for modems! and “screaming fast 6X” CD-ROM drives!), and I’ve found some long lost gems. Here’s one:
Why I Hate the Web
by Tim Bray
The Web sucks. It is lightweight, shallow, trivial, and disposable. It is simple enough that any idiot can use it, and this, weirdly enough, is considered good. Properly considered, the Web is similar to television. Both are fragmented: TV into schedule slots, intercommercial breaks, ever quicker cuts; the Web into servers, pages, gifs. Smaller is better because — just like a laugh track — faster is better.
The Net, on the other hand, offers much more. On the Net, as in life, you put some in and you get some back. You send mail, you post news, you share your work. The Web is a 500,000-channel TV; you sit back and let it flow over your passive brain cells, with only your forearm and mouse finger moving.
The Net, it’s been said, is too difficult. so are great novels. Nobody ever said the Web was hard. But of all the Web pages you’ve ever hit, how many did you read to the end? The same proportion of the TV programs that you watched until the next commercial break? After all, clicking on hypertext requires about the same effort as changing the channel.
Wired, October 1995, p. 122
More to come, I’m sure.