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Selling Yourself to Marketing Research: MyMp3 and Others

October 23, 2009 Leave a comment

My brother sent me a video the other day.  He filmed the band Dot Dot Dot doing an acoustic live version of one of their songs.  While I did not like the songs on the band’s website, I really did enjoy this acoustic rendering.  My initial reaction was… I have to get my hands on this audio file!  After searching their website and looking them up on Limewire, I started to realize that I wasn’t going to find the file.  My last and final option was using a freeware program called MyMp3.  This program records any sound that is streaming through your computer’s audio card.  It then saves the file and you can store it as an mp3 or wave.

So, I downloaded it.  I went to install it and I was prompted by a license agreement.  I was going to rush through it as I usually do…  But then, I remembered a conversation I had in class with a fellow student.  We jokingly said that these agreements probably sign your life away and no one seems to be bothered by it.  After some laughs we asked ourselves, what do they actually say?  Have you ever read one?  Have you ever sat down and analyzed the entire agreement before agreeing to it?

Of course, I stopped myself and started to read the agreement for MyMp3.  Check out how ridiculous it is…

“In order to provide this free download, RelevantKnowledge software, provided by TMRG, Inc., a comScore, Inc. company, is included in this download. This software allows millions of participants in an online market research community to voice their opinions by allowing their online browsing and purchasing behavior to be monitored, collected, aggregated, and once anonymized, used to generate market reports which our clients use to understand Internet trends and patterns and other market research purposes. The information which is monitored and collected includes internet usage information, basic demographic information, certain hardware, software, computer configuration and application usage information about the computer on which you install RelevantKnowledge. We may use the information that we monitor, such as name and address, to better understand your household demographics; for example, we may combine the information that you provide us with additional information from consumer data brokers and other data sources in accordance with our privacy policy. We make commercially viable efforts to automatically filter confidential personally identifiable information and to purge our databases of such information about our panelists when inadvertently collected. By clicking Accept, you acknowledge that you are 18 years of age or older, an authorized user of this computer, and that you have read, agreed to, and have obtained the consent to the terms and conditions of the Privacy Statement and User License Agreement from anyone who will be using the computer on which you install this application.”

The moral of the story is simple; something that’s “free” probably isn’t.  In this post-post-modern era we live in, corporations are getting smart about how they attract users.  Facebook, Myspace, Blogs, Gmail, Chrome and so on, are all free to use because the companies who own them sell all this data to the highest bidder.  Ad companies, marketers, large corporations… they all want to know about you.  They want to know how to market their products.  Obviously, it’s hard not to use such products, but the low budget ones like MyMp3 are probably better left alone.  So, be careful about what “free” products you use, because you’ll end up selling yourself.

My First Poem in Years – First Draft

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

To Mr. IDGAS
The Crohn’s Survivor who didn’t Care
By Christopher Smith

There I was.
A skeleton of a human being.
I was nothing….  Nobody.
“Chris Smith IS a generic person.”
Just another careless high school kid.
I thought I always will be,
I thought I’d never be anything different from,
Naïve, young, careless, conforming to the will…

I started to wonder…
Was my name picked for a reason?

Yet, there I was.
A drone amongst drones.
Still eager to earn a weekly pay.
Five Fifteen to start,
What a miserable day.
Only by the sweat of my brow,
Working, sting, desperate, occupied.

I needed a change.
Something to cleanse my day.
To change my ways.
To break the main.
Something before insane?

Care about the kids at school?
Or when the friends acted fools?
Ask my parents,
They’ll tell you!
I didn’t care about a god damn thing.
Sometimes Mr. IDGAS was the name!

This shouldn’t be true.

Somehow, I did and I was.
Why did I?
Why did I work?
Why did I work so fucking hard?

It was only fitting.
For, at work was when it happened.
I felt the pain.
The fever bubbled inside of me.
Gravity took me,
With a crash it left me.
The liquid spread,
The sickness I dread.
The bottle empty,
A grunt,
It stunned me.

“What am I doing…?”

The realization hit me,
Couldn’t give in,
I was stubborn and candid.
It broke me down,
Turned me around.

I went home in a hurry,
The car, silent and girly.
It seemed like forever,
My speech,
The next endeavor.

My worries were prepared,
To the doctor we revered.
The appendix was to be cured,
Remember,
I still can’t stand in the mirror.

Greeted with a chair,
A throne for those in fear,
Proved my stance was impaired,
But urged by a timid battle cry,
“Onward!  Into the surgeon’s lair!”

Now, it seems, I might finally need to care…

A trip down the hall,
Proved to be a wakeup call.
I reached the shaft,
It echoed, abstracted.
The ring started,
My vision tarnished.
Hands multiplied.
I lost my head.

“Was I really dead?”

No!
I didn’t see the hand of God,
The wrinkly hand of a nurse instead!
I probably thought of my summers playing DoD.
Always will be my favorite mod.

Via a gurney,
I took my journey.
Under the knife (of a wise Indan),
I spent the night.

However, the Night’s Dreams I cannot remember.

ICU during a rude awakening,
A humble feast but the nurses were catering.
The night before left me scarring.
And why are we all staring?
With more tubes than hair,
“But the pain on my side?”
Ha!  Don’t feel too daring!

A tube in my nose,
Into my stomach.
One in my…  Well…
Let’s not go that far.
Another in my arm,
Something a druggie might charm.
I still couldn’t care,
The morphine?
Like fighting a big grizzly bear!

Everyday they ate,
For me,
No food for a week.
Everyday they stayed,
All I could do was sleep.
Finally they heard me say…
The ICU was not a treat.

I moved into the penthouse,
My own room,
My house!
That’s when he came,
To visit me again,
To tell me of his heroic deed.
He saved me from death.
To the brave Indian man!
Whom I owe the greatest of debts!

I still did not eat.
I chewed on ice,
I still did not eat.
I chewed on gum.
I still did not eat.
They took out a tube.
I still did not eat.
Weeks went by.
I still did not eat.
They said I could eat!
I ate.
Sick!
I didn’t want to eat.
I lost all my weight,
I couldn’t eat.

Ugh! My recovery was steep…

But, the lessons learned I cannot forget,
From Crohn’s Disease I’ll never be cured.
I can finally stand in front of a mirror,
Look at me!  Someone I actually revered.
The betterment of the human condition,
That’s my beacon for creative ignition.
Now I have a purpose,
I must,
I Care.

Someone Else’s Happiness

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Rose Marshack AT 388 “All Your API are Belong to Us”

Assignment #2 – Someone Else’s Happiness

While exploring possibilities for this assignment, Someone Else’s Happiness, I could not help but think of how my happiness is obtained very differently compared to other people. While I do enjoy some material items I truly-only have a strong desire for one, my computer. Because my life is so wrapped around technology, most of my hobbies, “hang-outs”, and creations are all placed in the digital world that could not have a spatial representation in the physical one (unless it a printable artwork, but then this would transcend the non-digital barrier.) While admitting that a large portion of my happiness is channeled through my machine, I realize how devastating it would be to simply loose my personal computer, my happiness. I do enjoy my independence and tend to spend large chunks of the day in front of my computer by myself (one could argue that social networking fulfills my human desire to make contact with others). People might look at my lifestyle and think that I am an extremely unhappy person, or that I was that kid in high school that was going to climb a clock tower with an Uzi. The truth is the opposite: I believe that I am an extremely happy individual, and tend to not let things bother me.

The problem to all this is rooted in a prerequisite of the assignment; someone else’s happiness must be placed on a Google map. I considered finding the home of my favorite websites, and by home, and by that I mean the GPS coordinates of the servers that house them. I also thought about the birthplace of my monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, tower, etc… This would be interesting, but arduous. For this assignment I needed something a little more practical and not so much about ME. Besides, outsourcing is also still a part of the assignment.

So, then, I needed to checkout the second part of my first statement which, coincidentally, is the essence of the assignment; how do other people find happiness? The best way to do that is to simply ask. I had to find a good candidate that felt comfortable writing down this sort of information and could provide me with some interesting results. I thought of two. The first was a male, who does not have a computer (or the internet for that matter) in his own apartment. He doesn’t seem to have a need for it at home, and occupies his time in other ways. The second was a female who uses a computer occasionally and seems to have a slight hate towards technology for reasons beyond my understanding. I decided to go with the second choice, because of our obvious difference in sexual orientation. What makes a female happy seemed to be more interesting to me.

I had her fill out a list of 15 or more things that make her happy. I also made her give detailed examples, the life expectancy of the happiness generated, and anything else she felt like jotting down. At the end I made her try to organize them into a list of things that generate the most happiness to the least. We discussed the results and the outcome was very interesting.

However, I should point out that near the end of my questionnaire, she realized that she forgot about the one thing that makes her most happy, “Driving with the windows down on a sunny day with music blasting.” This was partly due to the fact that we are partaking in this assignment during the winter and her source of happiness can only be carried out during the other, warmer seasons. Only after exploring her other forms of happiness, did it suddenly came back to her. This realization occurred because her other entries in the questionnaire can be incorporated in her number 1 choice. For example, her personal time (number 3) might go something like this… She drives to an amazing destination, maybe to a concert (number 9) or one of her getaways (17) listening to unique music (2), all the while fulfilling her desire to be independent and rebellious (4). It is no wonder that, in her number 6, colorful/bright things, she stated that she hated winter because it makes everything grey, dirty, and boring. I can see this being very problematic, and it probably makes her winters very depressing. (Her winter would be like my computer blowing up into a million pieces, man that would suck!) This also makes me wonder… if I asked her to write what makes her happy in the summer – would she put down different answers?

For this reason, I feel all her sources are simple pleasures and not forms of pure gratitude. As we already know, gratitude awards individuals with higher and longer lasting levels of happiness. However, it seems that for almost all of her entries she claims that she receives long term happiness. This is problematic, for in theory, simple pleasures are said to only yield short term happiness. And so, I made sure she understood what long term meant, and that is; would you still be thinking about this source of happiness months from its first occurring? She still stood by her original decisions. Now, I had to try to make sense of things…

As I look back at her answers I see that she cherishes distinct places, random situations, and rare things. Under music (2) she noted that she loves bands that incorporate a level of uniqueness in their sound and that she loves to rediscover odd music that she forgot about. Under history (5) she claims that she likes it because it is so diverse, seemingly endless, and enjoys each era of American history in particular. In her number 6, she noted the amazing blue color of the Mediterranean Sea and that it was something she had never seen before. Concerts (9) also ring true to being unique each time and so does trying new things (7). The list goes on, but one I would like to mention most of all is reading Jack Kerouac books (12). She seemed very passionate about explaining this one, and did considerably more talking about it. The famous author seems to be her idol. He has a quirky writing style, lived and writes about one of her favorite time periods (history), has an appreciation for water, and likes to escape and rebel against society. All of these qualities are present in her lifestyle.

Understandably, she is a person that takes pride in life’s little details or oddities. For that reason, her simple pleasers come with prerequisites. She doesn’t like just music (2), she likes the music that is unknown and not meant for the average Joe. At the same rate, when she stated she liked children (15), she felt obligated to mention her appreciation for a kid at Chiddix that was her favorite. He had autism was very shy, spacey, different, but to her, these qualities made him extremely adorable and memorable. Again the same trend can be found in her obsession with turtles (10). And it seems, the odder, and more unique something is, the more happiness it yields. This could fulfill her aspiration to be independent and rebellious (4) as well.

So, adding on to my earlier statement, her simple pleasures come with prerequisites that transform them into rare pleasures. She seems to have a constant desire to combine simple pleasures, but is not always successful. Therefore, it might be possible for her to find a sense of personal gratitude when she is able to group her pleasures into one bundle and experience them all at once in a single scenario. Consequently, she tends to remember these moments in her life and takes pride in having experienced them.

Her answers and dialogue in the questionnaire easily lead me to this conclusion. Her list seems to be slightly more fulfilling than the average simple pleasures, but her entries still do not reflect the effect of pure gratitude. For this reason, I can see her having a lower initial level of happiness and that her level is very flexible. Obviously, winter can weaken this already constantly shifting level. Seemingly random fits of depression are probably common in her kind of lifestyle and this seems to ring true with Jack Kerouac as I stated earlier.

Overall, I find her forms of happiness to be unstable, and very different than mine. Her attempt at finding true gratitude has left her placing emphasis on odd or extremely rare pleasures. It would only make sense that her sources of happiness are much more inconsistent than an average person’s. While this does seem to fulfill her needs, I think the half-life of her happiness is much shorter than she realizes. For instance, I was surprised to see her state that most of her entries retuned long term happiness. I found agreement during our conversation as to her justifications, but after some reflection I was not sure I believed her. This goes to show how different people can be, how they achieve satisfaction in their own ways, and how, sometimes, that process is psychologically masked with under-rewarding pleasures. Below are the notes from the questionnaire and conversations…

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

1. “Driving with the windows down on a sunny day with music blasting…” Nothing on her mind when she does this. Says, this is her ultimate happiness. Contains, music, good weather, sunshine, a cool destination, being in control, independent.

2. Music Incorporates a level of uniqueness in the music with many instruments and or vocals. Bands that do things different every time, that don’t stick to preconceived formulas that make them (the band) who they are. Likes to play music all the time. Rock and roll will always be the best, but she likes all music Beatles are the best. Long Term Happiness. She likes to rediscover music that she forgot she had. Iama Robot – Creeps Me Out

3. Personal time (In her personal space) Does nothing… Thinks about how the day went. “Unwinding time.” More short term happiness, gets through the day.

4. Independent or Rebellious Breaking the rules makes her happy sometimes even her own. Coming to college, rebelling against parents and being independent. Long Term happiness.

5. History Likes all kinds of history. Very diverse, you could learn about history forever. Infinite, its awesome. Doesn’t always like the History Channel. It doesn’t always show history… 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, American cultural revolutions. How civilization and rules have changed. Long Term.

6. Colorful/Bright things Italy, Mediterranean Sea was a bright, very saturated blue. Nature (flowers, trees, animals, sky) Hates winter because it is too long (cars make slush, everything is grey, sounds of roads, dirty.) Long Term Happiness.

7. Trying New Things First time she had a mango was awesome. She hated a papaya and didn’t think she would like mangos. First time rock climbing, upper limits, Bloomington. Applies to everything; food, new experiences, places, classes, hobbies, etc. Short term happiness.

8. Making Other People Happy Visits home, because of family wanting to see her. Little Cousins in particular. Long term. Her visit means a lot to her family.

9. Concerts The atmosphere is a mind-blowing experience. Everyone is having a good time. Seeing the artists playing the music is more rewarding than just listening to it. Claims to have been to over 10 venues, and has seen over 40 concerts. The Rivera is good, but outdoor concerts are her favorite. Alpine to see Jack Johnson during summer 2008. Long term happiness.

10. Animals, specifically Turtles It has a shell. It can be in or out of the water. They seem to be chill all the time, and that they are never worried. Just knowing that turtles exist make her happy. Has a turtle tattoo and a turtle necklace that she loves. Short term happiness.

11. Water (anything about water) From drinking water, to showers, to sea animals, beach, lakes, ponds, rain… Constant need or strong desire to be near or have water. Loves to swim. Average happiness. Has tattoos of a seahorse and a turtle.

12. Reading Jack Kerouac Books Dharma Bums is her favorite. Set in a different time and place (America 50’s, 60’s). Old and odd lifestyle. Appreciated his unique writing style (loosely biographical.) Lived very spontaneously. Binge drinks for days and days. The ideas brought up in the book are very philosophical and inspiring. Wrote a book in a few days, while on drugs. Lot’s of Benzedrine… He escapes the world a lot. He made a book of Ocean words. Reading these books bring her long term, but she hasn’t read all of them.

13. Traveling Anytime she sees a new place. Loves Italy. Florence especially (very cultural). Mentioned Michelangelo and “statue butts” Poland (family)

14. Jene and Jude’s Hotdogs Craves them constantly. When she finally gets to eat one, it is more like fulfilling a drug addiction. Norridge, IL. Long Term Happiness.

15. Children They are cute, have the best imaginations, curious, full of wonder. She feels privileged to teach them. A kid at Chiddix was her favorite. He had autism, very shy, and spacey, but adorable. He learned her name the day she left. Miss M. Usually Long Term.

16. Pushing Daisies It is whimsical, creative, has elements of cute romance, funny, entertaining. Short term happiness.

17. Hartigan Beach Park “Lake Michigan” kind of a place. “Water” once again. It is a very secluded, out-of-the-way beach. Goes there by herself most of the time. Long Term happiness.

18. Being Creative (Mostly Arts and Crafts) Peace sign necklace. Proud to have made something that good. Long Term Happiness.

19. e. e. cummings Never capitalizes letters. Has a very artsy and stylized approach to typography. Maggie and Millie and Molly and Mae is her favorite. Short to medium term happiness, more of a form of entertainment.

________________________________________________


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1. The New Science of Happiness By CLAUDIA WALLIS, Time Magazine, Sunday, Jan. 09, 2005
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1015832-1,00.html

2. Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness (pdf). Robert A. Emmons, and McCullough, Michael E.,

3. In Pursuit of Affluence, at a High Price, By ALFIE KOHN (pdf).

4. Authentic Happiness, excerpt, Seligman, Martin, Free Press, NY, 2002. (pdf)

5. “The Heritability of Happiness,” excerpt, David Lykken, Harvard Mental Health Letter (doc)

6. Experientialism, Materialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Leaf Van Boven, University of Colorado at Boulder (2005)

Web 2.0 and Webolution

January 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Web 2.0 is dying. Simply by the fact that it is a term used to describe the state of the web at a certain time in history. This term was a quickly contrived marketing buzzword to describe the so-called slick websites.[i] As time goes on, it’s safe to say a new term, probably Web 3.0, will be coined and ubiquitously accepted to describe the state of the web after the current web 2.0 era is deemed no more. As many argue, we shouldn’t use such foolish terms, but I’ll get into that later. First, let’s explore the infamous term that really got things started. So what the hell is web 2.0 exactly?

We can start by looking at the web today. We have data driven websites that thrive on participation, data that is extractable, viewable, and mash-able, behind the scenes and seemingly automatic updates, slick easy-to-use interfaces, and cross-platform websites for increasingly diverse devices (mobile and non-mobile.)[ii] That all sounds really great and it is. Take E-bay for example. It is arguable one of the most successful Web 2.0 sites ever made. If you are an E-bay customer, you know that, you never have to download it (as packaged software) and it is always updated every time you visit the site. This company created an empty framework for the public to explore and utilize. We filled it with content, we created ratings, we created tags, we created Web 2.0 one click at a time. That’s right, power to the people. The best of the best follow this similar structure. Learning from experience we know these ideas will stick around for a long time and will probably change ever so slightly to accommodate new technologies and faster Internet speeds. So then, web 2.0 at a fundamental level is not so dead…

But the term most certainly needs to be. Famous bloggers scoff at the ridiculous nature of the ubiquitous moniker, describing it more as a marketing scheme that may or may not have slowed down the evolution of the Internet into something else, something better.[iii] Let’s be honest, the Internet thrives on competition. Who can make the better website, or who can make a larger more powerful, more practical database… and the list goes on. The real question – who can better prepare for future technologies, or future consumer demand? The fact is, using the term web 2.0 to describe an all-encompassing internet is almost idiotic and inhibits this desire to make a better web. With every scheming, profit-hungry investment banker looking solely at web 2.0 technologies, how can we push webolution? Even though we can try to understand the term, we cannot simply try to bottle-up everything we see. The web is more complex than that. These terms will start to seem ridiculous… right now we have to have a new one every 10 years, then will it be 5, 2…? I’m not sure the internet could change that fast and that much, but the future is always full of surprises. I can only hope we can comprehend the complexity of the web consistently during its entire lifespan, past, present, and future. Before too long, it might just spiral out of control.

So then, what surprises can we look for in the future (call it web 3.0 if your bleeding heart wishes it to be so) of the web? Faster internet speeds (everyone might switch to t1, t3, fiber optics), more optimization, more data, more content, more user ability, the growth of the application, plug-in, more obtainable and controllable data by the user (let ME get a crack at the company’s databases!), more devices, more automatic updates (everything centered around the internet should be updatable, otherwise competition will destroy it), more open source productions[iv] (FUCK Copyright, FUCK Censorship!) and a profound reliability on artificial intelligence.[v]

I also foresee an increase in peer-to-peer interactivity over the web. With the rise of online gaming and the seemingly necessity of communication, the Internet will shift to an even more social experience rather than an individual one. When I wan younger, you can bet that everyone my age had a screen name on AOL Instant Messenger. People that were older missed the concept of instant chat and relied more on e-mail to communicate over the web. I never understood e-mail when I was younger. Regardless, it was easy to see that human beings had a strong desire to contact one another and the Internet was the perfect medium to do so. As I became older this communication started to evolve, websites like Facebook started to include a peer-to-peer chat application built into the browser, even Google included instant-chat, coupled with its Gmail service. It is safe to say that more sites and applications will include instant messaging and eventually AIM will become obsolete.[vi] Even the extremely successful Steam allows you to chat with friends before committing to joining a game server. Now I had four chat applications to check at all times, each containing a different sect of my group of friends. When will it end!?! Facebook, Google and a list of other websites are pushing for a universal ID: one with a logon/password that works on every site. This would be extremely helpful. However, a problem arises; all these websites will fight over whose account should be used on other sites.[vii] Who decides what account gets used as the universal ID…? I think that this decision should be made at the operating system level not by a website company. The people get to manage accounts this way, and by logging onto a computer, you simultaneously logon to numerous websites. This seems to be the only unbiased process.

This also brings me to another point. It seems websites are starting to crossover. By this I mean, you are starting to see tiny Google search boxes on other websites, or search engines appearing at the top of your browser. A site like slide.com allows you to export your creations directly to MySpace or other personal spaces. Sites now contain quick links to other sites so you don’t have to waste time typing it in, or searching your bookmarks. What you are seeing is a growing interconnectivity, a tighter social network. As time goes on, sites might start to merge, or become in such abundance (Google search on your browser’s toolbar) you’ll never have to actually visit www.google.com ever again. I think the Google site should contain a search box for other databases like Flickr, E-Bay, Amazon, MySpace, PureVolume. These sites already appear frequently during a search, so why not make that option available at the beginning of a search. That could drastically narrow your search at the beginning.[viii] I know this is probably breaking laws, but I think copyright will change, too (I don’t want to get into this beast.) I should mention that you can already search a site in the Google window with some additional characters, but I think this option should be more readily available.

Not only are sites starting to crossover, web devices are merging as well. When I was younger I had my PC, PlayStation, Game Boy, various classic arcade machines, a mp3 player, and a giant cell phone (probably used my parents’ cell). As time went on, the PlayStation 3 utilized the Internet to its fullest extent, had a huge hard drive and started to play the same games as my PC. Do I really need a PC and a PS3 if they are almost the same? I can now play games and view the web on my cell phone. Do I need a portable game device and a cell phone that plays similar games? Similarly, do I need an mp3 player if my cell phone already acts as one? As you can probably guess, devices are slowly merging. Eventually we will see that all-in-one device. The iPhone is pushing the threshold, but it has yet to do so. People will still want the option to play movies or games in surround sound on a giant HD TV, or sit down at a computer desk and get some work done. The all-encompassing device will be portable, but will also dock at various stations on your desk or in your living room so that they could be seen on a larger screen or better sound system. It is almost like the numerous sound docks for the iPod. I can easily see the future device utilizing this idea but considering the visual, Internet, as well as audio.

Web 3.0 will also utilize 3D virtual worlds.[ix] As more computers are pushing the graphics card standard, computer games are opening to a larger customer base. With this, comes the birth of Second Life and similar environments.[x] Even PlayStation 3 has a built-in Second Life called PlayStation Virtual Home, where users can shop and bowl in 3D with other platform owners. If only PS3 combined online shopping databases like Amazon with its robust 3D environment. This might make the shopping mall obsolete. With the Internet you have a whole community of people that review products and rate them. At a shopping mall you don’t have the luxury of reading a hundred reviews before making a purchase. Couple this ability with realistic 3D HD rendering, in a virtual shopping mall, why would you ever need to leave your home?

It seems clear, webolution will happen. But how soon, is the ultimate question? I hope that it will come fast. I think everyone is sick of buying numerous computers, game systems, and phones. We all could save a lot of money with the creation of this device. Let’s hope that an honest company makes this all-in-one device and we feel safe using it. Security and dependability will be extremely important. I can see governments or hackers tapping into the device to see all of our personal information, and bank accounts. It would be easy to track people using GPS and purchase recipes. Similarly, if the device broke, our lives would come to a screeching halt. We have the technology, we understand it, and we have the power, let’s evolve.


Web 2.0; the All-encompassing, Ubiquitous, and Dying Term

January 22, 2009 Leave a comment

 

Web 2.0 is dying.  Simply by the fact that it is a term used to describe the state of the web at a certain time in history.  This term was a quickly contrived marketing buzz word to describe the so-called slick websites.  As time goes on, it’s safe to say a new term, probably Web 3.0 (let’s pray this doesn’t happen), will be coined and ubiquitously accepted to describe the state of the web after the current web 2.0 era is deemed no more.  As many argue, we shouldn’t use such foolish terms, but I’ll get into that later.  First, let’s explore the infamous term that really got things started.  So what the hell is web 2.0 exactly?

We can start be looking at the web today.  We have data driven websites that thrive on participation, data that is extractable, viewable, and mash-able, behind the scenes and seemingly automatic updates, slick easy-to-use interfaces, and cross-platform websites for increasingly diverse devices (mobile and non-mobile.)  That all sounds really great and it is.  Most of these ideas will probably stick around for a long time at a fundamental level and will probably change ever so slightly to accommodate new technologies and faster internet speeds.  So then, web 2.0 is not so dead…?

But the term most certainly needs to be.  Famous bloggers scoff at the ridiculous nature of the ubiquitous moniker, describing it more as a marketing scheme that may or may not have slowed down the evolution of the internet into something else, something better.  Let’s be honest, the internet thrives on competition.  Who can make the better website, or who can make a larger more powerful, more practical database… and the list goes on.  The real question – who can better prepare for future technologies, or future consumer demand?  The fact is, using the term web 2.0 to describe an all-encompassing internet is almost idiotic and inhibits this desire to make a better web.  With every scheming, profit-hungry investment banker looking solely at web 2.0 technologies, how can we push webolution?  Even though we can try to understand the term, we cannot simply try to bottle up everything we see.  The web is more complex than that.  These terms will start to seem ridiculous… right now we have to have a new one every 10 years, then will it be 5, 2…?  I’m not sure the internet could change that fast and that much, but the future is always full of surprises.  I can only hope we (the human race) can comprehend the complexity of the web consistently during its entire lifespan, past, present, and future.  Before too long, it might just spiral out of control. 

A sudden realization – this fear is the only reason the term was coined…

So then, what surprises can we look for in the future (call it web 3.0 if your bleeding heart wishes it to be so) of the web?  Seriously, that was a joke.  Anyways, back on the topic…  What can we look forward to?  Faster internet speeds (everyone might switch to t1, t3, fiber optics), more optimization, more data, more content, more user ability, the growth of the application, plug-in, more obtainable and controllable data by the user (let ME get a crack at the company’s databases!), more devices, more automatic updates (everything centered around the internet should be updatable, otherwise competition will destroy it), more open source productions (FUCK Copyright, FUCK Censorship!) and more and more and more!

So what’s the point?  I feel like we are all born neo-conservative in nature.  Take a step back and let change prosper.  And speaking of nature, think of the web as a vast body of water filled with all the sea creatures you could find during a Google (anyone use Yahoo anymore…?) image search.  We don’t need to throw a net over the entire gambit of diverse species.  God forbid if one made a breakthrough! 

Oh, and they didn’t call it web 3.0…

Peace, keeping surfing,

Christopher “TheGreatG33b3r” Smith

Here are the sources I looked at and in the order I looked at them…

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_3.0

http://www.vanderwal.net/random/entrysel.php?blog=1763