Monday, November 14, 2005

Scobleizer - Microsoft Geek Blogger: AOL unveils free Web TV

Oh the inanities! From what Scoble aptly calls his mudpit, I found this:

Sorry, I’m counting AOL out. In the words of Steve Jobs (paraphrased): "television is where you turn your brain off, a computer is where you turn your brain off."... "Um, that is to say that a computer is where you turn your brain “on”. Sorry for that bit of confusion"

And had to blurt out:

But you stumbled on the truth.

You CAN turn your brain on by watching TV. C-Span, some PBS, History Channel and things like that contain far more information than the average web page.

You CAN turn your brain off by using a computer. In fact I think you can turn it off a lot more effectively using a computer. Try and have an intelligent conversation with someone who plays first person shooters for 8 hours a day. Or auto race games, or roll playing games, or... blogs!

TV is a one way medium and computers are two way. That puts TV at a disadvantage, but not much of one. If you want to learn you only need TV and for the right material to be presented, and at a pace you are comfortable with.

The Internet however is like, as the expression goes, drinking from a fire hydrant. Only in addition to water, the Internet fire hydrant has sewage, and poisons and addictive drugs and a few other things you would rather not be consuming.

I'm not convinced that "feeds", "metadata", "XML" and the other dozen buzzwords that fly around today (particularly here) are the answer. I don't think I am getting a lot more out of the Internet today than I was 5 years ago, but I'm sure spending a lot more time getting it. My aggregators do everything but aggregate. Finding the actual SOURCE of a story rather than the thousands (or millions) of bloggers that have added their 2 cents (if they've added anything at all) is still largely a manual process. I don't see any of these new mechanisms solving this any better than just using a search engine that has recently crawled the web and has a modicum of AI built into it (EG: WSJ or Reuters is more likely to have the original story than Joe Blogger).

Have we forgotten that the World Wide Web and HTML were invented specifically allow ordinary people to EASILY share data? You can teach someone all they need to know about HTML in about and hour. But add ASP controls, Javascript, CSS, XML, RSS and EIEIO and suddenly we are back to having to have expert help setting up a web site and are totally dependent on expensive high level tools to do even the simplest thing.

Now think about who is most responsible for this race to complexity.

I think the situation will only get worse until individual users take back the Internet and just say no to the big software vendors, telephone and cable companies, Hollywood and all the other powerful interests that want to keep their positions as gatekeepers of what we see and hear.

If it's not something that you can work with on your own, without $700 worth of software or a $100/month internet bill then you should be asking yourself: "What is wrong with this picture?"

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