Four short links: 23 Jan 2009

Potty mouth, piracy, pointers to the future of the web, and Presidential technology woes, all in today’s link roundup.

  1. F*ck the Cloud – Jason Scott’s brilliant (and profanity-strewn) rant about cloud computing and the things people throw away without thinking about. Jason, an Internet historian, has a unique perspective and I think what he says makes a lot of sense. “[I]f you’re not asking what stuff means anything to you, then you’re a sucker, ready to throw your stuff down at the nearest gaping hole that proclaims it is a free service”.
  2. Pirating the Oscars – Andy Baio summarizes online piracy of the Oscar-nominated movies, as he has done since 2003. It’s interesting to see what’s new this year: movies are taking longer to leak, but more of them are being leaked.
  3. Webkit Owns Mobile – Alex Russell lays out the case that Webkit “has mobile all sewn up”. I’ve been saying for the last umpty years that the Web is at a Windows 286 stage of development–we need 3.1 to come along and standarize the widgets that presently everyone reinvents. I recognized that in this line from Alex: “If we look at the APIs of Dojo, Prototype, or jQuery as a set of suggestions for the APIs that the web should expose, then it becomes pretty clear that we’ve still got a long long way to go”.
  4. New Staff Find White House Tech in Dark Ages – they’ve gone from a startup to The Enterprise (not Star Trek, alas, just a big company) and now are learning the pain of IT rules that are bigger than they are.
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  • I wouldn’t count Opera out of winning over the mobile space just yet — and mozilla based is still around (though not as promising)

    The best outcome is continual change and thus continual awesome new things.

  • Bert Bates

    In other words, trust the cloud and sooner or later you’ll be beached as…

    Thanks Nat!

  • @Brenda: absolutely, I hope I didn’t suggest that I thought a winner-takes-all landscape would be good. I hope there remains strong competition between browser makers and the toolkits underneath them. In the ten years since AOL bought Netscape and signalled an end to the browser wars, we’ve seen nothing like the fertile period of creation that there had been in the previous seven years. Javascript, AJAX, Java, Flash, they all came out of the fertile period. Yes, so did the BLINK tag and ActiveX controls, but not every flower is fragrant.

    Anyway, we’ve had a decade of quiet stagnation and rot in browsers. Yes, Firefox–yay! But if the biggest differences between Netscape 4.5 and Firefox 3.0 are the awesome bar, canvas widget fr Javascript, and plugins, then it’s hard to stand tall and say that browsers have come a long way. More accurate to say that they have limped a long way, largely at their own pace despite prodding by WHAT-WG and frustrated web developers.