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... pick up a bag of Pizza Rolls and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Internet advertising during the. com mania - and even now - expects people to click on the damned banners. Which smart people don't do. But the banners still can be worthwhile.
I am increasingly encouraged by correctly targeted advertisements (like Seagate ads on hard drive sites) and "general interest" ads like ones for McDonald's that don't expect us to click on the things when we see them. Alas, we cannot order cheeseburgers over the Internet - yet. Once marketroids realize this, web sites won't have to struggle to stay alive on ad revenue. And now, let's look at pop-up ads, Flash and scripted ads, and even applet ads. These are all bogus. They take the idea of "people should go out and click on and buy this stuff right away right now!" even further, and blare it in our faces, popping up new windows and annoying us with bells, whistles and gongs.
I think most everyone realizes this, so I won't go on at length about it. Besides, software can block this kind of stuff anyway. Enough about advertising - what about the companies of the. com mania themselves? Places like "eToys" and "pets. com" and all those other things that failed were bogus from the beginning.
A widely recognized brand is all well and good, but it is also worthless if there isn't something that people want to buy behind it. Amazon. com has somehow not died (though at this moment I'm uncertain as to whether they " ve actually turned a profit yet), but I believe this is because they really don't suck. I've ordered books (many, many books) from amazon. com before, and they arrived quickly, and they have a huge selection too. Which I like.
But most of the other. com startups failed, and for good reasons. They sucked to begin with, and tried to hide their intrinsic bogosity behind marketroid words like "B 2 B solution" and other catch phrases. (You know what they are - I won't offend your sensibilities further by repeating such phrases devoid of intelligence. ) This does not mean the Internet is bogus - just that those lame companies were. "The microprocessor has brought electronics into a new era. It is altering the structure of our society" - Robert Noyce and Martin Hoff, Jr. , "History of Microprocessor Development at Intel", IEEE Micro On the contrary, the Internet is rather cool. However, this. com mania happened at the wrong time - which is to say, too early. (It's been obvious to technically knowledgeable people for quite a long time that the Internet is cool, and we wondered why J.
Random Laser hadn't figured that out yet - but the mania actually happened too soon. ) Even as I write this, most people are connected to the Internet through that lowliest of devices, the modem. Even my own computer has one of these wretched devices, and when I finish this essay I will upload this document through its vile silicon and wiring, because it's the only connection I have at home. (I don't plan to put a modem in the next computer I'm building; I don't want to defile such a glorious box. ) Few people have less bogus - but still sucky - connections like cable and DSL (both of which are also crocked-up solutions to getting Internet access to the general public, like transmitting information over phone lines). The real connections, like Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and optical connections (all of which are the future) remain confined to places like college campuses (hooray) and limited use. You can't do very many interesting things through a modem. You can barely download severely compressed music like 128 kbps MP 3 files - and look how THAT exploded (in a number of senses of the word). You can't even think about digital video until you have an Ethernet connection.
But as more and more people get real connections to the Internet, its applications will become innumerable and highly, highly useful. The whole digital music situation, I hope, will eventually get sorted out - and this will mean the death of publishing companies, free music for everyone, and proper compensation to the artists (publishing companies are middlemen - though in the Old Economy they deserve money, in the (upcoming! ) New Economy they are redundant, worthless, and do not deserve money). I have a few ideas how this might be accomplished, but we " ll see. The digital video situation will become widespread, and a solution to it will have to be devised too; I expect television to eventually die, and real video on demand to become a reality - by which I mean watching any episode of any TV show or any movie at any time, with the click of a button, on your computer.
I don't expect all of this to happen right now, of course. Predicting the future is always incredibly hard, of course, but I figure digital video (and its widespread copying) will become newsworthy the way MP 3 s are now, in (say) 5 years. An eternity, I know. The death of television? That might not happen for two decades (several eternities). It's just beyond technically feasible now (hard drives are just a little too small to hold massive amounts of video), actually.
And the irrational desire of people to only pay a thousand dollars for a computer will likely postpone the death of television. But I believe it will happen, because it's so obvious. So, if advertising is rather screwed up right now (which it is), and Internet companies in a precarious and ambiguous situation (which they are), is the Internet at all useful right NOW? Not in 5 or 20 years from now, but right now? Yeah, it actually is quite useful. Because anyone can publish things on the Internet, and do so with much more ease than starting up a magazine, and additionally publish arbitrary amounts of content, there's a lot of nifty things out there.
For example, I can (and often do) learn everything I can about a new game before its release, thanks to gaming sites. I can keep up with a game after it's released, and keep up with the community that grows around it - such as Deus Ex; I follow forums and sites dedicated to it. I can actually learn things, about C programming, the nature of color vision, or prime numbers - this has been true for as long as I've used the Internet, and it will continue to be true. "I got fed up dealing with politicians and businessmen who think the Net is some kind of pipe down which stuff can be pumped at kids (who are seen, incidentally, as empty vessels to be 'filled'). So I started saying to them "Look, it isn't a pipe, it's a beanstalk up which children climb, like Jack in the fairy tale, into other worlds." It was worth it just to see the look of incomprehension on their faces" - John Naughton And I can learn about things to buy, too! I follow the aforementioned storage review. com rather closely; from it, I've learned massive amounts of things about how hard drives operate and what SCSI is, and I've picked out the drives I want to buy from their reviews.
I'm psyched for Max Payne and Duke Nukem Forever (both unreleased as I write this) because of the various previews I've seen. It was because of an Internet preview that I bought Deus Ex in the first place, which turned out to be such a good decision that Ion Storm Austin (as it's called right now) basically already has my money for Deus Ex II. I keep up with news. net, and I'm actually current with video card technology now, whereas before I was totally ignorant of how the things work. (My first 3 D accelerator was a TNT 2 Ultra; I upgraded to "Ultra" because it sounded cool. ) I bought my current video card because of all the buzz on gaming and hardware sites; I did it through a certain web site noted on news. net. All these news and reviews sites, I believe, are really the future - not silly "e-tailers" or "portals." I've always known "portals" sucked.
The page my web browsers go to on load has always been a search engine - which really aren't bogus, as the Internet is so huge you really do need search engines, and good ones. First I used Lycos, then HotBot. Once each of those started sucking, I switched to a new search engine. Now, I use Google, which (unbelievably) doesn't suck, and looks like it will stay that way. These sorts of things have a future. The Internet has a future, and it's going to be great.
The New Economy is still ahead of us.
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