8 Feb 2001 mrorganic   » (Journeyer)

My wife is one of those people to whom "Internet" and "the Web" are the same thing. She thinks e-mail somehow goes "over the web" to its destination. I'm not sure what that means beyond the fact that the web has completely taken over (and not to good effect) the average person's perception of the Internet. (Ironic, too, given that the most popular application is still e-mail and not web- browsing.)

AIM will probably succeed in killing IRC this year (if DDOS attacks don't do it first). FTP will continue to exist, but will shrink in popularity as Napster/Gnutella clones simplify the file-transfer process. USENET will go on -- if nothing else the horndogs will keep it going so they can download gigs of porn at no cost. SMTP/POP3 e-mail will likely give way to IMAP, but not quickly -- a few years hence, maybe. And the web itself will go on, getting ever more bloated and ever-tackier with each day that goes by.

I look to Gnutella -- and the follow-ons -- as the potential saviors of the internet. Peer-to-peer clients have potential we haven't even tapped yet (although we owe a great debt to Ray Ozzie, who invented Lotus Notes, from which nearly all P2P concepts spring). This may yet save the 'net from irrelevance.

I like projects like Freenet, too, because it assures the continued survival of *content*. Too much of what we see and read has been sanitized, bowdlerized, and lawyered into a bland, meaningless pap. Or, alternately, we have the most ridiculous Tabloid news imaginable -- flashy, glitzy, and trashy...but not really very relevant or interesting.

There are odd spots of comfort to be found on the web, though: Brill's Content is pretty consistently good, and Salon does a good job when they can keep their left-wing leanings under control. But these are the rare exceptions in a sea of muck.

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