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Bump on a Stump Internet Life and Times
with Jeff Clark, half (wit) of Internet Brothers
Volume 1, Issue 2 — early March 2000

     What is up with the recent rejuvenation in popularity of Weblogs? As explained by Ask Jeeves, a Weblog (sometimes written as "web log" or "weblog" or simply "blog") is a Web site of personal or non-commercial origin that uses a dated log format, and that is updated on a daily or very frequent basis with new information about a particular subject or range of subjects. The information can be written by the site owner, gleaned from other Web sites or other sources, or contributed by users. A Web log often has the quality of being a kind of "log of our times" from a particular point-of-view.

     In the early days of the World Wide Web, these online journals enjoyed tremendous popularity, but as e-commercial business exploded in the late '90s, the blog creators discovered the lure of developing web sites for profit. Imagine that. Well, I'm here to tell you the Weblog is back!

     Dozens of new ones are popping up each day, with a new twist this time. They all seem to be linking to each other, truly leveraging the vision of Tim Berners-Lee. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous, from informational resources like Slashdot and Zeldman Presents, to fun and entertaining entries like Harrumph! and Swallowing Tacks.

     Most are boring, including probably my own, but they are a cultural sign of Internet life and times. I worry though, that the premier design and content producers caught up in each other's online world will succumb to the triviality of the genre and ignore, or at least defer, the true creativity that enriches all of us. Let's hope they can do both.


     Turning to something completely cordless, let's talk about WAP. Wireless Application Protocol is a hot topic that has been widely hyped in the mobile industry, and outside of it, according to GSM World. WAP is simply a protocol — a standardised way that a mobile phone talks to a server installed in the mobile phone network. Big deal, you say. Big deal is right. WAP will be huge. There are already more than 120 member companies in the WAP Forum.

     The two dominant technologies today, the Internet and wireless communication, are converging. I've never been confused with Einstein, but even I can see where this is headed. Remember "push technology?" The best known executor of that delivery mechanism, Pointcast, folded up camp just last month after a strident, but unsuccessful effort. What was the albatross? It was desktop computing. When I can receive the latest headlines, my stock portfolio, the newest Alanis Morissette MP3, or travel directions on my pager, cell phone or Dick Tracy watch; I become truly free of the bondage of cord.

     The problem? It just ain't uniform yet. Like any genie screaming to get out of the bottle, WAP still has a lid on it. The lid is called standards. All the major players like Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola are balled up in a standards battle that is due to break this spring. When it does, watch out. Imagine yourself strolling down the street with a pair of i-glasses on, and the strains of Drudge bouncing through your grey matter. Well maybe not.

     Until next time, be good, but not too.


 

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