Archive for the ‘O’Reilly’ Category

Web 2.0: Reactions, questions, etc.

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Initially, from the examples given by O’Reilly, Web 2.0 seemed like a more malleable version of Web 1.0.  The main idea I eventually gathered from his article is that the open source user-oriented nature of Web 2.0 has allowed it to dominate previous internet experiences, which I supposed isn’t too far from my first impression.  Not that I could have ever predicted how the internet would change from 2005 to 2010, but it seems logical that the “global brain” and “perpetual beta” approaches to improving the web would overtake more the more static environment of Web 1.0.

Some of O’Reilly’s ideas I found particularly compelling included references to the “head” and tail” of the internet, problems with copyright control, and O’Reilly’s discussion of “software above a single device.”

Without reading this article, I don’t think I would have ever considered there to be a “head” or “tail” to the Internet.  It’s an interesting analogy for the big and little guys of the web.  From the sounds of Web 2.0, however, and its movement toward catering to the user (I think?), it seems to me that a role reversal could be imminent on the digital front.  To be more specific, in 20 years, will the blog-savvy 12 year-olds of today be satisfied with taking a backseat to the “heads” of the net?  I don’t think so, at least not by the time they’re 32 and Web 5.0 (or an equivalent) has rolled onto the scene.

Now, about copyright control.  Obviously, there’ve been ongoing issues with it since O’Reilly wrote his article.  Amazon’s book reviews were one an example.  O’Reilly mentions how easy it is to copy book review information, and I definitely know I’ve searched for information before and seen identical text pasted between completely independent web pages.  In 2005, O’Reilly predicted “heightened attempts at control” with respect to copyrighted data, and he may be correct, although I think the nature of Web 2.0 would complicate this major endeavor.  How could a company possibly track every nook and cranny of web space to ensure their book reviews are safe?  It’s almost as though there’d be a need for some sort of Internet police.  I don’t really know how that would work, though, or if something like it already exists.

As for “software above a single device,” it surprised me a little when O’Reilly mentioned iTunes and iPod because (for whatever reason) both came to mind upon reading the section’s header.  After considering O’Reilly’s comparisons of Microsoft’s products (and software release cycle) vs. Google’s perpetually updating services, Apple’s iPod and iTunes seem brilliant as the duo encompasses the best of both worlds: a service associated with an optional product.  (Maybe this isn’t too enlightening for other people, but I’d certainly never considered how well the Apple family worked before.)  Furthermore, the idea of “software above a single device” brings me back to Gardner’s forecast of “web servers in our pockets.”  The fact that both O’Reilly and Gardner mention the use of web devices, in my opinion, makes me think the web is becoming something we no longer temporarily log into, but something we’re perpetually attached to (presently, I don’t think I’m comfortable with this idea—my phone doesn’t even text, and the digital distance is nice!)

Lastly, I was a little lost when O’Reilly discussed “lightweight programming models.”  I understood the ideas behind “hackability” and “remixability,” but the concept of “coupling” and “stacking” systems is a little beyond me.  To me, stacking and coupling sounds like the GIS examples O’Reilly gives where similar data is used by different web services (e.g. MapQuest vs. Google Maps), so that basic data is just delivered differently by different companies.  I could be way off with this interpretation, though.  Also, because I’m unaware of what the “traditional IT mindset” is, I don’t know what O’Reilly’s getting at when he contrasts it to “The Web 2.0 mindset,” which makes me think I could be missing an important point.

PS Sorry my posts are so long!  I’ll try to cut back in the future.