Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Occupy Google Reader: My God, My Google, Why have you Forsaken me?

We are the 1000+

One by one I was struck by the awesome and revolutionary features of the Internet: email, the web, usenet, chat, blogs. The last really powerful and useful innovation in my opinion has been RSS. Remarkably, most people seem not to have heard of RSS or to have used it much. I can only guess they don't do much reading online, or do all their reading on Facebook or Twitter.

But "social media"? Don't get it.

Myspace: looks to me like a sting perpetrated on Murdoch (couldn't have happened to a nicer fella); Twitter: (rather obviously for twits); and as for Facebook: well, the movie was great, but I haven't read the facebook (and don't intend to).

Nevertheless, all this stuff is undoubtedly a popular way for people to waste a lot of time.

In the good old days we wasted time on email, usenet and the web. Sure, it was a big waste of time, but we learnt something. I cant see what you can learn by wasting time on the huge pile of streaming detritus known as "social media".

Now Google has neutered Reader: after search, definitely their best product ever. Better than gmail.

Its a healthy warning about the cloud also. Having your data or applications controlled by some evil corporation is inherently dangerous.

We need a Free Software version of Google reader with the simple share/social functions included.

I cant help but compare this fiasco to the Ubuntu Unity disaster. Computing is being deliberately dumbed down by corporations. A split is emerging between the 'power users' and the billions (most of them not even online yet) who will interact with computers rather like an appliance: an on/off button, possibly a next and an up/down button will be all that is provided or that people are expected to cope with.

So let's break from the mob and the corporations and build free computing systems with full power.

While I'm at it can I complain about the horror that is Word (OpenOffice is no better) when all I want to do is write a paragraph or two. Never got over it. Composing and formatting need to be separated.

The 20-yr long gui fiasco has to be dealt with also. We should all be on unix terminal. Or perhaps Plan9 terminal nowadays.

Richard Stallman had a great idea in 1984 with Free Software, but tragically, he was about 10 years too late. Unix should have been made free when it was rewritten in C way back in 1973.

What a global disaster it has been. It might take another 100 years to straighten it all out.

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