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Brad Neuberg, Google Gears, and the Future of the Web

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the where-are-we-headed dept.

The Internet 65

Linux.com has an interesting look at Google Gears and one of its leading evangelists, Brad Neuberg. "For Neuberg -- as for most developers -- the idea of expanding the Web's capabilities is intriguing in itself. But both inside and outside Google, his argument is that there's more at stake than just a particular piece of technology. In fact, he does not even seem particularly concerned whether Gears or some rival project takes on the role he envisions. What matters, he says, is that finding a solution to the problems of the Web is essential not only to the continued evolution of the Web, but also to its continued freedom. "

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65 comments

Fairly Rhetorical... Maybe I didn't understand? (2, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385118)

How does a guy who says 'Lets keep it working so it can still be used' qualify as news... I thought it was just common sense!

Re:Fairly Rhetorical... Maybe I didn't understand? (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386064)

How does a guy who says 'Lets keep it working so it can still be used' qualify as news... I thought it was just common sense!
Hi, I agree its common sense :) The cool thing about Gears is its trying to create a system to make this common sense actually happen on todays web. It will be great when its no longer news because the web has an open source update mechanism to get new standards and innovations into the web.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Further adoption (2, Interesting)

enjahova (812395) | more than 5 years ago | (#23387242)

After reading the article (really!) I can see how Gears is more than just offline storage, but extending the browser to do what it should. Right now it is only available as a FF plugin right? Could it be expanded into the google toolbar? ported to IE in the toolbar?

I want to look at this as a way to make even more powerful webapps, but until it gets more widespread it only seems appealing to apps that have a clear offline use.

Re:Further adoption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23387932)

It's actually Firefox 1.5/2 (Win/Linux/OS X), IE6+, Windows Mobile IE and soon to be Safari and FF3.

Re:Further adoption (3, Informative)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23392590)

After reading the article (really!) I can see how Gears is more than just offline storage, but extending the browser to do what it should. Right now it is only available as a FF plugin right? Could it be expanded into the google toolbar? ported to IE in the toolbar?

I want to look at this as a way to make even more powerful webapps, but until it gets more widespread it only seems appealing to apps that have a clear offline use.
Gears is currently available on Firefox 1.5+ (Firefox 3 soon), Internet Explorer 6+, and Windows Mobile 5 and 6. It works across Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Safari support is coming soon, Opera is being worked on, Firefox 3 support is done but is being dogfooded and tested. Expect to see Gears on other mobile browsers as well at some point.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

am i glad (2, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385176)

that the buzzwords like "web {[0-9]}.0" or "semantic web" are missing from a topic discussing future of the web

Why does the web need to evolve (5, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385236)

Why do we have to continue developing the web and forceing it do things way outside is problem domain. USENET did not have to evolve, ftp did not have to evolve, smtp did not, gopher did not, etc etc.

Why can't we leave the web alone, use it for what we use it for now and develop a new rich application protocol if that is what people want. It might end up replacing the web like the web replaced gopher, which replaced Archie before it, or it might become an addition to the suite of internet protocols. Why does my web browser have to be all things to all people?

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385364)

Why can't we leave the web alone, use it for what we use it for now and develop a new rich application protocol if that is what people want. It might end up replacing the web like the web replaced gopher, which replaced Archie before it, or it might become an addition to the suite of internet protocols. Why does my web browser have to be all things to all people?


Because getting a fundamentally new common runtime environment and/or protocol to all people is f'ing hard. Especially now that the 'net has matured. With maturity comes momentum and inertia.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388358)

Because getting a fundamentally new common runtime environment and/or protocol to all people is f'ing hard. Especially now that the 'net has matured. With maturity comes momentum and inertia.
Sorry, I don't get this. Java has been succesful at this (as well as other languages that can run on top of the JavaVM), Flash has been succesful, heck, even Linux and stuff like MAME is spreading all over with some effort.

Let's not talk about enabling things in different ways, let's talk instead about how, after all these years with ever-increasing hardware performance, we're building layers upon layers of inefficient software so we can have crappy application performance all over again. Trying to run applications with Javascript in a browser on a mobile phone, can it get more wasteful than that?

Use Java, it's not perfect, but it's widespread, it gets the job done and is reasonably fast. Until we have a less bloated and equally widespread language, that is...

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23391186)

Java has been succesful at this (as well as other languages that can run on top of the JavaVM), Flash has been succesful
These work in the web browser. There's little obvious difference between these technologies and "the Internet" as far as the common person is concerned.

Let's not talk about enabling things in different ways, let's talk instead about how, after all these years with ever-increasing hardware performance, we're building layers upon layers of inefficient software so we can have crappy application performance all over again. Trying to run applications with Javascript in a browser on a mobile phone, can it get more wasteful than that?
There are really two problems here.

One of the problems is data. I want access to my data. I want access to it anywhere. When I'm at a restaurant, I want to be able to pull out my phone and check my calendar, my mail, even open a file on my desktop. When I'm on a business trip, I want the same access on my laptop.

There are lots of solutions to the data problem--some of them are fairly old. IMAP is a really handy protocol for keeping your mail accessible from just about anywhere, for example.

The other problem is user-friendlyness. Consistency is part of this. There are lots and lots of Internet users who, when confronted with a new and unfamiliar interface, will simply freeze up. I'm sure that it's largely psychological, but ultimately, the underlying cause is irrelevant. People want consistency in how they access their data.

The solution to this problem lies in Google Gears and similar technologies. It lies in allowing the web browser to be a portal into your data (though allowing access in other ways is important, too, so that people who don't mind other, more efficient interfaces can use them.)

Google handles both problems simultaneously, and quite well. If I want to use the Google Mail interface while I'm offline, I can. If I want to access my data without using javascript in a browser, I can do that with either IMAP or POP.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 5 years ago | (#23407956)

> Sorry, I don't get this. Java has been succesful at this (as well as other languages that can run on top of the JavaVM)

Not as a general purpose user applications. Java's popularity is primarily server-side.

> Flash has been succesful,

And it runs in you web browser and generally uses HTTP to communicate with servers.

> heck, even Linux and stuff like MAME is spreading all over with some effort.

What in the world does MAME have to do with anything?

> Let's not talk about enabling things in different ways, let's talk instead about how, after all these years with ever-increasing hardware performance, we're building layers upon layers of inefficient software so we can have crappy application performance all over again. Trying to run applications with Javascript in a browser on a mobile phone, can it get more wasteful than that?

No argument here. I'm not saying we SHOULDN'T have a better common application platform besides the web browser and javascript. I'm just saying that the web browser seems to be what we have to work with when it comes to getting a new service out to the masses. Sadly, the best technologies don't often win, especially when the field is already well established. We end up with the lowest common denominator.

> Use Java, it's not perfect, but it's widespread, it gets the job done and is reasonably fast.

I've experienced nothing but trouble with Java applications. They tend to be very picky about what version of the VM you're running. On Linux, what a lot of vendors end up doing is shipping their own version of the VM with the application. At least they used to. I haven't used Java much on Linux lately. Java is spoiled for me. The really successful Java applications such as Azureus and Limewire are bloated and slow. I'd much rather use a native application. Usually I prefer smaller apps that do a single thing well. LIke for torrents, I use uTorrent on Windows and Transmission on OS X. There's no need for Java apps.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385378)

The problem though is plugins. Why do you even need Flash/Java plugins? All the Flash one seems to do is use up 100% CPU on Linux and Java Applets are too slow for general use many times. AJAX (sorta) fixes this with how you don't need a plugin to view things and because it is not outside of the browser, it makes having your browser be 100% open source whereas Flash is proprietary (unless you want to use GNASH which, in my experience only really lets you view banner ads). So while a different protocol would be nice, AJAX is much much nicer then Flash/Java or other "plugins" that are used to create applications on websites.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386338)

The problem though is plugins. Why do you even need Flash/Java plugins? All the Flash one seems to do is use up 100% CPU on Linux and Java Applets are too slow for general use many times. AJAX (sorta) fixes this with how you don't need a plugin to view things and because it is not outside of the browser, it makes having your browser be 100% open source whereas Flash is proprietary (unless you want to use GNASH which, in my experience only really lets you view banner ads). So while a different protocol would be nice, AJAX is much much nicer then Flash/Java or other "plugins" that are used to create applications on websites.
Hi Darkness, the idea behind Gears is that Ajax is the platform (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XHR, etc.). However, there are some new features (and existing standards like HTML 5) that Ajax and web applications need to move forward and be truly successful, such as better performance, client-side relational storage, offline, etc. We aren't trying to replace Ajax with another model.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

No browser modularity, no future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23389596)

We aren't trying to replace Ajax with another model.

Pity. This means that you're compounding the biggest practical problem in desktop computing today.

The web browser is by far the most flaky, least secure, and worst designed component in all current-day desktop operating systems. All of these problems stem from a single fact, namely the monolithic structure of every common non-trivial browser, ie. a single process space and hence a single point of failure. Even separate plugins just expand the single monolithic state space of a browser.

Millions of browsers crash daily, losing umpteem millions of accumulated windows and tabs representing a large amount of work in progress, just because one bad site has triggered a bug somewhere in the collosal body of code embodied in any modern browser. Every non-trivial application has both known and latent bugs, and their number is proportional to the size of the program code, so it's not surprising that these huge programs contain huge numbers of bugs. When a bug is triggered, the only strong defense available stems from MMU-guaranteed address space partitioning, or VMs/processes in other words, yet modern browsers are designed like oil tanker behemoths with a single unpartitioned eggshell delaying the onset of doom. The result is the reliability disaster we see daily.

This situation is already bad enough today, but worse, it isn't scalable for tomorrow.

And your upholding of the current model of web design pushes ever more state into that single fragile monolithic egg, and so it just makes matters worse.

Gears may look cool from the conventional worms-eye view, but you should fly up and look at the bigger picture sometimes too Brad. You're adding features to a major disaster.

Instead of "not trying to replace Ajax with another model", you *should* be seeking new models, models that promote physical browser partitioning. By adding to the status quo, you're just compounding the problem.

Re:No browser modularity, no future (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393554)

Great points; who says browsers can't have multiple processes? I see browsers as kind of like Windows 16-bit, or the old Mac OS 9. They will evolve into having greater features, just as the original PC operating systems could not hold a candle to "grown up" OSes like Unix, VMS, etc. Evolutionary, scrappy technologies like the browser (and the original PC) always go through successive iterations where they get refactored and gain abilities. They are never perfect at any particular snapshot. See Clay Shirky's great paper on this, "In Praise of Evolvable Systems:" http://www.shirky.com/writings/evolve.html

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

BBandCMKRNL (1061768) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390230)

We aren't trying to replace Ajax with another model.
Why not? HTML wasn't designed to be an application programming language; it was designed to display text in a device-independent manner.

Every developer here has written an application that has had requests for changes that violate one or more initial core design assumptions and has seen the disaster that results when they try to modify that application to do something that it was never intended to do.

This is what is happening with AJAX, etc. and web browsers. Web browsers were never supposed to be an internet application hosting environment (IAHE). We shouldn't try and make them into one.

You are concerned that whatever tries to become the universal updater will be proprietary. I have that concern with tossing browsers and replacing them with a proper IAHE. I'm even more concerned that governments will require backdoors that allow them to monitor what is going on inside the IAHE, but we need to create a proper IAHE. Trying to use a web browser to do this because we don't have the proper tool at hand is like the old saying that everything looks like a nail when all you have is a hammer. We need more than the web browser hammer.

The O/S is the IAHE already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23390864)

I have that concern with tossing browsers and replacing them with a proper IAHE.

The O/S is already the perfect IAHE. It fully integrates all comms and all applications, and it does so securely and efficiently.

In contrast, by adding another IAHE as middleware, you would be adding overhead, creating bottlenecks and new single points of failure, adding complexity, increasing bug rates and reducing robustness, and gaining nothing much at all.

You're dead right that the rise of the monolithic browser was a disaster, but replacing it with middleware is almost as bad. Let the O/S do what it's best at: comms and apps integration, and that obviously includes Internet comms and web apps.

A distinct IAHE is not needed. In fact, by making it a distinct layer you would intrinsically reduce the ability of the O/S to do its job well. An extra IAHE is a bad idea.

Re:The O/S is the IAHE already (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393612)

The O/S is already the perfect IAHE. It fully integrates all comms and all applications, and it does so securely and efficiently.
The O/S has one big problem: it requires you to completely trust applicatons. What makes the web successful is you don't need to trust remote web sites. Imagine if for every web site you had to visit it felt like downloading a new application, with the potential risk to your machine this entails. Gears keeps the webs trust model, where you don't have to have all or nothing trust. You can visit a remote web site, and that web site can prompt the user on whether they would like to be able to store more info in the relational database, for example. If you say yes, then that web site only has that enhanced capability; it can't access your file system, for example. Java's Web Start goes in the right direction with these things as well, especially with JNLP links.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:The O/S is the IAHE already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23398288)

The O/S has one big problem: it requires you to completely trust applicatons.

Just the opposite is true. Modern O/S's never trust applications, they run them in jails with MMU-guaranteed walls (processes with disjoint address spaces and other barriers), and give them only minimal rights in the normal case so that they don't need to be trusted except in their own little playpens.

What makes the web successful is you don't need to trust remote web sites.

It used to be so, but now the opposite is true. It's a rare site that doesn't try to download Javascript to you, and if you want the page to work then you very often have to act as if you trusted the site and enable scripting, without actually trusting the server at all in reality. You just HOPE it's not malicious.

Imagine if for every web site you had to visit it felt like downloading a new application, with the potential risk to your machine this entails.

That's exactly what you have to do --- download yet another piece of Javascript, or sometimes Java. The fact that the downloaded "application" runs in the browser rather than directly in the O/S makes no difference conceptually at all, although in practice it's a disaster since it makes the browser bloated and flaky and puts a large pile of eggs in one basket.

The rest of your reply was about privilege restriction and conditional privilege escalation ... both of which operating systems can do perfectly and FAR more securely because they operate with MMU-backed guarantees, whereas a browser inhabits the same hardware address space as the application code that it is loading from the remote site.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (5, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386162)

USENET did not have to evolve,
Did not have to evolve? Because it didn't evolve we are now stuck with dozens of web forums with proprietary data storage and no way to retrieve posts other then the HTML interface. Yeah, I know USENET still exist, but pretty much everything these days happens on either mailing lists or web forums which both lack a lot of features that USENET had back then 20 years ago.

When you don't evolve stuff you have a very good chance to end up with a whole bunch of ugly ad hoc fixes.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23386268)

um, you missed the point...

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

calmond (1284812) | more than 5 years ago | (#23387382)

When you don't evolve stuff you have a very good chance to end up with a whole bunch of ugly ad hoc fixes.
Hey - don't make fun of Windows - this is a discussion about Google Gears...

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388850)



I agree that most web forums royally suck. Slashdot is one of the best, and it still sucks.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

JakartaDean (834076) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388978)

Yeah, I know USENET still exist, but pretty much everything these days happens on either mailing lists or web forums which both lack a lot of features that USENET had back then 20 years ago.
Hey, I still use USENET daily, but "a lot of features"? 72-character lines of ASCII text? That's about as feature-rich as a bar in Sudan. (But, just how I like it, dinosaur that I am.)

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23391262)

USENET's killer feature is that the data is separated from the program. I can read USENET with multiple clients, as long as they adhere to the same protocol.

With forums, I have to use a web browser. In some cases, I have to use a web browser with certain features (Javascript, for example.) I can't download all of the posts for offline perusal, and I'm limited to whatever crappy search function is implemented in that forum software.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#23395974)

USENET's killer feature is that the data is separated from the program. I can read USENET with multiple clients, as long as they adhere to the same protocol.
True, but Usenet is so technically and organizationally archaic that the vast majority of people chose to ignore that killer feature and conduct their discussions on the web instead.

Had Usenet "evolved" it still might be an vigorous discussion network and not a refuge for old timers, kooks, and trolls.

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386190)

Why do we have to continue developing the web and forceing it do things way outside is problem domain. USENET did not have to evolve, ftp did not have to evolve, smtp did not, gopher did not, etc etc.

Why can't we leave the web alone, use it for what we use it for now and develop a new rich application protocol if that is what people want. It might end up replacing the web like the web replaced gopher, which replaced Archie before it, or it might become an addition to the suite of internet protocols. Why does my web browser have to be all things to all people?
Hi DarkOx, the history of the web itself is one of evolving it away from its original problem domain. Even the addition of images was controversial; the web was initially meant to be a text-only medium. Unfortunately, large-scale open systems like the web evolve from simple systems into domains they were never meant for; this is just the nature of systems that are world-spanning like the Internet and Web. Systems that are perfect and self-contained don't tend to actually get adopted on a global scale. Clay Shirky has a great essay on this topic called "In Praise of Evolvable Systems" which you can read here: http://www.shirky.com/writings/evolve.html

The idea behind Gears is to be able to get new technologies (and existing standards we've been waiting years for) into the contemporary web so that we can actually use them today.

I agree that it would be great to have better rich application protocols. Two things you must make sure of to be successful with this though: first, successful systems tend to evolve from earlier ones; just creating an entire new system will probably not get adopted. If you can evolve the web from the inside out into your system it will have better adoption. Second, the thing that makes the web really unique is that web pages can be basic static documents all the way to full blown applications, and everything in between (just look at MySpace, which are a fusion of web pages + web applications mashed up). Just making another web clone of the desktop based paradigm will probably not be successful or move things forward.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:Why does the web need to evolve (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 5 years ago | (#23387748)

Why do we have to continue developing the web and forceing it do things way outside is problem domain. USENET did not have to evolve, ftp did not have to evolve, smtp did not, gopher did not, etc etc.


Wait.. what?

Usenet evolved with things like par2, killfiles, spam filters, and probably a bunch of lower level things I wasn't around to observe.

FTP evolved a TON -- Theres like 20 rfcs for it. As early as being modified to accept IP addresses once IP was invented. Then theres things like hostmask and ident restrictions on login, AUTH TLS/SSL, half a dozen proprietry site commands, stat -l to do inline lists, PASV mode, server side tarring (i.e requesting directoryname.tgz and the server tarring and gzipping directoryname for oyu), serverside sfv checking, ratios..

Email evolved with spamfilters, DKIM, DNS blacklists, cryptography and key signing, labels, etc.

Gopher.. I don't really know. I'm only 21 so it's not something I'm highly familiar with, but you could probably argue that its lack of evolving is why HTTP/HTML took off and replaced it.

HTTP of course which already has evolved so far.. pipelining, compression, caching, and thats just http. The content itself has evolved a ton too, starting with things like img tags, but also stuff like canvas, css, javascript, etc.

Gears is a great idea. It isn't going to magically change what people do with the web, but it will make things like google reader work a whole lot better. That is, once it stops making firefox lock up.

You answered your own question (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394284)

Why do we have to continue developing the web and forceing it do things way outside is problem domain. USENET did not have to evolve, ftp did not have to evolve, smtp did not, gopher did not, etc etc.

<flamebait>Yeah, and they're all dead.</flamebait>

USENET:
Effectively dead. Now, before all the geeks pop up and say, no, comp.lang.* is great, or alt.binaries* is where it's at, YOU (we) ARE GEEKS. Normal people have never heard of it. Normal ISPs no longer offer NNTP servers, or not full ones, or if they do you only find out about it if you ask the guy behind the "Beware of the leopard" door. The last and only time I saw an ISP welcome pack mention USENET was about '97, and even that was a JANET-affiliated provider working the academic demographic. As for full, free & public NNTP servers...

FTP:
Well, I admit, still in massive use, but I thought all the cutting-edge slashdot kids used SCP instead these days? I remember recently there was a story about an FTP exploit and the overall tone was "archaic, obsolete, why do they still even have it..."

SMTP:
Also dead, IMHO. Killed by spam, RIP. I realise this is my most contentious claim, and rest assured I realise exactly how ludricious, unsubstantiable and trollish it is - but at the same time it's fundamentally true. As the Korean meme goes, "Email is for old people". Well, not just in Korea, in my experience. My parents' are the only social emails I get. Everyone and everything else has moved onto a social network like Facebook (yes, I know /. is full of sneering get-off-my-lawn refuseniks), IM (yes, ditto), web forums, etc. (An example of the "etc" might be Twitter, but you can count me as the sneering refusenik on that one!)

Gopher
Seriously, what? (Note to the inevitable sarcasm-impaired indignant poster brandishing a Wikipedia link: don't bother, I know what it is really...)

So in a nutshell, the reason it has to evolve is: "evolve or die".

Which, like I say, is an answer you reach yourself:

Why can't we leave the web alone, use it for what we use it for now and develop a new rich application protocol if that is what people want. It might end up replacing the web like the web replaced gopher,

Which in turn leads to the real "why" underlying all this - which is why evolve something, instead of starting with a nice clean slate? Well, answering that would turn this post into a novel, but I think that's just the way the real world tends to work, a world of deadlines, budgets, compromises, pragmatism, and where people often don't know what they want until they stumble onto it... Sure, you often end up with a right old mess and it's contrary to the sensibilities of the good design/architecture/algorhythm-conceptualising Geek, but hey...

(PS. Hey, slashdot! You know, when you use a CSS reset stylesheet to zero all margins and padding, you're supposed to recreate your own sensible, good-looking format for things like our friend the <dl> definition list...)

Re:You answered your own question (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 5 years ago | (#23394420)

Sorry, bad form to reply to myself, but I forgot an important qualifier necessary to make my SMTP paragraph even remotely credible in a devil's advocate kind of way ;)

I meant to say, the exception is at work, where of course I still use email heavily. BUT, this is Exchange; now, I'm not an Exchange admin so I have no idea if it's SMTP, but knowing MS I suspect the answer is "not really", and conceptually, there's no reason why it would have to be. Within a 'sealed' workplace, nobody cares if you use a different protocol. One more secure / spam proof, which can afford to merrily trample the "need to get emails to/from random unknown addresses" checkbox on the "You have proposed..." list.

Of course for external emails it does get a bit trickier, but I still don't quite believe SMTP is invulnerable - I mean, a huge number of businesses, govt agencies etc do not publish email addresses publically anymore, instead routing you to pseudo-email "contact us" webforms. For (eg) ongoing client/agency relationships, it would not be inconceviable to see businesses start to require people to whitelist each other from within their non-SMTP-Exchange/Outlook world.

Well, like I say, I know that saying SMTP is dead is not just pushing the boat out but sinking it, but for the sake of argument, it's pretty crippled and as such (at risk of) getting widely abandoned...

I met Brad once (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23385244)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Brad Neuberg, came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and married -- and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with him.

As soon as he left, I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist. I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass and not an end in itself.

Of course I'd had jerkoff fantasies of devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't?), but I had never done it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking.

I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract? I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does. I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down with his piss. I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my hankercheif, and stashed them in my briefcase.

In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole -- not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone.

The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process. I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did,bring to a grateful shiteater.

Google vs. Ajax (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385266)

I'd be more impressed with Google's forays into Javascript if they could make their existing stuff work right. After several years of deployment, Google Maps still displays incorrectly in Firefox 2 if you spin the scroll wheel too fast. That's about where window refresh was at Microsoft Windows 2.x or so - broken.

Re:Google vs. Ajax (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385530)

After several years of deployment, Google Maps still displays incorrectly in Firefox 2 if you spin the scroll wheel too fast. That's about where window refresh was at Microsoft Windows 2.x or so - broken.

AJAX is a method to shoehorn functionality into a trifecta of legacy platforms that was never really designed for it. Like retrofitting a horseless carriage with a honda civic engine and bolting on some wings, a rudder, and a propeller with the intent to fly across the atlantic.

Just because you've gotten it to fly doesn't mean you've invented a modern aircraft.

Re:Google vs. Ajax (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386578)

After several years of deployment, Google Maps still displays incorrectly in Firefox 2 if you spin the scroll wheel too fast. That's about where window refresh was at Microsoft Windows 2.x or so - broken.

AJAX is a method to shoehorn functionality into a trifecta of legacy platforms that was never really designed for it. Like retrofitting a horseless carriage with a honda civic engine and bolting on some wings, a rudder, and a propeller with the intent to fly across the atlantic.

Just because you've gotten it to fly doesn't mean you've invented a modern aircraft.
Well said, friend, well said. If I had mod points, you'd definitely get a +1 from me for that.

Re:Google vs. Ajax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23386152)

Thats what google earth is for!!

When someone writes a javascript library thats capable of emulating google earth I'll be impressed.

Re:Google vs. Ajax (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386650)

1. "Google's forays into Javascript"?! Where have you been living?

2. What you're describing sounds more like a limitation of the platform you're using than anything else. I'm using FF2 and scrolling like mad, trying to replicate your problem. No dice.

3. Gears != Google Maps. Nuff said.

Gears is clearly a necessary technology for the Web. The only concern I have is that it's so fundamental that it should not be part of a plugin, but rather built into the browser. I understand they're doing it as a plugin because they want it to work everywhere, but since it's open source, everyone with a browser really should be treating it as an API and writing their own browser components that map to it (or adapting the Gears source to do so).

Re:Google vs. Ajax (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23387014)

Gears is clearly a necessary technology for the Web. The only concern I have is that it's so fundamental that it should not be part of a plugin, but rather built into the browser. I understand they're doing it as a plugin because they want it to work everywhere, but since it's open source, everyone with a browser really should be treating it as an API and writing their own browser components that map to it (or adapting the Gears source to do so).
I'd love for folks to just grab the Gears source and bake those APIs into their browser; its under a Apache-like license so thats easy to do. The first thing browser folks should do, though, is adopt the HTML 5 interfaces, and simply use the Gears code as the implementation. Getting HTML 5 into the browsers is the most important thing. Once you have this bake the extra Gears stuff in, plus the Gears update mechanism so we can keep innovating past HTML 5! Feel free to contact me if you want to do this.

BTW, one thing that make Gears unique is that its _not_ just bound to one browser; its cross browser, so we can rev the web rather than just one browser.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:Google vs. Ajax (1)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#23387542)

one thing that make Gears unique is that its _not_ just bound to one browser; its cross browser, so we can rev the web rather than just one browser.
Cross-browser? Does it work on Opera? If not why not? Whose fault is it?

Re:Google vs. Ajax (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388094)

Cross-browser? Does it work on Opera? If not why not? Whose fault is it?
Yes. No. Because it's a fifth-place browser, falling just behind Safari, with of a share of around 2% (might as well complain that it doesn't work in IE5, which is also within a % point of Opera numbers). Yours, for thinking that a browser used by less than 2% of the users would have all the same cool support as browsers used by 90%.

Anyway, they're working on Safari support right now. They've talked about adding Opera support. The source is open so the only thing stopping any Opera user who can program is that that guy already has a full time job.

Re:Google vs. Ajax (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393656)

Work is being done on Safari, and Opera is part of the Gears community and has been working with us on getting Gears going there.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

i want to be as happy as brad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23385272)

Brad Neuberg looks like quite a happy guy.

Yahoo Pipes? (5, Interesting)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385274)

The most awesome Web 2.0 tool that Google didn't invent...

http://blog.pipes.yahoo.com/about-pipes/ [yahoo.com]

From... YAHOO?!?

Pipes lets you use a GUI to write little 'programs' (functions appear as elements in a flowchart) that aggregate and process data from almost any source on the web. For fun, my first pipe was a simple experiment, I took the slashdot RSS feed and performed a flickr search on all the "imporant" keywords in each story title, then presented a list of stories+photos. Was easy, educational, funny in many cases, and not completely useless.

Expanfing the internet (1)

bobwrit (1232148) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385358)

You mean mobile internet?

Re:Expanfing the internet (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386282)

You mean mobile internet?
BTW, Gears is starting to work on mobile phones. Its currently only on Windows Mobile, but will be on other cell phones with the same API. Gears is not just about expanding the desktop web; its about expanding the mobile web as well.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

should he not have used a car analogy? (1)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 5 years ago | (#23385484)

"There's only a brief period of time in which things are fluid and can change," he says. "For radio, it was the '20s, and for TV the '50s. Then things crystallize, and we have to live with those changes. Right now, the Internet is malleable, and we can put our stamp on it."
IMHO this comparison is totally off. Radio's and tv's are simple devices that cannot be 'changed' once they are in the customers hands. Computers are totally different. Applications and even protocols come (and sometimes go); Even TCP/IP is about to undergo a mayor 'upgrade'. He may be right, but this analogy does nothing to convince of that.

Re:should he not have used a car analogy? (5, Interesting)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386272)

"There's only a brief period of time in which things are fluid and can change," he says. "For radio, it was the '20s, and for TV the '50s. Then things crystallize, and we have to live with those changes. Right now, the Internet is malleable, and we can put our stamp on it."
IMHO this comparison is totally off. Radio's and tv's are simple devices that cannot be 'changed' once they are in the customers hands. Computers are totally different. Applications and even protocols come (and sometimes go); Even TCP/IP is about to undergo a mayor 'upgrade'.

He may be right, but this analogy does nothing to convince of that.
It's not just about being able to technologically upgrade something; it's also about how power starts to become concentrated and those with their hands on the levers don't want to change things. We could have distributed TV and radio far more than we have, especially in the 70s when cable TV came along, then in the 80s when satellite TV appeared, and so on. It wasn't until streaming video, which helps to shift power, that TV can once again be revisited and the model in which it works.

I agree with you that TVs and radios are far more fixed and non-upgradable than computers are. However, at some point the network itself will be hard to upgrade, which we are already finding with IPv4. Its gets asymptoticly harder to upgrade deployed systems over time. I joined the Gears team because it seemed like a clever way to help delay this on the web for a bit.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:should he not have used a car analogy? (1)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 5 years ago | (#23386738)

The 'hands on the levers' you speak of are again totally different. The TV and radio stations were / are themselves responsible of what they transmit(ted). The title for 'hands on the levers of the net' would be most probable for ISPs, since they are in far fewer numbers than either content producers and content consumers and are already leveraging their (in some cases almost monopoly like) powers in for instance the web neutrality issue. But still: ISPs do not create content themselves like in a way Compuserve and the old style MSN did. They are also not able to say: 'We do not like The Beatles, so no Beatles song will be streamed through our pipes.'. This is quite a fundamental difference.

And yes, on some level it is hard to upgrade as with IP, but above that it does not automatically get asymptoticly harder: automatic upgrades for applications, virtual machines (JVM) and even OS-es are not always flawless, but would pretty much keep on working in the same manner if the number of upgradable machines was multiplied by a factor 1000. Problems only arise in cases where for instance a company wields so much power that their refusal to update a progam used by the masses holds everyone back (MS/IE).

The net is so fundamentically different than anything we have encountered in human history, it is virtually impossible to predict where and how it will develop. While I applaud your energy to make the net a better place for all, I am still not convinced that it is necessary.

Re:should he not have used a car analogy? (1)

freezin fat guy (713417) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390526)

I have waited my whole life to hear the word "asymptotically" used in a conversational sentence.

Re:should he not have used a car analogy? (1)

stang (90261) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390198)

Radio's and tv's are simple devices that cannot be 'changed' once they are in the customers hands

Criminey! So many apostrophe abuses in a single sentence. For the record: Plural nouns do not get the apostrophe, possessives do. So this should be:

Radios and TVs are simple devices that cannot be 'changed' once they are in the customer's hands

See? It's simple!

And a bit of a personal rant: it *is* possible to 'overuse' 'so-called' 'scare quotes,' so you 'want' to be 'careful' about this.

Re:should he not have used a car analogy? (1)

leomekenkamp (566309) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390564)

Considered the fact that english is not my native language and that I posted this in an insomniac state induced by a 9 hour jetlag after traveling for 26 hours, I think I did pretty well. And the reason I put 'changed' within quotes is that if I do not, there are always ppl on /. that state that one can indeed change a tv or radio, just by opening it up and using a soldering iron.

Please consider that language is just a way of people relaying a message to each other. While I agree that proper grammar and spelling are nice, they are not must-haves in order to communicate.

Complete non sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23387534)

"I like to make browsers do things that they weren't supposed to do," Brad Neuberg likes to say.

I'm sorry to say, but that is an idiotic statement!

Re:Complete non sense (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393686)

"I like to make browsers do things that they weren't supposed to do," Brad Neuberg likes to say.

I'm sorry to say, but that is an idiotic statement!
It's an admission of the truth ;)

The PC had the same story: it was a toy piece of hardware that could barely do anything, and in successive iterations it evolved and did things it wasn't designed to do. The "real" OSes and machines were the ones that were designed for these things, and failed because they were expensive, centrally controlled, inaccessible, etc.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

will they keep my data for 10 years (4, Insightful)

datadefender (1205712) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388336)

Call me old-fashioned, but I want to control where my data is stored and I want to make sure the programs I use to work my data is around years later. That is why I story my data locally (and a backup offsite) and keep my software locally on my PC. I decide when to migrate to a new version or application and only after I have verified it works with my data etc. With Web-Apps I have absolutely no control when new releases are forced on me and potentially cannot deal with my 10 year old data. I still use Office 97 - works just fine - no need to upgrade. And the data itself ? Will it still be available 10 years from now when stored at Google or some other service provider. What happens if the Google business model some day no longer works ? Will they then charge me to get to my data ?

So will this finally fix tables? (1)

cavebison (1107959) | more than 5 years ago | (#23388610)

So.. yeah, will this finally fix tables so they work the same on all browsers?

Sometimes new tech should take a back seat to making existing stuff work properly.

The world is a perfect example.

Re:So will this finally fix tables? (1)

dyefade (735994) | more than 5 years ago | (#23389976)

How are Google in any position to change the rendering methods of various browsers?

It's daft to say that since there is a lack of support in some areas, all development should be stopped across the board. Ideally everyone will move to HTMl5 and JS2, but since that isn't happening any time soon (in terms of my own career/learning it may as well be 20 years away), does that mean all the development in these areas should just stop?

People who are actually doing things (e.g. http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/05/09/1514208 [slashdot.org]) will likely disagree with you.

Re:So will this finally fix tables? (1)

cavebison (1107959) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390106)

My comment wasn't meant quite that literally.

The point is there should be more attention given to current issues instead of leaving things in a semi-working state before moving on to greener pastures. There's a great deal to fix with current HTML, and it's worth it as it will be around for a long time yet.

proting apps to Online/Desktop/Mobile (0, Offtopic)

Aleksandras G. (1288478) | more than 5 years ago | (#23389044)

Hello Brad, all,

first, a few observations I very much agree with:

1) even with HTML-5 and Ajax, HTTP is still not an ideal protocol for delivering applications

2) by now, web browsers has got huge momentum

reckoning with those two facts-of-life, new frameworks are being developed to solve the online vs. offline and other dilemmas (GWT, Gears, OpenLaszlo, Silverlight, Air, etc)

Now, I would like to add one more (OSS) project to this growing list:

Dr.i.n.e. - project:
http://code.google.com/p/drine/ [google.com]

Based on the ideas of Wine project, this one uses java+xml APIs of Google's Android to give developers a single framework for developing mobile/web/desktop-convergent applications.

Basically, every line of java code that you write gets automatically "ported" to the web, desktop and also to Android phones, without requiring source code modifications/branching. It's a mammoth undertaking, but I believe in it (so far has been my "labour of live"). I also see that project needs some initial publicity to get off the ground...

You can check out Dr.i.n.e. project's concepts and tech. overview here:

http://www.soften.ktu.lt/~alex/drp/ [soften.ktu.lt]

cheers,
Aleksandras G.

Re:proting apps to Online/Desktop/Mobile (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393878)

Hi Aleksandras, thanks for the pointers to the Dr.i.n.e. project! I'll take a look at it. I'm always up for fresh, new ways to look at this stuff, and your project sounds cool.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Re:proting apps to Online/Desktop/Mobile (1)

Aleksandras G. (1288478) | more than 5 years ago | (#23396652)

Thank you Brad ... yes, check out this "new kid on the block". I'll be keen to to hear your straight opinion if you'd have any. Especially since none of Android dev. challenge panel/judges has bothered to check out Dr.i.n.e. [google.com] (no hits on the tech. overview page link that I've provided along with my ADC entry). Well, that's why now I'm looking for someone with the right background and caliber to peer review this nutty idea ;)

My apologies to /. moderators, who promptly hid the original post from the public view with an Off-topic score. I am well aware this is a wrong place for any such announcements, but ideas of Dr.i.n.e. are very much on topic if you would read the post closer

Wt (1)

paugq (443696) | more than 5 years ago | (#23389552)

If I were to develop a web-based desktop application, I'd use a web framework which allows me to develop a webapp just like it was a desktop app. The only such framework I know is Wt ( http://www.webtoolkit.eu/ [webtoolkit.eu] ): C++, Qt-like API. I gave up on Rails after discovering it.

Re:Wt (1)

BradNeuberg (3364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23393898)

If I were to develop a web-based desktop application, I'd use a web framework which allows me to develop a webapp just like it was a desktop app. The only such framework I know is Wt ( http://www.webtoolkit.eu/ [webtoolkit.eu] ): C++, Qt-like API. I gave up on Rails after discovering it.
I like the Qt model. However, C++ is a pretty brittle language to base a distributed system like the web on. I agree its probably useful for certain server-side scenarios like you describe, but as a general programming model for moving the web forward its not the best choice, plus requires too much trust from the end-user.

Best,
    Brad Neuberg

Expanding Kills The Web (2, Informative)

_bug_ (112702) | more than 5 years ago | (#23390076)

First off, the web isn't even stable. Why try to bloat it further? Didn't anyone take a lesson from Microsoft? Bloating before you've stabilized what you have IS BAD and leads to Vista.

JavaScript, ActionScript, embedded video, even IMAGES, can all be exploited with quite a bit of ease. Ever wonder where all those botnets come from? It ain't from e-mail attachments. People have had that lesson drained into their heads for over a decade now.

No, the botnets come from loading exploited web sites that ask the user to install something (usually an ActiveX control) in order to continue. That something is typically a virus, trojan, zombie client, etc.

How did we get to the point that web sites can install malicious software on PCs?!

The answer: The Brad Neubergs from 20 years ago. The advocates to pair some sort of client-side scripting language with HTML to create an infinite number of possibilities. And now every user has a technology built-into their browser that they should have disabled by default. But if they get proactive and disable it half the web's functionality goes away now because we've had nearly 20 years of web development with the assumption of a javascript on the client.

What we need is a push away from this stuff. Get back to what the web was originally created for: serving hypertext document. If you want a thin client into your application WRITE THE THIN CLIENT APPLICATION. You want compatibility? Write it in JAVA. Or MONO. Or whatever.

Just ask yourself this: did we need Javascript on the web 20 years ago. If we didn't have javascript embedded into every browser out there today would we have anything like the Storm botnet? Would we have as much installed malware out there today?

I say no. And I think it's a pretty safe and obvious no.

So instead of creating new attack vectors for kids and crackers, how about we look at securing what we have now? How about we start advocating white-lists built into each browser that allow things like Javascript and the like. How about we, BY DEFAULT, keep Javascript disabled.

Ah, but mister Brad won't be so keen on that. A user will go to one of his web sites without Javascript, won't see ANYTHING and the site will simply not work, and they'll move on to another web page.

So let's keep bloating the web! Let's keep bloating the browser. And say FUCK ALL to protecting the end user.

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