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Mozilla Jetpack and the Battle For the Web

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Mozilla 280

snydeq writes "Mozilla Jetpack makes it so easy to filter, modify, and mash up pages that it might end up pitting developers and users against content producers in a battle for the Web, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister. By allowing users to modify the behavior, presentation, and output of Web apps and pages to their liking, Jetpack gives users the ability to 'patch the server, in a sense,' McAllister writes, bringing us one step closer to a more democratic Web. Good news for developers and users; not so good for SaaS providers and media companies that have a vested interest in controlling the function, presentation, and distribution of Web-based content and apps. In other words, as Jetpack produces fruit, expect more producers to call for 'guardrails for the Internet.'"

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280 comments

That's why I stopped using a browser (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28124853)

I read the raw HTML and compose the pages in my imagination, just like the novel readers of the past used to do.

That really sticks it to the man.

Pining for the good old days (3, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125123)

I miss the days when just about everyone using the web was a developer, user, and content producer all in one. I think we all saw the commercial 'content producer' jackals circling and licking their lips, but we thought we had the power to fend them off, that the web would never be fully commercialized like every other media. How wrong we were.

Re:Pining for the good old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125223)

I miss the days when the most common message over the internet and email was, "when are you going to be in, so I can call you."

Re:Pining for the good old days (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125311)

Pissant. I miss the days before we had a telephone. Fucking thing always annoyed me.

Now get off my lawn.

Re:Pining for the good old days (3, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125575)

Captain Splended (673276) to spun (1352):

Now get off my lawn.

Never thought I'd see the day.

Re:Pining for the good old days (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125629)

Are we reading the same thread? He was responding to an anonymous coward.

Re:Pining for the good old days (3, Insightful)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125389)

Pff. I don't pine for those days. You couldn't do half the cool shit you can do with the web now back then, and lots of those things would never have happened without commercial interests getting involved.

Re:Pining for the good old days (2, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125643)

Except for a bit of expansion in DHTML and Flash, you could do everything then that you could do now. The only differences is bandwidth and processing power. The real dynamic changes have been the underlying programming languages and the use of backed databases. You could do it all in perl back then, just no one really thought to.

Re:Pining for the good old days (2, Funny)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125679)

50% = downloading porn 50% = posting useless comments on a public forum Yeah, I'd have to disagree and say you could do everything back then that you can today!

Re:Pining for the good old days (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125963)

There is practically nothing new you can do today that you couldn't do before. The main differences are:

a) The old ways of doing things were more vulnerable to abuse, which never prevented you from using them properly. Think IFRAMES and popups.

b) The common desktop PC is capable of handling complex Javascript where before it would be too slow to be useable on low end machines.

c) The average person has a high speed connection where before they didn't, so all the things that used to be LAN only are now useful across the Internet.

That is pretty much it. All the "progress" was about making the browser less capable than it used to be in the name of security. Whose security is being safeguarded is subject to debate.

Re:That's why I stopped using a browser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125365)

I doubt your brain adheres to XHTML and CSS standards. Your point is now irrelevant.

FIST SPORT (2)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124883)

Yeah, yeah, more extend-the-browser bullshit. When all people want is a lightweight app that JUST VIEWS FUCKING WEB PAGES.

It's not hard, really, but the Mozilla team are aroused by the thought of repeating the same mistakes Netscape made. But let's throw in some fightin' plugins while we're at it.

Chrome beats them all.

Already available (1)

SchizoStatic (1413201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124885)

Or am I mistaken. I use greasemonkey to already accomplish this.

Re:Already available (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125135)

Or am I mistaken. I use greasemonkey to already accomplish this.

Yeah, if you read the article, they go on extensively about this:

If you're familiar with the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox, you already have a good idea of how Jetpack works. Like Greasemonkey User Scripts, Jetpack-based add-ins are written primarily in JavaScript, and they manipulate browser windows and their contents using familiar AJAX techniques. You install them directly from the Web, and they don't even require a browser restart to take effect. While developing Greasemonkey User Scripts can be somewhat cumbersome, writing add-ins with Jetpack couldn't be simpler.

Jetpack integrates the popular jQuery JavaScript library, the Firebug debugger, and Mozilla's Bespin browser-based code editor to create a complete, interactive development environment. Although it's still in a raw and experimental stage, the combination is both easy to use and incredibly powerful. For example, one of the Jetpack demos is an ad-blocking script that uses a list of regular expressions to selectively filter unwanted graphics, scripts, and iframes from Web pages. The whole script comprises only about 80 lines of code.

It's a little surprising that Mozilla Labs would choose ad blocking as one of its first demos, however, when that's precisely the sort of application that flies directly in the faces of content providers and other Web-based businesses.
While the Web is inarguably a mature computing platform, as a platform for business it's still in its infancy. Media companies are struggling to create viable revenue streams, and so far advertising is one of the few that has shown promise. And yet, with just 80 lines of code, Jetpack promises to take it all away.

Of course, ad-blocking plug-ins for browsers have been around a long time, and many users wouldn't fire up a browser without one. But by announcing Jetpack with a demonstration of how easy it is to build an ad-blocking script, Mozilla Labs is in effect saying that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Mashups, filters, formatters, and tools -- when Jetpack is done, anything will be possible, and it will be easy. That's bound to send a chill up any would-be Web mogul's spine.

The big news everyone seems to be missing is that everyone and their mom will be able to block ads with very little knowledge. That's dangerous to content providers and I've highlighted the part in the above text where the author talks about this. Is Mozilla entering a maelstrom that was normally between adblock/noscript and content providers?

Re:Already available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125443)

>The whole script comprises only about 80 lines of code.

Holy hell, EIGHTY lines?
That is a LOT.

There is a much simpler user script that pretty much just blocks all third party content (images, embeds, bg sound, iframes, etc)
It could be extended pretty easily to include a simple whitelist and replace blocked content with an image.

Re:Already available (2, Interesting)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125461)

While in theory this will make it accessible to everyone, that doesn't convert to a reality of everyone using it.

Linux, believe it or not, is to the point where to use it you can just pop a CD in the computer and turn it on. Yet how many people actual do use Linux and of those, how many would have not done so if LiveCD's weren't around?

This means powerusers will find being powerusers slight less cumbersome, but not that everyone will become a poweruser.

Re:Already available (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125747)

While in theory this will make it accessible to everyone, that doesn't convert to a reality of everyone using it.

Linux, believe it or not, is to the point where to use it you can just pop a CD in the computer and turn it on. Yet how many people actual do use Linux and of those, how many would have not done so if LiveCD's weren't around?

This means powerusers will find being powerusers slight less cumbersome, but not that everyone will become a poweruser.

I'm absolutely fine with the fact that not everyone (most people actually) wants to be a poweruser. I just wish they'd accept responsibility for that decision. The easiest way to explain that, is to say that I don't want to hear their complaints when the only reason why something doesn't work out for them is that they didn't RTFM or when they're mystified and frustrated by a task that would be relatively straightforward if they were willing to do a little reading.

To address some knee-jerk responses, being able to RTFM is not remotely the same thing as being an expert. Since you mention Linux, if the requirement of having to learn a few things about how the system works in order to be able to effectively use it means that Linux will never replace Windows as the dominant desktop platform, I'm fine with that. I'm not one of those folks who thinks that Linux needs to have the goal of replacing Windows; I think the two operating systems are intended for entirely different audiences. Just wanted to get those two things out of the way because those are the two most predictable and therefore unenlightening replies that seem to constantly come up in these discussions.

What I am saying applies to many things, not just computers. The basic principle is simple: if there are reasonable measures someone can take to address the problem they are having, and they refuse to take those measures, then it's hard to take their complaints seriously.

Re:Already available (3, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125491)

The big news everyone seems to be missing is that everyone and their mom will be able to block ads with very little knowledge.

They already can, and more easily if they are using Firefox by installing ad-block plus. I would of thought they could think of better examples than this to show how it can do 'useful' things.

What I find really annoying is the summaries assertion that this is somehow 'web democracy'. Removing adverts and altering how other peoples work is used without their permission is about as similar to democracy as the concept of being able to punch someone in the face for saying something you don't like.

The internet has the capability to be an incredible paradigm change for us all, but it is unlikely that it will be allowed to become this due to regulation that will invariably be placed upon it by our governments and corporations. What is especially sad is that those regulations are being created to stop people doing unimportant but selfish things like ad-blocking and pirating (this is said as someone who doesn't ad-block but does pirate, so please don't think I'm holding myself above my contempt!).

Re:Already available (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125623)

The big news everyone seems to be missing is that everyone and their mom will be able to block ads with very little knowledge.

How much knowledge will actually be required for this? Serious question. Not a web developer over here.

Mole-hill (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125665)

The big news everyone seems to be missing is that everyone and their mom will be able to block ads with very little knowledge. That's dangerous to content providers and I've highlighted the part in the above text where the author talks about this. Is Mozilla entering a maelstrom that was normally between adblock/noscript and content providers?

It is the abusive advertisers, the ones who push Flash, the ones with excessive blinking, the scammers, and the control freaks who will suffer. For the most part, I don't block ads. And I generally avoid the sites with abusive advertising anyway. They generally have weak content to begin with.

Re:Already available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125751)

Nice business model you got there, web site, be a shame if something were to happen to it, you know, ad-blockers have a habit of happening in this neighborhood, you know...

Re:Already available (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125901)

The big news everyone seems to be missing is that everyone and their mom will be able to block ads with very little knowledge.

Huh? They can do that now by using one of the many ad blocking extensions. How does the fact that they can do it by writing 80 lines of code make it any easier on them? Sounds much more difficult to me!

Re:Already available (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125201)

And to a some degree Stylish [userstyles.org] too, yeah. Like how I use it to kill of the pointless and ugly tagging system here. Yay for Stylish!

Re:Already available (2)

dblackshell (1450807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125301)

this addon (project) is redundant.

It's like the other one in which they want to incorporate command line in Firefox, instead of having it as a addon under the name of Ubiquity.

With Jetpack they want to replace Greasemonkey and also make easier addon development...

I say to you, it's wasted time... Improve Gecko, XulRunner, but not this...

that explains it! (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124911)

By allowing users to modify the behavior, presentation, and output of Web apps and pages to their liking, Jetpack gives users the ability to 'patch the server, in a sense,' McAllister writes

And so the new slashdot layout is finally explained in full.

I keed, I keed. But seriously...

Seriously indeed (1)

weston (16146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124957)

I've *long* had my slashdot layout set to the minimal markup and styling. That's how I like it. I'm not even sure I can find that setting anymore, and it's not respected in my front page views anymore. Though strangely, it sometimes is when I'm viewing and replying to comments...

Re:Seriously indeed (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125163)

let me guess, the only item in your bookmarks is http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] and the homepage of your browser is set to http://slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]

Re:Seriously indeed (1)

visible.frylock (965768) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125525)

Option is here [slashdot.org] , the simple design option.

Lately, if they don't have the css working, it may not be respected on the front page and on user profile pages, but it usually works for me in the comments.

Re:that explains it! - Why Slashdot is so slow (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125199)

And so the new slashdot layout is finally explained in full.

Yes. There's so much crap running on Slashdot's pages now that Firefox sometimes reports that a script is running too long. Pages load slowly because the five or so different ad servers all need time to respond. The page code has "document.write()" calls which load more Javascript, forcing operations which ought to be in parallel to wait for the previous step to complete. I just had a Slashdot page load wait 9 seconds for "bs.serving-sys.com". That's a 9 second delay for a useless site that's trying to load a "tracking cookie". A Jetpack add-on to block all that stuff will be a huge win.

Re:that explains it! - Why Slashdot is so slow (4, Informative)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125281)

I just had a Slashdot page load wait 9 seconds for "bs.serving-sys.com".

NoScript (FireFox extension: http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] )

I don't run AdBlock, just NoScript, and the only reason I know that /. has ads now is that people not running NoScript talk about it.

Re:that explains it! - Why Slashdot is so slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125725)

even better, positive karma and meaningful contributions will allow you to disable ad on /.

Revolution (3, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124915)

The guy forgot just one important thing: Most people don't use Firefox.

Re:Revolution (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124955)

Sure, but this is open source, chances are it will be implemented soon not only in Firefox but also Safari, Chrome, Konqueror, etc. Only IE will drag its feet in supporting this, but then again most people who use IE usually aren't major web surfers.

Re:Revolution (0)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124983)

but then again most people who use IE usually aren't major web surfers.

[Citation needed]

Re:Revolution (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125011)

Ok, assuming that most major web surfers are at least somewhat computer literate and have at least heard of Firefox why wouldn't they switch? Other then web developers needing to have a copy of IE to test code why would anyone use IE when Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc are all technologically superior and have more plugins?

Re:Revolution (2, Insightful)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125059)

Ok, assuming that most major web surfers are at least somewhat computer literate and have at least heard of Firefox why wouldn't they switch?

Because IE works for them and they don't care to switch? This is the same reason why many computer literate people don't ditch Windows for Linux. If a program or OS works perfectly for your needs there is no reason to switch.

Other then web developers needing to have a copy of IE to test code why would anyone use IE when Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc are all technologically superior and have more plugins?/quote> Because not everyone cares about those features or needs them? Just because people use a different web browser than you doesn't make them computer illiterate or not a "major web surfer"

Re:Revolution (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125179)

More accurately, becasue they believe it works for them.
Whether or not it does work for them is not relevant.

BTW this applies for pretty much everything, not just I.E.

Re:Revolution (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125247)

Exactly. If a person is perfectly satisfied with what they are using they have no incentive to switch.

Re:Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125919)

Because IE works for them and they don't care to switch? This is the same reason why many computer literate people don't ditch Windows for Linux. If a program or OS works perfectly for your needs there is no reason to switch.

Nothing works "perfectly" for anyone. The issues with IE are not immediately obvious to the average user.

Website development is more expensive than it needs to be because web pages have to be coded to selectively ignore standards and work with IE. Not an issue unless you are paying the bill.

Security exploits and malware-loaded sites are just waiting for IE victims. People who experience identity theft and infected computers are generally not aware of IE and Windows as contributing factors. The victims think this is just something that happens when you have a computer. But it happens a lot more to some than to others. Spambot network owners are not in the habit of writing to their victims and explaining how a combination of Windows, IE, and stupid user behavior have turned their high-end PC into the ultimate spamming machine.

I switched to Mac for a number of reasons. One of them was to stop providing free PC tech support to relatives and friends. I told people I was switching and why. I advised them to do the same thing for their next computer. Some people followed my advice, but most did not. The people who switched said, "You were right! This is better!" The people who thought they were "perfectly" served by Windows/IE discovered things were not quite so perfect as before, since problems could no longer be handed off to free tech support. Some of these people are only now beginning to see the light. Others have simply diminished their expectations of computers in general, without giving much thought as to why theirs has suddenly become so dysfunctional.

I don't care if people change their browser or operating system. If asked for an opinion, I provide it. But I no longer sift through the rubble of infected and misconfigured PCs -- not mine or anyone else's. The absolute BEST way to rid the world of MS is to stop providing free help. It's frustrating and only temporarily helping the victim.

If people get a grip on how their choices of OS and browser affect their actual COST and PRODUCTIVITY, things will change. Too many people make bad choices because too many IT people enable them to do so. Let Geek Squad earn a living until the users have had enough.

Re:Revolution (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124989)

The browsers you named have even smaller market share than Firefox...

Re:Revolution (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125039)

Currently, yes but most of them are supported by large companies who promote them heavily, chances are almost every computer has at least one alternate browser other than IE installed, it might not be used, but it would still be installed, so whenever a site says best viewed in Safari, Firefox or Chrome most people would at least have one of those.

Re:Revolution (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125111)

chances are almost every computer has at least one alternate browser other than IE installed, it might not be used, but it would still be installed,

More made-up nonsense.

Re:Revolution (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125269)

***The browsers you named have even smaller market share than Firefox...***

True, but they are part of the pack that is nibbling away at the mindset of incompetent web site designers who think that the fact that their abomination worked once for about five minutes in IE means it is correct and the rest of the world is out of step. Sooner or later I'm going to lose it and go after some clown who suggests that I need to upgrade to a "modern web browser" on a site that fails W3C validation with hundreds of layout errors in its HTML.

I'm using konqueror to view Slashdot BTW. Firefox works fine, but it is klunky. IE is even klunkier. It's not awful. I can use it if I have to. I'd just prefer not to.

Re:Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125227)

Content providers don't care about any browsers other than IE because they don't care about minorities.

Re:Revolution (4, Insightful)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125239)

The guy forgot just one important thing: Most people don't use Firefox.

Regardless of whether or not it is not more than half of web surfers, plenty of people [w3schools.com] use it. In fact, the percentage is so large, 'most' is moot. Most surveys show at least 30% market share.

Also, the number of FF users isn't worth bringing up anyhow - This article in no way says, "Teh Interwebs as we know it are ovur!". TFA simply says that this is a good STEP toward a more democratic web, although the TFS certainly sensationalized it quite a bit.

Numbers really don't matter here. What *does* matter though, is the idea that Jetpack has indirectly brought with it -- more control over web content. This will undoubtedly spread to other browsers in the form of plugins and such, making browser market share irrelevant.

Re:Revolution (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125499)

Hey, just like with Linux if this *Revolution* allows me to do more, be more flexible, generally control how my experience works then it will be a success. As far as I'm concerned the minute an open source app makes the author(s) and even one other person more productive or happy is a success.

Re:Revolution (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125685)

Most people also don't use ad-blocking.

And most people, when they try Firefox with Adblock installed, never go back.

2010 News Headlines (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28124917)

WIPO Calls for Criminalization of Open-source Software.

Mozilla Jetpack Developers Sent to Federal Prison

New US Law Makes Receiving Content from Independent Providers Illegal

Web Surfers Must Use Government-Licensed Web Browsers

Attn: CmdrTaco (0, Troll)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124925)

CmdrTaco, you posted this dupe to early as the last one [slashdot.org] was only posted 8 days ago. You are supposed to wait at least a month before duping. Thank you.

I Don't Think It's a Dupe (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125079)

CmdrTaco, you posted this dupe to early as the last one [slashdot.org] was only posted 8 days ago. You are supposed to wait at least a month before duping. Thank you.

Today's article is more centered on the battle that the author believes is about to transpire between content providers and users. If you're having trouble finding these parts:

Content producers, on the other hand, might not be so thrilled.

He goes on to cite the New York Times effort to provide an open API to their stories [nytimes.com] as well as Michael Lynton, Sony CEO Troll [slashdot.org] and wraps up with Obama's often referenced cybersecurity czar [slashdot.org] (god, I hate typing that):

So far, calls for action such as Lynton's have mostly fallen on deaf ears. But with President Obama due to announce a "cybersecurity czar" this week, there is every indication that the U.S. government is ready to become more directly involved in the workings of the Internet and the Web. According to the White House, the new position will have "broad authority" over the nation's computer networks, both public and private. If that authority includes protecting the economic interests of American Web-based businesses, we could be heading for a helluva scuffle.

I wouldn't call it a dupe as this gives us something new to talk about from a blog.

Sorry Dudes... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124947)

Dear "Content Providers",

However much you might dislike this fact, the internet is not actually television, nor can web pages be designed as though it is(put down the flash and back away slowly).

Re:Sorry Dudes... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125049)

Huh? I don't even bother sitting down and turning on the tube to watch my shows live, I watch them on hulu the next day.

Re:Sorry Dudes... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125485)

Huh? I don't even bother sitting down and turning on the tube to watch my shows live, I watch them on hulu the next day.

So do I. Except I use my 42" television screen. And a remote. Through Boxee.

Re:Sorry Dudes... (3, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125215)

Dear "Customers"

For too long have you created and shared content amongst yourselves without it passing through our hands first, thus depriving us of our entitled revenue. Luckily we have more lobbying money than you, so this state of affairs will not continue.

Re:Sorry Dudes... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125597)

Dear "Content Providers",

Good luck with that.

Signed,
BitTorrent.

"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (5, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124963)

So... Tools that make it even easier to strip the content from people who've spent their free time running websites that are expensive, using their bandwidth to do so? How is this democratic? A democracy is about having a say in how a country (the web) is run, not having your say over individuals (websites). It's easy to spin it as "giving the user control back from the big bad corporations" but there are scores of good websites producing quality content that do struggle to even cover costs, let alone make a profit.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125077)

Donations, donations, donations and merchandise, merchandise, merchandise. If your website is good enough and enough people like it ads don't have to be your sole source of income, donations and merchandise have supported many, many sites. The problem is, like all things in the free market if your content is crap no one wants to donate and your site dies.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125121)

Yeah, cos the answer to everything is linked sales and charity. Now, not only do you have to produce your title product (the website content), but you also have to produce a *second* product to sell to actually make money, and/or rely on the undying generosity of others. Thats going to work well....

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125233)

If you have a following, it works awesome. Sadly it gets poo-pooed by people that can't cope with the fact that they really aren't that good.

Believe me, if PvpOnline can get a large following, then artistic skill doesn't have to be much past mediocre

Second products are usually the original product plastered onto something else.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125237)

There are many sites on the web that produce things like T-shirts, etc that all you need to do is put a logo or image on them and then people order them, they produce them and ship them. Not sure how much profit you get, but it would still be a good way to get money. Donations work for any site that has dedicated readers, sure you aren't going to be the next millionaire, but it should offset the hosting costs.

And really if the hosting costs are too high for you, either use P2P to distribute any high bandwidth files (MP3s, etc) or switch to a free site such as Blogspot or Myspace if its a personal site or blog. Really there aren't any sites that cost tons of money to run for free that don't have a dedicated fanbase unless its crap content. If you have an example please, tell me.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125289)

You seem to have built up this notion that you deserve to get any money or something just because you "produced" something. If what you made was worth something people would be willing to give you money through donations or buying goods from you. If you are only able to make money purely by adword page hits then you probably suck at what you're doing.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125483)

You seem to have built up this notion that you deserve to get free access to any content that you wish, simply because you wish to. Yes, content producers certainly have the right to try and profit from their creation.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (2, Insightful)

harryandthehenderson (1559721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125583)

You seem to have built up this notion that you deserve to get free access to any content that you wish, simply because you wish to.

No, I haven't said anything of the sort. I don't believe anyone deserves to get free access to content if the owner doesn't want to.

Yes, content producers certainly have the right to try and profit from their creation.

Sure they have to the right to try to profit from their works but too many of them feel that they are entitled to success and then blame piracy, etc for when they make little or no money rather than maybe looking to see if what they produced was even worth something.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125585)

"content" is just information. information wants to be free. i do "deserve" to get any content that i wish simply because i wish it, because any alternative to that is unnatural. you cannot sing a song and then tell me i don't have the "right" to hear it. that's ludicrous. you can't stop the air from vibrating, you can't stop the vibrations from reaching my ears, and you can't stop the message from reaching my brain. all content is free, and if you don't like it, stop making content. no one will notice, no one will care.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (3, Insightful)

Tsujiku (902045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125609)

Then perhaps they shouldn't try to pawn their creation through a medium which isn't designed to give them total control over their product.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125323)

Tell that to every successful webcomic out there right now.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125505)

You do realise that a particular business model is not suitable in all situations, right? This is why there is a huge diversity in businesses out there...

power to the people (5, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125087)

So... Tools that make it even easier to strip the content from people who've spent their free time running websites that are expensive, using their bandwidth to do so? How is this democratic?

Don't make websites that suck and the People won't have to jetpack the suck out of it.

Re:power to the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125155)

You'll still get other sites stealing content, or wrapping their own frame around your page (see digg).

Re:power to the people (3, Informative)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125161)

We will still, of course, strip out the adverts, because adverts suck.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125127)

So?
The internet is designed to allow the user to control how they view content. That is what it does. Don't come whining becasue some people chose to work in that medium.

It's like that guy that buys a house near an airport and then complains the planes are loud. Maybe you should ahve chosen a different medium.

Just becasue some one writes a book, doesn't man I can rearrange the words in the copy I bought, and just becasue you create a website doesn't mean I can change how I want to view it,

It's like complaining becasue someone can change the tint on their TV and ruin the artistic vision of the director.
It is democratic becasue it gives the power to the people. More specifically, it's a Direct Democracy where the people make the decisions. In this case, the decision how they wish to view something.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125139)

Boo. Fucking. Hoo.

Content producers need to get over the idea that they have the right to control what users view or how they view it.

Visually impaired users that have text pages read to them won't likely be exposed to ads.

Users that are aurally-impaired won't hear their annoying flash ads with some person talking about how they can save on a mortgage.

The web was not created as some vehicle for guaranteed commercial enterprise.

If their broken business model depends on shoving undesirable content down the throats of web users to sustain themselves, they deserve to go out of business.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125159)

I am not responsible for adhering to someone else's idea of a business model.

IOW, just because someone has an idea of a layout/content they want to flog on the Internet, it does not follow that I agree with that idea. If they were to provide layout/content with which I agree, then I would not want to modify it.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125501)

So... Tools that make it even easier to strip the content from people who've spent their free time running websites that are expensive, using their bandwidth to do so? How is this democratic? A democracy is about having a say in how a country (the web) is run, not having your say over individuals (websites).

So PVRs that skip commercials are undemocratic because the viewer is altering the content before they view it?

Interesting...

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125621)

A democracy is about having a say in how a country (the web) is run, not having your say over individuals (websites).

The web server provides you with numerous tools to control how the user receives your content. How they view it after that is not up to you, and never has been.

Re:"one step closer to a more democratic Web" (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125719)

If your ads are annoying enough that people are willing to write code to block them, your business model sucks. Give me tasteful ads, or I'll remove them.

The real question is, would you rather have me view your page without ads, or not view your page at all?

Information wants to be free (0)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28124965)

And I'm not going to let powerful third parties control how my computer works and what I can see and do.

More power to Jetpack.

Jetpack? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125103)

When I said "This is 2009, where the fuck is my jetpack?", that's not what I meant.

Crappiest. Name. Ever.

Yeah, Sorry Guys. (2, Interesting)

rel4x (783238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125149)

It's not democratic. It's another way for people who want something for nothing to remove ads. I was onboard for trying to make information free. Well, now a large part of the information is and I'm not about to hurt the companies who embraced the "alternative business models" I supported. I like their services, and would like them to be able to pay for the server. Keep in mind if people can't pay via their advertising, they'll likely start charging again. Major step backwards.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (5, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125415)

Keep in mind if people can't pay via their advertising, they'll likely start charging again.

Which will drive people to free sites.

Once upon a time it was possible to make a living by being the only literate person in town, reading and writing letters for people and the like. Universal literacy killed that business model.

The Web was never designed nor intended as a tool for commercial enterprises--it was intended to allow academics to share information, and however far it evolves under commercial pressure, there is not much that can be done about that fundamental aspect of its architecture. To try to use the Web, which was designed for free and open information sharing, as a tool for restricted information sales is probably going to fail.

The past decade has seen a number of successful businesses based on Web revenue models. There is no promise from anyone that those models will continue to be viable. That's what markets are like, and while it may be a pity that certain things are not available to users because there is no viable way to pay for it, we're still all better off for having the Web than not.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125551)

"-it was intended to allow academics to share information"

Well, yeah, that's because the academics weren't paying for it themselves.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125761)

Am I the only one that finds it interesting how short the lifetime is for Internet business models? Traditional business models can be successful for dozens if not hundreds of years. Web based models seem to only remain viable for around a decade at best, then competition crops up with a new idea or some independent developer ruins the model (Ad-block anyone?).

It seems to me that if your business is going to survive on the web, you'd better be spending time and effort every single day looking for new revenue streams and business models.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (2, Interesting)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125511)

If you really wanted to support someone it would be far more effective to cut out the middlemen and just send them a check.

Pay-via-advertising is unreliable at best, annoyingly disruptive to readers, and has a tendency to alienate those who would otherwise support you. It only exists due to the lack of an economical micro-payment system. Direct-charge with automatic negotiation would be far superior, but the overhead of handling many small payments is just too high--for now. The incredible degree of regulatory interference regarding anything to do with finances is a big part of the problem; everyone who comes close to implementing a viable electronic cash-equivalent gets charged with "money laundering", or some other such catch-all offense--never mind that ordinary cash can be used the same way.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (2, Insightful)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125523)

Yeah, allowing people to manipulate what they see on their computer screen is a major blow to democracy. We shouldn't innovate or give them new tools if it threatens a profit model that is so easily broken. Protect the profit model so we can stay where we're at. I AM FINE WHERE I AM AT RIGHT NOW thank you. ~

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125539)

"It's another way for people who want something for nothing to remove ads"

Giving people a way to do that is democratic.

Step 1: "..start charging again. "
Step 2: Dry up and go away
Step 3: No profit.

Re:Yeah, Sorry Guys. (2, Insightful)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125647)

It's another way for people who want something for nothing to remove ads.

I doubt there will be more people killing ads via Jetpack than there are people killing ads via tools and addons like Adblock Plus. Unless doing it with Jetpack is easier, which I doubt is even possible.

Ad blocking is stealing (0, Flamebait)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125965)

"It's another way for people who want something for nothing to remove ads"

And they say they don't like flashing ads and stuff, that's why they remove it with adblocker.

That's stealing. If you don't like the ads on a site then don't visit the site. If enough people do this then companies will change their ad model when they realize it drives away visitors.

So people shouldn't rationalize their stealing by saying it's their right to remove ads and view others' content without them.

The ethical way is to stop going there, not stealing.

Ad Injections (2, Interesting)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125203)

The critical question here is whether JetPack also plugs or replaces ads in the steered websites.

Once you take the route of deliberately modifying content, this is just next logical step. I hope that is not the case.

2 not-necessarily mutually exclusive perspectives (3, Informative)

asemisldkfj (1479165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125267)

As a web developer/designer, things like this irk me. When I design a website it is standards-compliant and looks how I intend it to, for what I think are good reasons. Empowering users to further mess with my presentation of my website is bothersome.

As a web user, things like this make me glad. I will be glad if I am given more control of the presentation of poorly-designed websites, because I really don't have any sympathy for someone who designs a site that hinders me from obtaining the information that the site is supposed to be giving me.

Tools like this are not inherently good or bad. People may use them to the detriment of their experience on the web (if they somehow degrade a site's visual appeal or function [not that the two things go hand-in-hand]), or people may use them to make their experiences on the web more efficient, productive, and enjoyable. I say more power to tools like this, because people should be able to have a say about how content is presented on their computers. And perhaps once poor web design dies (as if this will ever happen), the web developer/designer views the web in a different way, or the browser changes the way it presents websites, tools like this will either go out of fashion or become more integral to our idea of what the web is.

failure to read what the average webuser wants (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125283)

i remember reading about a startup in the dotcom days that allows users to annotate webpages in ways that can be shared. complete failure

why? no one wants to exert the extra effort. what's the benefit? the summary makes it sound like some sort of revolutionary anticorporate antimind control movement. guess what: most users not only want to do nothing, they want to make sure they are seeing exactly what everyone else sees

its a basic human desire for commonality of culture: sharing anything on the web is all about being part of contributing to a group, and consuming what is the same for everyone else. this is a basic human social drive. that if they had content that was "special" and only visible to them in a certain way, even if in just cosmetic appearance, you are driving a wedge between the user and that sense of shared commonality. what is the whole point of the internet? what is the driving force behind its popularity and adoption?

this project flies directly in the face of that basic human social impulse and drive

ps: this observation of mine applies most especially to subcultures: small splinter groups that are outside the mainstream and proudly so. their desire to see the same thing the rest of the subculture sees is accelerated due to the fact that it takes more effort to be part of a subculture than be part of the mainstream, they need to "work harder" to remain synchronized in bona fides with the rest of the members of their subculture. suggest to them that they aren't seeing quite what everyone else sees in that subculture and it will disturb to them, that they aren't fully part of the group yet

Re:failure to read what the average webuser wants (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125557)

Interesting, but wrong.

Re:failure to read what the average webuser wants (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125615)

this observation of mine applies most especially to subcultures: small splinter groups that are outside the mainstream and proudly so. their desire to see the same thing the rest of the subculture sees is accelerated due to the fact that it takes more effort to be part of a subculture than be part of the mainstream,

And you think that installing an additional set of subculture-specific page transforming filters won't take effort? That subculture members won't pride themselves on their ability to tweak the way those filters work for that subculture and that the other members of that subculture won't reward them with attention and accolades for helping to further delineate their subculture from the mainstream?

barrier to entry (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125925)

with a webpage, you know you see what everyone else sees. well, you can make scripts to modify pages for certain users, but this is done when you are purposefully attempting to exclude someone, not draw them further into a subculture. and even if such a membership track existed within a subculture (special tweaks per user), it creates feelings of classism and paranoia, which alienates and destroys: fred sees something i don't see, he is more "special" than me (even if what fred sees is random unimportant fluff, its the feeling and the impression of no tbeing in the know that is important)

remember: all subcultures, all cultures, are based on commonality of experience. if you break that commonality of experience, you kill that culture/ subculture

"That subculture members won't pride themselves on their ability to tweak the way those filters work for that subculture and that the other members of that subculture won't reward them with attention and accolades for helping to further delineate their subculture from the mainstream?"

subculture is the changing of WHAT is communicated, not HOW it is communicated. you might go into a goth emo chatroom and not know what the hell the lingo is all about, but you will still know its a chatroom and how to use it

there is no such thing as a subculture based on changes in mode of communication. well, there is: ham radio, or spy agencies. but these subcultures' whole purpose is that very change in mode of communication, its a foundational identity. changes in mode of communication is not normal to subcultures based on non-communication based identities. haute couture, WoW, falconry: they will all use the same bulletin board software

and even if they did use some bizarre form of communication, if they became a "secret" society, they are killing themselves: you need a low barrier of entry in subcultures or the subcultures fade away and die. churn is a part of any group

I remember that too... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125655)

i remember reading about a startup in the dotcom days that allows users to annotate webpages in ways that can be shared. complete failure

why?

Because it was really badly implemented. It required an unreliable plugin, didn't stay up to date, and had a lousy user interface. Oh, and it had a really weird name that had nothing to do with the product (something like 'don't trust in TV').

There were a couple of better versions, college projects, that worked a lot better, without the need for browser plugins, and providing a uniform experience for their users... but the product you're referring to got the mindspace... because it was all dotcom-ish and this was in the dotcom boom of the late '90s.

Re:failure to read what the average webuser wants (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125945)

Dude, how low IS that budget for your horror film? You've been "making" it for... what, the last four years?

Awesome More Scenarios to Test For (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125299)

With users getting all sorts of funky output of our websites, now we get to test for the infinite +1 scenarios they can dream up.

Dear Internet (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125361)

it is my computer, and i am going to control the content that is viewed, sincerely the nerdyUser

Arms Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28125641)

They will start serving up ads off their own sites rather than third party sites to defeat your ad blocker. They will come in plain HTML and JPGs and be indistinguishable from normal content. They will revise code so that you can't get the content without getting the ads too.

They will keep fighting you and your attempts to block their revenue stream, because they have to. And they will fight you on your own turf, with clever code, not legislation.

And they will win. Because they have to.

Re:Arms Race (1)

eedwardsjr (1327857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125967)

Proxomitron I win.

Don't like open standards? (1)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28125727)

Then don't use them. Seriously, if producers don't like people utilizing open standards to integrate and mashup products delivered using HTML/XML/JavaScript/etc., then don't use those standards. Junk all your wares into a DRM-laden flash applet, sit back and relax - and leave the rest of us to range freely on the other side of the guard rails.

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