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How the Internet Became a Closed Shop

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the al-gore-didn't-stick-around-to-defend-his-creation dept.

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AcidAUS sends this quote from the Sydney Morning Herald: "A little over a decade ago, just before the masses discovered the digital universe, the internet was a borderless new frontier: a terra nullius to be populated by individuals, groups and programmers as they saw fit. There were few rules and no boundaries. Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos. Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft. A billion-dollar battle conducted in walled cities where companies try to lock our consumption into their vision of the internet. It has left some lamenting the 'web we lost.'"

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206 comments

Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussion (5, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365547)

The Sydney Morning Herald article may have been sparked by Anil Dash's recent Blog Post - The Web We Lost [dashes.com] ... which was discussed on /. last week. [slashdot.org]

Anil also wrote a followup titled "Rebuilding the Web We Lost" [dashes.com] that may be worth reading.

Speaking of the "lost web", we no longer see as many offbeat websites like this one ... HO-HO-HO! ;-) [komar.org]

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (5, Funny)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365793)

Speaking of the "lost web", we no longer see as many offbeat websites like this one ... HO-HO-HO! ;-) [komar.org]

My eyes...ze goggles, zey do nothing!!!!

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (1)

InfoJunkie777 (1435969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366737)

I have celiac and am all for research, but this site is like an example of ALL the bad practices for coding a site. Is the whole this written in deprecated HTML 3 or something? Flashing text even!!!

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365963)

Speaking of the "lost web", we no longer see as many offbeat websites

I dunno, we haven't lost Zombo.Com [zombo.com] , there's even a HTML5 Zombo.com [html5zombo.com]

Goatsects is still around in various forms. What's primarily happened is that hosting your persona stuff has been subsidized by advertising and data aggregation instead of being a bit more private (if you use a proxy registrar contact) and hosting your own servers. That's still possible, but there's less demand for it now.

I think it's a shame really, because we do need our own publicly/privately accessible servers to stream "our" stuff (music, video, pics, ramblings, etc) to us. With the rise of consumption centric devices I think we might see a rise in both online hosting services for more of your stuff at the cost of more privacy (social graph sites), and home-server and paid hosting solutions for the more privacy conscious. It's kind of silly that Facebook, G+, etc. don't have an API for adding a remote friend -- Where the social site would scrape my private server that implements a public API (RSS anyone?) so that users of their services can get updates from folks outside the service. You can sort of cobble together something with G+ & Google Reader, but it's not nearly as integrated with the social stuff, and RSS has no "bueno" button.

"The web we lost" Bah, Humbug. What about the Internet we lost? Everything's caught up in the "web", which would be fine if it wasn't an overly complicated inefficient document rendering markup and stateless protocol, that people try to cobble into stateful online applications with a horribly inefficient scripting langauge... It's so bad that we're still waiting for HTML5 to be formalized, it's been over 12 years since HTML4.01 -- About half the age of the damn web. If we were serious about this thing, We'd be making a lower level glyph & vector graphics display system with a more efficient general purpose VM language (for great sandboxing justice) as the primary target. Every damn site is an application now, which means a kludge ridden mess. Simple Primitives, then work your way up, HTML + CSS + Active Code could compile down to lower level primitives such that we could innovate in the higher level stuff, or even scrap it while remaining compatible with old sites. Take a page from the CPU architectures. How many coding languages are there? They don't require a new platform each time. Starting off at the markup level and building such a platform there is kind of silly if you ask me. Java tried to save us, but they became too bloated and interested in Enterprise instead of a lean mean client side system -- Sun dropped the ball w/ Applets instead of splitting them out like they did J2ME stuff. Here we are, same damn web, hacking together features we want that it was never designed to support, then crying like babby who can't frigth back when it's more full of exploits than an AOL Punt tool.

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366559)

Don't forget Khaan. http://khaaan.com/ [khaaan.com] Khaaaaaaaaan!

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366123)

Considering Anil is part of the crowd responsible for destroying the internet, do we really need to credit him with discovering that there's a problem? It's kinda ridiculous to give him credit for a sentiment many people have felt for years now.

Captcha: despise

Re:Related Anil Dash Blogs and earlier /. discussi (3, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366741)

Considering Anil is part of the crowd responsible for destroying the internet

How is creating software to enable non-technical people to create their own blogs "destroying the Internet"? IMO software to promote the Internet as an equal access utility for everyone rather than a tool for corporations to profit or elitists to rant (I assume you are the latter) is a good thing.

The web we lost (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365553)

I miss you Geocities!

Re:The web we lost (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365785)

Google free web hosting and take your pick.

Re:The web we lost (5, Insightful)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366833)

You may laugh about the crappy eye-hurting design, but when we lost geocities and similar amateur websites we lost a lot of information that isn't on the web anywhere else.
Manufactures and tech websites can give you the specs on things, but Joe Blow in his garage pulling apart a blender and posting the pics would (accidently sometimes) show how to open it without breaking the internal clips.
There was a lot of information on damn near anything if you knew how to search for it. Now everything is a bland advertisement or a repost of the same list of data over and over. SEO just about finished it off.

Re:The web we lost (2)

SpectreBlofeld (886224) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367083)

I find that discussion boards have mostly filled that void, at least for me. There's a discussion forum out there for virtually every interest these days, where people post and share stuff.

LOL (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365611)

Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos.

No it wasn't. This is someone inventing a nostalgic version of the Internet that didn't exist. Prior to Facebook, etc. there was AOL and Compuserve which had their own "walled gardens" and gated versions of the Internet. Throughout the 90s it was a fight of both Netscape and Microsoft pushing proprietary HTML elements and the "Best viewed in Netscape" or "Best viewed in IE" nonsense.

Yep (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365733)

For all the whining, the Internet is really more open these days than ever. If nothing else, there's a lot more world-wide participation. For a good part of the Internet's history, it was nearly all in the US with only token amounts outside. Now it really is a world-wide network.

Also some of the companies mentioned really aren't doing much in the way of any sort of lock-in. Yes Amazon has about 1% of the Internet in its data centers, which is pretty impressive, but it is just hosting. You buy the virtual servers to do as you please (within the ToS of course). You can even compete with Amazon using Amazon. Netflix hosts a lot of their videos on Amazon EC2.

The Internet may not be the anarchist-geek dreamworld, but it is more open than anything else I can think of in human history, and more open than it was in the past.

Re:Yep (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365957)

It's the same argument as the FSF's indictment of software as a service [gnu.org] . And frankly, they're right.

Software delivered "as a service" is much, much more closed than even closed source software. Closed source software can be pirated, reverse engineered, decompiled, run on machines sufficiently isolated that they can't call home, ... you have none of those options with software as a service. You cannot prevent those companies spying on you by any means at all.

So yes, the facebook/dropbox/office 360/google world is worse than the closed-source microsoft monopoly.

Re:Yep (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366515)

Bitch and moan about it. However there is a problem and right now these closed systems are the only model that seems to work.
It takes a lot of man power to keep an advance service up and running and updated. if you follow RMS and the GNU philosophy you find that you have removed many means of monetizing your services you wish to perform. Without this money you will need to hope you have enough volunteers to keep your site running, and if it gets more popular the cost of running the infrastructure begins to cost more than you outside full time job can afford.

Having ideals and following an ideology is a good thing, however if you apply "always" to your ideology, you dig yourself into a hole were real world which doesn't care about your ideology will put you in a disadvantage.

Re:Yep (0)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366611)

hmn? red hat seems to make money under it happily enough. android seems to be doing great opensource programs runn of nearly everyones computer now days, be it vlc firefox chrome(ium) audacity, etc, the only problemis MS still rules the desktop with an iron fist. these virtual servers are often running redhat of ubuntu with support contracts, while i dislike the implications of a public cloud it is not the end of the free software world may people will still host their own web servers be it for security reasons or out of paranoia, cost or they just want to. the server room may shrink but it will still be there.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366573)

Not if you use services that implement open industry standards - and those are, by and large, winning out. Don't use services that lock you to a proprietary format, and who cares if somebody tries to 'lock you in?' You can take your data to a competing service at any time.

So no, the facebook/dropbox/office360/google world is NOT worse than the closed-source microsoft monopoly, no matter how hard you try to argue that it is.

Re:Yep (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366661)

Rarely I disagree with the FSF, but I do in their "indictment" of SaaS. More software is better, so long as you can store your data in a way that allows portability and the ability to get rid of bad or strangling SaaS providers. Getting invested into an SaaS provider can be money/time down a rabbit hole. But if the data formats are readable by competitors-- and this is becoming commonplace-- then quality rather than proprietary time sucks makes it all worth the endeavor.

Re:Yep (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366033)

Also some of the companies mentioned really aren't doing much in the way of any sort of lock-in. Yes Amazon has about 1% of the Internet in its data centers, which is pretty impressive, but it is just hosting. You buy the virtual servers to do as you please (within the ToS of course).

And I'm sure most "data centers" of the early Internet would love to have the 60/60 Mbit line that I have at home on a plain residential fiber connection, somewhat faster than a T3/DS3. Who needs the data center? You are the data center. Latest stats from Norway now is that the average broadband is 14.8 Mbit/s and the mean 7.9 Mbit/s, graph here [www.ssb.no] as solid green and solid blue line respectively (the others are for business use). Honestly at the rate this is going bandwidth will almost cease to be a limited commodity, it's like asking when the water company will run out of water or the electricity company out of electricity.

Re:Yep (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366273)

And I'm sure most "data centers" of the early Internet would love to have the 60/60 Mbit line that I have at home on a plain residential fiber connection,

What does their policy say about activities like running servers? is there a "fair use policy"*?

Who needs the data center?

Those who want proper static IPs with advance warning and parelell running periods if they do have to be changed, high reliability (afaict "broadband" is at the bottom of the the repair priority list for telcos), more bandwidth (especially upstream bandwidth) than they can affordably get at their own premises.

Latest stats from Norway now is that the average broadband is 14.8 Mbit/s and the mean 7.9 Mbit/s

Are those upload speeds or download speeds? (i'd guess download speeds).

Re:Yep (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366645)

if you want a "proper static ip" at home there is always IPv6 they be a pain in the ass to remember a large number of them but since you only use a few internet facing IP's generally anyway it should not be hard, just use IPv4 on you internal network and you have the best of both worlds. For business users that need static IP's the cost won't be all that significant as you are already paying for a business connection.

Re: LOL (5, Insightful)

eladts (1712916) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365755)

Everything was better in the past, especially the nostalgia.

Re: LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365845)

Only after they invented rule 34...

Re:LOL (1)

memnock (466995) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365795)

The transition from a network created by scientists and populated by nerds for geeky entertainment to a coveted network for commercialization and popular entertainment should probably have come as a surprise to no one.

Or maybe it should have? Any useful technology seems to eventually be coopted for expanded uses not foreseen by the creators or early adopters.

Re:LOL (3, Interesting)

bjwest (14070) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365843)

Prior to Facebook, etc. there was AOL and Compuserve which had their own "walled gardens" and gated versions of the Internet.

Believe it or not, there was internet prior to AOL and Compuserve, and I don't recall Compuserver offering internet connectivity. AOL wasn't an ISP as we think of them today. They, like Compuserve, were nothing more than a massive bulletin board community which just happened to offer a portal to the internet in their latter years. It started off with Usenet access, and I do remember the shitstorm when AOL opened those floodgates. What a sad time that was. That, IMHO, is where the old, free internet started to die. As soon as the masses started flowing in, the corporations followed and started herding them into fenced in pastures ready to start plucking money out of their pockets.

Re:LOL (1, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365945)

Believe it or not, there was internet prior to AOL and Compuserve,

Yeah, and? That wasn't the period this guy was having nostalgia for.

and I don't recall Compuserver offering internet connectivity.

Than that's your own bad memory at work. [wikipedia.org]

AOL wasn't an ISP as we think of them today.

Irrelevant since neither Facebook, Apple, etc. are ISPs either.

They, like Compuserve, were nothing more than a massive bulletin board community which just happened to offer a portal to the internet in their latter years.

Yes, I know what they were and they were offering Internet connectivity long before their "latter years".

It started off with Usenet access, and I do remember the shitstorm when AOL opened those floodgates. What a sad time that was. That, IMHO, is where the old, free internet started to die.

And that is a completely different period to the one this article was talking about since the article specifically says "A little over a decade ago". Compuserve was offering Internet connectivity in 1989 and AOL in around 1991 so that's going on nearly 25 years ago. The author was not talking about the Usenet days.

As soon as the masses started flowing in, the corporations followed and started herding them into fenced in pastures ready to start plucking money out of their pockets.

Yes, and that was my point. The period he was trying to claim was full of open standards and free flow of information was nothing like that. The author is full of shit.

Re:LOL (1)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365953)

So, the internet was cool before it became popular, Hipster Ariel?

Re:LOL (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365969)

It started off with Usenet access, and I do remember the shitstorm when AOL opened those floodgates. What a sad time that was.

What, you didn't like millions of people letting you know, "I'M HERE!!!"

You seem to be forgetting the up side. Setting up filters so you didn't see posts from anyone who was on AOL. That usually was one hell of an easy way to better your SNR.

Re:LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365971)

IE didn't exist when the Internet was free. Hell, you couldn't connect a windows box to the net without a 3rd party tcp/ip stack back when the Internet was free (which didn't matter since everybody with an internet connection ran unix, or starting around '93, linux).

I was a relative latecomer with my first Internet connection in 1992, but sharing and collaboration still ruled the day on the Net then, and for a few years afterward. By 95-96 the net had descended down the hole to the corporate controlled hell that most of it is today.

From your references to IE and such, I assume you came to the net later after it had already began its descent.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366001)

They still didn't try to make slow bloated sites even over broadband, trying to turn the web into pages that had so much active content it was distracting from the main page content.

And for what? Ads. Click here, click here.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366519)

My grandfather used to say that anyone who talks about "the good old days" wasn't there. This is a perfect example of that. As someone who was on-line fairly early on and browsing this new thing called the World Wide Web, I've got to wonder what the article's author was smoking.

Re:LOL (5, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366549)

Yeah but the thing is that back then, the users of AOL and Compuserve didn't really matter, they didn't drive any money or opinion or attention from anyone, nobody cared about them. Nowadays, whatever a million idiots do on Facebook or Twittwer decides how millions of dollars are spent by companies and other idiot investors. It's super annoying.

Re:LOL (1)

InfoJunkie777 (1435969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366755)

Freedom and open standards, sharing information for the greater good was the ethos.

No it wasn't. This is someone inventing a nostalgic version of the Internet that didn't exist. Prior to Facebook, etc. there was AOL and Compuserve which had their own "walled gardens" and gated versions of the Internet. Throughout the 90s it was a fight of both Netscape and Microsoft pushing proprietary HTML elements and the "Best viewed in Netscape" or "Best viewed in IE" nonsense.

Totally agree, as a user of not only AO-Hell and then later Compuserve (better until AOL bought it) but the short-lived Prodigy as well (TOTALLY sucked). Internet started to get a little more interesting about 2000.

Yeah, that's the way it always is (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365613)

Computer hobbyists in the '80s complained that IBM and Microsoft had taken over "their" world. Car enthusiasts in the '20s probably complained about Ford and GM. When an industry becomes mature there are relatively few market leaders, practically by definition, and those leaders generally don't innovate more than they have to. Why? Network effects is one reason. Economies of scale is another. There's the good ol' monopolistic practices of the robber barons. And a couple gentlemen on Mad. Avenue explained another reason: our brains only have room for two or three entrants [amazon.com] for most market categories that we don't happen to be fanatical or professionally involved with.

As Scott McNealy would have said, "Get over it."

Re:Yeah, that's the way it always is (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365763)

Similarly, dynamite was only used for mining and construction, until those nasty warlords got hold of it and made those bombs (such that Nobel's [wikipedia.org] reputation was tarnished in a span of only 20 years). If the Internet ever existed in a truly open and free sense, it was only in the earliest stages before silly things like "commercial application" were considered. That's one of the downsides to a system everyone can use - that "everyone" must include people who will do things you don't like.

Re:Yeah, that's the way it always is (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366269)

Car enthusiasts in the '20s probably complained about Ford and GM

Actually a really good point. I've got some opinion articles from the early 1900's and 1920's from automotive hobbyists about Ford and GM buying up other auto companies like Buick and Lincoln. People could probably find the same at their local library in the microfiche section.

Re:Yeah, that's the way it always is (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366819)

Computer hobbyists in the '80s complained that IBM and Microsoft had taken over "their" world.

True, they were roughly 30 years early. If anyone will take over "our" world it will be Apple, as they drive closed, DRM-centric platforms into the hands of millions and marginalize platforms that aren't owned by them.

yeah yeah (5, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365631)

Times change. You can never go home. Things were always better in the past. I can remember when all of this was farmland. Now get off my lawn.

Re:yeah yeah (4, Informative)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365811)

Ecclesiastes 7:10 Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.

Re:yeah yeah (1, Insightful)

arkane1234 (457605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366973)

John 3:16 god gave his only son to be killed so you if you just believed he had a son then you'd be allowed into heaven...
You're quoting a book with that in it...

Re:yeah yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42367077)

yes, we are aware of this...
you dope.
If you read that book 1000 times you would not benefit spiritually or philosophically.
Your smugness overpowers even your hatred.
Anything you learn in this life will be just a matter of quantum randomness. When you die there will be nothing, because after all, you are an anomaly.
Without a soul.

I was there (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365657)

I lived through the open web, even before that, in the days of dial-up BBS services. And you know what? It sucked compared to the web we have today. Aside from speed issues, which our irrelevant in this conversation, the quality, variety, and value of available content was crap compared today. These walled gardens have motivated and allowed all sorts of great content, inventions, and application.

Furthermore, the open web hasn't gone away. Its still there and there are several other 'communities' that are essentially open webs unto themselves. We just don't think about them or use them much (for some) because there are better things to do online (e.g. cat photos and stumbleupon).

Drop the nostalgic nonsense.

Re:I was there (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366335)

About 15 years ago what most consider 'The Internet' was on it way to being closed because MS was on it's way to control it, not to mention Flash. Because of Google and Apple and others, 'The Internet' has grown up with open standards. I can share a host for not much money, buy a domain for a fraction of what it costs 15 years ago, and run sophisticated content without paying license fees to anyone. This to me is pretty incredible, open, and allows a great deal of freedom. Yes, a few devices that are hooked to a few pieces of 'The Internet' are restrictive in what they can do, and a few services are charging fees, but just look at what it was like when all we had was dailup and services like Dialog.

Sure, I can pine for the days when my computer ran as a open case and I could solder custom interfaces or fix my floppy disk drive. But I couldn't run up a site that did real work in less than a month.

Re:I was there (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366481)

Because of Apple what, you mean Apache? Google wasn't even a platform until recently, and was newborn 15 years ago.

Please stop whining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365659)

Most of what you think has been lost is still there.

The only difference is: now you reach it through Google, Facebook, Apple, Bing, alpha, etc... in stead of through Alta Vista, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Geocities and the "What's New?"/"What's cool?" buttons on the Netscape Browser.

Woohoo 2nd reference to medieval rule in a month (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365671)

Maybe they should change the site to
slashandparrydot
ye Olde Slashdoth
Walled Home and Garden
Internostalgia
Get Thee Oft My Lawn

Its been almost 12 hours since the latest Windows 8 sucks submission.

Captcha: Terrors

Re:Woohoo 2nd reference to medieval rule in a mont (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366471)

Its been almost 12 hours since the latest Windows 8 sucks submission.

But my God, it sucks.

Re:Woohoo 2nd reference to medieval rule in a mont (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366987)

Some things are better left unsaid, and just known in silence...

Get Offa My Lawn! (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365713)

The author of the article looks too young to be acting like such a grumpy old man.

Bollocks (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365719)

Ok, can we just stop paying attention to traditional media until it all dies? I don't think I've read an article in the last year that wasn't trying to provoke outrage, fear or hatred through selective reporting, manipulation of data, and gross simplification.

Today, the open internet we once knew is fracturing into a series of gated communities or fiefdoms controlled by giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and to a lesser extent Microsoft.

What, so now it's impossible to start your own website? To run your own services? That's news to me. Just because there are now large, popular sites doesn't mean small, unpopular sites are now non-existent. The internet that we had 30 years ago is still there, it's just nobody uses it. But it's not like, say, the presence of Facebook means IIRC has suddenly been uninvented.

Re:Bollocks (1)

boethius (14423) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365943)

100% spot-on. You've articulated exactly how I feel about Internet reporting and how it's declined the state of "journalism" terribly (though of course yellow journalism has existed since forever and was basically the same thing). The quantity of inflammatory "link-bait" that links to bloviating and predominantly fictitious and/or editorial reporting has grown exponentially in the last 5 years especially to the point that about 98-99% of all reporting is basically geared to simply attract clicks.

Re:Bollocks (2)

Namors (934315) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366485)

But it's not like, say, the presence of Facebook means IIRC has suddenly been uninvented.

If I recall correctly, IIRC stands for If I Recall Correctly, I think you wanted IRC, IIRC IRC stands for Internet Relay Chat. ;)

BULLSHIT -- it's not closed at all (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365751)

The only thing that's changed is that hot internet startups tend to get bought up pretty quickly and rolled into whichever walled garden their new Mega-Sized Overlord happens to own.

If it were a walled grden, you'd have to "pay to play" just to have the opportunity to launch your online startup -- e.g: the iTunes App Store.
Today we see Instagram making a Billion off a couple weeks of effort for an app that would have netted hardly enough to pay the developers rent back in 2000.

Times are actually pretty good and in fact easier for small startups to realize a handsome profit.

Re:BULLSHIT -- it's not closed at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365879)

Or their key "Akamai buster" idea turns out to be complete wishfulness thinking, and falls apart in the first beta test. Kind of like Perl code and Java "office suites", they think they can do everything on a white board and it will all work becuase "that's implementation" and they carefully scheduled the man hours for it.

couldn't agree more. (1)

Infestedkudzu (2557914) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365789)

This is how I see it. Age 34

It's all still there (5, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365823)

The "web we lost" is all still there, more or less, in that nothing about the underlying technology of the web has changed. But no-one is interested in the old ways of doing things, and 'modern' services like Facebook are what people obviously want. In other words, like government, we get the web we deserve.

Re:It's all still there (3, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365961)

'modern' services like Facebook are what people obviously want

You mistake being inert and having no opinion either way with wanting something. People want the functionality, and people like fast servers. But they don't want the whole facebook ickyness at all. Unless by "people" you mean peeps like Zuckerberg haha, then you'd be right... just like Microsoft wants a Windows PC in every home, Facebook wants to be the thing you check first and last thing in the day. But people just wanna have fun and share photos or whatever. They do not *want* to ride the dicks of these goofballs, they simply don't know better.

Re:It's all still there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366597)

Z was just plning for Prodigy!

Re:Facebook (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366167)

(Grumpy)

Once again we get an article on how the Web has changed. They list 5 companies in the summary... and Facebook gets the Graphic on the article?!

Reality was... (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365897)

... the internet sucked back then. Websites and web interfaces were crappy, and while many modern websites are bloated and have usability issues there has been a huge improvement.

Also the emergence of easy to use blogging software has been probably one of the most important developments on the internet IMHO. The problem with nostalgic views of the internet is that the internet 'back then' was highly fragmented and often disorganized. Often times sites would have broken links or not be updated properly because the sites owner was not technically literate or committed any time to his or her site because of barriers to entry (tweaking web pages in html manually, or using cumbersome html software).

While the internet has "narrowed". I think what people really morn is the stupid masses getting online. This is really about "I wish the internet populated by intelligent/nerdy tech minded people and not the stupid hacks and poseurs we find today". To some extent this is true but it has also brought in a lot of smart non-technical people posting interesting stuff online because software/blog-packages/whatever have become easy enough to use without having to know much about computers.

As much as people might want to morn 4chan and reddit for the stupid people they attract, having such a wide range of people accessing a single site means important issues can be discovered and disseminated quickly because there are more people online.

Re:Reality was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366339)

The word is "mourn".

What a maroon... (5, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365915)

Yeah, there totally isn't any way to do anything on the internet without Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.

Except for:
- Discussion forums, which exist for pretty much every single interest group imaginable
- Places to post images
- A whole spectrum of places to buy stuff, most of which AREN'T Amazon
- Millions of blogs about every conceivable topic and viewpoint
- Websites by companies providing information about what they sell
- A way to interact with the government
- Online banking
- Research
- A whole lot of stuff neither I, nor anybody else, has even thought up yet

And you can do all of those things without touching a single service or product sold by one of the big giants.

In conclusion... what on earth is he talking about?

Re:What a maroon... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366181)

While I'm not sure I agree with everything that the author has stated, he does make a lot of good points. What has struck me as the most telling example of how things have changed is that five years ago, every company advertised their ".com" website. Now you simply see them trying to get you through facebook (sorry google). In a way, a portion of the web has moved to facebook, which forces you to give up some of your privacy to them in exchange for the content that previously was (or seemed) free-er. Of course one could argue that with advanced web tracking techniques it makes no difference, but at least if feels better when you don't have to go through facebook.

But Facebook hasn't actually replaced the .com's (2)

sirwired (27582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366265)

Companies want you to friend/fan their facebook because it's a way of continually feeding you information. Before facebook this would have been done through an e-mail list signup on the website... Instead of spamming you in one place, you get spammed in another; it's a distinction without a difference.

But that doesn't mean that companies do not also use their websites extensively and certainly facebook is no replacement at all for a dedicated company website, and they serve totally different purposes.

And, given how useful and accurate Google (or Bing, if that's your thing) is, there's no need to bother telling people what your website address is; Google knows it already and can tell anybody that wants it.

Re:What a maroon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366311)

And you can do all of those things without touching a single service or product sold by one of the big giants.
In conclusion... what on earth is he talking about?

Ever heard of Google Analytics?

This was my thought immediately (1)

bdwoolman (561635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366369)

You are so right. The net used to be a mile wide and an inch deep. But there are now some pretty deep places.And a lot of shallow places. It seems to me that a lot of the early promise has been met and exceeded. I do miss SUCK.COM, though. It was good in the beginning. It sort of went corporate and died. Sad. Very very sad.

Re:What a maroon... (3, Interesting)

cozziewozzie (344246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366399)

Yeah, there totally isn't any way to do anything on the internet without Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.

There is! But it's exceedingly hard. I have more than 10 extensions in Firefox active right now, and I still can't totally eliminate them, especially since there is no decent substitute for youtube.

- Discussion forums, which exist for pretty much every single interest group imaginable

Most of which have Twitter/Facebook/Google integration, running their APIs and javascript. And thus tracking your every move. They've put their filthy paws on seemingly every single site in the universe.

There are quite a few discussion forums and online communities which have stopped working for me unless I allow Google (or Googleapis or analytics or somesuch) to execute scripts on my computer. Same goes for Amazon (cloudfront).

A whole spectrum of places to buy stuff, most of which AREN'T Amazon

Yes. Until you get to the payment part. Then you need to log into Amazon, Google, or PayPal, in about 90% of the cases.

- Millions of blogs about every conceivable topic and viewpoint

One of the biggest is run by Google, the others have Google and Facebook tracking bugs tracking your every move

- Websites by companies providing information about what they sell

True, but we've had those all along. And many are moving onto Facebook. Or running their whole business on Google Docs. For sure they are running Google analytics and probably Google ads too.

- A way to interact with the government

Including all of your browsing history being handed over whenever asked. Who has your entire browsing history? Google and Facebook. They likely have all your email too.

- Online banking

This one is actually quite cool.

- Research

You can certainly do research without Microsoft or Google scholar. It's just that you hit the Elsevier and ACM paywalls next.

While it is true that there is so much more contents out there than there used to be back in the dialup days, the Internet is much more of a product nowadays.

Have you actually TRIED surfing without using Google or Facebook or Amazon? It takes about 10 different browser extensions to curtail all their vile malware spyware stuff that is leaping at you from every corner of the internet. Install Ghostery and marvel. And when you think that you've covered the cookies and scripts and supercookies and DOM storage and ads and the rest, they fingerprint your browser and then you have to fake that as well.

Surfing without Google and friends requires daily effort, lots of computer know-how and discipline.

Re:What a maroon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366555)

You mean to say there is a world outside of /.?

Deja Vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42365929)

You forgot AOL's walled garden of the 90's

Apple? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42365983)

What exactly is Apple doing evil,again in the internet?
Hosting their own web site?
Or do you count an App Store and a Music Store and a Book Store as evil now?
Apple is the *one company* that is using open standards, does not pollute them, uses open source and gives all additions it does to the open source software back to the community.
And looking at that braindead article, what exactly is google doing wrong? They also only adhere to open standards ...

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366141)

Um what? What has apple given back to the community?

Re:Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366251)

Absolutely nothing at all. [apple.com]

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366285)

Apple is the *one company* that is using open standards, does not pollute them, uses open source and gives all additions it does to the open source software back to the community.

Didn't we just have an article outlining the hassles one inventor is having because Apple can't even follow an open standard for charging their products? And what have they given back to the community besides the canvas tag?

What I miss the most... (3, Insightful)

Kwyj1b0 (2757125) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366017)

... is the animated gif pornography and scanned images from magazines ;) Now with their copyright-laws-this and paywall-that... sheesh. Is there nothing big companies won't ruin???
(Hold on, I want to watch this hot video on Youtube)

Seriously - there is a lot more content now. Create a dummy account if you don't want to share your information. Don't let yourself get tagged on photos. Give a false name and location. It isn't too hard to access 99% of the content with just a few keystrokes with little risk to privacy.

Complaining about sharing? What was the equivalent of Wikipedia or Sourceforge? Search algorithms weren't as good then. Even forgetting the social networking stuff - a lot more open and free pages exist today to provide you with information.

Re:What I miss the most... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366163)

Indeed, particularly the standards of porn have been hard hit.

Back in the day the free porn you could stumble apon was top quality. I'm not talking about the stuff people pirate now.
I'm talking about those old fashioned fashoined porn TGP's (thumbnail gallery posts) with celebrities and everything else.

Now its all low bitrate or res, ad ridden main stream anal videos, fake cumshot, and wow facter XTREME bullshit.

The well sorted and unique decent res amatuers are all gone, and girls in it just because their slutty and love it are almost all gone.
Oh how I lement the loss and obscurity of those high quality TGP's.

Now its all about the big bucks and corporate porn fascism ruling all.

Yes, there IS a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366071)

Yes, there IS a problem. No, nobody is forcing you to use FaceBook, not in so many words, but...

When you have Interest A, and the largest group of people discussing it is on FaceBook and you are "out of the loop" if you don't see the discussion then this IS a problem.

You could explain to people you know with Interest A that it's rude to build in a need for something like FaceBook, but it's an uphill battle.

At least you can still whine on Slashdot without a login, so no, the Internet is not totally dead. There are "Interest B" interests, where people actually care about access that doesn't require you to tell your life story to the whole world; but it's becoming the exception. It IS a problem.

The Curse of the Network Effect (1, Interesting)

Baldrson (78598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366077)

The Network Effect is often praised because value increases for each user the more users are connected to a platform, but the problem is that it shifts rewards from being good to being merely big. This is the origin of the MS-DOS/M$ tragedy. It is also the origin of the Facebook tragedy. There are many other examples, probably the biggest tragedy of all being the Federal Reserve currency being the international reserve currency. Its bad enough when you have something like the QWERTY (rather than the Dvorak) keyboard creating lock-in to a standard but at least when you have an open standard into which people are locked by the network effect, no one is becoming a Bill Gates or Carlos Slim. Its when the network effect is turned into a business model that the really nasty effects on the society start working their dark magic.

The solution is to stop taxing economic activity (capital gains, income, sales, value added, etc) and instead tax market-assessed liquid value of assets [blogspot.com] .

Of course, not many people are going to really understand this idea so it must be demonstrated by those who do get it.

That's why we need Sortocracy [sortocracy.org] .

Re:The Curse of the Network Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42367111)

Not to say you're outright wrong or anything but it's really becoming super hard to take anyone seriously who still uses "M$", espcially with such a low UID. It's 2012. If you hate them, stop using them. Otherwise just STFU and move on with your life. It's time to grow up.
 
Oh, and crying about Facebook is nearly as shortsighted.

Only if you play (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366089)

There are still plenty of other places you can go.

Especially if you're one of us ASD "not the club joining type" types.

Nothing lasts forever - seems to be about 10 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366115)

I have found that each breakthrough boom time lasts about 10 years.

I started noticing this coincidence working in the early days of digital audio for the music and film industry. Synthesisers had their peak 1975-1985, disk recorders 1990-2000, digital mixing desks 1995-2005. These are approximately the times where all the groundbreaking stuff happened, then it becomes commoditised and no real advances happen. In the internet case, becomes walled.

The internet boom time was probably about 1995-2005. Now it is just using what is already there in different ways.

Based on this, I would guess tablets have another (say) 7 years. Smart phones probably 5.

Although I have used this to guess when to change fields; it unfortunately does not tell you what comes next. That's the fun bit.

The good old days (5, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366191)

... of the internet were wonderful if you were a ham radio operator, scientist, programmer, network engineer, fan of roguelike RPGs or Star Trek.

Other than that there wasn't a huge amount of content out there.

really (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366203)

whatever dude. if anybody gave a flying damn we'd be flying

biggest thing lost is TRUST (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366223)

I was on the net since 1983, long before the days of AOHell, long before the the web existed.

At the time, there was no astroturfing, no paid shills, no corporate influence to speak of. If you read someone's opinion, you could trust it was from a real person. It might or might not be soemething you agreed with, and in the worst case it was just a troll, but critical reviews and such tended to be non-troll real opinions, not a legion of paid shills to give positive reviews.

The S/N was FAR higher then. There's more signal now, without any doubt at all, but there's so much more noise that the S/N has plummeted, which is a loss of its own type.

And I think TFA has a point. Back in say the mid 80's, you could email anyone. There was no "Oh, sorry, I don't use email, only this walled-garden thing and you can't contact me unless you also use Facebook/whatever is trendy now". Open standards mattered a lot more.

GOML.

Voluntary vs involuntary "closedness" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366241)

It is essential to differentiate between voluntary and involuntary "closedness". No one has ever forced me to use Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or any other product or service. People choose to get involved with those services because they value openness less than other perceived benefits that those services provide. I disagree, but I have no right to force them to do otherwise. "Live and let live."

The great threat to internet freedom comes not from corporations operating in a free market, but from the overgrown mafia gangs that call themselves your governments. It is governments and only governments that have the power to censor the net! It is the "useful idiots" who strengthen government power under the unexamined slogan of "freedom" (copyleft, "net neutrality", etc) that are the real enemy!

--libman

No Frontier for the Youngsters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366249)

That is what he is talking about. He looks back on the beginning of the internet, and with naive 20/20 hindsight, sees the potential for possibilities, the great unknown, to boldly go where no man has gone before. The conquest. The pillage. The IPO's, The Dot Coms. They hear the legends of the hacking gods. They see the mythical rags to riches stories of the Gates, the Sergeys and the Gates'es'. Jimmy Page. Jimi Hendrix. Viking Ships and Muscle Cars. Dragons and Fair Maidens. I feel like raising the pirate flag and howling at the moon just thinking about it.

Poor kids. The last decade has been nothing but a financial scam and a ponzi scheme. Since the 2007 crash, it has gotten worse, the world is on life support, kept together only by printing money.

There is no wilderness, no exploration, no exciting new fields, no uncharted lawless territory where every man has the opportunity to strike it rich.

There is not even a real economy.

They rewrite the 'good old days' as a nostalgic version of the internet that did not exist, because deep within, these young men instinctually crave the adventure, the exploration, the conquest. They create, dreams, visions, fantasies and myths.

The mewling whine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366379)

of the nomenclatura is refreshing the assholes who ran the MSM no longer have control. Moonbats and frightbats can get their message out to the shitbats without filtering.

Fuck you. I have your number and I will kill you.

I blame spammers (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366417)

Those companies have a big share of responsability on that process, but probably what made walled garden to look like a good idea was mainly spam. You couldnt give access to everyone because some of those everyone would be spambots.

So there, you may not put in jail them as may not be laws against unsolicited mail, but you can process them for murdering (or at least, badly poisoning) the open internet.

It wasn't any more open, but.... (3, Informative)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366427)

....it was certainly much more fun, innovative, imaginative, and technological advances were made in leaps and bounds back then. The internet is far more useful nowadays, but it's like the magic and excitement is gone. It's become toned-down, it's become a utility,and utilities are boring.

Remember when:
-the first time you heard about a new application called RealAudio that would allow you to stream audio from a remote server, even over a dialup connection? No more waiting to download the entire clip. This new streaming thing was frikking amazing!
-the first time you went to 'The William Shatner sing-along page'?
-you heard about an audio file format called mp3 that could hold an entire song in in a few MB's instead of a few dozen? 3MB per file vs 20 or 30MB and still have the same quality! That was amazing!
-WinNuke was the worst thing someone could do to your computer, and you weren't sent to jail for using it. There was no constant threat about getting malware, trojans, or viruses from websites.
-Doubleclick did not exist? Sites did not collect and retain and sell your browsing habits.
-the term 'hacker' did not hold any negative connotation?
-Flash sites were new, amazing, and didn't use 100% of your CPU?
-chat rooms and web forums were TROLL-FREE? People were actually nice and considerate to each other!
-one of the first online multiplayer game you played was Descent thru KALI?
-you could actually get a refund for software?
-you regularly browsed Rotten.com?

Re:It wasn't any more open, but.... (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366585)

Ahh mp3s... my Amiga wasn't powerful enough to play mp3's and multitask well at the same time, but it did play mp2s ok. Who else can remember mp2's?

Some of the mp3s in my current collection are dated as far back as 1997 and still sound crisp for such an old compression technique.

Re:It wasn't any more open, but.... (3, Informative)

manwargi (1361031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366851)

Remember when:
-chat rooms and web forums were TROLL-FREE? People were actually nice and considerate to each other!

Nope, I can't either.

Re:It wasn't any more open, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42366985)

- There weren't cops, advertisers, and othet unsavory types lurking everywhere waiting to track amd trap you.

- People had opinions, engaged in debate, all without real name requirements and the fear that the saying the "wrong" thing would cost you every you mighy ever want.

- Bandwidth was limited, so people had to actually pay attention to how much bloat they put on a site?

- Bandwidth was limited, so outsourcing work to unqualified foreigners who work for pennies was not practical?

By the way, Flash sucks and always has sucked, so some things at least don't change much.

Not really... (1)

rhewt (649974) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366449)

People are choosing to be "confined" by these companies and their services. No one is forcing you to use them. One might argue that ISP censorship is different, and one in which is forced upon us. However the rulers of that "small free internet" that once was, well they are doing the same thing now, that they were doing then. They are not using the services by which strip the individual of their rights, they are using alternatives. Their data is not being filtered by Verizon/Comcast/etc, because they are using a VPN. The issue is that people who weren't on the Internet now, are on it now. Those people probably liked shopping at Walmart, and now they like shopping through Google, and that's fine. The alternative does exist, and those people who care, utilize it. This sounds like someone is just sad that sites aren't using scrolling marquees anymore.

Effort (1)

Kenshin (43036) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366493)

"The Web We Lost", which I indeed missed, required effort. You had to build your own presence on the web.

When the effort was taken away, with the added bonus of being linked directly with your friends, the old ways were unsurprisingly dropped.

So yes, the hobbyist web went away, as it was bound to. No one should be shocked or surprised by this.

I remember the early days of internet (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366563)

SKREEEE SCUUSHHHHHHHHHH....

And then corporations moved in and fucked things up :(

My main email address is 16 years old and still going.

Re:I remember the early days of internet (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366929)

>main email address is 16 years old

My chat account is over 16 years old.

Users in the chatrooms:
L2 : bmo - room 1 - "Appeal's bedroom" ---- SO LONELY. A TUMBLEWEED ROLLS THROUGH TOWN.
Last logout: 18+22:08:40 ago from entropy.tmok.com ----- THAT'S RIGHT, I CHECKED IN ALMOST 19 DAYS AGO, AND IT NEVER CHANGES. SO LONELY. THE WIND HOWLS THROUGH THE VACANT CHAT, EVOKING GHOSTS AND CHAT NOIR.
You have 122 notes in your notebox ! (13 pages) /finger bmo
Lets see if "bmo" likes your finger: ----- OH YOU BETTER BELIEVE I LIKE YOUR FINGER.
    Level 2 Login: "bmo - #include guinness/beer.h" ----- SO WITTY I AM. NO, REALLY.
    Logins: 4384 Total: -24855+-3:-14:-8 ----- SO MANY HOURS IT WRAPPED AROUND.
    Last time on: "Dec 22 04:13:47 2012" (0+00:00:09 ago)
    Homepage: "http://owlcomm.dyndns.org:3898" ----- GOOD LUCK.
    ICQ-number: BLAH. ----- I STILL KNOW THIS BY HEART.
    Email: bmo@ids.net ---- DON'T EVEN TRY. WITHER IDS.NET?
    Maker: Eagle2 Maketime: "Sep 18 16:13:45 1996" (16 years 98+13:00:11 ago) ----- DANG, SON.

I have an account on euts.org (enchantment under the sea!) that is older, but I'll be damned if I can remember my password.

--
BMO

Damn you internet!!! (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366591)

For evolving into a monster that actually provides better than average paying jobs for a brand new industry!!!

gee (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366923)

A central authority vulnerable to pressure.

Headquartered in a country where having money is just as good as having muscle.

Why the fuck am I not surprised?

It is what it is (3, Insightful)

manwargi (1361031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42366977)

In the frontier days of the internet there were fewer ads but the quality of the content was a fair bit lower. I'm not even talking about the technology here, I'm talking about eyesore websites where someone wrote a bunch of inane details about themselves and their interests, websites that were indefinitely Under Construction. Back then one could run searches on particular topics and not get back any results, or at least any results of value. Certainly UseNet is looked back upon fondly by this group, but even then there was always some troublemaker that insisted on crossposting something controversial between two conflicted groups (i.e. asking a question and crossposting between an atheist and christian group so that the replies show up on both groups), never mind the more conventional trolls. Anyone looking back on AOL ought to remember that they censored the hell out of your environment there-- you got kicked off for swearing and naughty content was carefully sanitized from their download archives. Before I got on the internet, I remember a friend telling me a number of stories of how he got kicked off different BBSes for swearing and fighting with admins.

The present internet is a lot more crowded but with it there is a lot more content. More of it is crap, and more of it is precious, because there is a lot more content. It is more commercialized and there are a lot more ads, but it is a lot bigger and more sophisticated. Yes, more sophisticated. The hacker types that use math references for user names are still out there, and alongside them we have specialists and connoisseurs of every kind weighing in on every topic one can possibly think of. Without getting into the downsides and problems still faced, could you have ever imagined something quite as extensive as Wikipedia back then? Let alone all the smaller wikis created for greater detail into countless subjects?

As long as the internet thrives, it will continue to get just a little more amazing. And a little more awful.

Nonsense (1)

Randall311 (866824) | about a year and a half ago | (#42367031)

I'm as nostalgic as the next guy, but everybody getting the warm fuzzies for the dark ages are conveniently only remembering the good things about them. There were plenty of crappy things that we've moved on from too... You wanna talk walled gardens? How about AOL's version of the Internet anyone? It's great to remember the good ole' days, but let's be thankful for where we are now, regardless of how we got here. Sure _some_ things are worse now, but the vast majority of the online experience is better. This is progress, and progress is good.
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