Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “internet”

An open letter to Telkom

This should really have been sent as an e-mail to Telkom, but Telkom play “hard to get” with their subscribers (or “customers” as they like to call them in these days of neoliberalism) and the e-mail address they give on their web site is invalid.

It is also an instance of the kind of occasion in which e-mail is a better form of communication than a voice phone call — see Millennials hate phone calls — and they have a point, so in what follows I shall try to point out why that is so, and some other more general observations which I would not normally include in an e-mail to Telkom, but which the people at Telkom probably ought to know.

Telkom provide us with a fixed line voice phone service, which also includes ADSL for linking to the Internet, and Telkom is also our ISP, so we use their services for e-mail, the Web and other Internet services. We recently signed a new contract with Telkom for a higher-speed connection by fibre-optic cable when the physical infrastructure becomes available (they are still digging trenches for the cables in our neighbourhood).

On Tuesday 3rd September I could not access my e-mail. I reported this to Telkom by e-mail to support@telkomsa.net, and included a copy of the error message I received when I tried to download e-mail:

02:00:52.125: >> +OK
<< 0015 PASS XXXXXXXX
02:00:55.203: >>
-ERR login failed

The aim of this was to give them specific information to help them to detect and fix the problem.

There was no response from Telkom, and I repeated the fault report the following day. I tested and found that outgoing e-mail was working, it was just incoming pop3 mail I could not get.

The next day, the entire ADSL system stopped working. Not only could I not download e-mail, I couldn’t conntect to the web, or send e-mail.

At that point, I used Telkom’s SMS reporting system to report the fault, which is not specific, and only allows vague specification of the fault. I indicated that the voice service was working, but ADSL was not.

On 7 September I got an SMS from Telkom saying fault Ref 2991487 has been restored.

I tested it, and it had not been restored, so I reported it to them again.

7 Sep 2019 06:28 AM — received another SMS from Telkom giving new reference 2992412.

On 11 September there was still no Internet service.

On 12 September a technician arrived, sent by Telkom.

Before he had even looked at any equpment, he asked how old our contract was, and then said that the problem was our ADSL modem, because the contract was more than two years old. After your contract is 2 years old, he siad, you must get a new modem.

He then connected his modem, and it didn’t work either. It looked considerably older than ours, so why didn’t he have a new one, I wondered.

He then phoned someone, and asked them to reset the ADSL password. After that, he entered the new password in his modem, and it connected to ADSL. He then tried to fiddle with my e-mail program, but was obviusly totally unfamiliar with it, and got frustrated, took his modem and left. I asked him to stay long enough to see if our modem would work with the new password, but he would not. Fortunately I had written it down, or he would have just taken it off with his modem.

When he had gone, I entered the new password in our modem, and it worked, in spite of the contract being more than two years old.

But e-mail still did not work.

Eventually, two days later, I managed to phone through to a human being at Telkom after several attempts at pushing numbers on an SMS to try to let them know that the technician they had sent had failed to fix the problem.

The human reset my e-mail password, and then I was able to download my e-mail, but all e-mail between 3rd September and 11th September had been lost.

The next thing was that we were billed for an unnecessary call-out for the incompetent technician who had come and failed to fix the problem. We went to the nearest Telkom office with the bill to query it. But all they did was press a button so that someone would call on a cell phone.

Eventually, after waiting half a day for a call that never came we tried again an managed after several attempts to get through to a human being. And I tried to explain all that is written above, which the person at the other end was trying to type out as I spoke, and I wondered what sort of garbled version was getting written there.

Meanwhile, if Telkom had responded to my first e-mail, which had a detailed description of the problem, they could have reset my e-mail password within 10 minutes, without, on their own initiative, not at my request,unnecessarily sending an incompetent and rude technican, and then wanting to charge for an unnecessary call out.

Everyone’s time was wasted because they wanted to use voice calls or button-pushing instead of e-mail, and they are too incompetent even to put their own e-mail address correctly on their web site.

Telkom try to encourage people to use the debit order system, but when they add contestable items like “unnecessary call outs” to the bill one can hardly trust them enough for that. And when they threaten their subscribers with dire action for unpaid bills that the subscribers have not yet received, no wonder people are looking for other service providers than Telkom.

Mailing lists (& newsgroups) versus Facebook Groups

The news that Yahoo! were to close their YahooGroups service (Yahoo! to close mailing lists? | Notes from underground) has provoked a frantic search for alternatives, one of the most popular being Groups.io, which I believe was set up a few years ago when Yahoo! imported a new whizz-kid manager who totally misunderstood the medium, and messed the site up so as to make it unusable.Yahoo made a half-hearted attempt to repair the damage, but now seems to have given up entirely.

YahooGroups and GoogleGroups were the largest public mailing list servers on the Internet, and with YahooGroups closing some have suggested migrating to GoogleGroups, but many more have suggested using Facebook Groups instead. I think that is a very bad idea, and will try to explain that here, rather than having to retype the explanation every time anyone makes such a suggestion. Marshall McLuhan once wrote a book called Understanding Media, and though he never envisaged these media, it is still important to understand these media and what they are good for and, even more important, what they are not good for.

Facebook Groups versus Mailing lists

People who are relatively new to the Internet may not realise what mailing lists are, so I’ll try to explain that first.

A mailing list is run by a list server (sometimes called “listserv” for short). It works by e-mail. You send an e-mail to the list server, and the list server sends it on to all the people who have subscribed to that list. You can reply either to the list, or to the original sender. Off-topic replies are best sent privately, on-topic replies are best sent to the list, then all members of the list will see the replies, as they will show up in their e-mail inbox, to be read or deleted or saved as desired,

The main purpose of a mailing list is discussion. You can see what someone says, and respond to particular points, and others can respond to what you say.

Facebook Groups are not really suited for discussion. I know that people have tried to use them that way, but they are a very poor substitute for mailing lists. Facebook Groups are best suited for announcements and ephemera. Announce a book release, an article, or a blog post in a Facebook group for people who might be interested in knowing about it. Announce an event and publicise things — a church service, a lecture, an art exhibition, a play.  They are OK for news items.

What Facebook Groups  are not good for is discussion.

Why not?

First of all, Facebook has an algorithm that limits what you see. It will show you only certain posts from certain groups and people. If people respond to it, it shows you only certain comments. It may notify you that “So and so commented on a post that you are following in X group”, but it doesn’t tell you the topic of the post. And if you do click on that, half the time you don’t see any comments from so and so, and you have to hunt up and down the page until you see a tiny faint line saying something like “5 more comments”. You click on that, but it has no comments from so and so. You go back and hunt up and down and eventually you find another faint little line somewhere on the page saying “See more comments”. In the midst of all that activity, Facebook of course is busy showing you ads and other stuff to distract you and in the end you forget whose comment you were looking for and what topic it was on.

And then, assuming that Facebook does show you the post, you don’t have time to read it now, and you think you’ll come back to it later. O fatal, fatal error! Because when you try to come back to it later, you’ll never find it again, and spend an hour searching for it, and in the mean time see lots of ads earning lots of lovely lolly for Facebook, and see other interesting things to click on. It’s like looking up words in a dictionary — you spot another interesting word, and look at that, and see an interesting word in its definition and look that up and then forget what word you were looking for when you started. Or, perhaps a more apt analogy, Facebook is like a taxi driver at an airport, who takes the newly arrived tourist on the longest possible route to his destination, pointing out all the scenic attractions, which happen to be not hills and lakes and forests, but billboards, hoardings and tourist trap shops.

So what happens with a mailing list? A message appears in my inbox. If I don’t have time to read it now, as soon as I close my inbox, my mail reader program (which computer nerds like to call a “client”, would that I could bill it!) sorts it into a folder with all other saved messages from that mailing list. I can go back to it in an hour’s time and read and reply to it. Of I can go tomorrow, or next week or next month or next year. If someone asks a question on a mailing list, and I find the answer in three months time, I can go back and give them the answer. Try doing that on Facebook and you’ll spend the next three months looking for it, wasting bandwidth and of course increasing their ad revenue. It usually takes about 30 seconds to find the message on my computer and it uses no Internet bandwidth.

So no, Facebook Groups are no substitute for mailing lists. They were designed to serve a different purpose, and they are good for that. Use the right tool for the job. You can open  tin of peaches with a scewdriver and a rock if you don’t have a tin opener, but if a tin opener is available, why not use it?

A few years ago there was a newsgroup called rec.arts.books (a newsgroup is a little like a mailing list, but not quite — it works on linked news servers rather than a single mailing list server). It had interesting book discussions and reviews. Then someone had a bright idea — let’s move it to a Facebook Group where we can post pretty pictures. So they did, and about half of them moved to the Facebook Group, which they called, appropriately enough, The Prancing Half-Wits. It died, mainly for the reasons described above. Only about 20% of the people would see each post, specially chosen by Facebook’s algorithms, and even fewer saw the comments. And rec.arts.books limps along, because most of the creative and interesting people left for Facebook.

 

Telkom Internet scam warning

To those who use Telkom Internet, a got a somewhat different phishing scam e-mail today, which could easily lead people to be unaware that they had been scammed. This was the e-mail:

telkomsa.net Notification

Hello User,

We have stopped processing incoming emails

Due to your refusal to update your account and as a result, we are forced to lock your account and all your services will be suspended.

Use the link below to update your account.

 

Image result for orders buy

 

 

NOTE: This email will be closed if ignored.

 

Kind regards,

 

Supported by telkomsa.net

 

If you clicked on the link, this is what you would see:

With a space to enter your log in details.

You might think that this was a Telkom Internet login, but the actual address was:

http://informatique-securite.website/screenconnect/Bin/telkomsa/telkomsa/Login.htm

I you filled it in, you would be taken to the actual Telkom site, and perhaps, if you entered yourt actual log-in details, it would actually log in to Telkom, and you wouldn’t be any the wiser, except that the phishermen would now have your name and password.

As I usually do in such cases, I filled it in with a bogus name and password (and I advise you to do the same if you ever find yourself on such a site.

My e-mail reader and anti-virus program usually warn me about bogus bank statement phishing attempts, but it didn’t warn me about this one, so be careful.

 

How US Net Neutrality affects the rest of us

Those of us outside the US may have observed their debates on net neutrality, and wondered whether it would affect us.

Even if it is something confined purely to the US, however, the loss of net neutrality there will affect people all over the world. But when people speak of the loss of net neutrality, there are many ways in which it has already been lost, or rather, it is an ideal that has never been fully realised.

This article helps to explain what it means for people in the US — Someone Finally Illustrated What The Loss Of Net Neutrality Really Looks Like, And You Won’t Like It:

Net neutrality has become a volatile, high-profile news story, and with good reason: Americans are in danger of losing it. But what is net neutrality, and why is it important? Why are some lawmakers fighting so hard to make it a thing of the past?

The answer is complex, rooted in technological progress, a changing economic landscape, and a society and culture that is seeing greater class divisions than at any other time in our history. Some in our government are determined to make the internet a profit-driven product, and while this may sound understandable in a capitalist society, the dangers are very real.

Aptly illustrated by this picture:

If you live in South Africa, say, and you post some family photos on Facebook, the loss of net neutrality in the US might mean that your cousin in the US may not be able to see them, because their ISP has decided to charge more for access to Facebook.

Of course even with net neutrality your cousin in the US might not have been able to see your photos, because Facebook’s algorithm already decides who gets to see what you post, and who doesn’t get to see it.

Think of another example. An academic researcher in South Africa posts a research query in a blog, trying to verify some fact, or get reactions to a conjecture or hypothesis. With net neutrality, anyone with a web connection can see the blog and respond to the post. But without net neutrality, an ISP can decide to make that particular blogging platform only accessible to some of its subscribers who pay extra for it.

Even without legal protection of “net neutrality”, there have been all kinds of attempts to corral users into a closed system. Facebook’s Messaging app is an example. Get people to use that, and people have to join Facebook to communicate with you. Others may have attempted the same thing, but it might have backfired on them. In an earlier post, The decline and decline of tumblr | Notes from underground, I noted that tumblr had gradually reduced the functionality of their site to make it a closed world. Perhaps they did this in the hope that they, like Facebook, might be able to lock users in to their site, though the actual effect was to remove the incentive for many people to visit their site at all. To lock people in successfully, you have to be big like Facebook, not small like tumblr.

We had something similar in South Africa. A few years ago people who used MWeb as their ISP found it difficult to access certain web sites, because MWeb was trying to lock them in and steer them towards its own offerings. I don’t know if they still do that, but there was quite an outcry at the time.

Something similar was seen back in the 1990s, when dial-up BBSs were popular. Telkom, whose phone lines were being used for it, wanted to charge more for data calls to BBSs than for voice calls, but the counter argument was that Telkom was a “common carrier” — their job was to provide the connections, for which they could charge, but the content of the calls was none of their business. The “common carrier” principle is the same principle as net neutrality — an ISP charges you for the internet connection and the band width you use, but the content of your connection is none of their business.

The “common carrier” principle provided a great deal of freedom, because anyone could set up a BBS, and so BBSs were a great enhancement to free speech. It was one of the factors that helped to topple a lot of dictatorial regimes in the annus mirabilis of 1989. It was how news of the Tianamnen Square massacre in China reached the rest of the world; pro-democracy activists used a BBS conference called ASIAN_LINK to communicate with each other and the rest of the world.

So the loss of New Neutrality takes the USA another step further away from the “free world” that it once claimed to be the leader of.

 

 

 

Medium and Niume — what are they?

For some time now I’ve been hearing about web sites called Medium and Niume, and I’ve been urged to join them. The trouble is, I don’t know what they are, or what they are for.

Today I saw an article that gave at least some information about Medium — ‘The Internet Is Broken’: @ev Is Trying to Salvage It – The New York Times:

Medium was supposed to be developing its business around advertising, which would have paid for writers like Ms. Norman and made the site viable. Then it abruptly pivoted in January and laid off a third of the staff, or about 45 people. Advertising was suddenly no longer the solution but the villain.

“Ad-driven systems can only reward attention,” Mr. Williams says. “They can’t reward the right answer. Consumer-paid systems can. They can reward value. The inevitable solution: People will have to pay for quality content.”

But it doesn’t look good.

I went to the Medium site to find out more, but the main menu was unreadable — designed by web designers who firmly believe that illegibility provides an enhanced “user experience”. Holding a magnifying glass up to the screen enabled me to read enough of the low-contrast text to see that there was no “About” page that would tell you about the site and what its purpose was and how it worked. The NY Times article gives some hints at the thinking behind it, but doesn’t actually tell you what “it” is.

Niume is even worse. You have to join it before you can even see if there is an about page and decide whether you want to join it or not. How’s that for buying a pig in a poke? Whatever advantages it might have, that’s enough to put me off right there.

So my question is: Can anyone who has actually used either or both these sites tell us something about what they are and what they are for, and, if they are blog hosting sites, how they compare with other such sites like WordPress or Blogger?

 

 

An Orthodox hipster?

A few weeks ago I came across a Facebook group called Ask an Orthodox Hipster.

I’ve always had a yen to be a hipster, but I don’t think I’ve ever made it. I suppose the closest I got was a wannabe.

What is a Hipster?

My Concise Oxford Dictionary c1964 doesn’t have it, though I’d been using the word for at least four years before I bought the thing.

But my Collins English Dictionary (Millennium Edition) has:

  • hipster n 1 slang, now rare 1a an enthusiast of modern jazz 1b an outmoded word for hippy
  • hippy or hippie n, pl -pies (esp. during the 1960s) a person whose behaviour, dress, use of drugs etc., implied a rejection of conventional values.

It also gives hippy as meaning having large hips, which is why I prefer the spelling hippie for the other meaning.

Nowadays, however, hipster seems to have come back into fashion and is no longer outmoded, but probably about ten times as common as hippie.

I suppose the term hipster was first popularised with that meaning by Allen Ginsberg in his poem Howl:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

And after a few weeks as a member of the Ask an Orthodox Hipster group I can see that yes, it is a place for those burning for the ancient heavenly connection to ask questions.

Christian World Liberation Front, Berkeley, California, 1970

And even before the Internet took off, other Orthodox Christians have had a kind of hipster missionary outreach, or started a hipster ministry and then were drawn to Orthodoxy, such as Fr Jack Sparks of the Christian World Liberation Front.

From here on, this gets personal, so quit now if that’s not your thing.

I discovered that the Ask an Orthodox Hipster group differs from other Orthodox groups on Facebook, in that people do not seem to be angry, or attacking each other. If someone asks a question that people can’t answer, they don’t denounce the question as stupid and the questioner as stupid for asking it, they just pass on to the next thing.

I’ve also found that quite a lot of the questions are ones that I have already answered, at least to some extent, in blog posts I’ve written over the last 10-12 years, and if they aren’t, the question is also sometimes a good prompt for a new blog post.

And this perhaps can provide me with a useful occupation for retirement.

Before retiring one thinks of all the things one could do if one had the time, but one does not have time to do when one is working. Many of the things I hoped to do when I retired had to do with Orthodox mission and evangelism, and visiting Orthodox mission congregations and helping them along by teaching and training their leaders and so on. But they are fairly widely scattered, and visiting them costs money. And I think well, I can’t afford to get the car serviced this month, because I have to pay the doctor, or the dentist, so maybe next month. But next month the car not only needs a service, but also a new battery. And the month after that something else is broken, and the price of petrol keeps going up.

But helping people with answers to questions asked on the Internet requires no physical travel, and can actually reach much further, all over the world, in fact. So I think this Orthodox hipster business could be quite fruitful.

We still continue to visit the mission congregations at Atteridgeville (35km west) and Mamelodi (18km East) on alternate Sundays, but travel farther afield will be much more rare physically, but not necessarily electronically.

 

 

Internet entropy

A couple of days ago our ADSL router was fried by lightning and we were offline for a couple of days until we could get and configure a new one. I wondered if we might be missing something important, but it turned out that we weren’t. What had piled up in our absence was not important communications, but a huge pile of “notifications” about utterly trivial things that were hardly communication at all.

There were notifications that several people had tweeted on Twitter, or that someone I didn’t know was following me on Twitter, or wanted to be my “friend” on Facebook. Eventually I’ll probably start getting notifications about notifications. Well actually they are already are, because Twitter itself is a notification.  This morning I deleted 144 spam comments on my other blogs most of them from something called “lista de emails”. There may have been some false positives there, but it’s too time-consuming even to scan the headings to see.

Web sites that were useful a few years ago have become less so. One of these is Technorati. It used to be useful for finding out what was going on in the blogosphere, and what people were blogging about. But no more. I already blogged about that about a year ago, see here Search Results Technorati | Notes from underground:

Back then it had stuff that interested me as a blogger. I could go there to find blogs and blog posts I was interested in. There used to be “Technorati tags”, and one could click on them to find who was blogging on what topics. If I was going to blog on a subject, I’d look up tags related to that subject, and if those blogs said anything interesting on the topic, I’d link to them.

Now, however, you can’t find stuff that you find interesting on Technorati. If you look at their tags page, for example, you can’t search for tags. They only show you the currently popular tags for the last month. Do not expect Technorati to give you what you like. You WILL like what Technorati gives you and tells you to like. There is a kind of arrogant authoritarian flavour to it.

I noticed that Technorati’s stats on some of my blogs had not been updated, including this one, so I checked to see why. It turned out that I didn’t have a full RSS feed turned on. In the interests of saving bandwidth, I had a partial feed, so that people could see the heading and first couple of paragraphs of of blog post. If they were interested, they could click on it and read the full thing. But Technorati wanted the full feed, even if no one reads it. So I turned it on. They responded with ” This site does not appear to be a blog or news site. Technorati does not support claiming of forums, product catalogs, and the like.”.

Well that’s nice to know. But I doubt that anyone is reading this non-blog anyway, so why am I writing this? No one will read it. No one will comment, except, perhaps, “lista de emails”

I looked at a friend’s Posterous blog the other day, and it had apparently been hijacked by someone posting fluff and incomprehensible garbage. Link-farms stuff.That’s why, when I moved this blog from Blogger, I did not delete the old one, and I disabled comments on it. Spammers love to post comments on abandoned blogs. Tip: If you get tired of an old blog, don’t delete it! If you delete it, the link farm people will move in and take over, enjoying all the traffic from old links, providing yet more junk to clog up the Internet.

I tried to post on my own Posterous blog, and it didn’t work. So I’ll probably abandon it. It has been taken over by Twitter, and lots of stuff doesn’t seem to work any more. My Tumblr blog used to provide an aggregate of my other blogs so it could be a place I could refer friends to who wanted to keep in touch. It also doesn’t work any more.

When Geocities stopped working, I moved my static web pages to Bravenet. But they’ve stopped working too. Go to one of my pages there and they just say that “This website is currently expired. If you have any questions, please contact technical support.” But there is no way of contacting “technical support”. None whatsoever.

So as a result there are a few thousand (or million) more dead links out on the Internet, where people say more and more about less and less. And actually it is not people saying it at all in most cases. It’s bots. The dormant predecessor of this blog at Blogspot still gets more readers than this one, though I ghaven’t updated it for months. And one of the biggest sources of traffic was a bot that told people how to get bots to write blog posts for them, so that they could make money from the web. I think that’s what may have happened with my friend’s Posterous blog. Snake oil, anyone?

E-mail is becoming erratic and dysfunctional

It looks as though spammers are beginning to succeed in making e-mail useless.

Several people have told me recently that e-mail that I send to their Gmail addresses ends up in their spam box. That is something new. One of the things that I thought was good about Gmail in the past was that one never had to check the spam box, because there were so few false positives. But now it seems that one will have to look in the spam box for mail. And also, when sending mail to anyone with a Gmail address, also send a text message to say “Did you get my e-mail? If you didn’t, please check your spam box.”

But when I tested it by sending a message to my own Gmail address, it came through OK without going to spam.

I am quite unable to send e-mail to people who have iburst addresses though. It doesn’t even reach their spam box, it just bounces right back to me. The only way to communicate with them is through a direct message on Facebook, or SMS.

Oh well, I think I’m going to have to start buying stamps again.

Clarissa’s Blog: Being Hated by Conservatives vs Being Hated by Liberals

One of the characteristics of the emerging postmodern age is that it is an age of communication without community. Marshall McLuhan’s global village is divided and faction-ridden. Over the last 20 years of participating in the internet (with a small i) I have discovered that one comes face to face with US culture in a way that one never did before. Now places like China are rapidly catching up, but in 1991 it was in the US that more people had modems, and connected to bulletin boards, and disseminated their opinions more widely than ever before.

And today I read a couple of blog posts that encapsulated this experience.

Clarissa’s Blog: Being Hated by Conservatives vs Being Hated by Liberals:

There is a difference, though, between getting tons of hits from people who come from liberal sites that post angry rebuttals of my posts and visitors from the conservative blogs that attempt to do the same. Visitors from progressive blogs leave comments, argue, initiate discussions, offer evidence in support of their opinions. I might disagree with them, but I am forced to recognize that their comments are interesting to read. Conservative readers come by, gawp, and, at best, leave a comment of the ‘I-know-this-is-somehow-wrong-but-I-don’t-have-the-brains-to-explain-why’ variety. Their writing is stilted and full of spelling and grammar mistakes. They think that calling one ‘a Jew whore’ and ‘an autie retard’ is a powerful intellectual argument.

I explained before why I find any conservative position to be unsustainable on the level of reason and logic. It is not surprising to me that visitors who come here from conservative websites turn out to be very unintelligent and incapable of maintaining a discussion. They don’t really have opinions, that’s the problem. They have emotional outbursts whose underlying causes they are able neither to identify not to control.

And I have to say I agree. In cyberspace, at least, American “liberals” tend to come across as very illiberal and intolerant. But when you read the arguments of American “conservatives”, it becomes almost understandable.

And then there was this: A Spell for Refreshment of the Spirit: Civility: A Blast from the Past:

Everyone is talking about civility today. I’m not American, so before the tragic shooting recently I hadn’t been closely following the ever-deepening political divide south of the border. However, for a long time I have noticed the same deterioration of civility in our society in general.

The thing that amazes me most about US politics is that there is so little difference between the two main parties, yet the closer they are to each other, the more exaggerated the rhetoric with which their supporters attack each other.

Republican supporters attack Democrat supporters as if they will leave no baby unaborted, yet in 8 years Bush did not stop abortion. Democrat supporters attack Republican supporters as if they were intent on invading every country in the world, yet Obama still hasn’t brought US troops back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

The more closely they resemble each other, the more viciously they attack each other.

Of course the US doesn’t have a monopoly on incivility and motor-mouth politicians. America has its Sarah Palin, and we have our Julius Malema. But America seems to have more, and more vociferous, and more incivil extremists than most other countries, at least on the public internet.

There are some areas in which I would support American “conservative” policies, but would be reluctant to do so, because the American “conservatives” who advocate such policies seem to be such hate-filled people, and to advocate those policies from a position of hatred rather than love.

There are some policies advocated by American “liberals” that I think are misguided, and some that I think are stupid, and some that I think are detestable and evil and decidedly illiberal, but on the whole the people who seem to advocate them seem to have their hearts in the right place, even if their heads seem all screwed up. And that reminds me of what a friend of mine once said:

“It is better to do wrong for the sake of love than to insist on doing right because of my lack of it.”

Hackosphere: The Web is not ready for Chrome yet!

At last, a good reason not to try Chrome.

Hackosphere: The Web is not ready for Chrome yet!:

It is an understatement to call Chrome as a browser. It is a mini operating system for running Web applications. So far, most of the Web applications have been running on the server side and used the browser only for display. Recently, there has been a push towards Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that use your browser’s advanced functionalities such as Flash, Javascript etc to deliver desktop application-like complex feature set. Zoho and Google docs are examples of popular Office applications that run in your browser. This trend has just started and is growing.

Hat-tip to Fencing bear at prayer.

Like many other people I’ve read about the Chrome web browser for Google, and have wondered if I should try it. Is it any faster than other browsers, any simpler, any more efficient?

And this article explains it better than anything else — the push towards Rich Internet Applications.

But it misses out the most important thing: the web is not ready for Rich Internet Applications because of bandwidth caps. There is already far too much Flash and Javascript stuff around.

I’ve installed the Noscript add-on to Firefox to block Javascript applications like streaming video, podcasts and the like, because they are such bandwidth hogs, and all this “rich content” costs money to download.

It’s a sort of electronic verbosity, like HTML in e-mail. People who never use one word where four will do love to clothe the most trivial statements with fancy fonts in different colours, animated smiley faces and the like, so that one gets the original message, and then the HTML version that is 10 times as long (and I have my mail reader set to only show the plain text anyway, so I never see the fancy stuff).

If the content was really enhanced by all these bells and whistles it might be OK, but most of it is trivial.

So if the main feature of Chrome is that it does more of what I’m already trying to stop Firefox doing, thanks but no thanks.

Until bandwidth caps are removed, the web is not ready for Rich Internet Applications, and therefore not ready for Chrome.

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