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Suddenly the way to Web 3.0 seems clear

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Paul Mason | 11:23 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

During the election I wrote about the demographic gap between iPhone and Blackberry users. In the past day I have leapt across that gap, ditching the corporate locked-down BBC Blackberry for a privately owned iPhone. Suddenly I can see a clear path through to Web 3.0, although it's not going to be pretty for parts of the media.

Basically, once you are in the world of truly smart smartphones, and proprietory applications, the old "web" looks like a legacy network. The formerly "free" information space is fragmenting into owned channels of communication, or at the very least prioritised and hierarchical channels. There is nobody at all going to "defend" the web as a transparent public place because, like the common land on which peasants grazed their sheep in the 17th century, it is very easily grabbable by self-styled landlords. And this is not all bad news, because it means people who create unique and amazing content can go back to doing what Jonathan Swift et al did at the start of mass book publishing: making money to pay the rent.

To recap about iterations of the web so far. In v 1.0 it was all about expensive, commercially-owned services and e-commerce, where only the strong survived. Information still flowed, as in the analogue age, from one to many.

Web 2.0 was where it became really easy and cheap to create services on the web, and social networks took off. Blogging was the first iteration of Web 2.0, Twitter is the latest.

But now the world of online is no longer a series of files on a server viewed through your PC. It is a series of devices and objects. For me, the "online" economy consists of the brown Amazon packages that drop onto the doormat from time to time, my iPod - an entire lifetime's CD collection stored there, my Kindle - which is clunky and not getting a huge amount of use - and until now my locked-down corporate Blackberry with its unreadably small text and slow GPRS connection to web pages that never load exactly as you want them to, especially when you are on a deadline or about to miss a flight.

The iPhone - and for the sake of balance I will also give a passing mention to its rival system, the Android phone which I have tried out and seems equally whizzy - takes you to a whole new level.

Probably the coolest thing that it has "done" to me so far is as follows. I downloaded an app that logs your running route on GPS, thereby obviating the need to buy a £300 plastic watch that's been designed to do only this. Then, as the run begins, it is announced on your Facebook page. Then, if your friends should write something like: "why are you out jogging while there's a deadline to meet", or, "watch out for the pitbulls in your local park", etc - the comment is immediately spoken, into your ear (for you are, of course, also listening to your jogging playlist on the iPhone) by a computer-generated voice.

This, I can tell you, is very weird and falls into the category for me of the famous bubble blowing machine that blows bubbles every time you say its name on Twitter. This machine caused crowds to form at a recent hi-tech trade show, and simultaneously caused all the hi-spec corporate demonstrations to be deserted as people marvelled at this machine, which cost about $100 dollars to make.

The lesson is: you don't know you want cool stuff, or have use for it, until you see it. And some stuff is so cool that people immediately invent uses for it.

There's a lot of futurology going on about what Web 3.0 will be. One argument sees Web 3.0 as a device-driven, rather than PC/Browser driven, version of Web 2.0 - in which the ability to put a commercial fence around information finally becomes socially acceptable to users because they can no longer get for free what they are now asked to pay for.

I have to say I buy this: lots of people in publishing are despairing because they don't see young people being prepared to buy anything online: music, books, etc. But I think they are wrong - it's just that people will only pay for something where the experience is enhanced - whether by its usability, timeliness or exclusiveness, or any other attribute human beings find alluring.

A more radical vision of Web 3.0 is Tim Berners Lee's idea of a "semantic web" where computers are able to make so much sense out of the existing information that they can begin to interact on humans' behalf with each other. It would be a seamless web of information that is both socially constructed and mechanically sorted.

This has also been described as the Metaverse 1.0 - a world where information and human life begin to interact seamlessly through devices. James Cameron's film Avatar captures a little of this vision.

Though I have been warned by my colleagues not to subscribe, for fear of being stalked, the application Foursquare seems to be closest to this: where you comment on, or rate, in real time, places you are in, and then your comments float around on a map nearby where you are for others to read. Meanwhile the "augmented reality" aspect of these so called geosocial services is interesting - my regular cameraman in the USA never tires of delighting us by pointing the iPhone in the direction of the nearest bar he has found on Urban Spoon and then guiding us there through the screen of the iPhone as if it were the Heads Up Display of, say, a jet aircraft.

All this has major implications for content creators that we're only just getting to grips with. The BBC is currently discussing what its "red lines" are in the world of online information - that is, what it should not do for fear of inhibiting private sector provision. News International has just put The Times, along with the Wall Street Journal, behind a paywall. The Guardian only requires you to pay (once) for an app that provides the newspaper free to your phone.

I think in a few years time most of these pay-for-information models will have settled down into a world where you do have to pay for high-spec information, or get it for free with a lot of targeted advertising attached. As the information becomes "rich" it will be hard to pirate the richness and though there will still be a counter-culture of info-piracy, and a culture of freely provided "user generated" content like blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Within all this the BBC will probably be the only freely available, accurate, universal, impartial, non-commercial, simple to use source of news, current affairs, intelligent documentaries, classical music and intelligent talk radio. It's not a case of whether it "should" be doing entertainment, comedy etc - which is the Web 1.0 version of the argument. By 2020 the platforms will have evolved so much that the platform itself will define the content: what I mean is the rich, tactile, highly-personal experience you will get from proprietory devices - whether its the iPhone 10 or an enhanced gaming console - will define the kind of content that is produced, much as CGI is now driving the kind of films that are being produced. It seems axiomatic that the BBC will not be operating in all these media, but it will have to be more than just a bunch of TV shows, audio podcasts and web articles that you can now see on your phone rather than a radio, PC or TV.

It's quite a moment when all the neural pathways to the future are opened, just for a second, by glimpsing what a device can do. All this has big implications for politics and civil society too: like I said during the election - Cleggmania was a product of this generational shift in the consumption of information, and it took off essentially through the interaction of 24 hour TV and the social media, leaving the analogue tabloids standing - even despite their whizzy, celebrity-driven web presences.

For people in my business, the challenge now is to create the kind of content that sings "buy me" on these new geo-social devices. It's going to have to be more than a blog on the Newsnight website or a video clip of some FT journalist doing an explainer in the newsroom. But what is it? For certain it's going to have to have, as environmentalist Paul Hawken said in his book The Next Economy (in 1983!), less mass and more information.

Huffington Post has, for me, come closest to building a news source that exploits the attributes of Web 2.0 - where you share and recommend, and also where the editorial decisions react to the user data very fast. But what would Newsnight be like if it were redesigned for a world of realtime social interaction and delivered through highly graphic and interactive devices? (As opposed to the dumb, flat device where the only interaction possible is to throw an empty lager can at the screen).

What do you think?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    How disappointing that you support the plunder of the internet commons.
    Is it not obvious that the enclosures were about profit not the well-being of human beings?
    The internet offers humanity the opportunity of direct democracy.
    A world socially interacting just for the sake of it, not to make money out of someone.

    Profit, accumulate, profit, accumulate - it's no good for us!

  • Comment number 2.

    What do you think?

    That, far from there being a risk of reduced coverage because of cuts, we can be assured of even greater overlap in sharing personal preferences in branded toys.

    Maggie & Rory.. look out! Or are they going to stray into economics for good measure?

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul, I would start with Baudrillard's thesis that we have been continually devolving our various subjective functions to objects - and, in the process, erasing our subjective flexibility. A classic example here would be the 60s fad for so-called "conversation pits" in trendy Californian homes, which were intended to encourage stimulating conversation, but in the end became little more than cracks in the floor which people used to pass drugs and sexual partners around. The fact that this process is linked to political passivity and apathy is key.

    My intervention would be to point out how the fragmentation caused by this devolving of subjective functions onto an increasing complex network of objects and hi-tech gadgets is now the cause of a demand for a greater degree of coherence and synthesis amongst these objects - greater, that is, than in the early days of so-called post-68 "cultural capitalism". If the new technology (Web 3.0) can bind and synthesise the very same fragmentation which it causes, then the political passivity linked to these processes (as diagnosed by Baudrillard) will remain. But if the technology cannot perform this binding operation, the old, politically passive form of subjectivity will have to be replaced.

    For once in a generation, people will be forced to start thinking for themselves again. And, my goodness, with all that is happening now, we really need to see that shift take place.

  • Comment number 4.

    Your instincts may be trusted on this if you consider the device as an intrinsic organ rather than seperate technical entity - for instance your role as journalist would be severely wounded by the loss of your iphone.

    So if the networked device forms part of your memory, then not only do you learn from the network, it learns from you by return. The truly remarkable possibility arises when you stop to consider how you could be 'programmed' by memories that are not your own - those mediated by the network. Just think,a whole populations very history could be crystalised by means of a 'Historical Materialism 'a la Walter Benjamin

    M theory made real ?

    what did you dream ?, don't worry we told you what to dream - welcome to the machine.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi

    don't mistake productivity for cool. Productivity means less time working or more disposable income for the same time working. Getting a message while you are jogging isn't a paradigm shift. Augmented reality is interesting but will it deliver anything of worth? Computing often flatters to deceive. Most iphone apps are solutions searching for a problem.

    I'm surprised you don't like your kindle. Surely the ability to read for sustained periods (no backlight, low energy) is more productive. This is genuinely new technology, not simply the miniturisation of the PC.

    Deliver of information on the go ensures we delay quality tasks and are continually interrupted by noise, causing us to switch context, which takes time to refocus. If you are doing a task where you find you can switch back and forth between said task and audio notifications containing largely trivial data then I would suggest the primary task is also trivial.

    Surely if we are to dig ourselves out of recession this means changing up. More time reading graduate level texts on our kindle (or paperback) and less time watching youtube.

    ps I'm a developer and I can tell you the gap between what laypeople see as "the semantic web" and the majority of programming that backs the web is night and day. If you want to see what the last great hope for the semantic web is, check out wolfram alpha. https://www.wolframalpha.com/. It's really bad. That's not to say programming will never deliver this and there is lots of really great stuff, but people have been saying this for nearly 40 years and the modern computer age is not much older than that. Eg - how would you turn this forum into data worth something? Now generalize that.

  • Comment number 6.

    Plus agree 100% with duvinrouge. If you are plugged into what's going on in IT you would know open source software is massively important.

    And, don't we already have a service that panders slavishly to it's audience, which makes all of it's news except newsnight unwatchable? They'd better not have that koran story on high up the order! Bet that's been an easy day on the BBC news desk today with that running.

  • Comment number 7.

    quote… "the BBC will probably be the only freely available…"

    It's not freely available. It's subscription based, like the Times or WSJ. It's funny how those who work at the BBC seem to forget who pays their wages.

    I'm still waiting for my username and password to appear on my TV license.

    It's a strange model as it seems to be the subscribers gift to the world at the minute - it's only a matter of time before license payers wonder why their paying for his when it's all freely available through a different method. That days is very quickly approaching.
    Welcome to Web 3.0

  • Comment number 8.


    1. Good to have a stab at the future of technology - its likely shape and ramifications - but this thinking seems to come narrowly from inside the Beeb-box, and blokeish to boot (gadget-allure). It's depressing how complacent you appear about commodification and the inlaying of hierarchy - all that rich content pleasingly fetishized for rich folks, with no notion (or apparent interest) in what this means for those without the wherewithal to buy into it.

    2. The rise of the novel model feels wrong: the contract between the "creators of unique and amazing content" and the "self-styled landlords" (a.k.a. multinational corporations) can't be equated with the close alliance that existed between writers like Swift & Sterne and printers & booksellers. What does it say about your argument that you propose the landlord as an enabler, and are so blaz/e about the loss of common land or free information? (The politics of 'it was ever thus' seem oddly placed in a debate about how things might be.)

    3. Doesn't the language of epiphany ("suddenly I can see a clear path"), envisioning Web 3.0 as a provider of "rich, tactile, highly-personal experiences", simply mimic the net's advocacy of narcissism? Wouldn't self-empowerment, rather than self-gratification, be a better model for debating what else Web 3.0 might "do for me"?

    4. Some time ago you said you were going to write about how it was in your once-mining Lancashire hometown: why not revisit and rethink precisely what Web 3.0 might mean there for the left-behind - also for the up & coming, those massing ranks in Africa & China?

    By the way, "a legacy network" - what is that exactly, something like the NHS?

  • Comment number 9.

    1) More likely to exacerbate the digital divide.
    2) The commercial and invasive opportunity for exploitation by corporations and possibly governments will dominate over the potential enrichment of individual lives.
    These developments are inevitable and may produce a fashionable technology backlash.

  • Comment number 10.

    ..the BBC will probably be the only freely available, accurate, universal, impartial, non-commercial, simple to use source of news, current affairs, intelligent documentaries, classical music and intelligent talk radio....

    bbc is not 'free' and thus should not be freely available to those who don't pay it. Its like saying the nhs is 'free; so it should be freely avilable to everyone in the world. what kind of reasoning is that? what false assumptions underpin that?

    there are other public service companies in the world. while snobs might say russia today, al jazeera [bbc retirement home] etc are state propagandists its worth bearing in mind people in those countries view the bbc in the same way? sometimes the only way to find out what is going on in the uk is to go through other public broadcasters? In the early days canadian sources were giving dire 'rorke's drift' reports from afghanistan when there seemed a curfew on any news from there in the uk.

    open source broadcasting has a popular public service function. when i suggested the bbc should be doing this back in 2000 i got attacked saying only saddos will use it and no one will watch it. So youtube occupied the space the bbc could have filled. now the bbc is a client of youtube. who has a behind the curve culture? bbc or youtube?

    messageboards have an important public service function and often break news. the old Great Debate Board did that. it should be core 'public service' but it was the first thing Thompson closed down. i used to do experiments and sometimes post pretty obscure false information on there just to see what would happen. it never went for more than a few hours without being corrected or challenged.

    if you search any headline from the FT or Times etc you will find the story. unless you have unique content people wont pay. why should people pay for rehashed press releases every other outlet is pumping?

    i'm sure tech will continue until you can put a chip in your head and know all the information in the world that is always instantly updated. Information and apps are like a loaded gun amoral. In themselves they do not change the character of those who use or misuse it.

    [for those who don't know and wonder why he is talking tech Paul was deputy editor at Computer Weekly,. as Mason is "father of the chapel" for the National Union of Journalists on BBC Newsnight and former member of Trotskyist organisation Workers Power, he is also the person who should be explaining why they voted for strike on the bbc ponzi pension scheme?]

  • Comment number 11.

    Since when is the BBC free? It costs £150 a year and if you don't pay you go to jail.

    Let's put the BBC behind a paywall and let people decide if they want topay for the rubbish pumped out by the left wing BBC.

  • Comment number 12.

    #10

    Paul has been conspicuous by his absence on the issue of BBC journalists voting to strike over unsutainable pensions mere license payers could only dream of.

    Given Pauls track record of anlysis on such things at the very least he should abstain. This BBC journalist strike over pensions story was buried in the entertainment section (link below)and barely saw the light of day....funny that ?


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11154303


    The only alternative to abstension is if Paul believes it will all be irrelevent anyway so he may as well keep the peace for now, soon it will not matter if you have a ponzi public sector pension or a real one, non of them will be worth anything (I have stopped paying into a pension fund now).

    It is great being married to someone who has no particular interest in these things, my wife was asking me about my latest concerns, I told her people were concerned about a 'double dip' recession... her answer

    '' I had not realised we had come out of the first one yet'' !!

    I think that would be most people's perception if we did not get economists quoting fairly marginal and increasingly meaningless figures at us in mainstream media on a daily basis .. growth of 1.6%.. house prices up gets headlines but the underlying trend line of unemployment and living expenses inflation v wage inflation does not... hence my wifes perception of things....


    It amazes me nobody has strung together the obvious warning sign of an increase in imports hot on the heels of a mini-recovery through Labour pre-election largesse. When we 'recover' all we do is suck in more imports and inflation along with it.

    The United States is essentially bankrupt, no matter what they do unemployment creeps up (and is far larger than reported anyway), meanwhile the natives are getting restless at thier plight and threatening to burn the Koran.

    They would do better burning the current global economic model they created and which has kept them in gas guzzlers and size extra extra large jeans for the last 40 years, but most people ( web 3.0 or not) simply do not have access to and are never presented with the basic truth of the emerging situation. Whether you have Freeview TV or an I-phone and are fully web 3.0 connected real unleveraged analysis is hard to come by.



    Be it Fox news or the BBC, if you want to find the truth you have to first be aware that you have to go out there and actively seek it, if you rely on mainstream media and journalistic integrity you will remain ignorant.

    Web 3.0.. all very clever but it is also quite exclusive and i dont see it as anything other as a new plaything of the well connected and relatively wealthy chattering classes who do not effect any change what - so ever. As demonstrated by BBC journalists vote to strike on thier pensions a couple of week ago.

    The current arrangement suits them all quite nicely.. thank you very much. Web 3.0 will neither generate significant jobs to save the world economy or connect those who matter together to force a change.






  • Comment number 13.

    Paul - I hope the Treasury reads this blog. The BBC are gonna get spanked like never before come October!

    Free! You'd expect that from most BBC employees but not the Newsnight economist. Please wake up to how many people think the BBC is a total waste of money.

  • Comment number 14.

    12

    rather than admit the pension scheme is a ponzi that is unsustainable and make arrangements for a new model for pensions [and those who had it had a good run while it lasted] they prefer to strike. At some point we all have to make the mind shift. some do it more rationally than others.

  • Comment number 15.

    I certainly won't be paying for access to Timesonline et al.
    The business model for an internet news provider charging (via a paywall) to prop up an ailing news print publisher is bonkers!

    There is now an ideal opportunity for someone in the UK to set up an on-line ONLY news provider generating all its income from ads (I think the Huff Post is along the same lines if not mistaken.)

    Looks like it'll be Al Jazeera News and Spiegel Online for alternative news content in the meantime. Maybe China should set up an online news agency...it would certainly be interesting to receive some news content without any free-market lovin' Libertarian bias!

    Murdoch is the Great Satan.

  • Comment number 16.

    Let's look at historical parallels - but recognise the fundamental difference of zero dimensional space - unlike the land grabs of the enclosures, cyberspace is limitless and it is the ultimate meritocracy, but one vulnerable to hype and marketing spend.

    The evolution of the mass media started with the leaking of the corresponding societies' newsheets from a private club to a (relatively) mass audience - the medium of small run printing ballooned into a society hungry for information.

    The constraints of transport meant that local print media developed before national titles were able to print and distribute on a daily basis and the news values of the regions built the local media before Fleet Street emerged as the force it became.

    As transport and electronic communications changed this dynamic and broadcasting started, news shifted from being a facet of community life to an entertainment commodity which could make serious money.

    In crystal ball gazing about 3.0 web, we are looking at a political economy of knowledge and information which disaggregates value from information as a homogenised, vanilla product back to something that is "now/me/us" - a return to immediacy, to relevance that is contextualised and personal.

    Just as the Web didn't use video in the early days due to the constraint of the dial up modem, so the mass media was formed by the limitations of terrestrial analogue broadcasting and the logistics of printing newspapers.

    Cellular mobile comms and broadband WiFi ends the tyranny of space and time, but it also ends the one-size-fits-all of the mass media. When you add in relational databases linked to GPS, this opens up new forms of media grammar that are software + data driven, not what you can do with a camera and a microphone, pint on paper or a standard web page.

    Select your interface - define your search criteria - receive what you care about in the way to want it - you set your agenda and how it is mediated by the way you move through time and space.

    The mass media only works because it aggregates and homogenises information - sterotypes ,prejudices, fashion, trends and the herd drive our consumption because they deliver eyeballs or ears - or both - to those that are willing to pay for them.

    This is not lost of those who want our money, our allegence or our votes. Once you break down the ability to homogenise and pump media down a small number of resourced channels the model atomises - but one where it is hard to see how a revenue stream-based media can function.

    Process is the key - disaggregate the mediation, the marketing and the control, embody this is a series of Apps that simply process data and returns a personal data report and the economics move from media publishing to mobile phone data - the rug would be literally pulled from media publishing.

    But new is an expensive commodity - to gather and distribute - are we really sure this can change - or that it needs to? Thr blogg-sphere is all very good, but where is the dogged determination of the journalist to dig out the real story?

    There is the intellectual dumbing down that is Youtube, Twitter and facebook - the cult of the individual and his/her inannity, stupidity and prejudices - the democratisation ideas and insight are great laudible ideals, but this needs intelligence, knowledge and insight to be of any real value.

  • Comment number 17.

    what a long intro

  • Comment number 18.

    "A more radical vision of Web 3.0 is Tim Berners Lee's idea of a "semantic web" where computers are able to make so much sense out of the existing information that they can begin to interact on humans' behalf with each other. It would be a seamless web of information that is both socially constructed and mechanically sorted.

    This has also been described as the Metaverse 1.0 - a world where information and human life begin to interact seamlessly through devices.
    "

    What do I think? I think this a fantasy based on a misunderstanding of the true roots of the ICT revolution.

    To see the true origin of the web as a concept, see 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism' in 1951, and the more popular effort (a jointly written book) for humanities students entitled 'The Web of Belief' bearing in mind that the term semantics and belief were regarded with some scepticism (if not derision) by the author. There are austere technical reasons why a semantic network is a nonsense, and people well trained in philosophy, logic and computer science must know this. The gap bet6ween spin and reality that we're seeing today is (as poster 5 accurately says above) is indeed the difference between night and day.

    Paul, you've seen this irreality cause chaos in financial services etc, please look into this far more critically. Too many are being swept along by commercial flim-flam because they have absolutely no idea how any of this really works beyond a user front-end. For those wanting to make money out of consumers, that suits them down to the group. The more naive consumers the better. Remind you of anything?

  • Comment number 19.

    16. At 11:51pm on 11 Sep 2010, richard bunning wrote:
    Let's look at historical parallels - but recognise the fundamental difference of zero dimensional space - unlike the land grabs of the enclosures, cyberspace is limitless and it is the ultimate meritocracy, but one vulnerable to hype and marketing spend."

    I got lost even in the first paragraph. What does "recognise the fundamental difference of zero dimensional space" mean? zero dimensional space is a point, one, a line, two a plane, and these are all just measurement tools. Then you say "cyberspace is limitless and it is the ultimate meritocracy" but how is it a meritocracy? It is populist, and that gives weight to the middle of the distribution where most people are, the average Joe and Josephine. What has that to do with meritocracy? Like many people today, you use words poetically, but the price of that is that one doesn't say anything which is true or useful surely?

    This is a very common error these days, but it has nothing to do with meritocracy, it's just populism, and, if nations gets dumber too, where might that lead? If the world wide web gets dumber (a couple of people did a paper on global intelligence in the Journal Intelligence recently I think) where might that lead?

  • Comment number 20.

    It's easy to get confused between content and style of delivery, and between cool and useful.

    Cool is transient, but usefulness persists. News is useful, but rarely cool.

    What news consumers want is news, not shiny toys.

  • Comment number 21.

    I was on a panel recently that debated the idea that the new web communities were an expansion of personal interaction, or an obstacle to it. The positive examples used were things like the big social network sites, more targeted ones like Mums-net, and Ebbesfleet United, where tens of thousands of online shareholders picked the team each week.

    Very few people were convinced by this. The Social Networking sites are good in that they provide furtive entertainment for people with boring jobs, but for everything else they are pretty rubbish. Mums-Net is just another excuse to avoid messy, complicated relations with your neighbours, and instead be the mistress of your own anonymous universe where mistakes cost nothing.

    After initial success, Ebbesfleet's shareholders drifted away to other diversions, as it was unsurprisingly made clear that a manager who trained with and knew his players was a better judge than someone who had taken Exeter City to the Champions League Final on Football Manager 2010, but knew nothing about real football.

    Look at the example of "cat-in-wheelie-bin-gate" or whatever it was called. Or Raoul Moat, or Rage Against the Machine for No.1, or 'don't ban england football tops in pubs' and other strawmen. A huge online community reaction, that in fact meant nothing because it was nothing more than an expression of opinion, not an indication of action. Cleggmania another example - a huge swing in opinion after the debate that was nulified in actuality on polling day by the fear of "them lot" getting permanent right to reside under the LibDems.

    I'm not being negative. Honestly. But the argument that Paul sets out in his article is accurate, but needs to be qualified. Web 3.0 is a big development, but only in its field (ie. media and entertainment), it is an advancement, but only as a tool is perfected, like the progression from general ledgers to Sage software, from AOL Members Area to Google, from Dresden to Fallujah.

    In that sense, it is a good thing, especially if it means lower costs (AOL used to charge 25 quid a month just to look at its homepage, with phone connection charges on top!). As a poster above says, Open Source will set the agenda - Microsoft is now like the Emperor being applauded by an ever-decreasing circle of non adepts, while more and more people are noticing that he's wearing no clothes. If you stay 2 years behind the curve you can get everything for virtually nothing - i'll get my HD cheap in 2012, what will i have missed?

    As to Swiftians and their need to earn a living - hey man, why not just work part time, it might keep your feet on the ground! :-)

  • Comment number 22.

    Ah, how I recall the days of CP/M, Wordstar and dBASE etc, long before IBM and Microsoft came along and spoiled it all...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M

 

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