How is the Web screwed up?

Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s CTO, asks the crowd at the Adobe Engage event yesterday an interesting question: how is the Web screwed up? People from across the industry answer in the video.

How would you answer it?

My answer? There are too many silos that don’t know about each other. Does Upcoming.org know about Flickr? Barely. Does it know about Yelp? No. How about Facebook. Nope. MySpace? Nope. YouTube? Nope. Does it gather my social network off of Orkut? Nope. Does it talk to Dopplr? Nope. How about other Web services? Nope.

Until we fix that the Web is screwed up.

34 thoughts on “How is the Web screwed up?

  1. 1> Web pages are read-only
    2> Web pages require a server
    3> Web servers can be censored
    4> Web links are unidirectional
    5> Hypertext Markup Language is really Hypertext Formatting Language
    6> IP4 is running out of addresses
    7> The internet backbone isn’t redundant, nor is it survivable
    8> The last mile is still in the hands of corporations
    9> Internet Access, instead of Internet Connectivity
    I could probably go on for a while…

  2. 1> Web pages are read-only
    2> Web pages require a server
    3> Web servers can be censored
    4> Web links are unidirectional
    5> Hypertext Markup Language is really Hypertext Formatting Language
    6> IP4 is running out of addresses
    7> The internet backbone isn’t redundant, nor is it survivable
    8> The last mile is still in the hands of corporations
    9> Internet Access, instead of Internet Connectivity
    I could probably go on for a while…

  3. The self healing design of the Internet hasn’t been extended into the application layer with the browser. It would be very easy for DNS to reply to a browser with multiple IP addresses much as with MX records. This would make automated failover for cheap static sites trivial and dynamic sites easier.

    I was trying to be >relatively< practical but I can’t resist. Let’s also have mesh wireless Internet for everyone provided by the electric utilities for free and financed by their new ability to make generation and usage more efficient.

  4. The self healing design of the Internet hasn’t been extended into the application layer with the browser. It would be very easy for DNS to reply to a browser with multiple IP addresses much as with MX records. This would make automated failover for cheap static sites trivial and dynamic sites easier.

    I was trying to be >relatively< practical but I can’t resist. Let’s also have mesh wireless Internet for everyone provided by the electric utilities for free and financed by their new ability to make generation and usage more efficient.

  5. All depends on which you think ultimately creates more value – my ability to interact with ‘different’communities in different ways, or the ability to create one single reputation-rich identity.
    I’m talking about exactly this at BlogTalk2008 in Cork next week.

  6. All depends on which you think ultimately creates more value – my ability to interact with ‘different’communities in different ways, or the ability to create one single reputation-rich identity.
    I’m talking about exactly this at BlogTalk2008 in Cork next week.

  7. Search is screwed up. The big G is making a big deal about certain issues but for some reason MFA sites still keep ranking in organic search terms. Fix that please.
    One more thing – free Wifi for everyone.

  8. Search is screwed up. The big G is making a big deal about certain issues but for some reason MFA sites still keep ranking in organic search terms. Fix that please.
    One more thing – free Wifi for everyone.

  9. There is far too much corporate interest in controlling the web and turning it into a giant shopping mall.

    Fix the Internet and the web will follow. We need an open, ubiquitous version of the Internet that is truly peer to peer. Corporations/governments would have a much tougher time controlling, spying on and censoring a web sitting on top of a widespread, wireless mesh Internet :)

  10. There is far too much corporate interest in controlling the web and turning it into a giant shopping mall.

    Fix the Internet and the web will follow. We need an open, ubiquitous version of the Internet that is truly peer to peer. Corporations/governments would have a much tougher time controlling, spying on and censoring a web sitting on top of a widespread, wireless mesh Internet :)

  11. The number one problem on the web is authenticity.

    Problem: How do I know that I’m posting a message onto scobleizer.com? My DNS server could have been compromised, sending me to a spoofed version of scobleizer.com, all in an attempt to get me to submit personal information by way of comments.

    Solution: Every web server needs to present a (non-spoofable) certificate that verifies its identity to the user. Build this into the browser, build this into Apache, lighttpd, and IIS, and phishing attempts drop to almost zero.

  12. The number one problem on the web is authenticity.

    Problem: How do I know that I’m posting a message onto scobleizer.com? My DNS server could have been compromised, sending me to a spoofed version of scobleizer.com, all in an attempt to get me to submit personal information by way of comments.

    Solution: Every web server needs to present a (non-spoofable) certificate that verifies its identity to the user. Build this into the browser, build this into Apache, lighttpd, and IIS, and phishing attempts drop to almost zero.

  13. The web is screwed up as much as the human race is screwed up — spam, phisher’s, fraud, scams, id theft, hate, war, data theft, industrial espionage…and you can’t ever fix that, not unless you are God and wipe it all out, aka, Noah’s Flood, the sequel. We think we invent technology, but technology also invents us.

    And one person’s data operability is another’s privacy nightmare.

    The web is a mess, but then DARPA wanted it messy and hubless, for a reason, i.e., if the Soviets nuked out a command and control hub in Cleveland, the network would still function. The ‘mess’ is part of the very fabric of it all. Get a buncha government and academia types high on taxpayer money and Unix (a mess itself) add 30 years, and well the mess gets even messier, commerical outlets, in the late 90s, at least tried to stablize, but even that that’s not perfect as evidenced by Pakistan’s recent YouTube worldwide skid.

    How to improve the web? Start all over. But then they did, with Internet2, and nothing has come of that, minus intranetish private club nets, and you can make better web’s if you pay dearly (the sub-mil nets and all the intelligence community networks).

    So start over again…

  14. The web is screwed up as much as the human race is screwed up — spam, phisher’s, fraud, scams, id theft, hate, war, data theft, industrial espionage…and you can’t ever fix that, not unless you are God and wipe it all out, aka, Noah’s Flood, the sequel. We think we invent technology, but technology also invents us.

    And one person’s data operability is another’s privacy nightmare.

    The web is a mess, but then DARPA wanted it messy and hubless, for a reason, i.e., if the Soviets nuked out a command and control hub in Cleveland, the network would still function. The ‘mess’ is part of the very fabric of it all. Get a buncha government and academia types high on taxpayer money and Unix (a mess itself) add 30 years, and well the mess gets even messier, commerical outlets, in the late 90s, at least tried to stablize, but even that that’s not perfect as evidenced by Pakistan’s recent YouTube worldwide skid.

    How to improve the web? Start all over. But then they did, with Internet2, and nothing has come of that, minus intranetish private club nets, and you can make better web’s if you pay dearly (the sub-mil nets and all the intelligence community networks).

    So start over again…

  15. IMO, a big problem is that easily 75% of the pages I visit have multiple Adobe Flash ads on them running simultaneous sounds and/or animation. Gets so bad (Huffington Post comes to mind) that I have to disable Flash to bring my CPU down under 100% utilization (and before upgrading Flash, it was browser crash). So it’s basically that the browsing experience has become overloaded with plug-ins that aren’t exactly sparse on resource requirements

  16. IMO, a big problem is that easily 75% of the pages I visit have multiple Adobe Flash ads on them running simultaneous sounds and/or animation. Gets so bad (Huffington Post comes to mind) that I have to disable Flash to bring my CPU down under 100% utilization (and before upgrading Flash, it was browser crash). So it’s basically that the browsing experience has become overloaded with plug-ins that aren’t exactly sparse on resource requirements

  17. Tim Berners-Lee solved this problem for everyone years ago… just go read his thinking on the semantic web and go from there. Talking about protocols, stacks and bullshit is a smokescreen. It’s not about a video codec.

  18. Tim Berners-Lee solved this problem for everyone years ago… just go read his thinking on the semantic web and go from there. Talking about protocols, stacks and bullshit is a smokescreen. It’s not about a video codec.

  19. I don’t think that interoperability is really what many of the big players want to do.

    Personally, I’d rather see an open standard for social networking. Maybe there ain’t much money in it, but it’s evolving into one of those “basic, popular functions of the internet” so I think it’d be a good thing to do. I’m not sure how it’d work, though.

  20. I don’t think that interoperability is really what many of the big players want to do.

    Personally, I’d rather see an open standard for social networking. Maybe there ain’t much money in it, but it’s evolving into one of those “basic, popular functions of the internet” so I think it’d be a good thing to do. I’m not sure how it’d work, though.

  21. Hi Robert,

    I have been thinking about this a lot recently. In my last blog post (http://www.scottoraw.co.uk/journal/?p=54) I talked about the need for “domain as identity”. I am not suggesting that all our data should be open for everyone to see but I am getting tired of chasing folks around the “next big thing” merry-go-round.

    Incidentally, nice online Sean Connery impression Mark ;-) (comment #2)

  22. Hi Robert,

    I have been thinking about this a lot recently. In my last blog post (http://www.scottoraw.co.uk/journal/?p=54) I talked about the need for “domain as identity”. I am not suggesting that all our data should be open for everyone to see but I am getting tired of chasing folks around the “next big thing” merry-go-round.

    Incidentally, nice online Sean Connery impression Mark ;-) (comment #2)

  23. I have to agree with mark and robojiannis. I don’t think the web IS broken. Some browsers are broken – okay one is. The web is the vast decentralized mess it should be. I don’t like the idea of the one profile to hack model. Sounds like more insecurity in exchange for minor convenience.

  24. I have to agree with mark and robojiannis. I don’t think the web IS broken. Some browsers are broken – okay one is. The web is the vast decentralized mess it should be. I don’t like the idea of the one profile to hack model. Sounds like more insecurity in exchange for minor convenience.

  25. I’m not convinced that outside of the IT world, people are lined up waiting for this almight video player. See my post for today.

    Also, I agree with the comment about all of our info being out there. I have a post about privacy and blogging.

    I do see the web functioning as “Big Brother” in a bad way…I don’t want to add to it by freely posting all of my info every time a chance comes along.

  26. I’m not convinced that outside of the IT world, people are lined up waiting for this almight video player. See my post for today.

    Also, I agree with the comment about all of our info being out there. I have a post about privacy and blogging.

    I do see the web functioning as “Big Brother” in a bad way…I don’t want to add to it by freely posting all of my info every time a chance comes along.

  27. but ain’t that the point of the web? to be screwed up, mixed up, scrambled and tangled. That’s the price we have to pay for participating in a self-organizing, decentralized network.

    That according to Weinberger (Small pieces loosely joined).

  28. but ain’t that the point of the web? to be screwed up, mixed up, scrambled and tangled. That’s the price we have to pay for participating in a self-organizing, decentralized network.

    That according to Weinberger (Small pieces loosely joined).

  29. Is linking all data the panacea of the Internet? I think we need to go carefully on how we just link all data and think how we can emulate the way in which we reveal information in real life.
    You don’t walk down the street with a badge saying “Hi, my name is Robert”. OK, maybe you’re a bad example to use as you seem quite happy with similar concepts ;-). Generally we choose when and to whom we reveal our name, what we do, what we like, who we know etc. It’s a process of trust development.

    danah Boyd wrote a really interesting piece on this recently http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/02/04/just_because_we.html which I’ve been meaning to write something about. I think this is very relevant to your question.

    Besides, just think of the affect on the street cred of the average Bond baddy trying to demonstrate their efficient network of information gathering. “Ah, Mr Bond, we’ve been expecting you. I believe you’ll find these clothes are your size”
    “Sho, Dr No, you flatter me by following my feed on Facebook and Dopplr but you shtill won’t get away with your plans of world domination. Firsht you’ll have to raise your bid for Yahoo to have any hope of beating Google”.

  30. Is linking all data the panacea of the Internet? I think we need to go carefully on how we just link all data and think how we can emulate the way in which we reveal information in real life.
    You don’t walk down the street with a badge saying “Hi, my name is Robert”. OK, maybe you’re a bad example to use as you seem quite happy with similar concepts ;-). Generally we choose when and to whom we reveal our name, what we do, what we like, who we know etc. It’s a process of trust development.

    danah Boyd wrote a really interesting piece on this recently http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/02/04/just_because_we.html which I’ve been meaning to write something about. I think this is very relevant to your question.

    Besides, just think of the affect on the street cred of the average Bond baddy trying to demonstrate their efficient network of information gathering. “Ah, Mr Bond, we’ve been expecting you. I believe you’ll find these clothes are your size”
    “Sho, Dr No, you flatter me by following my feed on Facebook and Dopplr but you shtill won’t get away with your plans of world domination. Firsht you’ll have to raise your bid for Yahoo to have any hope of beating Google”.

  31. I’m sure I probably have a different focus on what’s important with the web than you Robert, and most of your readers. But, I think one of the biggest problems going forward is that we still don’t have a free usable patent unencumbered streaming video format (ogg theora is debatable on the patent side, but the performance is definitely not there yet). As video becomes more and more important on the web, this is a major problem.

  32. I’m sure I probably have a different focus on what’s important with the web than you Robert, and most of your readers. But, I think one of the biggest problems going forward is that we still don’t have a free usable patent unencumbered streaming video format (ogg theora is debatable on the patent side, but the performance is definitely not there yet). As video becomes more and more important on the web, this is a major problem.

Comments are closed.