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Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Forty-two Reasons Why Intergalactic Hypertext Failed

Arthur was blinking at the sky, too shocked to be terrified.

“Could you please explain?”

Ford tapped Arthur’s shoulder.

“Which part? You know, we need to hurry.”

“Well, why don’t you start with the forty-two reasons intergalactic hypertext failed?”

“OK. It’s like this. Someone figured out it’d be a nice idea to interconnect all the planets and create the Universe Wide Web. As you know, information travels at the speed of light, even in broadband. So they had problems with updates across different galaxies. People of different planets decided to simply predict future events... at least they would be reported in time in case they ever happened.”

Arthur kept staring up.

“I think they’re coming closer.”

“Actually, we are coming closer... they’re just sucking us into their giant vacuum cleaner. So. Next problem were storage capacities. And people wanted to have the whole history of life covered. News of other, possibly uninhibited planets. All the current events, you see. They were now growing planets, and breeding civilizations just for that coverage. Of course, to keep them motivated, nobody ever told the people of those homegrown planets their whole reason for existence was reporting news on other planets, and that all their other information noise was filtered out. The earth was created to report on what you call the moon, and possible appearance of intelligent life on it.”

“Intelligent life?”

“Yes, intelligent enough to hide.”

Arthur’s feet started shaking. Images of howling wolves rushed through his head. He felt like earth itself was moving beneath his feet. Which, in fact, it probably did.

“And... you are working for which intergalactic search engine, you said?”

“Arthur, I told you we have to hurry a bit. This site is going to be shut down permanently. The dolphins already escaped.”

“The dolphins...” Arthur mumbled to himself, while Ford dragged him on the roof of what soon would be Arthur’s ex-home, vaporized into the vast infinity of space particles. He didn’t know much about dolphins but suddenly realized escaping wasn’t such a bad idea.

Boycotting the Microsoft Search Boycott

Tim Swanson talks about why he would boycott a Microsoft Search boycott (July 2, 2003). As you may know, Microft seems to have some plans to become a bigger player in the Web search market. They started sending out their Microsoft Bot to spider sites. Some people, those webmasters not to keen on increasing the MS-Desktop-Monopoly, want to lock their site gates for Billbot:

“Microsoft is building a Web search engine, and they intend for it to become the industry standard. Given Microsoft’s track record during the browser wars, there is every reason to believe the company will again use its monopoly power to eliminate competition by building a Web search service into the next version of Windows. (...)

[You] can help make a difference now by declaring your site off-limits to the Microsoft crawler. All it takes is a file called robots.txt in your top-level directory, and these two lines:

User-agent: MSNBOT
Disallow: /”
Boycott Microsoft Search!

Of course, those who have a commercial online business to run will think twice about excluding a potential revenue stream. And those webmasters who don’t favor IT monopolies would as well, considering the current search engine market share — which is prominently and almost exclusively dominated by grassroots-Google.

No Faith in Sponsored Results

The Register reports that, according to Consumer WebWatch (an arm of America’s Consumer Union), consumers don’t trust paid-for search. However: “Two in five link selected by the participants were paid-for results, which can be seen as an outstanding success for the likes of Overture, Google and eSpotting.”


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