March 02, 2001
[white male] internet utopianism

Internet Culture Review is a great essay by Paul Ford about the history of internet utopianism and the recent uber-commercialization of the net. It is evident that Ford has thought a lot about this subject; he keeps things in perpective very well. A really fun and informative read.

Which reminds me, I've been meaning to start keeping track of the really good essays that I read online, and somehow distinguish them from the constant flow of links that comes through misnomer. Soon.

There are some interesting reactions to "Internet Culture Review" in the Metafilter discussion.

Short piece about e-books, also by Paul Ford, says in some detail what I've often said in discussions about screen-based publishing of any kind: If you try to make an eBook that is better at doing what a paperback does than a paperback itself, you're automatically going to fail. The only way that e-books will be compelling is if they offer something that is unique to the medium, and that becomes something that people want to have while reading. E-books in their current form are only interesting for people who want to have more than a couple books/texts available to them, and are willing to pay the price in clunky-ness.

That's one of the reasons I bought a Palm Pilot - so that I could read longer texts that I found online without having to sit in front of my computer to do so. So far, it's been marginally successful. Translating and transferring files is reasonably fast, but takes a few minutes nonetheless, and the process requires too much technical expertise (cleaning up formatting in BBedit) to be ok for everyone.

posted by dru in politicsoftech