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CHI-WEB  October 1999, Week 4

CHI-WEB October 1999, Week 4

Subject:

Re: What do you think?

From:

Bill Dehora <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bill Dehora <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 23 Oct 1999 18:02:56 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (81 lines)

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Hash: SHA1


| OK.  Here goes.  We are currently experiencing an expansion of
| high-speed internet access methods via DSL lines, cable modem, etc.
|  These services are becoming more widespread and less expensive
| with practically every day that passes.  And, computers you can buy
| today have faster processors, better hardware, more memory, etc.
| for less and less money.  So, what I could buy 3 years ago with
| $1000 for example can't hold a candle to the machine I can get for
| the same amount of money today.  And, the sites I can access on the
| web with my new $1000 machine are much more complex than the ones I
| could access with the $1000 machine I bought three years ago. So,
| when people say that these kinds of sites creates a greater rift
| between the technology haves and have-nots, I am not sure I can
| totally agree.

You're assuming of course that one can afford to upgrade their
machines every X years. Not being able to afford a machine every X
years is a barrier to access, if the computational load of the
software being pushed across the network increases (as we know it
is). The Web isn't any, or hardly any faster now than it was 4 or 5
years ago, the load increases to match the bandwidth improvements. As
more 'information' gets put up, the majority of which is noise, it
becomes harder to find useful information in real terms. The emphasis
on bandwidth is largely fruitless.

It's not simply a question of have and have-not: the rate of one's
ability to upgrade needs to be considered. This have and have-not
argument, I hear it so often. What do you mean by a
have-not? Is it access to technology, or online access, or...?


| Plus, with the rapid advancement of high-end
| technology, and the rapidly decreasing prices of these
| technologies, sites like Balthasar won't be largely inaccessible
| for very long.

Yes, but you're also assuming that sites like Balthaser will stay
fixed as the machines improve. This isn't the case. They will bloat
to fill the available bandwidth. In X years time there will another
bandwidth site that tax the best of our existing machines, as you
point out yourself below.


| There will always be relatively
| technologically simple sites that everyone can access.  The high
| end is just going to get more and more complex as the technology
| can handle it.  And, what is now the high end will soon become the
| mid-range, and eventually the low end as the corresponding
| technology becomes cheaper and cheaper. Arguably, these high-end
| sites stretch what the machines can do, driving the hardware and
| software technology to greater and greater heights - which is
| simply the evolution of the web........

If you are talking about *information* have and have-nots, that makes
sense to me. Then the concern is not about computational power, but
the ability to *access* information, which has more to do with
actually *finding* information in the first instance, assuming (and
this is a very big assumption), that the information you do want is
online.

What one needs then is the social structure and civil rights to allow
one to look for information, better education to manipulate symbolic
information and information machines, a better search facility to
find it at all or in reasonable time, not only a faster computer.


Regards,

Bill de hÓra    :    Cromwell Media    :     dehora @ acm.org

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