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Internet Stuff

Internet site at work is down again, so it's time to improvise.

A few things on my mind, in the way that concepts can be until I either forget them or end up using them for something. I need a better memory.

Anyway. First thing is that Nokia have ported Apache to Symbian Series 60. This is interesting mostly from a "what happens next" viewpoint. Nokia don't want to make cellphones, they want to make "next-generation high-end devices" — in English, they're making portable PC-alikes with cellular radios that just happen to do voice if you ask them nicely. They've got just about everything you need for a modern web experience now working on their operating system. Ignoring the OS underpinnings that the article looks at[0], think about it. How long until people host their own sites on their own "internet enabler" (phones are so passe, darling)? A customised version of Apache that creates Python CGI scripts and uses some funky frontend magic (that we've been needing for years) to allow anyone to create a full website with no thought but the content. Maybe just go the whole hog and couple the Apache install with MT or Blogger, with the catch that only the personal-internet-device is able to author posts.

This brings up interesting points. Large hosting companies are hosed in favour of people running their sites on jumped-up smartphones; phonebooks conflate with LiveJournal like flists; a friend's URL becomes as important as her phone number, and so on.

All of which hearks back to the "The intarnets will be ubiquitous in 6mo." dribble we heard during the Web 1.0 bubble. We know that this isn't the way things go — the future's never as bright as we hope — but likewise a fair bit survived the original bubble, which makes me wonder what will survive this bubble, and if the concept of ubiquitous computing is any closer than before. It's firing around as something more important than a background point to a story, for certain. What to do with it is, as yet, beyond me.

Other thing, possibly related: I've been playing around with TiddlyWiki. Anyone seen/used it before? I do like the idea of a wiki/other collaborative CMS as a single HTML page, because ultimately, it's simple. You deal with one page. Everything's internal. What it needs is a much better styling interface, and a better "publish this online" interface, but that's all possible. Add those in, and you've got a proper... And there's my problem. I can't name it. It's not a web frontend to another protocol, like webmail or DejaGoogle. It's not a webapp unless you want to host it or use the "publish to web" thing, but it's an app that runs inside a browser using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, and is entirely contained in the page.

It's getting the same resonance as the above, I know that much.

Looks like my brain wants to write a Web 2.0 story of some kind. Dare I utter the words "Internet noir"?

[0]: Because the article looks at them, and I don't want to repeat it.


( 15 informants — We want information! )
Jun. 20th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Jun. 20th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Since I can't even afford to access the we from my Treo I blanche at the potential costs of hosting. Plus you'd always have to keep the fucker charged...
Jun. 20th, 2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
Look at T-Mobile's revised Web'n'Walk tariff. For about 20 quid a month (it's a monthly tariff) it gets you all you can eat web/email via GPRS. They started out capping it at 40Mb/month back last year, but a month ago or thereabouts they removed the cap (although their terms and conditions ban VoIP and P2P applications).

The way things are going, the telcos have sunk so much money into 3G licenses that nobody wants to use for video on demand that they're eventually going to have to crack and start offering 3G for broadband (i.e. permanent internet connectivity at 150-300kb/s rather than the 2-8mb/s you get with ADSL or cable these days). At which point the price war will start, and this sort of tech -- Apache on a mobile phone -- will start making sense.

BTW, my mobile phone has a 4Gb SD card in it for storage. 4Gb cards are going on eBay for about 40-50 quid, or about what 1Gb cards were this time last year. That's plenty for running, say, a text-only Wikipedia mirror site ...
Jun. 20th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
The next step could be using the wireless connectivity of phones to spread your data. Something like UUCP perhaps. It could even switch to a more tcp/ip mode when there is a lot of connectivity around. If we had that, why bother with the telco uplink for anything other than intercity links. These could be replaced by lindline<->wireless routers though. Before we know it we could have a fully publicly owned communication system with telcos reduced to one bit of fibre for every few thousand people.

Of course if such technology were developed, it would quickly become illegal to switch packets without a license.
Jun. 24th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
That would be both good and bad. Of course, with something like Bluetooth you could exchange web stuff for free (barring battery costs) phone to phone. Of course, it could be used for tracking people and memes, by dropping a coded file onto a phone, and seeing where it went, by having it call home via the internet WiFi whenever it could.
Jun. 28th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
So by tricking people into running untrusted binaries you could have an inefficient version of foaf?

Also, imagine if you could get shortwave radio for phones...
Jun. 28th, 2006 12:23 pm (UTC)
Yes, but you could also use it to pass viri, rip phone books and pictures, call logs, even steal credit by routing a call via someone else's phone.

It would be anarchy, but an anarchy that will have to wait until every phone is a fancy one, then we can get on with writing the code. Well, not me, a minion. Then I can have the mobile phones rise up, and enslave the world! I will have the power to make people think that the meeting was at 7am, not 9! HAHAhahaAHHAAHa.

Seriously, though, you definately will need some knd of firewall on a wireless device before long, and some sort of encryption for sending to trusted parties that can ID themselves properly. Verbal passing of a shared passphrase might be an answer, as the processing overhead is currently too high, and one phone would have to be already violated.
Jun. 20th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
Looks like my brain wants to write a Web 2.0 story of some kind.

Looks like your brain wants to get beaten with a big stick. Web2.0 almost means as little as postmodern.

What actually is web2.0 apart from a trademark for a conference?
Jun. 20th, 2006 09:19 pm (UTC)
I know that. Web 2.0 is a trademark for a conference and a buzzword that's getting places venture capital for developing useless (pretty but functionless) web shite.

It's (for the purpose of the story that's slowly forming) one of the main terms that starts the second web bubble — which goes pop once again when investors realise that they're hearing a lot of "Web 2.0" and "AJAX" but not seeing anything but the ten billionth Google Maps clone.
Jun. 22nd, 2006 12:10 am (UTC)
My current novel-in-progress features sarcastic asides about Web 3.1415926535 ...
Jun. 24th, 2006 12:43 pm (UTC)
Mmmm... Pi!

You know, selling pie via the internet might work really well. Trifle would be easily, and jelly easier still. Of course, with a fat pipe to every home, all three will be suddenly viable. Patent it now!
Jun. 22nd, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
I was seriously thinking about getting to work at porting Apache to the PalmOS, for on my Treo. Then I got over myself. After all, how often do you really need to write an HTML page? and without PHP as well, and MySQL, it would be rather pointless.

Of course, I quite that PoS job and went self-employed, and so now am on the PC about 15 hours a day, so I don't need it. Heck, I don't need it to such a degree that I only just bothered to set up a *AMP server (actually on Win98!) three days ago, where two years ago I was thinking about doing the above Treo conversion for the few hours a day I was without server access!
Jun. 23rd, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
how often do you really need to write an HTML page

Make everyone's pages into a kind of cellco livejournal. There's a need (and an embedded incentive to switch, if they make interop hard).

and without PHP as well

This is a GOOD THING. The web without PHP would be a much better place.
Jun. 24th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
What? You would rather have ASP on your cellphone? Unless you are talking about having a CGI-bin for perl script, you are in danger of losing your hardcore image! ;-)
Jun. 24th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
Perl CGI has taint mode (any Perl CGI scripts without #!/usr/bin/perl -wT will be shot). PHP, OTOH, is impossible to secure. It's a fucking toy. C, Perl, Python, Ruby — all of these are good CGI languages. PHP rots the brain and actively destroys coding ability.
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