Rants & Raves changes daily.
I just realized with a great deal of horror that I probably am an oldtimer. I have been on the net for over a decade and I'm still not sure what the point of this thing is. Though I will admit to having that great oldtimers disease of always posting what I think at the moment.
The net has always been crowded with nostalgia. when forum and later IRC were invented I remeber thinking how much cooler the old relay chat used to be on the Vaxen. Other examples include everyone whining about the good old days before the alt.* groups.
The net has always been just around the corner. It seems like since when I started using the net in the 80s till now everyone has been predicting that the net will suddenly take off and become profitable "real soon now."
I remember being annoyed at the constant influx of Newbies who didn't know what was going on back in the mid 80s when at the time any one from a .com site was suspect. Then suddenly it was anyone from a .edu site. Later it would be the well and netcom. Now of course it's AOL that's the weenieville of the moment and soon prolly Microsoft. I'm still surprised it isn't .gov.
All I know is that there never was a golden age, from 84 till now the net has always been a mess that was either going to die, be censored, or become marketable any day now.
I remember back when I was 15 or 16, I was pretty into the dead but had only seen a few shows. I was at summer camp when we heard the news about Jerry being in a coma. My friends and I sat around wondering what would happen if he were to die. "Imagine all the deadheads jumping off the Golden Gate bridge!"
Thankfully, he pulled out of his funk. He had more music to play (and more milkshakes to drink.) By waking up he gave me the opportunity to see many amazing shows. The Grateful Dead and their culture gave me the inspiration to try new things. To lick new things. To explore my mind in a psychedelic communal context. I still see their influence all around me, and I give them more than a little credit for inspiring me to create music, a source of great happiness in my life. Jerry is sort of a patron saint to freaks and outcasts - this society needs more characters like that. I find it hard to get super-wistful, because of the negative aspects that turned me off from Dead culture - conformity, laziness, blind idealism - but the Fat Man will always be an inspiration, not just for his music, but for the zeal with which he lived life.
And if I could do one tenth of the drugs he did between now and my 53'd birthday, I would die a happy man.
What happened to industrial music??? Ahead of its time, and then what? Was it...assimilated? Is it virtual, and I lack appropriate gear to enjoy it? Was it strained through grunge? It is sitting in the corner somewhere soiled with the grime and corrosion of 90's?
(Great conversation - yes, others are reading it, though perhaps not on the weekend.)
Newspapers are certainly losing readers. Perhaps for that part of the population that is interested and engaged in politics, the online media will become the primary source of information (TV has never been adequate).
Or, maybe the role of the new media will be to discuss issues and hold debates among small numbers of people that are reported to the masses in the old media. If so, the new media will have far more political infuence than pure numbers or dollar amounts would show, and may force the old media to cover issues that the publishers would prefer to avoid. At least, that was the model that was working in the Rimm debate.
Re: Stahlman's comment in #5, in evaluating the Web's potential, I'd encourage you to look beyond what's available with the current browsers. In the case of responding in Threads, there's no technical reason why the primitive editing available in Netscape and Mosaic's <textarea> fields can't be replaced by a real word processor (preferably one chosen by the user), should the browser companies decide that's important. Also, HTML 3.0 and Java will allow more powerful "form" interfaces.
Given the mergers of Disney/ABC and Westinghouse/CBS, here's my take on the pros and cons of each of the mergers mean, using the Disney/ABC merger potential aspects as an example:
Now awaiting the Disney Broadcasting Company (DBC) to air...