The Beautification of the Internet

I live in a historic neighborhood in Dallas.  The area has a certain charm and character to it quite different that what you find in new housing developments.  Most of the houses were built in the 1920s.  They have large front porches; many of them have swings.

A few miles away is another neighborhood, almost as old as this one.  There are a few houses from the same time period here, but most houses are new construction.  The older, smaller homes were torn down for newer, larger ones.  It is a nice neighborhood, but it doesn’t have the same character as my neighborhood.

The difference is that I live in a registered historic area.  Here, the homes cannot be torn down to be replaced by new construction.  All new construction must match the existing style.  In other words, significant effort has been put into preserving this part of our history.

The Web is like the other, non-protected neighborhood.  Many sites were built in the late 90s and early 2000s, but most of them have been torn down in favor of new construction.  In some ways this is a good thing.  Most of those early sites were ugly.  Bright backgrounds, blinking text, Comic-Sans font, and background music.  These are all things I do not miss.  But I fear that the character of the Web has been lost to the mass production of cookie cutter websites.

The sameness in design doesn’t bother me as much as the consolidation of the content.  When was the last time that you actually “surfed” the web?  I used to “sign-on” and then begin a journey of following links deeper and deeper down the rabbit’s hole.  The Web was a place where any crackpot with a computer could and would post their thoughts and ideas.  You could discover a topic and hit every site in that ‘web-ring.’  Today, one Google/Wikipedia search, and I’m done.

Today, we’ve traded out “Under Construction” icons for “Beta” tags.  Our web-rings have been replaced with “social bookmarks”.  Our home pages with guestbooks are now blogs with comments.  And although it may just seem that we’ve just swapped terminology, I think the Web has lost it’s charm and character.

I think we need a historic district for the Web.  A place to encourage new content, but it must match the style of a certain time period.  We should also find the old ‘classic’ web sites and relocate them to this district.  I also think there’s a place that’s perfect for this: GeoCities.  I’ll bet you didn’t know they were still around.  This could breathe new old life right back into the Web.  What do you think?

Rebirth of the Blog

I’ve been putting this off long enough.

I should start blogging again, but:

  • I need to move my blog back to my own domain
  • I need a better style for the blog
  • I need a better defined purpose for the blog
  • I need something to talk about

So it’s time to do something about it. I have moved the blog back to my own server. This should give me the flexibility to do what I want. WordPress.com is a great free service, but they put a lot of limits on what you are able to do. Example: they restrict the types of content you can embed. YouTube: yes, TileStack.com no. That is a big problem for me.

As for the rest of my reasons, I haven’t made any headway there, but I shouldn’t let that stop me. In theory, the content is the reason to visit the site, not the appearance. I can tweak and refine the style of the blog over time, as I continue to blog. I guess that means I’m under construction.

Under Construction

In any case, I’m going to try to post here on a more frequent basis. Some posts will be quick thoughts. Things that catch my eye. Others may be longer, more thought out. (I wouldn’t expect too many of those.) Some may be blatantly promotional for TileStack.com. (You should sign up for TileStack.com)