My 2021 in review
V and I don't have kids or many other responsibilities. I love the web. The internet, the promise of connection and social benefit through sharing. Potlatch.
I threw myself into my work. In practice, I opted-out of contributing to technology that is not available in the commons.
I began the pandemic with the anxiety of https://netflix.com going down during peak streaming wars while I was on-call. At current, I am on-call for the Covid-related intelligence map that our studio uses to keep cast and crew members as safe as practical during these times.
Between both, I feel a bit like a super-hero on the inside. On two different fronts, my contributions to technology in society has helped save lives these past couple years.
On the outside, I've struggled a bit. I've written about those things here, in detail, so we don't need to rehash that.
To summarize though: Everyone deserves better than the current state of technology, not just those with access to high quality data. Businesses have little incentive to improve quality of life where there is no money. This devolves society. Instead of a rising tide raising all ships, the absolute maximum is reduced to the lowest common denominator.
To put that another way: I would love to work with you to improve the current state of technology. I am just one person. You are just one person. There are so many layers of other people between us right now.
My Internet Service Provider and lobbyists. Your Internet Service Provider and lobbyists. My device manufacturer and supply chain. Your device manufacturer and supply chain. My favorite recreational digital experiences. Your favorite recreational digital experiences.
The truth is, digital experiences are really difficult to share with that many people involved. In the worst case, someone is really greedy and hoards all the intellectual property AND distribution networks for themselves. In the best case, they're actively trying to improve security for the normies. My inability to enjoy life with you digitally is a casualty of cyberwarfare regardless.
Where does that leave us?
Well, we need to find some common ground. I failed a startup between August 2020 and April 2021 with a couple friends trying to find it.
I think I've found it now: The Web. Not Web3 or even Web2.0.
Just: The Web.
We all use it everyday. It has a bunch of different stickers and labels on it depending on who sold it to you.
At the core, the web is sharing. I saw something I liked on my device. I want to share it with you to view on your device. However complicated that process becomes is the spectrum of “webiness” between us.
Given my desire to maximize the webiness between me and you, I need to help increase the lowest common denominator of the web itself.
What does that look like?
The web is all around us today. You can feel it, but you cannot see it. It is that thin thread between your favorite creators and you. It is the beat that draws you and your lover closer together when you're a million miles apart.
Culturally, it is a social connection. Technically, it is a protocol.
The web was founded to increase the quality of our social interactions when distance would otherwise be a prohibiting factor. Our devices today all speak the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Most devices are capable of interacting with content sent via HTTP in a web browser, such as Firefox, Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Edge, Opera, Brave.
Our web browsers are the most prevalent mechanism with the most potential for our collective webiness.
Is the web safe?
I have been writing software that runs in web browsers since 2006. The web is a forward compatible medium. Practices I learned then, I still use today.
All the software I wrote that runs in a web browser still works today and will last until the end of the web.
The fiddly bits of the web that have rusted over and fallen off are the physical servers. They're expensive, they break, they need reliable electricity and a high-speed internet connection.
And they need enough people spending their attention on them to keep them going. And if money is involved, well someone is going to pay the bill one way or another. In most cases, the service just shuts down when the balance sheet turns negative.
As a person, that sucks. That just decreases collective webiness.
To be specific though, I'm talking about chat applications. These are the most primitive form of communication and we've all got a dozen of them. Except for the people that only have one and refuse to use anything else.
I digress, the web is safe, but services like your chat application may be insecure.
Why are there so many insecure chat services and applications?
It comes down to data. When you're sleeping, where is your data? Where is your contact list? Where are your messages stored?
Alice cannot communicate with Bob, unless all the people in Alice's supply chain have agreed with all of the people in Bob's supply chain.
You and I can improve this social bottleneck.
Tim, the inventor of the web, has been continuously improving it since inception. The web began with HTTP, but a new protocol is being rolled out on top of it.
If we both speak Socially Linked Data, we'll both be able to communicate seamlessly. Me, with my favorite chat application. You, with your favorite chat application. Easy, when we speak the same protocol. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Any personal content will be able to be stored and accessed and shared with the owner in full control.
As servers rust and degrade. As business rise and fall. As friendships grow and fade. Socially Linked Data will remain portable and accessible.
This technology is not ready to go toe to toe with the tech titans just yet. We are making solid progress though.
What about today?
Knowing this is the future the web is collectively marching towards, I decided to reduce my supply chain in such a way that will hopefully be able to help you ultimately decrease your supply chain. In time, we'll both have an easier transition to the webiest possible future.
Participation on the web is described as 90-9-1.
90% consume 9% curate 1% create
I've been working on a project called TheLanding.Page for the 90%. This project will serve as the front door of the web. My ultimate goal will be able to get you a device that can turn on straight into the web via that link.
In addition, I've been leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the 1% that want to catch up and be at the forefront of the future.