December 09, 2006

What If Bob Lefsetz Ranted on Web 2.0

I love Bob Lefsetz and his Lefsetz Letter. It's some of the best, most consistently amusing and interesting writing on the Net. He's insane, and his ravings on the music industry are brilliant, incisive, hilarious, outrageous, offensive, and often true. I particularly love it when he tears the music sales charts to shreds, like he does here and here, for starters.

What if Bob took a turn ranting about Web 2.0 like he does the sales charts?

Perhaps it might look like this:

1. Wordie

Unique Visitors this week: 290
Cume: 328

Who the fuck cares.

Go read a dictionary or play scrabble. I mean really.


2. Chinswing

Unique visitors this week: 42
Cume: 4891

It used to be that software had MEANING! Developers were PASSIONATE! They created KILLER APPLICATIONS that won the hearts and minds of MILLIONS of people! Now, we have applications that are just plain wrong, ALL WRONG I TELL YOU, apps that should not even EXIST, apps that are written by people who DON'T GET IT.

It's like the USENET. Remember USENET? Not that shit Google calls Groups, but USENET. One day, AOL showed up, and that was, as they say, THAT. So too with the developer community. Goddamn it it used to be EXPENSIVE to develop! People had to really CARE! They took TIME! Thought things THROUGH! And it wasn't CHEAP to write code! Hardware cost a fortune! Compilers cost a bundle! And networks? Fuck that! We had modems! Every BIT was fucking SACRED, man! But now, with open source, unlimited bandwidth to waste, hardware cheap as dirt, and ten million technoweenies building applications, we wind up with crap like CHIN SWING.

My god man, a message board is for TEXT. And PHOTOS. EYE CANDY. It's for scanning. Nobody can read it all. But you can't scan AUDIO! The last thing we need is a message board where every posting is a fucking PODCAST. God the web is really starting to suck.

As for the name. CHINSWING? Let's not even go there.


3. Askville

Unique users this week: 14
Cume: 601

What is Amazon thinking? This is like WAL-MART opening a research library. People would say, "What the fuck does WAL-MART know about research libraries?" and they'd be right. What the fuck does this have to do with selling shit? Amazon is a STORE. Remember? RETAIL. As in sell shit. Lots of it. Cheaply. Fast. Convenient.

You know what this is? Shark-jumping. Plain and simple.


4. Zoho

Unique users this week: 48023
Cume: 150127

Oh god please make it stop.

Zoho. Who the hell thinks up these names anyway. Here we have another "we can do Office better than Office" web startup. Don't get me wrong, Office sucks, it's bloated by about 95%, crashes too often. But that doesn't mean we need a WEB version of Office! When will these entrepreneurs fucking understand that you cannot do desktop apps on the fucking World Wide WAIT, because it's just too damn slow? And don't give me any of that AJAX talk. AJAX sucks. It's a hack. A stupid hack. The whole world wide WAIT is a hack.

The world doesn't need web based SPREADSHEETS and WORD PROCESSORS! Good god almighty that is the last thing we need. What PROBLEM is Zoho solving? What we need is a fucking FAST WEB. Click and WAIT? Fuck that. Click and DONE. Gimme THAT why don't you.

All this "let's bring the desktop to the web" activity is symptomatic of bored programmers with NOTHING USEFUL TO DO. All this is going to amount to is one big bloated buggy slow-as-hell mess that won't make ANYONE any more PRODUCTIVE. All it will do is make people LESS PRODUCTIVE. There is a fucking reason they call it a BROWSER, people. The web is about WASTING TIME, not MAKING SPREADSHEETS. Get with the PROGRAM!


5. Spokeo

Unique users this week: 90
Cume: 100

Spokeo? SPOKEO? Goddamn it all to hell who is to blame for this stupid name!? Come on, fess up right now! Was it you? YOU? Who was it? No more web -- go on, turn it OFF -- until the perp stands up and identifies himself.

And what is it with that logo? Is it a lion, a blue porcupine rolled into a ball, what? Hey, THAT'S an idea! Blue Porcupine! Now THERE is a fucking brilliant domain name. Call your service and you'll get a million fucking users just because they're curious who would NAME their company Blue Porcupine.


6. Mixd.

Unique users this week: 803
Cume: 2902

Even Yahoo cannot resist, can they. You'd think Semel would have at least TWO neurons firing correctly so he'd have known to axe this shit before it rolled out the door. But no.


7. Twittr.

Unique users this week: 3280
Cume: 49021

A service for twits. There oughta be a fucking LAW: anyone who sends a text message to 400 friends announcing that they're cleaning their apartment or that they're hungry should have their fucking phone taken away.


8. Mojungle

Unique users this week: 0
Cume: 11

NOBODY CARES. The web has turned into a HITS business, people! You either have a HIT or you have SHIT. Mojungle found out they were not a HIT. So they're selling the whole company on eBay. Brilliant.


9. Shoutfit.

Unique users this week: 0
Cume: 2

It's in beta. Or something. "Friends and trends." Stupid name. From Y Combinator, the we're-not-a-startup-incubator startup incubator from Paul Graham. He's become a sort of record producer for geeks, with a bunch of kids writing code. He throws $25k at them, they go off to their software cellars and hack for a while, and out pops crap like JamGlue. JumpCHat. LikeBetter. HateMore. Pollground. Thinkature. Good god! I tell you, it's the AOLification of the developer community. Crap crap crap, none of it NEEDED, none of it NECESSARY. How can you get PASSIONATE about shared whiteboards!? BEEN THERE, people! DONE THAT! It was OLD in 1990 for crying out loud!

Do we REALLY need 1000 social networks? Yes? How about 10,000? Still not enough? How about 1,000,000? Or 1,000,000,000? When will it stop?


10. Xobni.

Unique users this week: 72
Cume: 3128

Okay, it took a second, but goddamn it, I got it! "Inbox" spelled backwards. Email analytics! Oh my fucking god. I get 20,000 emails per day as it is. I read maybe 20 of them. I reply to maybe 2 of them. And now I am supposed to start ANALYZING them? People, the geeks are going too far. They have NOTHING TO DO. We need to put them to work. Building schools. Repairing bridges. Something USEFUL!

I tell you, this web 2.0 thing is the worst fucking disaster since ROLLING STONE got staples.

Posted by brian at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2006

A Cry of Help, or, The Recommendation Engine That Couldn't

Over the years, Netflix has given me a hard time. Probably because I've likewise given the Netflix site a hard time, by rating vast swaths of films, clicking away with glee on literally thousands of "Not Interested" buttons hoping against hope that the system would one day wake up and realize I don't have any interest in the television category, the sports category, kids cartoons category, and on and on. Now, my Netflix account looks like this:

20,133 ratings, 209 items in my queue, and Netflix still can't think of anything to recommend to me . . . except a single movie. One measly title. Out of how many tens of thousands, probably close to or exceeding 100,000 titles, just one. For me. All Netflix can do is find a SINGLE movie to recommend to me. Think about it. I've fed its recommendation engine enough information that it ought to be able to write a disseration and get a Ph.D. not to mention recommend to me every movie I would like and every movie I wouldn't, for the rest of time. Netflix should be an absolute friggin' expert on me by now.

So, you can imagine I was quite curious to see which movie, which SINGLE FILM, in the entire vast infinite library that is Netflix, it was going to recommend me based on my 20,133 ratings and the 209 films I had selected to place in my queue.

With a mixture of great trepidation, excitement, and curiosity, I clicked on the "1 Recommendation" link.

Here is what I found:

As Charlie Brown would say, "good grief."

Of course, I couldn't resist, and clicked "Not interested". And how did Netflix respond?

It now has 0 recommendations for me.


Posted by brian at 08:09 PM | Comments (3)

Seymour Papert

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Seymour Papert, who, it was reported this week, was severly injured in a traffic accident in Hanoi where he was attending an international conference. Here's a more detailed news report.

Posted by brian at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

San Diego News10 coverage of Eventful

More details here...

Posted by brian at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2006

Filo or Audience?

Paul Kedrosky thinks the big deal about the Yahoo reorg press release is its lack of mention of Dave Filo.

I disagree. I think the big deal is the the 11 mentions of the word "audience" (singular or plural). It's significant that Yahoo thinks of its user community as an audience -- particularly in the web 2.0 age. Audiences receive. Audiences are broadcasted to. Audiences usually do not participate.

The shift of focus from "community" to "audience" is a change that makes me wonder what Yahoo is going to morph into. More video and audio, I bet. After all, that's what audiences do. Watch and listen.

Posted by brian at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)
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