EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
by Paul C. Pinderski
The barrier is not cost. The barrier is not knowledge. The barrier is not style.
When we look at automobile advertisments today and compare them to the first mass produced vehicles of Henry Ford, we still scratch our heads in disbelief. How did that buggy change America? We have the perspective of supersonic jet aircraft, landing on the Moon, spy satellites that can read license plates from space and monsterous SUVs that could easily run over and crush a vintage Model T.
So when the Internet became easily accessible to the masses, the graphic artists, the disenchanted with tons of free time, and the corporate egowonks took their luxury car, mansion in the hinterland, throw money at it approach to web page design. In essence, it was the rebirth of the first Desk Top Publishing pages but in digital form. Most of the first DTP efforts, by design novices, were pretty ugly. So when a web designer is called to create an early site, it has to have all the bells, whistles, animation, color, 3D buttons, gradient background, slow loading pictures and graphics to make the customer's jaw drop. It may not be more functional than a bare bones single page advertising brochure, but it does have the impact of a Rolls Royce parked outside an unemployment office.
The money made it pretty cool. But the money would soon run out on the speculative nouveau, silicon valley fortunes. Content appeared to always take the backseat to the discussion of brandability, marketing strategy, link strategy, banner pops and the reason why the site exists in the first place.
Corporate CEOs were told they had to have one. Everyone else had one. Your competitors have them. You need one. You may want it to generate sales, orders, contacts and make money, but in time, for most business operations, the web site never could replace a good salesman.
The early forms of horseless transportation had basic features we take for granted today. Wheels, steering, a powerful engine, and speed. Wonderful things to generations who had to deal with tempermental field horses in self-sufficient farms. It was a new tool that would reshape generations to come.
The web has the promise. It has the same basic working parts. A domain, like the car body, is the public display of image or information. The engine is the power behind the working vehicle and how fast and responsive it is to the touch. The steering is the navigation tools through the site owner's content. Speed is still the emotional attachment to either driving or surfing the net. It is the experience of finding new, quirky things, or mining of collective brain for topical information.
The new horseless carriages did cause a stir, but did not change society overnight. However, many thought the dramatic change of the informational highway should arrive at lightspeed. Just as many people did not trust that new fangled invention called the motor care, as it would break down, get stuck in the mud, and make too much noise, most common folk today did not believe they needed access to the net or trust it to replace their private transactions. Pundits forgot that time worn habits are hard to change.
Banking is still a personal transaction. Internet banking was supposed to be the cost efficient way to save time, money and effort. Electronic transmission of all your transactions. Instant payment of bills. Instant deposits of paychecks. No need to worry. But people did worry. Even those that did try the new system, quickly got out of it. Turnover at the internet banks was staggering. The cost of maintaining a secured system was too great for many large national banks, so they have quietly folded their operations.
Shopping is still a personal transaction. Many people want to feel and see the texture of the clothing before they buy it. Many people want to sit in the leather driver's seat and take a test drive before buying a car. Many people browse through a book store, and leaf through pages before deciding what to purchase for the weekend read. The net cannot give consumers that kind of real life, real time purchasing experience.
For all the bells and whistles the new Net wunderkind had touted, the reality is that under the fanciful, high definition, multi-layered, artistic and expensive sites, lies the inner shell of a Model T.
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The Age of Craftsmen
by Paul C. Pinderski
Y2K taught us that the US will spend billions on tech if it scared enough to think it will be left out in the cold. After Y2K fizzled, we were taught that the US will spend billions on tech for Internet infrastructure and developement if it is scared enough to think it will be left out in the cold. Big money. Glossy sites. Expected revenue windwalls. It didn't happen. Again.
You can have the Rolls Royce-Lexus-Cadillac-FalconJet-Space Shuttle WOW site features, but spending money on such grand adventures does not equate to grand returns. Even porting their own vast warehouse of media and entertainment libraries like Disney, WB and news outlets, did not float their sinking dot-com boats.
It is like asking a pioneer blacksmith to hand make a cargo helicopter so you can get your hay to market faster than a single axle wagon pulled by two mules. The focus should not be on what you want, but what you need to achieve a positive result to the end user.
Out of the froth of the overspeculated, overmanaged, and overbought Internet feeding frenzy, the smaller, more focused web blacksmiths will emerge. They will forge their place on the master server, not attempt to seize it with million dollar stock options. They will get their message across by personally creating their content, not by cross-marketing thousands of banner trades with ad executives.
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by Paul C. Pinderski
This is the second full installment of cyberbarf.com. Hopefully, it will upload properly and be readily accessible. As a novice in this web distribution channel, the plan was to start slowly and work my way through the possible layers of features of web page design. Formulating the original pages worked well; updating and modifying the pages appear to have weird flops.
At times, the uploads work and the sites synch fine. Other times, the changes don't take. Other times, temporary files appear and disappear. Or the page development software has a mind of its own. I am told that this is not unusual. Sometimes these things take time, like a stubborn mule analogy.
cyberbarf.com was the first site launched. I then digitized my zine at skirealnews.com. I specifically made that second because it was to include additional features, like PDFs, more graphics and the like. The first site was sticking a toe in the water, the second site to wade in, and the third site was the Big Swim. The third site, with animation, interactivity, sound and other features is still in development. The learning curve is medium high on the site administration functions. But progress is slow. It is like anything with computer programs, you may load a new piece of software and begin to run it and find that it does things you don't want it to do. Then suddenly, you will find out a feature, or menu item, that solves the problem. Or creates another one.
So the shakedown cruise sails on.
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