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What is Web 2.0? You redefine the paradigm

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Web 2.0: how you voted

But wait. Didn't anyone out there stick up for the concept? Well, counting generously, we identified only two.

Chris Middleton offered "Web 2.0 is Evolution" and explained - "Web 2.0 is another step in the evolution of mankind, the sharing of ideas and dreams to inspire future generations to imagine more in the quest to find the ultimate answer."

And Thomas Ewing suggested "Web 2.0 is made of ... two Web 1.0s - Web 2.0 is just like Web 1.0, only better!"

There wasn't even grudging admiration for a project that collected $1.6 million in attendance fees from people for something that even the organizers couldn't explain. This is the lucrative foundation for a small church - and "collective intelligence" is nothing if not faith-based.

Still, with all the For and Against votes tallied, we can begin to get a fair picture of how Register readers perceive "Web 2.0" -

Web 2.0: A good thing, or a swindle?

But why?

A little basic literacy would have saved us a lot of trouble. Brian Wilson heard echoes of Lewis Carroll in Tim O'Reilly's "meme map" and descriptions -

"The Dormouse had closed its eyes by this time, and was going off into a doze; but, on being pinched by the Hatter, it woke up again with a little shriek, and went on: "that begins with an M, such as mouse-traps, and the moon, and memory, and muchness-- you know you say things are "much of a muchness"--did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?"

Tim Meadowcroft pulled this from his geek quotes file:

An architect's first work is apt to be spare and clean. He knows he doesn't know what he's doing, so he does it carefully and with great restraint.

As he designs the first work, frill after frill and embellishment after embellishment occur to him. These get stored away to be used "next time". Sooner or later the first system is finished, and the architect, with firm confidence and a demonstrated mastery of that class of systems, is ready to build a second system.

This second is the most dangerous system a man ever designs. When he does his third and later ones, his prior experiences will confirm each other as to the general characteristics of such systems, and their differences will identify those parts of his experience that are particular and not generalizable.

The general tendency is to over-design the second system, using all the ideas and frills that were cautiously sidetracked on the first one. The result, as Ovid says, is a "big pile".

-- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month", and the second system affect

In short, avoid version 2 of anything (Windows 2, crap 2nd albums, Web 2.0 etc)

Maria Helm writes -

Web 2.0 is made of ...

A bunch of over-the-hill programmers who are still under the impression :

1. that their computer skills make them 'l33t'

2. that their cash cow companies are still 'hip', despite being lumbering dinosaurs restrained by more government red tape than Harriet Miers

3. that they aren't 'the man', even though they want to take away as much money and rights from consumers as possible

...getting funding from a bunch of non-programmers who otherwise fit the same description.

Poignantly, and coming very close to scooping the prize himself, "Vlad" reminds us

Web 2.0 is made of ... a BOFH Excuse Generator

Please note that Web 2.0 should also be Hackable.

We wouldn't want security to get in the way of "radical trust".

Morely Dotes has this to add:

O'Reilly says, "Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices"

That's what technicians call "hype instead of content." Or in plain olde Anglo-Saxon, "bullshit".

A man I consider very wise once told me that if you can't teach something to someone else, then you don't understand it. I have found this to be true in the past 30 years or so. I therefore draw the conclusion that either

(a) Herr Tim doesn't understand Web 2.0; or

(b) there isn't any such thing outside of a collection of Marketing blurbs, which, as everyone knows, are without meaning, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.

My money is on (b). Your mileage may vary.

Matt Wolejko also narrowly misses out on a prize with his suggestion:

Web 2.0 is made of ... mutual masturbation

Everything I've seen from the Web 2.0 camp has pretty much indicated it will only appeal to people who want to spend all day diddling around with "interactive" websites to find inaccurate information created by other ill-informed people who also want to spend all day diddling around with "interactive" websites.

Some will no doubt argue that Web 2.0 being built on mutual masturbation is an advance over Web 1.0 (built mostly on solo masturbation). But have you seen who's on the other end? They really should keep their hands to themselves

Deadly accurate. Or should this empty-headed techno utopianism be re-classified as a mental illness?

What nonsk came up with the term "Web 2.0" anyway? What's next, "Web XP"? They should be slapped around the face with a wide selection of stale fish, one of which must most definately be a sea bass held by the tail with both hands for maximum face slapping potential. I'm sure if they spent some of their precious time in the presence of a professional psychologist, they'd be able to find some way to remove their heads from their own asses.

Guy Fraser

Nor do many of you think that a full point upgrade is justified -

Obviously "Web 2.0" is made of a "portlet" based on an "applet" that leverages an "EJB" and "push technology" to get you access to an old WAIS interface.

Duh.

Oh, and "Never mind, just give us [more] money, we're emergent, dammit!"

Sean Ross

A few readers back the idea that it's really all about being anti-social:

Web 2.0 is ... A cosmic shift, a revolution - it's like talking to people - without the pesky annoyance of other people.

Martin Wood

Jez Wilde has seen the future, and it looks like this:

.Web 2.0 is ... an ethernet platform for remote computing whereby the software application paradigm is changed; from being screwed over by Microsoft for boxes of buggy operating systems, extortionately priced business applications, communications software that allows the world and their dog to play with your computer, proprietary lock-ins by changing an open programming language into a dot-netted version (XML-our-way, C-but-not-as-you-know-it, Java-remember-Krakatoa-hee-hee! etc.) all presented on a CD or DVD (now DRM'd) to a completely different collection, or not, of softwares that are offered on an ad hoc, per-user, basis on the WWW.

This will allow everyone and their dog (again) to offer similar, but certainly non compatible, software platforms and business applications on the web at which point we can all be screwed by our ISP's as well as Microsoft, the AV vendors, data warehousing and dedicated hosting companies for the pleasure of being able to work remotely with a thin client and not have cupboards full of DC's/DVD's and licenses.

At at least if you suffer a BSoD you won't be alone, everyone in your time zone using the system will be screaming at whoever is mad enough to offer a tech' services department.

[Permanent Beta alludes, I think, to FOSS software being at the core and being modified to suit individual needs as and when required by dedicated Googlies and other volunteers - not unlike the current state of affairs within the *nix community except the wish-lists will be not just longer but in hundreds of different human languages]

Personally, I'm going to just watch the whole thing for a while until it has some semblance of reality, stability and reliability - I shall spend the time practising telepathy and drinking beer.

Turning this into a Web 2.0 style "tag soup", where themes are sized according to their popularity, gives us this mind-bending graphic.

'Web 2.0' tagged by Register readers

Reg' readers' own "meme map" of Web 2.0" - click to enlarge

[ By the way you can print these off and do what you like with them. We simply reserve the right to exploit them for merchandising ... and sell your company our special "Web 2.0 - Collective Intelligence Explained" management consultancy seminars, billed at $1,900 per hour (£1,100 per hour) plus expenses - early bird special! hurry!]

Badger badger badger badger

Mushroom! Before we get to the winners, the Poll threw up some excellent trivia.

The badger paws which make up Web 2.0, if laid end to end, would reach from the Earth to the moon exactly 2.0 times.

Jonathan Whiteley

Hey, the Hive Mind never lies. We believe you, Jonathan.


"Badger" is the nickname for the woman that lured men into her rooms on the promise of a good time. Once a compromising condition was established, the badger's male accomplice would burst into the room posing as an aggrieved husband or a policeman. The victim was then robbed and thrown into the street.

That's why Web 2.0 is made of Badger's paws.....

Donnell Rogers

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Next page: Redefining Web 2.0

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