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Splinternet, Or How We Broke the Good Old Web 223

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the zomg-its-the-end-of-the-world dept.
StormDriver writes "I don't want to be that scruffy guy with 'The end is nigh' sign and some really bad dental problems, but most industry analysts already noticed that global Internet is coming apart, changing into a cluster of smaller and more closed webs. They have even created a catchy name for this Web 3.0 – the Splinternet.
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Splinternet, Or How We Broke the Good Old Web

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  • /. News Network (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:51AM (#35573930)

    A blogger claims it's the end of the worl^H^H^H^Hinternet. More information and comparisons with similar claims dating back to 1995 at 11.

    • Oh noes! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:53PM (#35575018)

      The Internet is fracturing into interconnected networks!

    • by Mikkeles (698461)

      Even further back:

      The Empire is still strong and will last forever!
      Do dah, do dah!

      Constantine the Great AD 337

      • by Byzantine (85549)

        And the Empire didn't finally fall for good until another thousand years later. Hardly "forever," but nothing to sneer at either.

    • "I have always liked... Cowabunga."
    • by dhall (1252)

      It's not true until netcraft confirms.

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      It's not the end of the Internet, just the end of the World Wide Web.
    • Imminent death of the net predicted! [catb.org]

      Worth noting: The fearmongering about the death of the 'net actually pre-dates the Internet. It originally referred to Usenet. The more things change...

    • A salesman trying to sell a specialized browser claims it's the end of the worl^H^H^H^Hinternet. More information and comparisons with similar claims dating back to 1995 at 11.

      Fixed for ya ;)

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:51AM (#35573942)

    Disclaimer: can’t read the article (filtered) but have a good guess at what it says

    Personally, I put part of the blame on mobile “apps”. You can’t charge someone for access to a website unless you’ve got some really compelling content.. but you sure can sell them an app for their phone that provides the same kind of information for a few dollars.

    And yes, there are lots of mobile apps that wouldn’t be practical in website form, but there are just as many that could easily be a website.

    As for the large closed sites that’ll change. Everything in tech seems to go through periods of convergence when the current set of technology becomes more refined, and divergence when it’s time for change. I actually don’t long for the days of wading through geocities and lycos and angelfire pages looking for some tidbit of into when these days I plug it into wikipedia, or some other niche wiki.

    As for facebook and myspace and twitter, I think they’ve largely replaced the personal website and personal blog site for so many people because they provide all the functionality most people who had a personal site wanted, with none of the flexibility that they didn’t. When people want to start branching out in some way that you can’t do with facebook and friends en-masse.. you’ll see divergence start happening again.

    Also, if "Web 3.0" actually becomes a new buzzword at this point in time... someones losing a finger.

    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:55AM (#35574004)

      Disclaimer: can’t read the article (filtered)

      Ironic.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      Many are already building phone apps based on webstandards like HTML5, CSS, JS, SVG(filters). Have a look at things like PhoneGap which gives an webstandards based app access to your device (like the addressbook if you want it to). Also the developer doesn't need to reupload the app to the appstore each time. The developer can just use the HTML5-features to update the HTML/JS/CSS from a website.

      So that could be the solution.

      Facebook ? I don't know, I don't life in the US where it seems to have had a bigger

    • by ddd0004 (1984672)

      Awww come on, if "Web 3.0" or some other catchy moniker doesn't catch on, how will I be able to communcate with my VP or marketing guys?

      In the past, I always treated phrases/words like "Web 2.0", "Synergy", "Core competencies", "Go Viral", " as my signal to put my brain on idle for a few minutes and take a little nap with my eyes open.

      Surely "Web 3.0" is too predicable to catch on. These sort of things mostly get adopted because some people think they are clever.

      • "Synergy" was around for a long time (mainly in Biology) before it got hijacked by the bandwagon brigade.

        • by gilleain (1310105)
          "Syzygy" is the new "Synergy". So what if it means something to do with astrology or mathematics - it's full-on buzzy right now.
          • I'd never heard of it, and perhaps I was better off for that. But then I prefer zymurgy myself. Coincidence? I don't think so.

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        > how will I be able to communcate with my VP or marketing guys?

        Back to the good old days, get me the cluebat.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:28PM (#35574542)

      I think sites like facebook are the greatest threat to WWW interconnectedness. It seems to me that the new trend is to congregate on exclusive networks, like facebook. The problem with facebook? Most content is invisible to non-members. Yeah, sure, it's free to register...but what if I don't want to? Is facebook really giving me new informational content (I'm not talking about the social networking aspect) that was not available before in another form on the internet? No. It's just walling off the information from me.

      Clubs, cafes, restaurants, theaters...all used to have websites. Informative websites. Websites that used to state things like what was on the menu, or who was DJing on Friday night, or which band was playing on Saturday night, what the dress code is, how much cover is, pictures of what the place looked like, etc.

      Then facebook came with its profiles for businesses. Sure, it started off with a mostly empty profile that just pointed to the existing website. But now, in many cases, it's the other way around: now it's the website that is empty - it often contains the establishment's name and address and a link to the facebook group/page/profile. That's it.

      Dunno 'bout everyone else, but for me, that really sucks. Information that was once freely available is now behind somebody's registration wall. It's like the early 90s again, with CompuSERVE and AOL. Now I often find that without a facebook profile, it's impossible to figure out what's going on in town tonight using the web - something that was easily doable until very recently.

      • I think sites like facebook are the greatest threat to WWW interconnectedness.

        Walled Wide Web?

      • by mlts (1038732) *

        Follow the money; look who benefits from having FB be the guardian for information.

        With stuff tied to FB accounts, it gets rid of anonymity, or at least forces uses to keep creating profiles in order to access things. In any case, everything viewed through one FB profile is all tied together, making it easy to follow a breadcrumb trail.

        The reason why FB is used over a website is pure laziness -- it is quick and easy to type some stuff, let FB format it, stick some pictures in a decently attractive layout,

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        Naw,
        Those types of businesses without a real site didn't have one before, they were just using some kind of internet yellow pages type service to post basically a flier. The only difference is that now you can see who their flier hosting company is.

        I've never seen a real business that I had to login to facebook to see their info. And if I did, it would be a nice warning that they really suck anyways.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      I had no trouble getting it, so it must be something on your end. Maybe you are at work and your employer is blocking stormdriver.com? If so, maybe they should be blocking slashdot.org, too.

      That said, you aren't missing anything.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      Personally, I put part of the blame on mobile “apps”. You can’t charge someone for access to a website unless you’ve got some really compelling content.. but you sure can sell them an app for their phone that provides the same kind of information for a few dollars.

      I've sarcastically remarked on more than one occasion that someone should design a killer "app" that replaces the functionality of all those custom apps used to access newspapers, magazines and so on. They could design it so that content was written in a standardised, straightforward format. In fact, there could be numerous independent implementations of this imaginary killer "app", all of which let you access the same content.

      If such a wonderful thing existed, they could call it... a "web browser".

      But

      • by CFTM (513264)

        So let me change a few things here, "there's no benefit to them [Me]". That statement should end right there. Free Markets work by letting individuals decide what has value and what does not have value. You rightfully feel there is no value in these apps, thus I am assuming that you do not purchase those apps. But there are many people who derive value from the apps, you do not, which is your prerogative and I am no way in critical of that but don't extrapolate your experience to the experience of other

        • by Dogtanian (588974)
          Good grief.

          Firstly, yes, of course it was my personal opinion. As you acknowledge, individuals can decide for themselves what does and doesn't have value, which means I'm entitled to have that opinion and you're entitled to disagree with me, and I certainly didn't suggest anywhere that people should be prohibited from buying them (*). So what's the issue?!

          That said, in your eagerness to see this as a "free market / free choice" issue and respond in that manner, you didn't really pay attention to what I
      • by anegg (1390659)

        Individual apps used to access premium content have come about, in large part, because the producers of the content are trying to a) provide for electronic distribution of their content, while still b) making a buck for their efforts.

        It was great, in the "good old days" to find a newspaper's content on-line. It could be read electronically (yea!) and it could be read for free (double yea!). Who doesn't like free stuff? The problem was that free Internet content at that time depended on the revenue strea

        • by jbolden (176878)

          I suspect that there is far more content available on the Internet now than there was ten years ago.

          If you are suspecting I'll assume you are really young. And yes there is. For example: On March 22, 2001 Wikipedia was two months old and didn't have much of value. Britianica was selling their content cheaply on CDs and Americana was the dominant online encyclopedia.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        I don't think you ever tried push technologies in situations where connectivity is questionable. There are substantial advantages to push. Now there is no reason web browsers couldn't have push built in, like I.E. channels or later RSS. But there is real advantage to custom apps that understand the layout of a site and can ask intelligent questions about what to cache locally.

        • by Dogtanian (588974)
          You make a good case for having a browser tailored to digital newspapers/magazines with a push model. However, I suspect that it's overkill to have a separately-designed one for every newspaper when a single, well-designed one with a standard interface would probably be more effective.

          That said, as I acknowledged, there *are* legitimate business reasons for each media outlet having its own "app". One can accept these reasons, while still disliking app proliferation from a usability point of view, and the
          • by jbolden (176878)

            You make a good case for having a browser tailored to digital newspapers/magazines with a push model. However, I suspect that it's overkill to have a separately-designed one for every newspaper when a single, well-designed one with a standard interface would probably be more effective.

            Basically what you are describing is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AvantGo [wikipedia.org] (PDAs) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PointCast_(dotcom) [wikipedia.org]

            And yes they were great and incredibly popular and I agree with you 100%. Generic push apps do a fine job. Both of them offered plugins so for example in Pointcast I could get my national news from the NYTimes and my local news from my local newspaper. I agree that's the way to go.

            And I should state that this is what iTunes is moving towards. There are news aggregators like

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        There is sometimes a small benefit in that web browsers don't have the same input methods as smart phones, and there is nothing in JS for handling multi-touch events.

        In the future, there will be no benefit. But right now, there is.

        Granted, only a very small percent of "apps" actually use any features the browser lacks. But some do.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:46PM (#35574870) Homepage

      No it wont change... the large closed sites get bigger. I am a member of several closed sites and they are going "offline" or off the main path because of all the retardation of suing over dumb things and corporate enforcement of corporate profits and ideals.

      I VPN into a node that gives me access to one of the largest Automotive computer and electronics hacking groups out there. It's invite only and it was a major bitch to get an invite into it. All this stuff is closed because of the morons that run automotive companies. Other hardware hacking circles are also going that route, PS3 hacking is starting to close in because of sony's antics. But having access to a dis-assembly of a current GM ECM gives me more options for tuning and performance. Plus I have acces s to "illegal" ECM bin files to learn from or use as a baseline tune. It's not easy to get my hands on a ECM from a Caddilac CTS-V but the bin file and other files allow me to look inside and see what they did. Also trying to retrofit a canbus controlled steering assist system to a car that does not have it allows me to add modern power steering assist to a hotrod instead of letting that hardware get crushed in a junkyard scrap crusher.

      It's going to get more and more closed, the good information is getting squirreled away because of corporations.

      • by Rinnon (1474161)
        You know, car analogies are supposed to make your point EASIER to understand. If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were actually just trying to talk about cars there!
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        It will only get worse, as the squeeze is put on people who dare get in the way of how devices get controlled. For example, I'm sure what happened to Geohot is going to ensure that the next guy who is bright enough to find a break in someone's hardware is not going to publish it, similar to HD satellite where a few people might have a way around it, but breaks in its security will never be divulged to the masses.

        I dread to see what lies in store for us 10 years from now. I'm anticipating:

        Real time monitor

      • Perhaps you should look into Freenet as a safe way to publicise data? Anyone could get it then, and it's very, very difficult to find the point of origin.
      • The sad thing is that I imagine it's pretty hard for hobbyists to find that sort of content. For instance, there are lots of people building kit cars who want to stick a modern engine in them for convenience and power, but I imagine trying to tune them is basically impossible without the help of someone with access to that information. Most of the build threads I've seen involve pulling the stock ECM from a wrecker and just hooking everything up to the engine and hoping it works, or shipping the ECM off t
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Forget that, tell us more about the sirloin steak!

    • by rrossman2 (844318)

      Should have read the article.. err advertisement:

      From the article (the very end)

      "Like it or not, the Splinternet age has begun. We have a growing hardware chasm, walled gardens rising left and right, websites that become shape-shifting adapters, ISP’s that filter content, and users gather in closed, social recommendation circles. The web is much different than it was years ago, and many analysts agree that the golden age of Internet is finished.

      So how does our StormDriver tie in with all that? Are we

  • by rbanzai (596355) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:51AM (#35573946)

    It's a self-promotion piece that tries to pull disparate internet issues together and fails.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:52AM (#35573964)

    It must be true

  • by Onuma (947856) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:53AM (#35573978)
    ...but what does TMNT have to do with this?
    • Splinter was the name of the rat that raised the four mutant turtles and trained them in ninjitsu.
      • by Onuma (947856)
        And may or may not be known as "Hamato Yoshi" depending on the variant of the story/comic.

        Though it's difficult to tell if you're being as facetious as my post, or you simply didn't notice that my comment preceded any other TMNT references. Text-only can be misleading.
  • Mod parent down (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KPU (118762) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:54AM (#35573994) Homepage

    This is an advertisement for some lame web sharing startup and nothing more.

  • There, it saw 4 baby turtlenets crawling in a green ooze...
  • by cptdondo (59460) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:58AM (#35574062) Journal

    The guy's confusing content with hardware....

    OK, content is based on location and user preferences.... Maybe if I'm Japanese I want content in Japanese and not in Swahili? How exactly is this "splintering" the net?

    The hardware works just fine, as the upheavals in North Africa have proven.

    Catchy name, just made for some pseudo babble in the Sunday papers, but content-free.

    • OK, content is based on location and user preferences.... Maybe if I'm Japanese I want content in Japanese and not in Swahili? How exactly is this "splintering" the net?

      If you live in Japan, and you happen to speak Japanese and Spanish [notalwaysright.com], you don't necessarily want to be locked out of articles in Spanish.

      If you are visiting Japan but happen to speak English, you don't necessarily want to be locked out of articles in English.

      If you're in Canada and speak English, you don't necessarily want to be locked out of articles and especially videos in English *cough*Hulu*cough*.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcmm (768152) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @11:59AM (#35574072)
    This seems 100% content-free... First of all, is this about the web or the internet? If they don't know the difference, how did they get on the front page of Slashdot?
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      If they don't know the difference, how did they get on the front page of Slashdot?

      My best guess, given that I've never been through this process:
      1. Write your post on your company's website.
      2. Use your own /. account to submit a story that happens to link back to your post. Represent your article as addressing some sort of real controversy, even if it's just an advert for your product.
      3. Write a script to vote the thing up in the Firehose like crazy, spoofing IP addresses as needed.
      4. Trust that the editors won't actually read your advert through, just check that it vaguely matches what

  • Astroturf story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sstamps (39313) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:01PM (#35574098) Homepage

    Nothing more than a bogus lead-in story talking about the product that the story's author is "preparing to release someday". Basically, creating a problem for his "solution".

    News flash: develop your damn product first, let people try it out, and THEN promote it. Astroturfing vaporware is the epitome of hubris.

    I predict EPIC FAIL for this one.

    • I was thinking the same: Here we have (or will have, Really Soon Now (tm)) a solution in a desperate search for a problem.

    • Nothing more than a bogus lead-in story talking about the product that the story's author is "preparing to release someday". Basically, creating a problem for his "solution".

      News flash: develop your damn product first, let people try it out, and THEN promote it. Astroturfing vaporware is the epitome of hubris.

      And it's also how you get VC dollars. Spend money, never develop product, profit.

  • Splinternet (Score:4, Funny)

    by Baseclass (785652) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:02PM (#35574118)
    FTFA

    Back then, the Internet was one - a global web, similar regardless of weather

    Well I can attest to the fact that "back then" during stormy weather my internet went down on several occasions.
    No phone = no internet.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:03PM (#35574126)
    Major thrust of article is that "oh noes, the facebook and twitter content of the web is often hidden behind login requirements and privacy settings".

    You know what, I don't care if ALL the social networking via the internet is normally inaccessible and un-indexable and unreachable by search engine. Part of the good thing about the internet is that sites, such as my bank's, can protect data from public visibility. That's not splintering. The internet is only splintered if I can't get to my bank's web server when traveling around the globe. So far, I haven't noticed that problem, even from the poorest third world countries the internet cafes with ten year old Hitachi towers pulled from some first world dumpster running pirated windows XP (with latest updates, mind you) work just fine. That's f'ing amazing, I can pay my electric bill and win eBay auction from Laos or Cambodia and have the stuff arriving home at the same time I do.

    Then he raises the specter of content filtering, *might* happen and might fracture internet. Well, the web ain't broken yet.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *

      I see you have never run into "This content is not available from your area".

      Whooosh to everyone in the US. The internet IS splintered. I live in Central America - care to explain to me why a major online retailer keeps insisting - no matter what option I select - on charging me in Pound Sterling? I am entered in Oracle's database since I downloaded MySQL. Despite setting everything as English when I signed up (I am a native English speaker), they insist on sending me email in Spanish. There are countless

    • by Dogtanian (588974)
      To be fair, the problem with the likes of Facebook's closed nature isn't in cases where *your* privacy is being protected. It contains much content of general interest that isn't private per se- quite the opposite, I'm sure that its creators made it "public" within Facebook- but that you have to be signed on and inside- and having your privacy invaded by- their proprietary platform to even know that most of it exists.

      Is it really the case that some music venue putting its listings, etc. up on Facebook wan
  • by owlnation (858981) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:09PM (#35574212)

    "...most industry analysts already noticed that..."

    Most industry analysts make money out of scaremongering such things, and recommending solutions. Many, if not most, of them are snake-oil salesmen. I recommend taking every single thing they say with a pinch of salt.

    This article is garbage. Yeah the Internet, like every system, needs good management -- but it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

  • The "internet" is about connectivity, not about web protocols and gadgets. So long as connectivity on the internet is supplied by ISPs in a content neutral manner, I am quite okay with it.

    And that's where I get a little bugged though -- when the prospect of network neutrality is broken, I have issues with the grand design getting destroyed.

    Make your walled gardens... your paywalls... do whatever you like with your endpoints on the internet. Just leave the public pathways ALONE!

  • Adm. Akbar warning (Score:4, Informative)

    by himself (66589) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:18PM (#35574348)

    "It's an ad!"

    Longer version: the author describes a problem and then -- wonder of wonders! -- is selling something.

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @12:24PM (#35574464) Journal

    There seems to be a particular psychological disorder, which people apparently get more vulnerable to the older they get, called "Nostalgia". I think it's closely related to "Dementia". Might even just be a type of dementia.

    Nostalgia causes people to forget the truth about the past and remember it in a far better light than it actually happened. For example, from the article:

    In the beginning, most users browsed the Internet from similar desktop machines. Even if the operating system was different, standardized web protocols and languages made the final experience similar, whether you were using Windows 3.1 machine or your trusty classic Mac.

    Did that guy ever USE a version of IE before version 7, or the old Netscape Navigator browsers?

    I remember all the time, trying to visit websites, getting messages that the website was designed for some other browser, and either not being able to access the content on the site at all, or having it render terribly glitchy. As a sometimes Linux user, I noticed a lot of problems accessing some websites with the browsers available for Linux (Netscape, Mosaic, etc).

    Standards compatibility has come a long, long way since then. I would argue that we have better standards, and better implementations of those standards now than we ever did before. IE9 has greatly improved Microsoft's standards compliance, by most accounts. iPhone/Android/Blackberry/misc cell phones do a pretty decent job rendering most websites - something which could not be said of the early cell phone browsers.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      In the beginning, most users browsed the Internet from similar desktop machines. Even if the operating system was different, standardized web protocols and languages made the final experience similar, whether you were using Windows 3.1 machine or your trusty classic Mac.

      Just to add your point. First off he means browsing the web. There was a whole more on the internet other than the web in the days of Windows 3.1 that was a lot more interesting. The AOL users were often first attracted to usenet. And the experience in those days was not remotely similar. We hadn't settled on the web yet, I mainly used usenet and gopher. Some people were on irc others used direct connections like ytalk. On Mac's and Windows machines the applications for these things were widely splin

  • MS tried to splinter the web with IE and proprietary standards. It failed. Many said that Apple would splinter the web with the lack of Flash on iPhone, but major parts of the web away from that proprietary standard. The parts of the web that do not work on mobile browsers tend to have Apps. The next major attempt at splintering will be the proliferation of paywalls. I don't think these wil success either.
  • "...a cluster of smaller and more closed webs."

    It has always been so. Every corporate network is a closed web. Every bulletin board is a closed web. Thus it has always been. The Internet is a network of networks.

  • Thanks to countries like China, and Syria, and Libya and .....the list is endless, of how many of these countries that want to control the flow of information are breaking the internet as we know it....then we will all have splinter factions of the internet running in each country, and 1 main controller giving access to the rest of the outside world....and controlling what you see in your country, I sure hope NA is left out of this.

  • walled gardens (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:24PM (#35576620) Homepage

    Even bigger change came with the rise of social networks and various web apps. Every day more content is hidden in the walled gardens of the web, like Facebook or Twitter, behind the fence of login and password. Just think about it: how much interesting content have you discovered in your friend’s updates, notes and tweets? This content is invisible to Google and other search engines, it’s not backed up by wayback machine or proxy servers. The number of people seeing only the things recommended by their social circle is growing.

    Well that's interesting. He specifically talking about the mid 1980-today and the flat internet. But in the 1980s the internet was not remotely flat. You frequently had to log onto sites and had all sorts of features depending on your IP address that you wouldn't have elsewhere. Passwords and user accounts dominanted and when you got things had a lot to do with the servers directly upstream from you. For example how quickly did your Usenet feeds updated determined what the cycle time was on discussions like this one. And of course there were huge numbers of walled gardens, much more walled then today since they belonged to your ISP. AOL, Prodigy, Genie, Compuserve and smaller sites were very different experiences. Other sites like Odyssey were almost completely walled off and rode piggy back on Compuserve's network as a private virtual walled garden, much like a corporate interanet today using an MPLS.

    As for hardware making a difference, it did then too. Unix users had a much richer fuller internet experience.

    So I'm not sure what he's talking about.

  • The wild west days were great and all but as long as their is worldwide connectivity there are going to be walls and barriers in different countries and on different platforms, there is simply no other way short of some utopian one world society to do it any other way. America's rules are different from China's, China's are different from Austrailia, etc.

    The walled garden and boutique services such as the iphone and certain isp's are usually joined by choice not by requirement. In the past we actually had

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