We're having a huge rainstorm in the Catskills. Over five inches of rain so far. All the snow from last week's storm has melted and all that water is flowing downhill. And then it's going to get cold and snow tonight. Trees are down. Power and internet went out overnight. It's a wet, soggy, grey Christmas. Of course it is. This is 2020. #
I've been thinking of how we could reconstitute tech so it's not all driven by bankers and techies with the principles and motivations of oil barons. I remember during the 90s, being at odds, publicly, with Microsoft. Bill Gates was still CEO. The company had risen to dominance in tech with Windows. Apple was on the edge of going under, or getting acquired and devoured for parts. The web was a source of great potential and optimism, but Microsoft was acting as predator. The web had no defenses. He had billions, and his software was the OS on all the world's computers, except for a few on the web (Mac and Unix machines were more common there early-on). He was going to encircle the web and cut off its air supply. You can read all about it in the archive of my blog. All the while Gates says he's going to retire soon and spend the rest of his life giving away his money. Something seemed terribly out of balance. Why not start caring for the world now, why wait until the damage is done? So much more leverage now. Why not think bigger than creating a company, how about building a technical foundation that encapsulates all the good stuff we've figured out in the 80s (there was a lot of that) and not charge rent for it. Or at least don't interfere with the rest of us trying to do that. Nope, he persisted, there was a case and a consent decree, and a new generation of tech monsters grew up in Microsoft's aftermath, and we're still living in a poisoned ghetto, only it's a lot bigger now. My plea is that once you're worth a billion, there's no value to making more money. Think bigger. There's so much potential, because so many of these avenues haven't been explored, yet.#
I don't want to pick a fight with the EFF or W3C but there isn't a non-profit I can give money to that cares about a free network without giving money to support the ambitions of the largest tech companies. If anything I want to donate to oppose them.#
Last update: Friday December 25, 2020; 2:21 PM EST.
You know those obnoxious sites that pop up dialogs when they think you're about to leave, asking you to subscribe to their email newsletter? Well that won't do for Scripting News readers who are a discerning lot, very loyal, but that wouldn't last long if I did rude stuff like that. So here I am at the bottom of the page quietly encouraging you to sign up for the nightly email. It's got everything from the previous day on Scripting, plus the contents of the linkblog and who knows what else we'll get in there. People really love it. I wish I had done it sooner. And every email has an unsub link so if you want to get out, you can, easily -- no questions asked, and no follow-ups. Go ahead and do it, you won't be sorry! :-)