Re: The Final Word on Browsers and the Future

Jason O'Brien (
Mon, 21 Oct 96 11:27:00 CDT

From: "Jason O'Brien" <>
To: murray <>, www-html-request <>,
Subject: RE: The Final Word on Browsers and the Future
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 96 11:27:00 CDT
Message-ID: <>

Well, like the Mississippi, I'd like to meander a little more -- if you   
don't mind, I'd like to expound on your scenario :

Scenario 3 (based on number one) :
Both of these individuals arrive in the store -- the guy with the Vette   
is in the store, not intending to buy anything, until he sees on the   
announcement board that the newest release from U2 has come out -- now   
he's excited -- turns out that the guy driving the Nova also came in to   
purchase this just released album -- Vette guy runs over to the rock   
section scanning for U2 and searches frantically -- why?  He's got a   
standard turntable, decided not to upgrade with the rest of the world to   
CD's, and there's nothing but CD's lining the rows.   He doesn't have a   
tape player either so now he's stuck -- he begins walking out depressed   
 -- however Nova guy happily picks up the U2 CD, pays for it, walks out,   
and pops this new CD into his car -- Vette guy goes home to listen to   
"RainDrops Keep Fallin' On My Head", his hottest vinyl single, for the   
3000th time on his turntable.

No difference -- doesn't matter how they came into the store, how they   
got there, what they drove in, but they went to the source (U2's new   
music), the question came down to format and compatibility.

Scenario 4 (based on your number two) :

These two individuals driving to a web page -- Vette guy gets tired of   
listening to his scratchy record, so he turns on his 286 computer, and   
waits 15 minutes for Mosaic to start -- he connects to the Internet   
through his 2800 modem and begins surfing -- he just read in a magazine   
that U2 had a brand new web site promoting their new tour and new release   
 -- he enters the web address to find a page filled with only text, when   
the ad in the magazine promised music videos, clips from their songs,   
etc.   Meanwhile, Nova guy gets home, powers up his Pentium, and opens   
MSIE 3.0 and goes to the U2 web site, where a background music track   
plays as soon as he gets to the page, OBJECT embedding provides a scroll   
of text detailing information on U2's tour and list of cities, pictures   
from the tour flash across the screen, he clicks on links to wav and midi   
files of the songs from the group, as well as real time audio and video   
from the band and their music videos.   Nova guy has the richer   
experience, as was designed, taking advantage of the future technology.   
  Also, accessing this quicker through his 28.8 modem -- Vette guy gets   
only basic text information -- now you'll probably argue back that it's   
the designer's fault for designing with all these tags and gadgets -- but   
the other part of the story is that Vette guy pages through the magazine,   
and goes to more and more sites, where his experience is limited because   
he made the choice not to upgrade.

The point of all this, and forgive me for meandering, is that there comes   
a time when certain technologies of the past must be left behind -- it's   
happened with everything -- backward compatibility only works for a short   
time, otherwise you're designing either very limited pages or multiple   
examples of a page which is real waste of time.   Would you rather access   
the Internet through a 28.8 or a 2800 baud connection?   Wouldn't ISDN or   
a DS-3 even be better?   What about a cable modem or satellite   
connection?   Technology advances for a reason -- to make what we do even   
better -- there's no purpose in having an Internet that never goes to   
advance or be improved upon -- otherwise, it just remains a static medium   
that doesn't change or evolve, and what good is that?

And it all comes back to standards -- I don't see any positive changes   
being made to convince Microsoft and Netscape to accept standards --   
BELIEVE ME, I do not want to see them make the standards -- this group   
should be making the standards -- but when is something going to change?   
  When is all this discussion going to make a difference?  If there is no   
standard to be accepted, then there is no choice but to embrace the big   
guys and design accordingly.

Jason O'Brien

From:  www-html-request[]
Sent:  Saturday, October 19, 1996 12:05 AM
To:  murray
Cc:  jaobrien; www-html
Subject:  Re: The Final Word on Browsers and the Future

Regarding the CD-ROM / Vinyl / 8 Track (8 Tracks are more similar to
CD's than anything else).

I look at it more like this.

Scenario 1:

Two people arrive at a store, one driving a Nova, and one a Vette.
The guy driving the Nova has a greater liquidity than the man with
the Vette, and more interest in the stores products.  The guy in
the Vette spend an enormous part of his liquidity on gas, maintenance
and the car payment each month, has no interest in the stores products
other than to tell his girlfriend (who he picked up in the Vette)
that he went to store X, Y, and Z, until he found her a perfect
Sweetest Day present.

If we assume that they're both wearing a comparable set of clothes,
and both walk into the store at the same time, they both have
about the same chance of being served, unless the store monitors
what you drive into the lot.

Scenario 2:

Two people arrive at a web site, one driving a 386 with Mosaic,
one driving a Pentium with W95.  The one with the 386 actually
has the greater liquidity because he's never seen a need to
upgrade every time something new comes out, has no desire to
get under the hood of his machine, hears horror stories from
friends about Gateways, etc, and is happy where he is.  The
guy with the Pentium on the other hand has spent most of
his money keeping up with the computer curve, upgrading his
computer, memory, and software on a month to month basis.

If we assume that the web page has frames without alternative
content, then we get a browser that doesn't come back and
one that sticks around, but doesn't spend anything, because
the site doesn't sell computer equipment, memory or software.

In the 1st scenario, there isn't discrimination on how the
customer got there.  In fact the guy with the nova tries to
catch a salespersons eye, talk and buy something, while the
Vette is more likely to somewhat avoid the salesperson because
he knows he's not going to buy anything.

In the second scenario, the site has mistakenly believed that
the power user is more likely to buy as opposed to the content
user who is more interested in maximizing his utility (key economic
term) with what he has.

I do several sites where the key objective is to maximize profit,
in the sense that they are informative sites for gov't sponsored
agencies.  The information comes first and foremost, and the manner
in which people access this site differs drastically from the
for "monetary" profit sites.  To anyone who likes to monitor
browser activity, these sites would seriously screw with their
heads.  Also, the way they find the page generally differs.
Very few come from an Index or search engine, and more come from
related sites that have agreed to give cross links.  This is what
the web is for, and many people maximize their utility this way.

I have several computer systems.  I do 90% of my work from a unix
workstation.  The version of Netscape that works with this particular
version of Unix supports no more than the base services, and yet
takes up an egregious amount of memory, whereas lynx uses 5% of
the resources to accomplish the same task.  Next to this computer
there is a 7600/132 Power Mac with all the amenities.  It runs
the latest version of Netscape and has support for Netscape plugins
for all the bells.  How often does Netscape get fired up from either
machine?  Very little.  I don't even own a machine that runs MS
software.  I'm more interested in actually getting something done,
which happens faster on my Unix Workstation and Mac.

Am I alone in this?  Not from my reckoning.  I talk to several
people daily in the area that have called me for the simple reason
that I have "Internet" in our name in the phone book.  Their ISP
has informed them that they need X for best use of their service,
and the user is generally looking for someone to give him a second
opinion.  If I had any interest in running a dial-up service I
could probably do pretty well, alas I've done enough consulting
for people who do that sort of work that I have no desire to
do it myself.

Well, like the Mississippi, I did more meandering then I should