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The Internet

Has The Internet Peaked? 183

Boone^ writes: "ZDNet has some commentary detailing how they believe that the Internet has 'peaked', and is now settling down. Broadband isn't providing people with interactive TVs, just a pleasant Web experience. The list goes on. One British dot-com (err is putting its last minute Christmas push out on paper instead of online. Is the age of vast Internet exploration over? Do we now know what we've got, what works and what doesn't, and are now beginning to refine those?"
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Has the Internet Peaked?

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  • I think that this is the only way to go. Nothing electronic ever changed as much as the internet has. Look at telephones, tv boxes, radio, car tecnology. It's time to give the internet a rest and optimize the whole www so that it will load faster :)
  • by Vladinator ( 29743 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:23PM (#557446) Homepage Journal
    No. The Internet has not peaked. People thought the Internet peaked with Netscape 3.0 - NOT! Wait and see how invasive this thing is yet to become - esp. with IPv6 right-around-the-corner-any-time-now. In another 5 years, people may get ip address space personally asigned to them. Wouldn't that be interesting? Let's see where this ride lets off - it's only just begun...

    Fawking Trolls! []
  • It's just a matter of time really. At the moment most sites are still playing to the 56k crowd, so there is no real reason upgrade to broadband. As more people aim content at broadband, more people will move to broadband. As more people move to broadband, more people will create content for it.

    It will happen, just not that fast. Remember the net has only been in the average persons home for a few years, it's going to be a few years more until broadband becomes the norm. And until it does sites will aim at the majority which is the 56k crowd.
  • One British dot-com (err is putting its last minute Christmas push out on paper instead of online

    Even if the internet has 'toped out' that dosn't mean that it is small or lacking custumers by any means. I don't know why this company feels differnt.

  • by Why Should I ( 247317 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:31PM (#557449) Homepage

    The statement 'the internet has peaked' is so loosely used it's not funny.

    You can't ask 'has the internet peaked?', maybe 'has internet usage peaked?', but the internet in general is not something that can be determined to have peaked.

    Even if the number of connections on the internet (not just the web and email) had peaked (which I storngly doubt it has) it doesn't validate a broad statement like 'has the internet peaked?'.

    Besides just because all the dot comers have suddenly realised that you cann't use the internet for absolutely everything doecn't mean there won't be any more innovation as far as the internet (or web for that matter) is conerned.

  • Ok I think that the internet still has a long time before it reaches it peak; or as I like to refer to it its golden age. Just think about yahoo, it has all those links to stuff like sports, auctions, what movies are coming out. I would like to see it toned down I guess. Less links but still preety much the same content, and every week I find something that I think its cool and new. Each week is better then the last, thats why I think that the internet has yet to reach its peak.

    That and grudge match( still hasn't had Mr. T in enough fights.

  • not.

    How are you market-predictors supposed to tell when something has peaked, anyway?

    Just because I don't use the Internet to do consumer things does not mean it is not transforming society.

    The internet is doing plenty of cultural advancement- into "b2b" where the last innovation was the shipping bill.

    Way behind the scenes, the Internet is bringing just-in-time business practices to lots of firms (some of which they were NEVER meant to go to), for instance.

    Also, the Internet continues to create new forums for music, [], discourse [], and protest [].
  • One British dot-com (err is putting its last minute Christmas push out on paper instead of online

    Even if the internet has 'toped out' that dosn't mean that it is small or lacking custumers by any means. I don't know why this company feels different.

  • by Gefiltefish ( 125066 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:32PM (#557453)
    While saying that the internet has "peaked" may seem a bit odd because, of course, it will continue to grow, I think this article raises a good point.

    Regular growth of all sorts of observable phenomenon starts slow, speeds up quickly, and then levels off to grow more slowly. The growth curve looks like an "S" with it's ends stretched out. A tree, for example, may grow 20,000% in the year after germination, but only grow 2% in it's 20th year.

    Perhaps rather than the internet itself "peaking," we might say it's acceleration of growth has passed it's max.
  • Many other dot-coms are turning to printed media to promote their sites, as they will be able to target the people who don't have computers, and all they have to do is ask someone who does have a computer to order for them.
  • by SouperMike ( 199023 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:33PM (#557455)
    hello, the internet is in its INFANCY! at least on the mainstream level. i know everything is this electronic age is moving fast, but the internet has not yet peaked. is has to settle down before it expands again, true. but it will not slow down significantly until something replaces it. i remember that people thought the internet would be crushed under its own weight by 2001. people say these things without considering other possibilties, most of which are far more likely.
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:34PM (#557456) Journal
    Internet Peak Predicted: Film at 11.

    Death of Internet Predicted: Film at 11:30.

  • If it's really peaked, does this mean that the eternal September will be coming to a close?

    hope so...
  • Sure we North Americans are entering a phase we all know too well: we've seen it, let's take it for granted. Let's not forget that only a finite amount of the Earth's population is wired to the Net. A person who's never touched a computer will feel the same excitement we did when they first get on the Net, be that tomorrow or in 5 years.

    I do feel that for us (people used to having the net) we've realized that the Net is not a saviour, it's a tool. Just like when you get a chainsaw for Xmas, you want to cut every tree down until you get bored with it. Then the chainsaw becomes a tool, you use it when you need it, for what you need it. I think the Net is reaching that point for us.

  • sorry about that.

    music, [], discourse [], and protest [].
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:35PM (#557461) Homepage

    Since Al Gore, the inventor of the internet, has lost the election and will be going home on January 20, 2001, apparently he'll be shutting down the internet on that day and taking it with him.

  • by ctusar ( 104172 )
    Every porn site on the Internet just climaxed simultaneously. The net has peaked.
  • The Internet maturing? With the World Wide Web 9 years in its making? Hardly. Back in '95, did anyone envision HTML 4.0?

    Were there any cheezy frame-popup, Javascript-laden, scrolling-marquee, BMP-splattered websites? Any evil ActiveX sites?

    As far as I recall, no.

    In my opinion, the Web is decaying.
  • IMHO, the internet has NOT peaked and probably will not peak for many years. Growth may slow to a crawl but it will probably continue to trend upwards.

    New technologies will help to continue to develop the internet. So if anything, maybe we have reached a plateau.

  • What we have here is this interthingy and it's like got uh a revolution every minute no wait every second and um oh now were back to every minute see how it slows down just like um a revolution. And so people buy things on it but they buy things less than before because it's like uh spining you see, It's an ever changing evloving matrix of human dynamic activity. And now I think it's settling down more than before but different. Because everything has to change and adapt to the new order of this thingy we got right here in virtual space.

    But really, don't you think that all the people that logged on to the mall are just finding out that the mall sucks and there are host of good sites and people that are more interesting than

    Cheers Andrew
  • by fliplap ( 113705 )
    Its sure supplying me with an interactive TV. I download TV shows all the time, I have every episode of Daria, Futurama and The Simpsons available to me. What else could you ask for?
  • The internet has reached a tangible summit readily avalible broadband access. This is by no means however a peak we've only begun to stretch the limits of this animal I hope that by the time my children are old enough to use the web I can tell them stories about having to dial into the internet, and they'll be shocked at the thought.
  • One idea that is being researched is the idea of "pre-fetching" pages off of the Internet, and downloading them to the user's computer. I'm participating in a research project (for college credit) that will look into the algorithms for pre-fetching, and come up with one that will allow for the fewest wasted bits in pre-fetched pages, or highest precision in guessing which pages to pre-fetch, based on user surfing habits.
  • Well, as cellular gizmoes become cheaper, not to mention contact with developing countries increases, there will be demand for 56k users for much longer then you might think. Sure, they might not be the mainstream consumer public, but they're there.

    Personally, I don't think the internet peaked - it grows at a nice, gradual scale, and we overinflated its capabilities. I figure its about a year or three behind our expectations, and that's frustrating. It has not peaked, it has just spiked slightly.
  • It's rediculous to assume that a faster means of information will magically provide us with new experiences. The limits aren't in bandwidth but how content providers choose to use it.

    Personally, I din't expect the internet to deliver an TV-like experience, that's what TV is for... as for interactive TV, that's just complicating matters, I use my television to relax, the entire point is to be enjoying a show, not anything else.

    Basically I think they are expecting too much from such a small step forward. Our computers don't provide those experiences locally with all the bandwidth available from our hard disks, so why expect this experience to come true with the relatively small bandwidth the internet provides?

    However with new codecs such as Microsoft's Video/Audio 8 and 3ivx, maybe it's possible, but I wouldn't expect anything too revolutionary considering what we have to work with.

    To say that the internet is at its peak is silly in itself, technology will always advance. Just because the hype made people expect too much doesn't mean this isn't possible at a later time.

  • by glowingspleen ( 180814 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:39PM (#557471) Homepage
    I guess he was listening through the thin walls in the hotel room next door:

    (Internet): "Ungh....Ungh....yeah broadband baby, all for you, I promise....ungh....ungh....all the porn and details on making pasta figurines engines based on outside linking...interactive Who Wants to Be a Millionaire....Slashdot's all yours baby....Ungh ungh ungh UNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGH!!!"

    (Internet): "Sorry baby...I didn't mean to peak like that. I got excited. No, don't get dressed. Cmon baby..."

  • The people who wrote this article have never really used real spead on the Internet, they have just used shitty @home services that are no better then modems.... Wait untill you have 900kbs under your belt then the Internet becomes a huge part of your life that enriches and makes what you do easier in ways that other people just cant get.
  • The internet has not "peaked", but it is "maturing". The internet may not be as "new" and "stunning" as it was in '92 (when I got my hands on a copy of Mosaic), but it's becoming a place where work, play, and learn.

    So what does the future hold for the internet? More wireless technology, of course. Yesterday I was in a bookstore looking at a book. Using my cellphone, I looked up a review for the book, searched the internet for the best prices, and purchased the book for $15 less then it cost in the bookstore. Wonderful. Stunning. This is the future - not just a faster internet, but an internet that is integrated into our lives.

    The internet as we know it, however, has peaked. The internet will become less and less technology oriented and more and more information oriented. It will, and has already started to, cease to be the "nerd" internet that we knew in '92. It will be the people's internet. People will forget the "coolness" factor and start figuring out that the internet can actually be useful.

    I don't like the future - but as the proud owner of three palmtops, five graphing calculators, four computers (all > 600MHZ, 192MB of ram, 20GB of HDD), a broadband connection (2mbits), and 100baseT switched networking, I'm a littie biased.

    Oh well, as long as I can read slashdot...
  • I have the feeling that the web has not peaked and it does not seem like it may peak for a couple years. Technology has to get better for the web to truly peak. I used to be a dail-up user and therefore I could only visit a certain numbers of sites because of slow loading times. Now that I am at college I can visit a lot more sites because load time is decreased. If I had an even faster connection I think the web would have peaked for me. Until the internet becomes instant it will not peak. Right now it seems that the internet will not be instant for all people in the immdeiate future. So while it may peak for some it will not peak for others until they truly experience instant internet. After someone experiences instant internet for a period of time it will eventually peak for them.
  • Yes, the Internet has infact peaked. A good indication is Yahoo! porting it's services to the Minitel in France.

    I don't know about you guys, but I'm firing up my old dos box, hooking up a 28.8 modem, and setting up my bbs. If this is the peak of the Internet, the decline will be dialing up my modem!

    (Hint, sarcasm)

  • We're seeing the transition where the internet goes from "sexy" to "mundane". Remember all those girlfriends that seemed so exciting for a few weeks, then as you got to know them, the charm just...wore off? You started noticing their flaws. Reality came crushing down on all the novelty of having this new fling.

    Well, that's what's happening with the internet. The novel has become trite. The truly useful stuff (knowledge bases, e-commerce, maps, phone books, etc) has just integrated itself nicely into ordinary life.

    Oh, there will be all kinds of "sexy" (what a stupid way to describe it) new technologies, but, essentially, it's just a new bikini for the old girlfriend. It'll wear off too. The internet has become ordinary. No less useful, no less miraculous in it's way, it's just -- well, the thrill is gone, baby. But really, how long did anyone expect to be amazed by Flash animations and the JennyCam?

    That's life. If you need everything to be new and exciting and groundbreaking every moment, you might end up a drug addict or divorced or worse.
  • "By now, we have a pretty good idea of what the Web is all about and what it can offer. We are also increasingly beginning to see its limitations and shortcomings. In one word, we are entering an era of realism."

    This makes perfect sense to me. I think of myself as a realist, so in a way I share this view. We are in a time in which change is inevitable, but things will never be better tomorrow, and they were never worse yesterday. The web is going to get faster and bigger to accommodate our wants and needs, just as computers and hard drives and everything else on the planet is going to gradually improve its quality.

    This doesn't mean that the quality of living is improving, for the quality of living is only a function of time (think of it this way: living in a cardboard box 10,000 years ago would have been an incredible quality of living). No, the quality of living is not improving, it is just advancing, and along with that advancement come newer, bigger requirements. And they will always be met to some degree, and everything will always advance to some degree. That is, of course, until human civilization reaches it's peak, in which case... it was nice knowing you.

    But let's not talk about that - back to the internet. This is a time in which computers are getting faster, hard drives are getting bigger, the internet is gaining more useful information... Homer no longer takes twenty seconds to get his still image of Cindy, but he now takes about five minutes to get her twenty minute video. Oh yeah, that's the ticket.

    Free music, free video, free information... That is what the internet is. And for that reason alone, I agree with the initial condition that the internet has reached its peak (too bad too, it's so young). Governments here and there are already trying to step in and control this, censor that, arrest him for doing that, and so on and so forth. That will get worse, I predict, but for a good cause. There will always be a stabilizing unity between the positives and negatives of the world; that goes for everything.

    We can't exclude the internet from that, can we?

  • by Tony Shepps ( 333 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:53PM (#557478) Homepage
    I'm 37. (US POV here) When I was in college, it was the beginning of widespread computer science degrees. My junior year, we got our first room full of micros to work with. The first Mac entered my senior year. We were doing everything on PDP-11s and we liked it.

    A few years after I graduated, a local university made waves by being the first in the nation to demand that every incoming freshman must have a computer. It was considered frighteningly drastic.

    It took a few more years for every campus to run to catch the wave and install networking to the dorms.

    The 1999 grads were the first out who had the "web" for their entire college experience, and where doing something as sophisticated as downloading digital audio was not just a geeky preoccupation but rather one deeply in the mainstream.

    What I'm trying to say here is that the 'net hasn't even really started its peak. The masses out there aren't putting it to its test. The people with the money are still far older than anyone who grew up with the net, and many of 'em are still scared of trying to manage their bookmarks.

    Without question, the net will continue to become more ubiquitous, usage will continue to increase, new applications will be found, exciting new appliances will be developed. Think of the boundaries we have yet to cross. A majority of people yet to have email addresses, for example.

    A lot of people have to learn to change their behavior in order for a lot of the .com concepts to really take off, and *that* might be fair to examine. I for one would love to have my groceries delivered; but I know that people, in general, are sentimentally attached to the idea of visiting the warehouse and lugging heavy bags of stuff back to their homes.

    And when major ecommerce players -- I mean MAJOR major -- still make simple mistakes in usability on their websites, we know they have a lot to learn about how to get people into buying online.

  • They mean that in 100 years, it'll be lesser than it is today?? I doubt it!! All it takes is one more killer app for the internet to be taken to new heights all over again. The internet is still relatively new, its a baby internet. Just wait to see the behemoth it can grow into...
  • The billions of $$$ in venture capital for random web stuff has dropped off, so the excitement has waned a little.

    In order to move to the next level, an order of magnitude more bandwidth is needed. Canberra (Australia's capital) is getting fibre optic to the curb, and it is expected that local businesses will offer things like video on demand (the holy grail?). It will come, things will move forward but it's going to take a bit more time. (Patience folks!).
  • Well.....isnt IPv6 a refinery of IPv4? I think we are now just refining what we've got.
  • I think the phrase "the Internet has peaked" is misleading, but the article makes a good point: the Web isn't a panacea, and in fact we've probably taken it about as far as it's going to go at this point. Perhaps it would be better to say "the Web has matured" (carefully avoiding the Web == Internet misconception).

    As far as the Internet itself goes, I think it's still got a lot of development ahead of it. For all the business going on on the Internet these days, it still resembles nothing so much as a giant research project--which is reasonable, seeing as it hasn't even been around for 40 years yet. When I can call my parents in the US from the data terminal in my house in Japan over the Internet and get the same reliability and quality as a call today over the telephone network, then the Internet will be mature, or at least closer.


  • I have to agree. I have a vision that within the next few years, computers and access times will be so blindingly fast that it may as well seem that the internet is at its peak. The only thing that will keep the internet from its peak then will be its occasional instability, which I failed to mention in my comments []. However, the concept that you bring up is very sound and very true. Only when the internet is fully utilized by everyone, and is truly instantly at our finger tips, can the internet really peak.

    (Think virtual reality... better yet, don't.) []

  • by lemox ( 126382 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @07:58PM (#557484)

    The main focus of the article is the fact that commercial sites (primarily e-commerce) are turning away from net-only sales strategies. The random nature of the web and the sheer size of it can't compete in every way with something that sits around your house all day (catalog) or something that pushes content at you without your interaction (television).

    I see this "peak", if that's what you want to call it, as a sign of what the true purpose of the internet is: a vast store of information. When you walk into Wal-Mart, are you reviecing information? I don't think so... you're getting bombarded with mental cues to BUY. I doubt the managers of retail stores care at all whether you leave their enlightened. About the only place you may leave more informed is a book store, which is why Amazon is really the only e-commerce operation that's making money: it is closest to the true purpose of the net as a medium. Also, one rarely randomly shops on impulse in a book store, they seek what they are looking for. The net was not designed to manipulate your buying impulses, it was designed for the searching and retrieving of information.

    Let the net "peak", maybe all of the profiteers will place their marketing where we want it, instead of leaving fliers between books in our library. It really sickens me that the only standard by which the internet is measured these days is by how much cash it can generate.

  • f you've tried DSL or cable, you'll realize that it makes the current Web much more bearable than a dial-up connection -- it does NOT, however, suddenly turn your computer into an interactive TV set. It is not the promised revolution -- it just makes for a pleasant Web experience, period.

    It does turn it into an interactive radio station. TV will come.

    As for the earth-shattering, headline-grabbing developments that break new ground for technology, there is lots of stuff yet to come -- just ask those guys who work on G3 telephone services, interactive television, and a few other things still percolating in the labs.

    Interactive Television - I remember that. It was a BBC Department Ii worked for in 1986. They shut it down in 1989 (spun it out to a external company) because it didn't make sense as a broadcaster. Guess what, it still doesn't.
  • In a word "NO!"

    The Internet is just starting. The main problem that there are a LOT of stupid companies that have business models that won't work (IE free computers??) and compannies still don't use Open Source everywhere (yes... some people still write non-Free software). Once people get past the fact that Intellectual Property really doesn't exist (it exists but you can't hold it oversomeone like Microsoft) we can do some AMAZING stuff.

    If you really want to see some cool stuff. Check out, This is where the real innovation is going on! :)
  • What evidence is there that the net has peaked?? Its not like things have been slowing down at all... ZDNet's small part of the internet has perhaps peaked, but the rest continues to thrive and grow. Consoles are about to be connected to the net (PS2, Dreamcast, X-Box), programs like Napster are pushing a cosumer revolution, instant messenger programs are becoming as used if not more so than the telephone. How is that anything but an upwards trend?? The internet isn't an economic stockmarket like some corporations would like it to be. It doesn't "crash".
  • by toofast ( 20646 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @08:02PM (#557488)
    It's uncanny how people associate the Net with the Web. Two different things altogether (although one is required for the other). Maybe the WEB has reached a potential peak, but the Internet is still a maze of possibilities, much more so than TV's and Phones.

  • In no particular order...

    • Websites dedicated to basket weaving.
    • Porn sites.
    • mp3 collections (you can never have enough)
    • Spam.
    • Banners (this may be debatable).
    • Cookies.
    • Joe Pesci's Solo Album []
  • Anyone else agree with me that the "Al Gore invented the Intenet" jokes lost their amusement factor at least a year ago?
  • So what's supposed to be the difference between "refine" and "explore"? I really don't see the distinct turning point the article talks about. It's siimply a gradual development. The only difference is most likely that once everyone and their dog uses it, there isn't anything fundamentally "new" about it, but that's just psychology.
  • by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @08:04PM (#557492) Homepage

    Detroit (AP) - With the widespread adoption of the new Ford Model T, in this, the year 1920, it has become clear that most of the issues surrounding the automobile have been addressed in the past twenty-five years of innovation.

    For instance, many people are reverting back to walking to go to the neighbor's house, or to simply get some exercise. The automobile has gone from being a novelty to being integrated into the everyday lives of people, and some question whether any new technological advances can be made. Indeed, recent thermodynamic studies question whether the inherent inefficiencies in automobile engines make the pursuit of such advances worthwhile.

    People who drive automobiles are generally happy with the way they use them, as intracity and other localized transportation avenues, and demand for other uses for automobiles is dwindling. Despite some fringe elements calling for a countrywide "interstate" system of roads, trains and boats, with their greater hauling capacity and more reliable operation, will probably squeeze out any such ideas of mass cargo transportation by road.

    ......, duh. How do people who write these articles ever clear it past their editors?
  • The artical says that the interent is still growing, just the hype of it is has peaked.

    I have to agree with this on some points. I have never belived the internet is everything for everyone as it has been told by many people. I also don't see the mass migration of brick and motor to e-commerace continueing (or nessasary).

    Hmm, you know, maybe one day the Internet will be once again owned by computer geeks and not corprotate retailers.

  • One idea that is being researched is the idea of "pre-fetching" pages off of the Internet, and downloading them to the user's computer.

    Umm... it's being researched? Hell, it's been done for years.

  • With the amount of high-speed access be available to the end user right and Ipv6 coming out soon the Internet is bond to do some really cool stuff. I think the Internet will explore newer avenues that we have not every thought of yet. It seems that about every year or two something new happens on the net. Last year it was X-MAS shopping online now it is stock trading. Who knows what will happen?
  • Like many others have already commented I seriously doubt it. I do think that with the current infrastructure, meaning mostly the backbone lines, we have taken this thig about as far as it can go. In order to do more with the internet we need the ability to move what would be by todays standards pretty huge amounts of data. I am still sitting on the fence as to weather Internet 2 will be able to move the amount of data required to give streaming digital TV to the masses. And even with the fastest backbones in the world the last-mile cables into everyones houses has a long way to go, and current broadband technologies have a snowball's chance in hell of being able to handle digital streaming televion. Current developments in optronics are giving us the ablility to move that kind of data, but the race to rework the last mile seems to be between wireless broadband (most likely cellular and satellite) and fiber to the home. I haven't heard of a cellular solution that pushes near enough data to be able to move the internet forawrd in any major way in terms of speed, but makes large steps in making internet connections availbile pretty much anywhere in major cities (I don't see this happening in rural areas too much). Fiber to the home provides enough speed, but a much larger capitial investment on the part of the telecos. Who will win is pretty hard to call right now, but if anything is certain here, it is that the internet is not even close to peaking.
  • The internet is a constantly evolving beast. We will not see a peak or finish per se. We are just begining to poke at the age of distributed computing. Right now we have P2P file sharing but i guarentee we will be seeing much more of this distributed architecture in the future. Think plan 9 and other yet to be thought of systems. The internet's biggest success won't be taking our old technology( i.e. radio, tv) and putting it on top of it, but creating a new interactive highly connected system which we haven't even thought of yet.

    Time is Change.
  • me too! er, that is to say, yes.
  • Strictly speaking, no the 'net hasn't peaked. Usage will continue to grow, and new services will come to pass.

    But the hype has definitely peaked. Growth has dropped to a steady pace. What I find is that after having had broadband for a while now, I'm still surfing the same sites in the same way that I was three years ago.

    Broadband content? Yawn. What can the net offer that 300-channel cable doesn't? Not much A little more variety, video on demand, but not much better than PPV.

    Interactive TV? Who the hell wants it? Some folks are really into Netmeeting or CU-SEEME, but they're really just a niche. They'll become a bigger niche, but still a niche.

    Voice over IP? A nice improvement for businesses, maybe, it allows people to take their business phone number home. Sort of like call forwarding.

    Wireless? Yeah, nice, but how is wireless e-mail going to change our society? Everybody I know already has e-mail, I send 'em a message, and they answer later. No need to for continuous mobile access.

    Wireless Voice-over-IP? Sounds like a cell phone to me.

    Wireless video? Sounds like TV.

    Might be nice to do comparison shopping or product research on a Palm Pilot while I'm at the mall. But it won't be a drastic change.

    So the article makes a good point, even though the headline is sort of overstated (and what good headline isn't?). Internet growth will continue, but it will be incremental. Most of the Killer Apps are already in use. To the extent that the 'net can change society, it's pretty much already happened. As good a sign as any is the rash of dot-com failures; late-coming investors and entrepreneurs have already found out the hard way that the exciting part of the revolution is behind us.
  • The internet will only be usefull for:

    1. Porn

    2. Slashdot

    3. Email/instant messages

    We use Email & Instant messages to talk about and view porn and we read slashdot to learn about advances in technology that further progress the porn industry.
  • To me the internet hasn't "peaked" until it can support a totally immersive networked virtual reality environment capable of supporting teledildonics in real-time with believable realism. Then we'll know we're getting somewhere. :^)
  • yeppers, I concur. I don't think people in the real world (tm) realise just how early is the Internet in its usage patterns. I have a feeling that in one hundred years, when historians graph computer network growth of the later 20th century, the first major peak will be seen here. I think we can see a different kind of growth coming up, from fringe geeky rich-person type technology to uniquitous everyday usage by people in all sectors of society, and, eventually, the world. Expect usage of data networks to increase, not decrease. While the current IPv4 internet may evolve into something else, IP-based data networks are here to stay, and they can only grow. I like the idea of having my own IPv6 address space. ;) Either way, the 'internet' is still growing and it will continue to do so. Perhaps the US will not move as fast as the rest of the world because there is too much emphasis on commercial marketplace service providers.

    Around the world governments (like Canada) are in the process of building high speed FTTN (Fibre To The Neighbourhood) networks to provide every citizen with stable, secure, high speed access to an international IP-based network infrastructure. I, for one, am looking forward to the future of technology. We may be entering a recession, now that Dubya Quayle is in office, but one day there will be unlimited MIPS for all. Until that time, network and computer usage will continue to grow. I know a few luddites whose only excuse for not having internet access or a beefed up computer is that they are waiting until they perfect most technologies (read: handhelds running realtime voice translation based upon new processor technologies). The technology ceiling in our society for clock cycles, bandwidth, and giggage has not been reached, and it won't be reached for at least another twenty years. -- CM

  • its not a mattter of time... its the lowest common denominator (in many respects)

    The 56k crowd will never die because the internet experience @ 56k is not sufficiently inferior to the internet experience @ cable or adsl speeds.

    The only thing fast connectivity is good for is downloading high quality porno mpg's and warez.

  • "It's time to give the internet a rest and optimize the whole www so that it will load faster :)"

    You mean getting rid of stupid MIDI files and 3.5MB jpeg's that come right out of the scanner and never get reduced before getting published on cheesey AOL and Geocities personal web pages?

    Perhaps if we solved this whole Spam problem we could free up a couple of extra hundred million Gigabits of bandwidth every day.

    Really though, I have to agree. The internet is huge, it's everywhere, and it is going to be here a while. It's time to clean it up a little. Standardize on HTML, browser colors, JavaScript, XML, DHTML, and all the other stupid things that the browser companies cannot agree on. Perhaps forming the FWYTYBFBCTIHFETEAYAFITUBUCAOS (that would be the Fuck What You Think You Big Fucking Browser Companies The Internet is Here For Everybody To Enjoy And You Are Fucking It Up Because You Can't Agree On Shit) committee to standardize all of this, and get rid of the damn "Best viewed with.." crap, so everyone can enjoy the same content.

    I think, in many ways, the internet "explosion" has peaked, but like all things that change as fast as the internet, details often get overlooked in the process. It's time to pay attention to these details, standardize, expand broadband service, then we can begin to explore the real potential of the internet.

  • .. after reloading slashdot for 3 hours straight and finally seeing a new story, thats peak for me!
  • If the Internet has peaked, what comes next? That's easy. After the ideo-mythological age of the Internet has passed, new opportunities arise to seek out new ideas and goals. Let's try to think bigger than DSL, people. How do we take a steaming, unsorted pile of inforubbish and make something useful? That is the essence of life isn't it? Making something out of nothing? Out of entropy, rises order, no? It's like Ben Hogan said. The answers are in the dirt.
  • I agree with the author, but the word "Peaked" is probably not the best word. I would say more "expectations about the (commercial) internet have finally come down to earth" or "people are finally realizing that the internet is just another tool, not the second coming of {insert dead deity here}."
  • While prefetching algorithms and there relation ship to personality (profile) analysis is an intreging field of study (as far as all hypermedia systems - not just the web), it doesn't actually acommodate the increasing number of dynamic uses for the web.

    The theory behind hypermedia systems goes something like this.
    Hypermedia systems are designed in such away as to enhance humans cognitive ability by mimicking the human cognitive process. This invovles primarily the uses of associative information trails, and these come about by the user following hyperlinks through an information space based on the context of that information.

    In this environment the prefetching algorithm studies are invaluable and would be of great use, how ever the web is no longer just an information based hypermedia system. It's become commercialised now, greatly.

    The vast majority of dot commers want to use the internet, and hence world wide web to sell something. Selling objects on the web requires dynamic functionality, the server (or information store) now has to also interact, as well as keep track of what information is where it now has to do complex processing on it all for the purpose of furnishing someones pocket.

    The commercial uses of the internet are pulling it away from the conventional definition of a hypermedia system every day, and as such rendering important and interesting fields of cognitive studies redundant (to the web).

    Because of the dynamic ('come buy my shit') nature of the web prefetching algorithms based on user profiles become either ineffective or incredibly complex (think about it - how do you fetch a page which displays all your current purchases based on your used id and date - it aint static).

  • by _anomaly_ ( 127254 ) <> on Thursday December 14, 2000 @08:25PM (#557509) Homepage
    I pretty much agree.

    However, I strongly believe that the media and the marketing of available technologies drives the ebb and flow of interest. If the media stresses that we've "peaked" and are now in a "slow-down period", this will calm the excitement and interest that many of the not-as-savvy users have.

    It's a pretty simple concept: hype the internet and associated technologies, and people will stay excited and interested. state the (alleged) fact that the peak has been reached, and people will calm down and not be so avid to jump on the technological bandwagon, so to speak.

  • The biggest barrier to the continued growth of the Internet will be the cost of hosting and the low payoff of advertising. A majority of the internet with real quality and personal expression is supported mainly by advertising dollars. These sites have a danger of dropping off of the planet, despite high viewership, simply because Internet advertising isn't as lucrative as once thought. If we had the ability to host from our own homes, through our standard broadband internet connections, then... the internet would really take off... of course, you'd have to put up with more crap, but those true creative quality sites will be even better diamonds in the ruff.
  • A strange thing happened to me the other nite. My fiance and I were trying to decide where to go eat. We finally thought of a place, but wanted to call ahead to see if it was still open. I went to as per usual to look up the number.

    Problem is, I had forgotten that my DSL had been down for about 20 minutes, and was still down.

    What is strange about this is that i felt helpless. I didn't even know where in our apartment the phonebook was. Not to mention the huge distaste that entered my mind in having to guess which part of the stupid fucking book that the place would be listed.

    I can usually have the phone number to a place in under 10 seconds via That includes the time to hit ctrl-N, manually type in, and then manually set focus to the input box for what i want to look up.

    Comparatively, using a phonebook seems about as appealing as with a sandblaster.

    Last evening I totally forgot that the us presidential candidates were giving their victory/concession speeches. At like 3 am when i remembered, i simply went to and was able to read the full text of both speeches. At no point did it even enter my mind to go check C-span or one of the tv news channels to see if i could find out what was said.

    I've only lived in the pacific northwest for a few months, so I still don't know where all the different sections of town are geographically, or where some of the best places to go are. The streets here are great and easy to navigate on the east side of the sound, but in seattle proper there are quite a few streets that make no sense at all.

    Yet is accurate about 95% of the time out here. I religiously check it before I decide to go to a new specific place. Even when I take my weekend drives, I get a large overview map of the area to sort of guage what direction I should go in for the kind of mood im in (twisty roads, mountain views, etc).

    I hate to sound like a yahoo commercial :), but this access to information has become a routine and important part of my life. I really like the idea of "everyting in one place". Problem is, that place is at home. I can only store a very small cache of what I want to know in my palm IIIe, and i have to manage that manually and ahead of time. Already I want to get it upgraded to 8 megs so i can use the king county map (1.3mb for low res version) from

    When i have ubiquotous access to everything I want to know from anywhere in the country, we'll be making good progress.

    Next, when the interfaces I use all behave in a consistant and intuitive way, no matter where I am or what device I am using - we'll be making good progress.

    When ATMs and payphones are a thing of the past, and instead i can walk into something like an imap/cybercash/whatever booth and be confident that i am accessing and manipulating my data securely, that will be a good start.

    Once I dont need to use these booths because we have a pervasive wireless cloud that is even more convenient, then we'll be making good progress.

    Networks will make all of these things happen, and probably sooner than we all think. They wont be cable TV networks, and they wont be telco networks. The most adaptible and pervasive network in history is the logical choice to build all of these sorts of things on.

    There's no way the internet has peaked ;)

  • It's rediculous to assume that a faster means of information will magically provide us with new experiences. The limits aren't in bandwidth but how content providers choose to use it.

    I disagree (please don't cry).

    Compare the internet to radio. In the beginning there were all sorts of avenues for exploration and development - live programming, news shows, dramas, music, higher-fidelity music, stereo, call-in shows. Then the ideas stopped coming. Radio has become stagnant (actually, worse; it's regressed as station ownership has become consolidated, but that's besides the point).

    With the internet, on the other hand, we're still several technological generations behind being able to implement a lot of the things that people have already dreamed up. Video-on-demand, all sorts of interpersonal interactivity, remote 3-D printing, high-bandwidth wireless anywhere access, interconnectivity with all the appliances and systems in our homes, etc.

    Look, when I started using the internet, you could squeeze mail through creaking gateways, and maybe get FTP to work to a couple of sites at certain times of the day. I dialed into an internet-connected Sun across a 2.4kb/s modem. 13 years on, the underlying protocols are the same, but everything else is basically unrecognizable. But we've barely done anything so far!

    One of the biggest changes, one that's just beginning, is the digitificalization of all media. Newspapers and magazines are already sent by PDF to remote printing plants for simultaneous worldwide distribution; radio stations are all going online, TV and movies are distributed digitally to cable companies and now even cinemas. The converging availability of all these infotainment streams through one device (it's gonna happen, no two ways about it) will completely change the way we communicate with the outside world - and it with us.

    As long as we have a full hopper of new ideas, and as long as the technological improvements necessary to realize those ideas keep being developed at a rapid pace, internet-related change is going to keep going. Everyone likes to make contrarian picks; if they're wrong, they're ignored, but if they're right, the predictor is hailed as a visionary. This makes them pretty cheap unless they're backed up better than this article is.

  • by fhwang ( 90412 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @08:29PM (#557513) Homepage
    1. The commercial web has been hurt by its own poor user experience.
      There has been little to no improvement in the user experience of commercial web sites. Things like customer service, order fulfillment, information architecture, usability, and privacy have generally not improved at all in the last five years -- and they were pretty shitty to begin with. It's the year 2000, and I still see well-funded dotcoms with unusable navigation and time-wasting splash pages. It's the year 2000, and I still get spam from most of the companies I've ordered a product from.

      I was more optimistic at first, telling myself that eventually companies would realize the importance of user experience, but I'm starting to think that there's a poisoning of the waters going on. There are a lot of surveys that indicate that web users have an extremely low trust of web sites in general. And it might be very difficult for one individual web site to change that tide. A possible short-term trend, then, might involve a massive die-off of commercial web sites, followed by a period where new entrants will have to work ten times as hard on user experience, just to get over user suspicion.

    2. The commercial web is not the web.
      Of course, if you look at the web in non-commercial terms, it's pretty successful. Personally, I find it remarkable that I can get a quick answer to most any narrowly defined question in a matter of minutes: I go to google, type in something like "sake temperature FAQ", and get almost instantly pointed to the quick answer I need. Maybe that's not the buy-everything-online future predicted in the tech-business press. But maybe life isn't just about buying shit.
    3. The web is not the internet.
      Look at the most recent groundbreaking consumer technology: Napster spawned thousands of users (and hundreds of Slashdot stories) by writing an entirely new protocol that has nothing to do with the web. You could make the case that innovation on the web will slow down now, since there's less new ground to cover. But there's still a lot of ground to be covered by writing entirely new protocols for applications that the Web was simply never intended to support.

      If you wanted to, you could even make the point that the web and e-mail were killer apps for the internet as a whole. If you'd created Napster five years ago, its impact would've been marginal. But because everybody had been hooked into the network because of all these grand predictions of an web-based future, Napster had a much bigger user base to start from.

  • by Admiral Burrito ( 11807 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @08:47PM (#557519)

    Maybe the web has peaked, or maybe not- My first thought was at the web peaked years ago, but I can't really think of any specific time, which maybe suggests that it hasn't peaked yet after all.

    The Internet definately has not peaked.

    Just look at P2P. Napster use is huge, even though it's a very single-use system. And there is lots more development that can be done with P2P. I think we've just seen the beginning there.

    And who knows what will be the next thing after P2P?

    People assume the Internet == WWW. Even people who know better make that mistake once in a while, if only briefly. But we do know better, right?

  • If you've tried DSL or cable, you'll realize that it makes the current Web much more bearable than a dial-up connection -- it does NOT, however, suddenly turn your computer into an interactive TV set. It is not the promised revolution -- it just makes for a pleasant Web experience, period. There's certainly not enough here to spark a new revolution -- yet.

    I guarantee that if everyone had cable or faster, and CD burners, once people learned how to use them, no one would buy CD's on a regular basis again. Not to mention movies. Or the endless possibilities of something as well crafted as freenet. I would call that a revolution. I am just waiting until there is a
  • I'll buy that the WWW has peaked, or rather, plateaued temporarily.

    As for the Internet, that network we all use, it continues to grow and get better and better, and we continue to find better ways to use it.

    It just hasn't met the media's idea of an ideal network, where super high definition content can be sold to everyone at once.

    But the network, as an exercise in networking, is wildly successful, and continues to grow.

    Perhaps the number of end users coming online has somewhat dropped.. but who cares.

  • by micahjd ( 54824 ) <> on Thursday December 14, 2000 @09:35PM (#557537) Homepage
    Remember when DRAM peaked at 640K?

  • There are currently way too many job search and resume posting sites. No one posts their jobs on more than 2 or 3 of them (most only 1). How many places do you post your resume? The whole job hunting process is hurt by the over 200 job sites, most of which are horribly programmed. You have to search so many places just to be sure you have all bases covered. Since recruiters and hiring managers probably won't make an extensive search, you have to splatter your resume everywhere to be sure you don't miss an opportunity.

    Time for some web site shake outs, and some more dot-com-bust stories.

    But maybe, just maybe, as the rapid growth levels off, there might be a little more emphasis on getting it right. I hope business and commerce stays, though I'll be glad to see stupid sales people and idiotic marketing go away.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think we can say with some degree of certainty that Slashdot has peaked. And you know I'm not talking about user numbers.
  • this assumes that all email won't automatically be lowest priority, but do you really think that spammers are going to assign their messages a lower priority than the highest possible setting? by this i mean: if email message priorities are settable at all, spammers are of course going to assume that theirs is top priority all the time in order to abuse the system and spread their message.

    hardly a revolutionary thought, i know, but it's a concern anyway. perhaps you and i are thinking of different concepts as far as this is concerned. feel free to correct me.

  • Gore never said what most people think he did. He was taken way out of context. []
  • Andreas Pfeiffer, the author of the article, states:

    By now, we have a pretty good idea of what the Web is all about and what it can offer.

    This makes as much sense as kissing some girl on the playground in second grade, and looking at wedding rings the next day.

    If you've tried DSL or cable, you'll realize that it makes the current Web much more bearable than a dial-up connection -- it does NOT, however, suddenly turn your computer into an interactive TV set. It is not the promised revolution -- it just makes for a pleasant Web experience, period. There's certainly not enough here to spark a new revolution -- yet.

    So the web is not a revolution until it is like TV? Does anyone think this is a bit backwards?

    And on a usability level, the Web is evolving less and less. We are refining, of course, and Web sites are getting better -- but there will be no more quantum leaps here, either

    That's it. No more ridiculious statements like this. Your speaking license is revoked.

    By implication, this also means that whatever hasn't exploded on the market yet will probably take a long time to go significantly beyond its current levels of market adoption, at least in relative terms.


    It's just that -- little by little -- the Web is becoming a mature market, and as such

    The web has only be popularized in the last five years, and only become truly mainstream in the last two. How is this mature? It took us, what, 20 years to get past punchcards?

    What if the market out there just was becoming a little bit bored with all that overhyped Internet excitement?

    Again with this stuff. Maybe the baby boomers will become less interested (which I doubt, but let's play "what if"), and go back to TV. But despite that, their kids have grown up on the internet/web. My friend's son had his own computer by the time he was two. Computers are an integral part of his life, in the way that everyone else thinks of cars, phones or credit cards.

    - Scott

    Scott Stevenson
  • by hugg ( 22953 )
    I'm using the Internet, all the time. I order shit online, I talk to my relatives all the time... what's "peaking"? I watch TV on TV and go outside into the real world when circumstances warrant. Let it grow!!
  • by Phaid ( 938 ) on Friday December 15, 2000 @12:23AM (#557563) Homepage
    This is phenomenon happens with every new technology, especially computer-related ones. You have an initial wave of faddishness and starry eyed optimism, full of promises and hype. It's especially helpful if people think they can make money off it. Then, inevitably, the dreams don't pan out and you wind up with a big downturn, with everyone spelling gloom and doom and spouting that it'll never work, it's peaked, no one is interested, etc. Basically sour grapes because not as much money was made as was predicted. Then, again inevitably, people cool off and return to the original idea with newly realistic expectations, and a happy middle ground is reached wherein the technology lives up to its potential and delivers what it should.

    It happened with video games, it happened with satellite TVs, it happened with personal computers (more than once that one), and it's happening now with the web. The Web is overhyped and overmarketed. Home users on 56K are tired of the crappy surfing experience, and businesses are discovering that having a Web presence isn't that trivial to do and doesn't rake in the dough they thought it would. So the big boom is over, but the Internet isn't going away. After the dust has settled and people's expectations become more realistic, the Internet will fade into the background -- it will become a ubiquitous part of everyday life, like the telephone, cable TV, and everything else we take for granted now but was initially hyped as the Next Great Thing.
  • there are QoS and priority concerns built in this time (so that your pr0n and spam move at a lower priority than something more important.)

    So who decides what is important?

    The reason that the priority bits in IP4 are universally ignored is that there is no "price signalling mechanism" (as economists term it). In other words it costs nothing more to set the priority bits than to clear them, so people will set them and everything becomes high priority.

    So what it comes down to is that if QoS is going to work effectively on the Internet in IPv6 you are going to have to pay for it by the byte, or by the second for guaranteed bandwidth (as in RSVP). And on top of that there will have to be the accounting overhead by which your ISP bills you and then pays the carriers further along, and some system for finding the cheapest route at the moment, given the huge number of possible routes through various administrative domains.

    And when we have done all this, are people actually going to pay for it? I rather doubt it. People really like the unmetered aspect of Internet use. It means you don't have that nasty itchy feeling that the clock is ticking, so you can take your time. Anyway, if the Net was sufficiently loaded that QoS mechanisms would help an individual, it would probably be so loaded that any request for guaranteed bandwidth would be rejected.

    Where QoS does come into its own is in planning converged networks where voice and data both flow over IP. In the future the separate voice and data lines that companies use for internal phone systems, and which the phone companies themselves use, are likely to be merged into single IP networks. This reduces costs because you only have one network to maintain instead of two. But to make this work you need QoS so that your voice telephone traffic gets the bandwidth it needs.


  • This is Cheshire's ATM Paradox []
    ATM's big feature is guaranteed quality of service. When you set up a TCP/IP connection, the Internet does not reserve network bandwidth for you to guarantee that your data will not suffer network congestion or loss. ATM does offer guaranteed reserved bandwidth. This is its big advantage.

    Or is it? If you reserve bandwidth for one user, then you have to refuse to let anyone else use that bandwidth. Everyone always talks about reservations in the context that you are the one who gets the bandwidth and it is everyone who is refused. What about when you are the one being refused? Reservations suddenly doesn't seem so wonderful any more, do they? The only way to make sure no one is refused service is to engineer your network so that you have enough bandwidth for everyone -- but if you have enough for everyone then why do they have to keep making reservations? That's the ATM paradox.

    This is a subset of Cheshire's law of NetworkDynamics []

  • Maybe a local peak but certainly not an absolute one - just like the stock market 'peaked' last March or so and and is off that peak, that does not mean the stock market is finished and done for like it's doomed and everyone is going to pull all their cash out and stuff it in their bed. Off peak periods are great opportunities to use the lull in business to polish up the interface and user experience, and build up lots of server capacity, fault tolerance and get ready for another wave (hint about public retail: "they all come at once", or as Yogi Berra put it, "that place (restuarant) is so busy nobody goes there anymore").
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Friday December 15, 2000 @02:52AM (#557575) Homepage
    I haven't turned on a TV set in over a year. Yet I haven't missed an episode of southpark, Startrek Voyager, Dark Angel, the Dune miniseries, and anything else I cared to watch. I watched it all on my computer. My... interactive TV.. if you would. Granted, its not the medium that the future version is hyped to be. Its not as convienent as Tivo for the average consumer, although for me it fits right into my regular tasks so I notice no inconvienence on my part. And yes, its probably not 100% legal.

    However, I can tell you that there are NO technical limitations WHATSOEVER that prevent this type of interaction. The laws of the marketplace, copyright laws, marketing and advertising issues are the reasons why interactive TV over broadband hasn't taken off yet. Its NOT for lack of interest. But it will have to compete with a television set for convienence of use, and with cable in pricing.

    Also, remember that this does not have to be STREAMING media. You need not limit the quality of your playback to the lowest common denominator. Let your customers download the program they wish to watch. Harddrives as a reusable storage method are quite reasonably priced. Once downloaded, the customer can watch it whenever he/she wants and can keep it as long as they can store it. Don't be sneaky trying to force individual payments for each download. Just charge a flat monthly fee for the service.

    Will there be blatent piracy? Certainly. There is now. Nothing will change except that you might be able to sell me a service that I'm currently getting for free because you don't offer it. The technologies will emerge regardless of what you choose to do about them. You have a choice here, you can ride the wave when it comes in or get caught in a wake and drown. Napster is as popular as it is not because people want to steal money from artists (yes, I know the argument about that), and not all of them are just looking for freebies. It exists because the music industry refused to implement such a service early on when they could have had a lot more control over its use and revenue possibilities. Instead they chose to hold onto their old ideals and they completely missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

    And so the internet grows on. And its not growing any slower. Just because the hype has died down does NOT mean that its leveling out. Hype isn't always the best form of motivation anyways. Internet stocks didn't crash because the an internet based economy is a flawed concept. They crashed because the companies behind those stocks were based mostly on hype. They weren't created to develop services, they were created to keep the hype alive. When the hype died down, the investors tarried, the stock market slumped and everyone suddenly got nervous and got out. As a result, the linux stocks took a bit of a beating, not because they were conceptual hype (although some were/are), but because a lot of their revenue was from other companies that WERE based on hype and therefore some of their market ceased to exist.

    And don't forget. The web != the internet. They are certainly related, but all the web really is is a single internet based service. The internet is 3 times older than the web. Services have "peaked" before and all but died out, to be replaced by something more interactive, useful and/or visually pleasing. The internet itself still grows on. My interactive TV has NO involvement whatsoever with the "web" and its unlikely that it ever will.

  • My older brother is much bigger and juicier than me, why don't you eat him instead?

    (Translation for those who don't know fairy tales: Score: -1, Troll)
  • "Has the Internet hit its inflection point" just isn't as catchy.


  • >IPv6, now how is that going to affect your average everyday user? Personal IP addresses, so? What good would that do? Everybody on this
    >earth has a least 10 unique numbers already assigned to them (social security, bank accounts, phone numbers, email addresses).

    IPv6 has quality of service support. That means that VOIP can go telephone quality or better. It also allows for videophones- and the bandwidth of ADSL is about right for that.

    Videophones are probably another killer app.

    Then there's video on demand, near video on demand. Another killer app.

    You can sorta run these services ontop of IPv4 but they don't work very well.
  • Is that activity at ZDnet has peaked and settled. They've had all their startup excitement and honeymoon period and now things are ticking over and running smoothly. People have a tendency to project their situation on to others. Just as e-mail saw the growth of the internet into a worldwide infrastructure and the web gre that worldwide infrastructure to be a worldwide structure, so a new "killer app" will bring yet another surge in internet growth.


  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday December 15, 2000 @06:14AM (#557586)
    Yep! Remember when DRAM peaked at 640K?

    Yeah, and remember how cars went to 8 cylinders, to 10 to 12, and even to 16 and higher in some cases. Then 8 seemed to be a reasonable upper limit in terms of size, performance, and reliability. Most cars have 4 cylinder engines these days.

    The 640K comment was a bit premature, yes, that doesn't mean that memory sizes will increase for ever and ever. There's a point of diminishing returns. In terms of processor speed I think we're hitting it now.

    And funnily enough, there are machines out there that don't even have 640K, like smaller PDAs and the biggest selling hand-held computer of all time: the Game Boy.
  • As far as I'm concerned, the Internet has not peaked until I can telnet to my toaster and run eject toast to shoot bread across the room and scare the hell out of my cats.
  • The ultimate computer interface is interactive video and audio *everywhere*- every room, vehicle, and personal. Text will have limited applications and will mainly be used for precision and eggheads. So the computing GUI research, computer and pipe capacity will need to grow to reach this. Moore's law says we will reach this in a few decades. I see the stumbling block as being the interactive video GUI R&D rather than capacity.

    This won't be a achieved in one smooth economic ramp, but in up and down cycles. Tech was up in the early 60s, early 80s and late 90s. It bombed in the late 70s, late 80s and appears to be diving now. But it will rise again.

  • This is great stuff--I heartily agree! Anyone who claims to be able to write about the Internet should repeat that 10 times every morning: "The commercial web is not the web. The web is not the Internet" You've hit the nail on the head.

    The thing that is instructive (to the mainstream media) about things like napster, irc, and online games, is that they have little or nothing to do with "the web". They don't fit the "Go to a web site and click BUY" mold, and this scares people.

    I've talked to relatives who honestly believe that the only reason the Internet exists is because it is a new way to "Buy Stuff(tm)".

    As with all media, there is a certain percentage that is here because of commercial interests, and a certain percentage that is "independant" and is done without commercial motivation. Public radio vs. Casey's top-40 (although some would argue that because public radio is partially subsidized commercially it is not purely independant)

    Unfortunately, so far, most mainstream media (books, magazines, radio, television, ...) have become nearly 100% commercial. Television, for instance, exists today not because it is so entertaining, but because it is a tool to deliver advertisements to the millions of mindless consumeroids eagerly waiting to be influenced by it.

    The Internet is different because it is still largely independant. Before the commercial world's saturation of the Internet, it was a place where people shared information because that information is usefull to others, and not because it could be a way to Make Money Fast. If the Internet (in zdnet's mind, the commercial web) has peaked, I think this is a great thing. It shows that more and more people are using the Internet for reasons OTHER THAN shopping. This would help ensure that the Internet doesn't become the next television.
  • I want information. I want data that excites and entertains me, much in the way a good book would. I want bandwidth to explore new worlds - I want to use that data in the manner that I see fit, not how some other entity wants me to see it.

    I will not passively sit and watch the world go by - give me HTML and vi! Watch as I create and publish, much as a sculpter would with stone and chisel.

    I am tired of how society continues to think all it should do is take, take, take! Society should get off it's collective bum and give back. What is so difficult about being imaginative, letting ideas and creations flow?

    Has the internet peaked? Bah! Only if we let it become the new boob-tube.

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • That we can take back USENET?
  • By now, we have a pretty good idea of what the Web is all about and what it can offer. We are also increasingly beginning to see its limitations and shortcomings. In one word, we are entering an era of realism.

    This is a fairly arrogant statement I had to address, even though it doesn't deal with the central point I'm about to make except indirectly. He's saying HE knows what the Web is all about and what it can offer. Well, clearly, nobody knows what the Web can offer, because I haven't seen timetravel.php on freshmeat yet.

    I have a guess though, and recent trends are giving my guess some weight. Back many years ago Sun said "the network is the computer", and began pushing to have every workstation in the world be an audience member in that big crazy show we call the Internet. MS jumped on this boat by integrating a browser into the OS without bothering to include a web server. They assumed what most of us did - it was too difficult to actually offer content, so they looked at their TV's and said, "Hey! This is what the Web's gonna be like too!"

    The Web hasn't peaked yet or anything like it because the real web is just getting under way. The real web is characterized by this statement: Every workstation in the world will be a server on the Internet. That's my prediction. The Internet is there, and it works, to offer interactivity, not passive absorption of banner ads. And as such, tools for offering content--Napster, Gnutella, freenet, and half a million open source modules for turning your little cable modem into an IRC bot shell account server or free porn story archive--are appearing every day. These tools are so usable that kindergarten teachers and auto workers and lawyers and janitors are setting up servers at home right next to the electrical engineers' and the web gurus'. Even /. and Usenet and other such resources that allow interactive commentary are an example of what I'm talking about - people using their bandwidth to contribute to the overall charater of the web.

    We're seeing the birth of the next web right now--the altruistic web, where everyone pushes their knowledge out to everyone else, and accepts the knowledge of their users in return, instead of just waiting for their search engine to turn up the content. Broadband will help with this, but we need to work out a few kinks (like short-sighted ISP end-user agreements that forbid the setting-up of servers, and like getting fiber or power-line internet access rolled out to everyone). When these things start to bear fruit the Web will be more than just a convenient form of entertainment, it will become part of the cultural tapestry.

  • I know exactly what you're talking about; that nasty itchy feeling.

    Until recently, I had FREE internet service, through work, but I was still on a dial-up account, so I was always worried about having the phone line tied up, or how fucking godamn fucking long it took to dial up, or whether Remote Access was going to freeze up on me.

    I didn't use internet at home much.

    Now with DSL, that I'm paying for. I feel totally unrestricted on the internet at home. The freedom is intoxicating. If I was dictator of the world, I would immediately BAN all cable access, and all dial-up access, and mandate that everyone have DSL access, and that phone companies build new CO's (or repeaters) to make sure everyone had it.

    Would you vote for me?
  • My father was a Professor of Computer Science at MIT, but it took him an age to even get a terminal on his desk -- and even then, he made sadly little use of it.

    He was always more interested in the theoretical implications of computing than the beasts themselves, something I always found sadly bewildering.


  • Hmm, I go to bookstores and buy books on impulse all the time. That's why bookstores aren't as threatened by Amazon as one might think.

    Of course if you know exactly what book you want, and just need to buy it now, Amazon is surely a lot easier than anything else. But there's a great appeal in visiting a massive Borders or Barnes & Noble, sitting down amid a massive pile of books, and digging in.

    Interesting data point: I bought lingerie online for The Person Who Doesn't Want to be called my Girlfriend, per her advice, using her own shopping list. When it came time to check out, using two different browsers (IE on MacOS X and Netscape on MacOS 9), the purchase didn't work. It was only my obvious motivation to buy the lingerie that caused me to find IE on OS 9 worked. I'm sure this kind of thing is a major reason e-commerce sites are in trouble. Really, you have to experience some of them to believe how rotten they are.



  • >People thought the Internet peaked with Netscape 3.0 - NOT!

    The Internet didn't peak but Netscape certainly did (VEG)
  • It really sickens me that the only standard by which the internet is measured these days is by how much cash it can generate.

    Agreed - for us we expect moving our (publishing) operations onto the web to make everything run smoother, faster, better, but it's not going to produce money out of thin air - quite the contrary as we're still trying to figure out how we're going to end up maintaining the business in the long run!

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.