interesting times..

There's only so much information you can take in a day, so many minutes. it's weird I know, but when I found out that I'll probably have no broadband for at least a fortnight while my service is migrated, well, a part of me did sigh with relief, like my brain might get a bit of a rest.

I blame tabbed browsers. Yeah, I know, I was all religious about tabbed-browsing back when it was little more than a cool idea, but I do wonder if maybe we've created a monster. One capable of inflicting critical information overload. Alvin Toffler never saw this coming, just as well, he'd have had a heart attack. (apologies to Alvin's family if he's dead, especially if it was a heart attack.)

Beware the hyper-links!
All this data is just too tempting, I want more. And with tabs I don't have to sacrafice a damn thing! Not a window, not even some screen real-estate; with one simple modifier I can have my cake and eat it too! I am at one with the web!

Picture it; three puter screens, three browsers, one hundred and thirty tabs. What am I playing at? Am I trying to fit the whole lot in my brain at once? I ask, skitting between a group of Fast TCP tabs, and another; ancient herbal cures, one minute knowing more about the fascinating artificial diamonds more perfect than the real thing and the next; wait a minute-

okay, *phew* he's alive! seventy five! Good on ye mate! Where was I?

Oh yeah! that's the point, innit? it's no problem to keep track of where you are with only one or two documents,
will probably be SEX
but the task becomes considerably more difficult when it's thirty, or one hundred and thirty. And what about when the theoretical limits are removed, and we're all running G7 cheese-graters with nano self-assembly parallel processing infiniband OC-connected woofer-puters? There's a certain unmapped mental logistics being worked out here, some kind of evolution going on in our brains. Apparently we can only keep seven thoughts in our noggin at any one time (don't ask me where I heard that, quite possibly a dream, maybe just made it up) and one of those will probably be sex, so if that's the case, anything over six tabs is a waste, isn't it?

Maybe not. Maybe I'm looking at my browser all squint-like. Maybe human brains like to do that, to skip about like that, like that valuable first flick of a book, evolved to a process. Dancing, as thoughts enjoy. Perhaps using the browser itself as a sort of massive living library is a Very Good Thing. With decent navigation, the whole kaboodle becomes a researchers wet-dream. Why bother to save documents? Or congest the net with downloading them again? Just leave them open for the length of the project! Leave them open forever! When the pages aren't going anywhere, There's no longer that same rush to read 'em. Instead of having one or two unfinished projects, tabs allow you to have umpteen!

But doesn't that defeat the purpose of the web itself? The data is *out there*, barring web server failure and page death, surely all we need to know is the location. Perhaps what's really needed is some decent cross-platform shortcut storage system that allows real, intelligent, drag-and-drop, auto-catagory-sorting (read the bloody page, you'll see where the link should fit!)and most importantly, retrieval of links. It would run as a server, probably on your local linux box. Being able to recall the last state of every client browser would be a useful attribute.

No, Let's Blame the Crashing!
This would solve another real-world problem; the browser crash. Something especially dreadful (yes, I mean its original sense) for folks like me fond of shakey, in-progress developer beta-builds of their favourite browser. Sure you could have camino running for a week or two on OS X, but on day fifteen, or sixteen, or whenever, some page, some crazy widget, or dodgy html, whatever, something will knock something else, and BANG! no more browser, all those pages vanished into the dataspere, like tears in rain...

Blade Runner! That was tabs eleven through seventeen, or thereabouts. Fortunately I'd earlier switched the film research stuff over to fastbrowser, which has the supremely useful ability to remember all the tabs you had open before the inevitable happened. Very neat, and so simple to implement (are you listening camino team?) erm.

I'd like to see the process of browsing and the process of remembering made completely seperate. With web standards changing so rapidly, and browsers continually developing to keep up, iThink it's about time we looked into this.

iRemember maybe. iLink. iURL. Hmm maybe not. Oh come on! you can do better than that! Point is, I don't want to have to think about my history, I just want it to be there, like the past should be, not wiped like dreams get. Why isn't iRemember watching my browsing? Why isn't it learning from my habits? Bookmarking automatically. Why doesn't it exist? The history button is dead! Long live my History!

Longevity; everything seems to suffer from it. And I guess web browsing itself is no different. I imagine that the web will get 3D on us soon enough, and we might even find ourselves plugging in Neuromancer-style, feeding on the raw data, being there, rather than just downloading pieces of there to here, for our inspection. But before that happens, I wager we not only need to (obviously) develop superior technologies, but superior brains, too.

In the same way kids' hypertune their reflex responses playing computer games, tune their nervous systems for speed, so too we mortal surfers will need to train these spongy brains for the data onslaught that is coming. Is here. We'll need to be able to cope somehow.

Information is coming down the pipe.
it's here! Already, it's here!
Where did the pipe go today?

The tabbed browser must surely be one of our most valuable tools at this stage of our evolution. As crucial as mosaic or Netscape one, it has changed the way we work the web. How we work with the information. Some online tasks would be unthinkable without tabs. From a recent underground article..

The stakes are high. in the "clubhouse", a secret members-only forum for hunters at aminaked.com, the site that cunningly leverages the power of a simple database, some cute web-coding, and the raw thirst of the average porn gatherer. Surfers browse, add their own links. Some add waaay more links than others and the league table is fiercely contested, competition for the hotest new backdoors is tight. The table is every hunter's homepage..

 "After aminaked.com, that is", chuckles mr.underperson, a regular top-spot hunter and "hot seat" record-holder, a daily goal.

 "Even before I got broadband I could hit the top-three every day. it's just a question of having a good system.

 "I use three puters here, a Linux fileserver running Samba. Everything comes in and out of there. If I need to delete stuff, that's where I do it. The bulk of the batch downloading is done on a Win2K machine, FlashGet, of course, links provided by Fastbrowser running 24-50 tabs. The real hunting happens on my OS X box, running Camino. Tabs are essential, There's no way you could process this much porn without tabs.

 "Does anyone pay you for this?"

 "Nah! Though I know a couple of the guys run cams while they hunt. After all, you're going to be pulling that thing for hours, why not make a few bucks in the process?"

 "So you're just a bunch of Wankers then?"

 He laughs, "Yup, that's about the size of it!"


Clearly Tabbed browsing is a revolution in more ways than one.

Of course, it's possible that this urge to pour information into this brain storage space of mine is no more than a simple human addiction, the desire for the new. feed me! feed me new!! feed me now!!! For a simple monthly fee I can have all the information I need. My ISP, really, is my dealer.

Or maybe it's deeper than that, some primal need to reach out and touch other ideas and concepts, spark distant connexions with data and people, make new combinations, alchemy of information. For sure, all over the desktops and workstations this process of connecting and choosing and distilling and creating gathers momentum, all over the world.

we are the hunter gatherers.
information. no basket, no farm nor field
that is not data.

Is this part of an even greater evolution? Connecting up all knowing, all mankind's thoughts and ideas, as if at last we might share this big knowledge of ours freely, all seeing all, enriching our brothers and sisters beyond imaginings, evolving beyond our brains. Beyond the possible. Are we taking some collective leap forward here?

More data equals more possibility. Like fooling with your big brother's electronics set, wondering; what happens when I connect this point to this? With infinite points and infinte possibilities, imagination becomes the only limit. The materials follow after, as ever. it's the big mix now, the big mind-blender. So we mix this cool technology with that? and what happens?

DNA Self-Assembled Nano-Transistors

What?

I gotta ease up on the tabs.

;o) Cor

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