Fixing The Internet(s)
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA blew it. Oh yes, I know that it is a very unpopular stand to blast the person who essentially "Invented The World Wide Web", especially since I'm using his little brainchild to spritz my venom, but heck dude, this sucka is screwed up!
I also know that NetFreaks will see this as tantamount to blasting the Pope for being the Antichrist, but hear me out...
Let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start, according to Maria von Trapp). Sir B-L might have been able to type a mean line of Unix code, but his naming conventions when it comes to URLs betray a fundamental nerditure which has no relevance to reality... and it is this basic flaw that has cost the world endless trillions of useless, pointless and completely unnecessary keystrokes, frustration and waste of (cumulatively) thousands of years of precious time. We've accepted all this Geek Gobbledigook as an indelible part of our lives like death and taxes, when instead it's just the Ivory Tower isolation of one particular misguided Gobbledigeek who foisted this whole mess on us all.
The Unixheads might argue that http:// is necessary in order to tell the computer what it's going to be doing next, so I can't really shoot them down too much as that evil set of seven characters is usually incorporated into browsers and not really a typical part of common usage. I laugh my head off whenever I hear some "novice of the internets" give a URL on TV or radio and start at "h-t-t-p colon, forward slash, forward slash..."
Then we get into the www. It was pointed out to Sir B-L when he came up with this misbegotten mega-alliteration that it actually took longer to say "double u, double u, double u" than to say "world wide web." What in blue blazes does www have to do with anything? It's like tacking on your little label onto the world's addressing system so that everyone will always know that it was you who created it. Why not tjbl then? If you want to self promote, put your initials in it, then at least you can massage your ego properly! But if we're examining actual computer processing requirements, if the http:// isn't enough to get the browser onto the www part of the internet, (and yes, Virginia, www is only one part of the internet) then change the damn http://! Make it httw:// or hw:// or something like that, for cryin' out loud! Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Now we come to the suffix, which has to be the Number One Most Idiotic Convention of the Industrial Age. Good ol' Sir B-L out of his immense wisdom messed this up in such a profoundly idiotic fashion that it's really hard to understand just what the hell he was thinking. Let's tackle the very existence of the suffix. Why in the name of the InterDeities do we even have a suffix? It's completely unnecessary in computer processing requirements so that's not the reason. Sir B-L's blatantly skewed view of the world caused him to misinterpret the activities of the entire world's population into essentially six categories:
- .edu: Education
- .gov: Government
- .mil: Military
- .org: Organizations
- .com: For all those varied and sundry unwashed masses who actually have to engage in mercantile activities to feed their families rather than rely on tenure and fat grants,
- ...and all the nations (plus a whole bunch more that no one really uses).
Why does this make absolutely no sense whatsoever? For enough reasons to fill HubPages' servers with so much verbiage that they'd explode. Let's just deal with the major salient points:
- It's skewed to be USA-centric. Why do all the countries have their own national suffixes but Americans just generally use .com? (Come on... how many .us addresses have you seen?)
- Yes, I know Sir B-L is British, which brings us to the next point. Why is the United Kingdom along with Japan the only countries to have a popular commercial/national suffix? Why isn't there a co.fr, co.it, and co.cn?
- Why have national suffixes at all when anyone anywhere can register a .com? It defeats the entire purpose of having a national suffix at all.
- What was Sir B-L thinking when he gave .tv to Tuvalu, a country which ended up financing its entire economy primarily on its sale of the suffix to the television corporations?
- Why is there no respect for any national alphabetical system other than the ones that originated in Western Europe?
- Since .com is responsible for many times more sites than all the other suffixes put together, why isn't it broken up? Imagine how much better the internet experience would be if .xxx was all porn, .p2p was all file sharing, etc. This way, ISPs could filter and/or charge for various usages differently.
I know, I know... things like .p2p weren't invented yet when Sir B-L put on his propeller beanie and sat down at his cluttered desk to figure out ways to befuddle an entire global generation. However since porn is the oldest human visual activity, it just goes to illustrate the bottom line: This entire convention is broken. Companies and notable individuals have to be the first to register over 250 different URLs to ensure that no cybersquatter is going to hold them hostage with their own name which might be legally registered and trademarked already. And that's just plain wrong.
I have yet to have any internerd adequately explain to me why I can't just type in cocacola or fedex or exxon in my browser and have it go to the proper site, even if from a computer processing requirement the proper address would be hw://cocacola, hw://fedex or hw://exxon? The argument that, say, a German citizen would be directed to an English language site is ridiculous. My IP clearly tells the net where I am, so if I'm accessing from Germany, send me to the German sites of cocacola, fedex or exxon! Once I'm there, if I really want to, I can click on a national flag and go to an English one if I choose, or just bookmark cocacola/en, etc.
Now that the World Wide Web is no longer an academic curiosity but the communications backbone of a planet, we can no longer afford such nerdian complexities. We need to overhaul the entire addressing structure of the internet and we need to start now.