The Technology Adoption-Standardization-Prevention Cycle

I’m trying to optimize my google reader experience, and fly through feeds as effeciently as possible. For me, this means keeping my hands on the keyboard, and off the mouse. Reader uses the j/k keys to go up and down, just like the classic game nethack, and the Unix editor vi. I’m amazed that twenty years on, we’re still using this interface. I suspect that when the time comes, I’ll be lowered into my grave by an operator using the j and k keys.

Anyway, google uses the “v” key to view an article in full. This comes up either in a new window or a new tab, depending on the firefox configuration. Sadly, if you want the article in a new window (and I do, seeing as I paid good money for a large amount of real estate), firefox’s popup blocker blocks it.

So, the technology progression was — Netscape invented the pop-up window, the various web standards bodies standardized it, the advertising people abused it, so pop-up blockers were invented to prevent it from working in most cases. I wonder at the aggregate amount of engineering it took to come full circle. In 1936, J.M. Keynes suggested that it would be economically useful to pay otherwise unemployed workers to simply dig up bottles filled with cash, which other workers had earlier buried for them. Seems like we’ve got a high-tech equivalent going on now.

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One Response to The Technology Adoption-Standardization-Prevention Cycle

  1. dickie-san says:

    This is a brilliant post – I love your writing. As my kids put it once (using Ah-nuld voice):

    “Even my biceps are laughing”

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