[FoRK] portals vs time
Strata R. Chalup
strata at virtual.net
Mon Jan 31 13:10:48 PST 2005
The long thread of messages about Flickr and GMail and similar doesn't seem to
include my main issue with JS portal-type sites, no matter how well-done, and
that is LAG.
Sure, it's quick. Sure, they have zillions of servers, yada yada. But no one
seems to take into account all the wasted time in *point and click*.
I can do any task on the command line in a fraction of the time it takes to nav
somebody's portal site, upload stuff, etc. All these tasks require me to pause
between steps and wait. Some of this can be solved by plug-ins. However the
plug-ins themselves are often to applications which in themselves are graphical
point and click.
The real kicker comes in migration of data from one of these services to
another, or from one's own computer up to the portal. Moving things from portal
to portal requires recreating the value added by the portal in the first place,
eg the comments, or the grouping into albums, or whatever. For most of these
portals, any time I invest in adding value to my raw content is tied to the
portal and lost. For a few portals, like LiveJournal, I have the option to
spend even more time massaging exported data to retain the value. I'd have
been, in some cases, better off just keeping entries as raw txt paras with
minimal embedded markup and applying style sheets or my own PHP. Etc.
XML is *not* a sufficiently 'portable' form, since essentially each portal site
has its own flavor of schema. What is truly needed is a base-level schema for
peering/portal sites, so that people have mobility for data and there is
opportunity for true data exchange. Especially exchange with the user's
computing base and the portal site!
I haven't yet found a portal that is worth long-term adoption when the long-term
time penalty is factored into it. The closest I've come is LJ, posting from a
local client, and I'm finding that it's too hard to reply to comments when
compared to email-- if the commenter is not a paid account, and thus has no
user at livejournal.com address, the load/click/reply/view cycle to leave even one
response takes the time of 2 - 3 email responses.
Give me flavored rsync, or a portal that supports cfengine, rather than all
these 'elegant' interfaces, please! Give me a pure email interface, with no
webbyness required for interaction between portal users! Perhaps I am a
dinosaur, but perhaps I merely have perspective. But as my friend JXH is fond
of saying, "User suffering increases in direct proportion to knowledge of a
Strata Rose Chalup [KF6NBZ] strata "@" virtual.net
VirtualNet Consulting http://www.virtual.net/
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