Monday, February 08, 2010

The Winchester House

I read an article a few weeks ago by a technology writer which asserted, essentially, that the internet used to be lovely, but now it's all gone to shit. I can't remember his name, but he was apparently a big evangelist in the early days of the internet -- one of those people who went on earnest late-night discussion shows and tried to persuade people that the internet (that churning, slowly-loading sea of animated gifs, embedded midi, and browser frames) was going to revolutionize politics, culture, and generally change the course of human history. In his view the modern internet, with all its commercial success, has abandoned the anarchic personalized spaces that made the old internet (web 1.0, if you will) so exciting and powerful.

This isn't something I've ever really given a whole lot of thought, as I'm not really inclined toward nostalgia, but now I think about it, the internet has changed a lot in the last 5 years. However, I don't think that it has got worse -- even if you accept the basic tenet of this bloke's argument (commercial success and user friendliness bad -- a line I hear from hipsters all the time) I don't think it's true that the internet no longer allows for strange and personal spaces as well.

I was reminded of this when I discovered this amusing website. It's rather enigmatic, no idea who wrote it, or why. But it's written with a clear, likable style, and provides an interesting perspective on a subect (the winchester mystery house) that always seemed like it could do with a little more incredulity.