November 16, 2023
Five years ago I described it as "stuff & nonsense" I enjoyed.
Ten years ago I promised "another programming blog".
I wish blogging had flourished over that time, but, & this is not going to be a shock to you, it hasn't. Blogs were already anachronistic when I started this one & that hasn't changed for the better. There's still a lot of independent writing I enjoy reading regularly. It's just a shame that so much of it now's sunk into newsletters that are set up to be monetized, or hidden in ephemeral social media. Blogs & their readers are still here, but there are fewer & fewer of each every year. Perhaps it was always just too much trouble for most people to make a blog, let alone find one to read.
I wish the web had also flourished more than it did over those ten years. Under pressure from Apple, & from Facebook & the rest of social media hiving people off into walled gardens, & from Google trying to hoover up everything that was left through its own servers, things haven't gone well for the web. It used to be so good, but it's been swamped by stupider & stupider hack or now AI generated SEO optimised nonsense. Search engines don't work any more. The walled gardens are dominated by the rich men who own them, but people flock to them lest they be trapped in the wastelands between. Warring city states in a world rapidly going backwards. Things seem to be getting worse faster, so some of that's down to the AI, I guess. Well done those programmers.
Several name brand tech outfits exploded over the last decade, Twitter probably being the most notable of those. I sank a lot of hours into it, then it died. The stumbling rise of things like Mastodon offer some hope here. Smaller, slower, with fewer billionaires & venture capitalists is the promise, but at the cost of much more fragmentation. Perhaps one way we save the web is by making our own city states?
Hardware… The computer I'm typing this on could've existed ten years go. Much the same could be said about the phone I'll be reading it on. Both are probably faster in ways I wouldn't obviously notice. I'm sure they have more gigabloops of brightness or thinness, or something that sounds good to marketing people, but they work much the same. There's been a lot of incremental change, but not much that's revolutionary. Apple's Silicon is a standout in a bleak field. AR/VR has been promised several times over the last ten years without ever taking off yet. I've never been thrilled by the prospect it offers. Why not try & sell me something that means I don't have to wear glasses, not something that's thicker & more uncomfortable? Ham radio hardware's of a lot more interest to me at the moment than anything in computing. That's hundred year old tech (in parts).
The rest of the world… I'll continue to mostly gloss over the rest of the world here. Mostly things have mostly gone well for me. I continue to live a charmed & probably undeservedly comfortable life, both in terms of programming & more generally. I wish that could also be said of the world at large.
Maybe in another ten years? I live in hope.