The problem with Mosaic is that it’s currently for the “haves” of the Internet. This is an attempt to bring this exciting end of the Internet to the average user. We think this is the future of on-line publishing.
Today people buy bits of dead cellulose and have an emotional experience. Maybe there’s a way to use a piece of dead silicon instead.
We will get fully interactive digital multimedia in ways you can only experience in the research lab today … [Imagine a place where] we can navigate the world vicariously, where we will pour out our recipes, opinions of what is good about places, see what other people see, not what establishments want us to see, where we will much more quickly transact for things we are used to doing on the telephone or in person.
[There will be an explosion of Web sites for ordering takeout food.] Everyone has their own drawer of takeout menus. Imagine doing that on-line.
Information on specialty producers will also reach consumers directly … specialty producers who stand to gain the most from Internet exposure cannot afford big advertising campaigns or deal in highly perishable products that can’t be sold through conventional channels of mass distribution such as supermarket chains. The Internet exposure can come about through informal news group conversations among food lovers or Web sites.
The Internet will foster greater cooperation as well as competition among chefs. “It’s already been dramatic,” says Holleman. “There’s (an unprecedented) networking taking place in the sharing of resources … [This will give customers] a more authentic culinary experience because the chef will have access to the person who produces the authentic cuisine.”
The Palace’s Joey Altman envisions an explosion of chefs on-line two or three years from now. They’ll offer real-time cooking shows or a selection of video demonstrations that may be downloaded for a fee. You’ll see the familiar slew of celebrity chefs … “The special hook is the interactivity … it’s going to enhance that feeling of wanting to go to that restaurant. It’s going to be like living out a fantasy, as sick as that sounds.”
The amount of time I save by being able to find a piece of information on-line is almost exactly negated by how much time I waste every day by being on-line … The problem with intelligent agents and filters is that they can never do anything more than a crude approximation of my desires and wants. The thing that I do want a machine to solve is something that a machine can’t solve namely, “give me only the e-mail that is essential in my work.” For me to program that is for me to know what is essential in my work, and I don’t know that. It changes every 20 minutes. As an example, I would never in my life program an artificial intelligent agent to tell me what’s happening in Oklahoma City. Yet, all of a sudden last April, a bomb goes off and everything in Oklahoma City is important and essential.
If the Internet is to truly act as a giant distributed filing system and global computer, services need to become scalable as demand grows. If the request load on the Library of Congress goes up by a thousand, we need a way (translation: monetary compensation) to sustain it. Equally, if people go looking for, say, the current version of Doom, search facilities should be smart enough to locate and point to a local copy first before flagging copies a continent away.
The Internet remains, among other things, “the Full Employment Act for Librarians” for the next decade. We need legions of librarians to catalog, label and organize what’s out there; we need top- and lower-level menus that present information “cut” in many directions, labeled so we can find things when we don’t know the right keywords. It’s past time that Internet users had access to comprehensive, usable global indexes and tools that search them. We’re drowning in private-label directories and “yellow pages.” Where’s the “global WHOIS” Internet directory people-looker-upper?