I'm not really all that mysterious

web 2.0 and server-based applications

Shel Israel asks a very Zen-like question: what is web 2.0? I don’t know, but that’s my personal definition of web 2.0: server-based applications, which Steve Yegge briefly discusses in his article discussing programming language choice and Paul Graham mentions (in 2001, mind you!) in his article discussing programming language popularity.

What I mean by server-based apps are services that we use that rely on the processing power of the server rather than the client (your desktop computer). For example,, or Google and their multifarious spin offs (Gmail, Talk, Maps, et al), or Friendster/Myspace/Facebook/etc.,, the list goes on and on, but I’m not that inured in the Brave New World yet. (Ridiculously, I’m actually quite conservative when it comes to technology—mostly, though, I think it’s laziness. As they say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?)

The ironic thing is that in some ways, we were in this exact same position in the pre-microcomputer (AKA pre-desktop computer) era, reliant on server processing. Sure, cel phones, and even mp3 players have much more processing power than the first microcomputers (my very first computer, the Commodore 64, ran on a 1 MHz CPU and only had 38k of RAM free—in contrast, my cell phone has at least a couple megs of RAM, and my PDA which I never use has a much faster processor than my first IBM compatible computer which ran at 33 MHz) but ultimately, if you think about it, they are really just like dumb-terminals of the mainframe and minicomputer era. All you need is a browser (and an Internet connection)—you could be running on a wristwatch for all that it matters.{: #watch}

We have plunged headlong into an era where it kind of doesn’t matter whether you’re running Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X, unless we’re talking about games. The only people who probably sad about this work at Microsoft. It will be interesting how they adapt to the Brave New World—being the behemoth they are, I’m pretty sure they’re going to adapt.

But, yeah, if you want a less vague idea of what is meant by Web 2.0, I think that’s what it is, although it would be interesting if I ran into some counter-examples.

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