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By Mark Wilcox, Campus Web Administrator

Are We There Yet?

Every family car trip has at least one occurrence of this phrase "Are We There Yet?". It also seems to be a fitting question for computers and the Internet.

Of course the answer is "No". We're not there yet. In fact I don't even think we know where we are really going. For all we know, we have already been "there" and left.

1998 saw some leaps forward on the Web and I think 1999 will continue along the same lines, unless the Year2000 bug soaks up every available computing resource to fix it.

The following improvements need to be made for things on the Internet to progress smoothly:

  • Improve Connectivity -- We need to improve the speeds at which people connect to the Internet from home. Once this is accomplished, we can truly offer interactive services including 2 way video.
  • Improve Reliability -- Too often we put up with computers that crash on us at least once or twice a day. We spend too much money to buy these things and spend way too much time doing work-arounds to make up for short-sightedness and sloppy workmanship.
  • Improve Usability -- Just because your computer has a GUI interface doesn't mean it's easier to use. Sometimes it's just the opposite. On the Web it's even worse because there is no consistency. You may not really care for the Mac or Win95 GUI, but at least they are consistent. The Web will have to develop a consistent interface for it really to become the dominant interface to computing for the future.
  • Improve Privacy and Security -- Just about any site that you make purchases on requires you to send some information about yourself. Many sites also require this for personalization. Who has control over this information and who can see it? These questions need to be answered before we allow even more rapid commercialization.  

Until next time.

Mark