Parallel Worlds (Imagine a world without Microsoft)

Everyone's familliar with the concept of a Parallel World, right? For every decision we make in this world, an infinite number of parallel worlds are spawned based on every possible outcome of that decision.

Generally when talking about parallel worlds people like to take our current world and say something like, "I wish I lived in a world without Microsoft" or "I wish I lived in a world where the Civil War never happened." But I like to take it one more step and try to figure out what historical events would have had to happen differently in order for that world to exist instead of our own.

Take the Microsoft example for a second. Its really hard to imagine a world properly without Microsoft. I mean they're everywhere. Plus I think when most people imagine a world without Microsoft they don't really know what they're supposed to be imagining.

Let's talk about that for a second. It will help us define the events that had to happen differently in order for there to be no Microsoft. A world without Microsoft wouldn't actually be as cool as everyone thinks.

For starters, the internet wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is today.

Second, no standardization of hardware. I think that the market would have eventually evolved toward some stardards but we wouldn't have really cheap hardware that you can plop into any machine except a Mac and expect it to work.

Third, the standards would evolve out of the need for interopability.

See it all goes back to the decision IBM made to go with MS-DOS instead of DEC-CP/M. The legend is the guys at Digital decided to go hang gliding (or something) instead of meet with IBM to talk about licensing CM/P so the Microsoft guys got the contract instead.

Imagine that. Imagine how things would be like of the original IBM-PC ran CP/M instead of MS-DOS. Microsoft would still be a smalltime Basic language vendor. There's a good chance that Apple would still be one of the major players. In fact I think all the little guys would still be around. Commodore. Atari.

Which brings us to the next question, would Jobs have been fired from Apple? Would the NeXT have gotten created? With no NeXT, what happens to the web?

Without the standardization that came from Microsoft, the net would be a collection of computers that only have a few common components. The network stack would be the common factor...

I'm just now realizing that we can't really predict what the computer-scape would look like until we figure out if Jobs would have created the NeXT. Since the web came from the shit in NeXT, and since the web has defined what the computer-scape looks like now, we need to find out if the web would exist in its current form or if it would have been created on some other platform and if so, how different would it look now?

The web is currently a weird mix of Windows and open stuff. They're intertwined.

Are you on MySpace?

A while ago I was at a party at my brother's place. I think it was his birthday party. I was out on the front porch smoking and talking to his girlfriend about computers or something and at some point she asked me if I was on MySpace. I sort of laughed and said something like, "I'm not quite sure how to answer that."

A good friend of mine was listening and thought that was funny. I didn't really think much about it at the time but that pretty much sums up how I feel about "blogs" and "blogging" in general. "No I don't have a blog" was pretty much a canned response for me.

Then one day I was thinking about that conversation. Why don't I have a blog? Its not because I don't have anything to say. I'm constantly pasting links to people over Messenger and I used to write insane rantings on mailing lists and usenet. But I haven't done much of it lately really. And the thing is, I read a ton of blogs. Like thousands...

Blogs in themselves aren't that interesting. Sure there are some with decent content. The really cool thing about them is that they're readable by systems other than web browsers. And the ironic thing is that I was working with RSS feeds, which are the same type of systems that syndicate blog feeds, way back in like 2000ish. Back then there were only a handfull of sites that did RSS and I was parsing their feeds with primitve XML processors and other tricks.

Now RSS and blogging are amazingly popular. Heck, even IE7 is going to embed an RSS delivery subsystem into Windows. Why haven't I been keeping up with this stuff!?

Well there are a few reasons...

The first is that I refuse to use systems that are overly supported by ads. Heck I even go to the trouble of removing the ads from Messenger. I used to run an ad blocker for websites but that ended up being too much of a pain to maintain so I currently tolerate web ads.

Since all commercial blogging systems aren't viable options, that means I would have to maintain my own blogging system. And since I run Windows exclusively, there weren't too many options available until Community Server 2.0 came out. The older versions worked but I feel that they were too cluncky. This version is pretty suave so far though.

The next reason is that for a long time I really felt like I didn't have anything that I wanted to say. Now what kind of excuse is that when I'm constantly jabbering with people on Messenger? Its one of those excuses you make up to avoid having to do something.

That brings up a good question: Why was I avoiding setting up a blogging system for so long? Actually, I think this is going to be one of the topics I explore on this blog. Why did I avoid blogging for so long? I don't have an answer right now. I know a few of the reasons but I don't have a solid answer.

I do have an answer for my brother's girlfriend's question though. "No, my blog is hosted on my own server..."

So that's the official introduction to my blog. Hopefully I'll eventually get organize enough to start complaining about coding and work and stop lights and going to movies during the day because its cheaper and taking over the world with Hired Goons...