I love these guys. They think they have a clever argument against Google's Auto-Link; it still hasn't occurred to them that the features is:
- Optional (I have to install it)
- Limited to IE (The toolbar doesn't work elsewhere)
- The Links have to be manually requested
- The Links are clearly marked
Or heck, maybe they do. When you are reduced to ad-homeneim attacks in place of facts, it's a sign that your argument really stinks. So witness their latest attempt - they've decided that all of us with a differing view live in the moron family tree. Hmm, that's clever. I haven't seen an argument that sophisticated since, oh, maybe 7th grade.
Then there are the obvious problems. They put up a QuickTime link without labelling it as such, and couldn't be bothered to have the link actually look like a link. That sure made it easy to start your video - especially when the yellow click to play text (which would be a link in any page that wanted to be obvious) isn't a link.
Then add in the fact that they can't quite figure out how to setup a QuickTime download. If I dare to use Firefox instead of the great and powerful IE, it leaves turds all over my screen. If you're going to make a technology point, it would help if you showed some basic awareness of the technology you use.
And hey - they actually noticed my specific complaint, but didn't understand it. They just want this feature to go away, because the poor, unwashed masses will be baffled by the (dare I say again, clearly marked??) added links. Apparently, that's not good enough.
So... the idea is, any content from the producer is sacrosanct. The end consumer cannot use tools to customize the presentation - even if said tools do not change the content for anyone else. Well then - better outlaw highlighters, because marking up a book changes the emphasis from the implicit desires of the content producer - and any future owner of the book will be misled by it. Better outlaw anything that can create end user customizations - those cut and paste exercises kids do with magazines? It's just wrong - those horrid little children are mucking with the editorial content in ways the producer didn't sanction.
Ooh, their big argument is that 90% of the users don't know how to install or uninstall toolbars? Well heck, then how the heck did you get the toolbar in the first place, you cluestick lacking puzzlewits? Last time I looked, IE didn't come with the Google Toolbar installed. Heck, IE comes from MS, and they have their own competing search service. Are you laboring under some misconception that MS is going to start bundling the Google toolbar? You have to go out of your way to install the toolbar, so - if your argument is correct - 90% of the end users can't install the blasted thing. Which also means that the small percentage who do install it know full well what they are getting. Not to mention that it also means that the small percentage installing it can figure out how to uninstall it. Are you telling me that the small percentage of the cognoscenti who understand installation/deinstallation of optional tools need to be protected from themselves? Quick, take away my fireplace and matches too - I might hurt myself.
Ahh, we find the proposed solution from these guys - an industry standard API whereby content producers can opt in or out of various end user customizations. Hoo boy. We've seen where that kind of crap goes - it's happening with music and video now, with DRM. Want to move the music bits from device A to device B? Heck no, you have to jump through the hoops so kindly provided by the RIAA. Now these guys want to do that to all the written work on the net as well? I can see it now - I want to copy text - no, wait, that producer banned that action, so to do that I have to find my archived copy of a pre-DRM'd browser to copy the text - assuming that BBN hasn't fully gotten its way and changed the base protocols such that they don't work at all.
If content producers can opt out of end user controlled customizations, it really means that content consumers get their fair use rights tossed out the door. That'll make a lot of existing media giants happy as pie, and it'll baffle the bright folks at BBN, who will have no idea how that ever happened. "But we thought we were saving links", they'll cry.
Tell you what, let's set up an out of the way house for Better Bad News and their ilk. We'll send them print outs of content, and we'll make sure they don't have access to any highlighters. That way, they can be happy in their ignorance, and the rest of us can move along.