Let's put it like this, using a thought experiment. The offline world suddenly disappears: no cities, no buildings, no bodies, no objects. Human agents are only able to interact through and within current digital interfaces. How human activity would differ? How our understanding of current online activities would differ?
Reminded now that in his reflections on the "automatic society" Stiegler describes a shift from the everyday life to the administered life. Might be the 'Vita Administrativa' (both administering and being administering) the crucial sphere of activity missing in Arendt's model of human practical capacities?
if I were to point out a fundamental paradigm shift of user behavior in terms of interaction with an interface, due to the advent of the corporate web, I'd say that the user was reconfigured as a scroller, and therefore as passive consumer because the interaction is purely mechanical and only accidentally performed manually.
apropos, Simondon argues that the machine replaces the tool-equipped individual (the worker)
and soon this book on "lurking" will be out! Subtitle: "How a person became a user" https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/lurking-by-joanne-mcneil-a-lurkers-history-of-online.html
ok, so here's my tentative chronology of XMLHttpRequest/ AJAX:
2000: Microsoft comes up with XMLHttpRequest (the cornerstone of AJAX) and implements it in Outlook Mail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XMLHttpRequest#History
2004: Google borrows several ideas from Oddpost to create Gmail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oddpost
this might have been the historical bifurcation moment: "There were two implementations [of Outlook Web Access] that got started, one based on serving up straight web pages as efficiently as possible with straight HTML, and another one that started playing with the cool user interface you could build with DHTML." https://web.archive.org/web/20070623125327/http://www.alexhopmann.com/xmlhttp.htm
Paul Graham in 2005: "Near my house there is a car with a bumper sticker that reads "death before inconvenience." Most people, most of the time, will take whatever choice requires least work. If Web-based software wins, it will be because it's more convenient. And it looks as if it will be, for users and developers both." http://www.paulgraham.com/road.html
God bless the Wayback machine, which salvaged my 2015 thoughts on hyperlinearity https://web.archive.org/web/20151114093433/http://silviolorusso.com:80/a-couple-of-thoughts-on-hyperlinearity/
ok, I tried to put together a tentative chronology of this idea of Interface Industrialization, connecting the emergence of web apps, the invention of the infinite scroll, the appearance of syndication and aggregation, the introduction of smartphones and thus the swipe gesture. Spoiler: it ends with a US Senator wanting to ban infinite scroll
<<Nguyen [creator of Flappy Bird] wanted to make games for people like himself: busy, harried, always on the move. “I pictured how people play,” he says, as he taps his iPhone and reaches his other hand in the air. “One hand holding the train strap.” He’d make a game for them.>> https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/the-flight-of-the-birdman-flappy-bird-creator-dong-nguyen-speaks-out-112457/
OCR Output (chars: 1169)
say that the processes of digitalization (the secondary, non-intrinsic effects of digitization) are
crucial. In order to describe the current state of publishing ecosystems, Andersen and Pold
refer to Ted Striphas’ (2011, 180-182) notion of “controlled consumption,” which is in turn
borrowed by Henry Lefebvre. In a society of controlled consumption, control is characterized
by four aspects:
1. A big industrial infrastructure equipped with cybernetic systems — “directive and regulatory ap-
paratuses” (Striphas 2011, 181) — able to manage production, distribution, exchange, and con-
2. Programming logics that, contrary to advertising, closely monitor the behaviors of consumers in
order to minimize — or even eliminate — freedom of choice. Programming is actuated both in the
digital context and in the physical one through, for instance, DRM or GPS tracking;
3. Controlled obsolescence that, unlike planned obsolescence, guarantees obsolescence by program-
ming it into the product and making it therefore limited in functionality and durability;
4. A reorganization and troubling of specific practices of everyday life.
@air_pump thanks for the encouragement! at best, it will consists of some textual debris scattered around the web, like the notes I have on the blog; or i will just go with this giant thread :-)
@entreprecariat [about the banner of your post] this image reinforce the idea that apple "invented" the touchscreen... but it has been around since the 90's at least: https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/web/a14764511/a-crt-touchscreen-from-the-90s-shows-how-far-weve-come/
i'm aware it is not the topic of your essay, just that maybe using this image as a banner is not the best choice :)
thanks for building an history of web interface by the way!
@frankiezafe hey thanks I'm aware that Apple didn't invent the touchscreen, as it didn't even the mouse either. I chose it because it's a synthetic rendition of the idea of the chronology!
@entreprecariat well it worked. I think it's interesting that the concept of pages still exists though, in an infinite scroll setting. Like DDG showing results and adding more but putting a little 'page 2' somewhere inbetween. Makes me wonder why they do that
@entreprecariat That sounds right. I think some of this is also probably influenced by Jef Raskin's "Humane Interface" and the obsession with interfaces being "modeless". Which kind of makes sense as his son, Aza, claims to have invented the infinite scroll (which he now (proudly) regrets).
@KnowPresent i encountered this idea of mode vs modeless several time but i struggle to understand frankly. Also here's the chronology i have for infinite scroll:
@entreprecariat But the discussion was well before Flash. Macromedia opened casual user's eyes to what could possibly be done with vector stuff. 1996 is too early, the year I got my Internet Explorer 1.0 T-Shirt; but Berners-Lee compared the development of the Web to the radio and TV and said "you haven't seen anything yet"
@entreprecariat The first place I ever saw it was on Orkut. You could fave a post and it didn't reload the whole page. mindblown.gif
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