September 5th, 2008

krazy koati

Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learning how

And now on top of everything else I have to do and won't I suppose it's time I released my own web browser. I don't want to, it's just now companies are tossing off new web browsers like they're Confetti (trademark Yahoo) or Canned Peaches (trademark Canned Peach Web Browsing inc) or Disinfecting Wipes (trademark Michelob) and I have to keep up if I'm going to be taken seriously in the world of web-based grumbling over not being able to find the disposable fountain pens I like.

Way back in the mid-90s anyone could make a web browser, and did. It was a simpler time. The only interactivity needed was Java applets, satisfied by putting up a grey box in the middle of the page with the words, ``Starting applet'', waiting for five minutes, and crashing. Add in a Preferences option to turn off blinking text and everyone was happy except the applet designer and the inventor of blinking text, Harold ``Happy'' Blinken.

A modern browser has to be much more sophisticated. These days web browser users want, most of all, a Preferences page to specify that no pop-up windows should pop up ever. Then the web browser warns that by not allowing pop-up windows there is a risk that windows will not pop up. The user accepts this risk happily, and the browser goes on to let windows pop up. This outrages the user, but that's how the Internet runs.

It's important to keep developing new tools, so my plan is to include multiple levels for the no-pop-up-windows option. So options for ``don't ever pop up a window'' would include, ``not even if it's the President'', ``not for any circumstance imaginable by humanity'', and ``or I will make a nonspecific yet vaguely amusing threat on your life''. The windows then pop up anyway, but the user has a choice in how much annoyance to have about them. (Memo: don't include a correct home address in the About information.)

It's popular to have web pages turn interactive, changing even as you look at them, so there I bet I should have my browser start changing the words in the page's text. This would be for a clear purpose, mind you: I'd rig it up with a grammar checker so that the page could be cleansed of stupid mistakes, but will actually be purged of whatever trivial non-issues obsess the people who create grammar checkers, like starting three sentences in a row with pronouns. This is to punish the grammar checker industry.

Making a browser open-source is clearly the way to go, too. The problem with traditional ``closed source'' programs is that when there's a bug in the code --- which has been recorded in commercially produced software nearly six times in each of the past three years, so it could happen again --- the user can't do anything about it. With ``open-source'' programs the user can look at the source code for the bug. This is usually something like ``broken = 1;'', unless the programmer did something like ``broken = 1 == 0 == 0 == 0 != (1 == 0) == 0;'', which is what happens when you let programmers write their own humor. Then the user changes it to something not broken and hopes it doesn't change back when they're not looking. The interactivity is what makes it giddy fun.

I'll have to think about what kind of Internet it uses, too. Normally web browsers send stuff using a code called TCP/IP (not to its face), and it's that code that actually makes the Internet. But what if you just want to use an Internet? So I figure I'll start with some easy-to-write new codes, like TCP/IP in Pig Latin, and then expand into TCP/IP In Klingon. Soon we can open up a world in which everyone has their very own Internet, and can feel confident in the nagging fear that other people have a cooler one.

I suppose I'll have to get started on all this. It's a shame having this sort of workload but I'm not the one who set this off, you know. Blame ``Happy'' Blinken.

Trivia: Great Fires attacked London in the years 60, 125, 764, 798, 852, 893, 961, 982, 1077, 1087, 1093, 1132, 1136, 1203, 1212, 1220, and 1227. Source: London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd.

Currently Reading: The Most Famous Man In America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher, Debby Applegate.