(The Pre-Worst Rant which was written to explain why I had put off writing this article for a few days…)
Morality and Updating the Page: I was planning to update with the 2nd Annual “Worst People, Places, And Things On The Net” article today but I decided that would be morally wrong.
In a world with so much trouble, so much anguish, so much suffering, would it be right for me to make fun of AOL? When India and Pakistan are on the verge of nuclear war is it right for me to make ridicule Netscape 6? When our troops are fighting for our freedom overseas would it be moral for me to rant because Napster is dead? No, just for today, I won’t be your trained circus monkey who dances on his chain and whips feces at the heads of people wandering by on the street.
Some people will say that I’m not sincere. Some people will tell you I’m a cold hearted, capitalistic, right-wing troll who’d sell Britney Spears to a Taliban death squad if there was a buck in it but that’s not true (Hilliary Clinton maybe, but not Britney). Some will also say that I merely spent my day playing StarCraft and Return to Castle Wolfenstein, watching my Carolina Panthers get whooped AGAIN, and screwing around until it was 1:35 A.M. in the morning without doing an update. Of course those people would be right but that’s irrelevant because almost nobody is updating today. The @ssholes at the Onion took 3 farking weeks off and I don’t hear you b*tching at them. Instead it’s “Oh the Onion is so funny even though they update once every 2 weeks and took 3 weeks off for Christmas. Oh look another article about how an “area man” is doing. How do they think of that stuff?” I’ve never understood why those @ssholes at the Onion are considered to be a bunch of geniuses when they update so seldom and half their stuff is total crap. But that’s what you want is it? That’s the type of comedy you crave? Ok, here you go “Area man tells readers of his website to go p*ss up a rope since they think the people at “the Onion” are such G_dd*mn comedic geniuses.” How do you like them apples you bunch of crumb bums?
Ok, ok, maybe I was a wee bit harsh. But, honestly, how can I update the page when the Chinese are persecuting the Falun Gong? By all rights I should be dressed in all black and looking forlorn while standing in a puddle of my own tears to show my abject and complete misery at the human condition. You would feel the same way if you weren’t a bad, bad, person. On a side note if you are female and are a bad, bad, person feel free write “Brass Knuckles Webzine” or “John Hawkins ownz me” across your naked chest and send it in. Nothing says love and appreciation like gratuitous nudity.
Well it’s getting late and I’m tired and ready for bed. I’ll be back with the article on Wednesday and since it’s New Year’s Eve today and New Year’s Day tomorrow I am completely justified in wanting to mourn the loss of our collective humanity by not updating. So there…. — AF
20) Internet Appliances: What would you think if I told you that you could wire your refrigerator up to the net for an exorbitant fee and it could tell you when your milk went bad? Are you excited yet?!?!?! No? Me either. I wouldn’t even of bothered including these internet appliance but I kept hearing about how incredibly popular they were going to be in late 2001 and early 2002. I heard experts say there would be more people with their fridges and stoves wired by the end of 2002 than there would be internet connections. I don’t think so.
19) The WTC Tourist Guy: Some goof photoshops a picture of himself at the WTC with a plane coming in and sends it out to a few friends. It spreads and there is some debate as to whether it’s real or not. Had it stopped there, it would have been fine. But like the hamster dance, the “WTC tourist guy” became one those weird little things everyone became fascinated with. The pic spread like a virus, pages were dedicated to it, and people started photoshopping the “WTC tourist guy” into everything from the “Kennedy assassination” to the “last supper”. Enough already.
18) Gaming Addicts: Like a lot of people, I like to game. But good grief, how much Everquest, Utopia, Diablo 2, and StarCraft can some of you people play? I know people who stay home from work to play Everquest. I know people who actually schedule their vacations around when rounds of Utopia end (OK, I did that once but I was a jerk back then). I know people who basically did nothing but play Diablo 2 and sleep for DAYS after it came out. I imagine some of these people might turn to dust like a vampire if they went outside. There is a big, bright, shiny world out there where strafing and rocket jumps aren’t required.
17) Pay to Read Webpages: The advertising market on the net is deader than Osama Bin Laden will be by the end of 2002. Because of this, pages are trying everything they can think of to make money. Some people are trying to charge for content but I have yet to see a case where that worked long term. People on the internet are notoriously cheap and reluctant to fork over money for content. If people aren’t even willing to pay for thousands of free songs what makes anyone think large numbers of people are going to pay to see what you have to say when there are a hundred other people willing to do it for free?
16) Excite@home Going Under: 4.1 million cable modem users in the US get the shaft as Excite@home goes out of business. Many of these customers may end up being stuck with dial up which is sheer agony if you’re used to a cable connection. BKW feels your pain.
15) All Your Base Are Belong To Us: Remember what I said about the “WTC Tourist Guy?” It goes double for AYB. The original video had a decent concept with some pretty decent techno music behind it. But the video itself got old before it was even over. So they wrote “All your base are belong to us” on 50 gazillion things. So what? Sites sprang up dedicated to it and you couldn’t turn around with a link to the stupid thing. Hopefully it’ll crawl off to die in some forgotten corner of the web in 2002.
14) Midis and Comet Cursors: Music in the background of your site is annoying. Nobody wants to hear some lame midi playing on your site. Sure Newgrounds gets away with it but their site is much cooler than yours. And don’t even get me started on comet cursors. People are not impressed by seeing their cursors turn into a turtle or Princess Leia’s head or anything else. The sites that use this crap would be much better off actually developing some quality content rather than hoping these irritating gimmicks will bring in and hold users.
13) Lame News Sites: Rumors and the internet go together like wine and cheese but the number of news sites that at best have total disregard for the truth at best and at worst simply make things up is sky rocketing. Do you remember when there were people claiming that the footage of Palestinians celebrating after 9/11 was actually from the Gulf War? Do you know where that came from? Some Brazilian peasant said his professor told him that was the case and he posted it on the net. That’s not surprising. But what was surprising is that there were sites that picked that up and reported it as fact. It’s simply ridiculous when that sort of thing happens. Sites like the the Debka Files and Indy Media, and numerous other sites try to pass off their completely inaccurate trash as news and it’s a shame.
12) Netscape 6: I know Netscape 6 has been improved since they patched it but Netscape 6 was one of the worst products I’d ever seen. It had installation problems, it had trouble displaying tables correctly, it crashed all the time, and it was actually a huge step back from Netscape 4.8. This product damaged Netscape’s reputation big time when they desperately needed a winner to try to compete with the much more popular Internet Explorer 5.
11) Magic Lantern: All we need is the FBI using the resources of the government to develop a super virus so they can snoop on suspected criminals. None of the obvious questions have been answered. Won’t the anti:virus companies like Norton, Macafee, etc block it? If the FBI asks them not to block it, what happens when the hackers appropriate Magic Lantern’s code and exploit that hole in the anti:virus software? This seems to be a poor idea and hopefully the FBI will reconsider.
10) X-10 Camera Ads: The first 4 people I asked to for ideas for this article all said something like “make sure to put in that stupid camera ad” and indeed I have. Judging by the sentiment, all those pop-up ads are turning off a lot of customers. The X-10 ads are the perfect example of what people hate the most about advertising on the net these days.
9) AOL-Timewarner: Last year AOL was ranked at #6 on this list and their performance may be even worse than before considering that they are ultimately responsible for #12 (they own Netscape) and the dramatic deterioration of ICQ this year. However, they’ve merged with Time Warner which was an excellent company that was responsible for the exceptional “Road Runner” cable modems. They’ve diluted AOL’s “annoyance factor” enough that AOL has dropped to #10. I know that will disappoint some of you hard core AOL haters out there but there’s always next year.
8) Website Death: The loss of advertising revenue struck a crippling blow to a lot of big name websites. Hordes of them went down in flames this year including: Lum the Mad, Xpertsite, Ad Critic, Dr. Koop, Mr. Showbiz, Suck and Feed, Wrestleline, etc, etc, etc. A bad site going out of business is no big deal but good sites with major traffic going under because they can’t afford to pay for their own bandwidth? That is a travesty.
7) Patch ‘N’ Play: There is nothing more annoying than spending $50 on a game, going home, and finding out that the game is incredibly buggy. I was not pleased for example to find that there was already a patch out there for Diablo 2 from the very day it went on sale! When Civilization 3 came out I was hearing that game was “one patch away” from being a great game. Anarchy Online was a mishmash of horrible problems when it came out. Gaming companies need to show a little pride in their workmanship and put out games that actually�well�work.
6) Spyware: Doesn’t everyone want to install a piece of software that surreptitiously sends reports back it’s maker about what you’re doing? Programs like Bonzai Buddy, Gator, and Cydoor (which comes on KaZaa) have all been accused of being spyware. In fact if you run a program like Ad-Aware that removes spyware I can almost guarantee that you’ll find spyware installed on your computer without your knowledge. Spying on your customers is just bad business.
5) Flaming: Every year the culture of the net gets nastier, harsher, and more vicious. Almost every post in public no matter how innocuous draws nasty replies that would merit a punch in the mouth in real life. The worst thing about flaming is that it turns people who’d otherwise be nice, normal, conversationalists into sarcastic jerks like the people who flame. Bad habits die hard and flaming has become just another habit for many people on the net.
4) The Death of Napster: Napster was just the end all and be all of MP3 downloading software. Napster’s software was downloaded over 57 million times and Napster was the “killer app” that was driving some people to buy pcs, get high speed connections for faster downloads, etc. Not only could you get any song you wanted, but Napster had a great user friendly interface that still hasn’t been matched by any of its main competitors. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the RIAA managed to neuter Napster in court. Napster’s software works but you can no longer download songs. Napster’s millions of users simply moved over to products which the RIAA is having difficulty getting shut down. Not only did the public lose on this one because they have to use inferior products, but the RIAA lost because Napster was willing to cut a deal that could of brought in billions of royalties to the RIAA and could of set a precedent for other similar products to fork over dough to the RIAA.
3) Virus Makers: Anyone who deliberately makes and releases a virus should have their noses cut off and then should be sewn into a bag with a wild animal and dropped into a lake. What motivates these anti:social morons to deliberately annoy other people by trying to damage their computers is beyond me but it’s something they should see a psychologist about.
2) Pop-up Ads: Isn’t it great to go to a page with pop-up ads? Then when you leave the page another pop-up appears on your screen. When you close that one another pop:up shows up. Then another pop:up comes up when that one closes. Hooray for in your face advertising. Personally, I refuse to EVER click on anything that’s advertised via a pop:up ad because it’s so annoying. If you’re looking to give consumers a positive impression of your software, pop-up ads are not the way the go.
1) Spam: Most people didn’t think it was possible for spam to get more annoying in 2002 but they were wrong. One person I know who runs an ISP told me the amount of spam that was sent to his customers literally went up 200% this year. At the ISP I work at we literally block more email as spam than we deliver. Oh and the spam you get. Need toner cartridges, loans or insurance? Because they are ready to offer it to you multiple times per day. Want to look at naked chicks or women having sex with animals? They have you covered. The blatant deception never ends either: “re:”, “third notice”, “Hey”, “Remember me?”. Anything to get you to open their trash. Will spam:blocking technology improve enough so that spam can be moved to the bottom of the list by the end of 2002? We can always hope but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
**This entire article is an opinion piece. We make no claims as to the factual accuracy of this article. Well, at least that’s what we’ll say in court if someone who made the list this year decides to sue us – John Hawkins**