Nine Years Ago On the Web

Last week I read with interest Richard MacManus’ story about nine years of history with ReadWriteWeb and I am glad to see that the site has continued to evolve over the times. But let’s look at where the Web was nine years or so ago, and the surprise that many of the issues I wrote about back then are still au courant and very much in today’s news.

  • Hard economic times. The Internet bubble burst in 2000/2001, but several years later we still has some tough times to deal with. It seems like we are always either coming out of one bubble or going into another one. Here is something that I wrote then:
    Surely, those wild ride days of the late 1990s are over: we live in more sober times and many of us are lucky to still have jobs in this industry. I know many friends who have decades of experience and are looking for work after several months.
  • Enterprise wireless management was just getting going back then, and while now we take wireless access almost for granted, there were some issues with deploying wireless networks back nine years ago. And guess what? With BYOD, there still are issues. I wrote then:
    Enterprise network administrators are finding out that managing all this mobility is messy and fraught with multiple complicating factors, making wireless networks more of a burden than dealing with wired connections. The reasons have to do with a combination of poor tools and the ad hoc nature of wireless networks themselves.Sadly, while we have newer tools, they still aren’t where they should be.
  • Dell as the dominant player in desktop PCs. In the past nine years, IBM has left the desktop PC market, and many other vendors who were active then have disappeared from the landscape. But Dell has solidified its position and indeed has made several strategic non-PC purchases over the past year to widen its reach beyond desktops and show its dominance in the IT marketplace. I wrote back then:
    I think Dell has set the tone for 2002, and will continue to do so in the coming years. And they are like a Predator guided aircraft, homing in on excess profits all over the computer industry landscape.
  • Google wasn’t the only big company collecting private user data. While Google has tried not to be evil, they have run into problems with capturing user data through their street-by-street monitoring vehicles. Back in 2001, Microsoft was collecting information on individuals’ use of their operating systems through the global unique ID identifier. Some things never change.
  • Astroturfing online comments. The notion of adding comments to a website from people who weren’t real (or who misrepresent themselves) happened back then, too.
    The grassroots lobbying organizations have figured out their own take on mass customization, and are now locked in a new technological war with the editorial page editors across the country. Blame it all on the Web. The technique has been labeled “Op-ed Astroturf.”
  • The rise of Linux.Linux has been around a lot longer than 9 years, but even back then we saw its advantages.
    And many developers are weighing doing their own open systems shuffle. They are finding out that the payment to implement an all-Microsoft solution is too pricey for these penurious times. If a consultant can deliver the same application for $50,000 less by using Linux and open systems tools, they will do it.
  • VM servers. The advantages of using virtual machine server technology were apparent even nine years ago.
    And one of the best ways to fight server sprawl is to deploy virtual machine technology to run multiple simulated server environments on a single machine.
  • Web application security. It seems back nine years we were just as careless about Web app security then as now. The same exploits that we saw then, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting, are still happening today. In 2003, I wrote:
    Port 80, the communications port that is used by mostly all Web servers, has become the great applications dumping ground and a backdoor to entering many corporate networks.

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