If your a reader of USA Today, you probably are already aware of two changes that took place last week. I usually don’t have comments on too much of this stuff, but this time I especially give kudos to USA Today for eliminating the obnoxious and unnecessary page breaks that often seemed to occur after every paragraph.
More often than not, I read USA Today on my mobile, and as noted previously, mine is not a very smart, or very fast phone. Even still, the page breaks made no sense because the entire page seldom weighed more than an additional 5kbs, while reloading page after page after page ended up costing me precious minutes of metered time – and it was simply a pain in the ass. Alas, I ended up going to other sources, ergo The New York Times to get the full article on one page. The trick, of course, was to get people to view more advertising, and apparently that didn’t prove to be the best marketing in the longer haul.
This brings on another interesting development in the Internet world as the newest version of Mozilla Firefox is set to block third party cookies by default. Good idea, but good luck. It’s amazing to me how many websites you can’t even browse when you block third party cookies. Third party cookies, in my opinion, shouldn’t even be legal.
And, that leads to something else interesting. Depending on your own Internet savvy, you may be wondering how I’m blocking third party cookies to begin with. Other browsers do block third party cookies, but none does a better job of editing site preference for each individual site than
Opera. With Opera, you can set your default browsing to be very restrictive, and then as you get to each site and see what they force you to do, i.e. enable third party cookies, first party cookies, java, etc., with a quick right click you can change the setting for that site. The reason I like this, and recommend this, it that it makes the information quickly available without a lot of hassle, and it’s much easier to keep each site setting as restrictive as possible.
There’s more about Opera that I like. You can view a lot of statistical information without slowing down at all. The download speed, the size of the page, and the best tab groupings feature that I’m aware of. It’s panels are also very good for site building, research and other activities and is comparable to Microsoft Office. For awhile, Opera got a bad reputation for crashes and glitches, but I have found that to greatly improved in the latest version I’m using 12.14.
So, while I don’t usually do critiques for Internet things, I point out the reason I like Opera, again, is the information it makes available immediately as you browse. When I first started using Opera, I was amazed to see how heavy pages have become. These days, pages that weigh 1mb are the norm, and 2mb pages are also quite common. Maybe you have a really fast connection, and unlimited bandwidth. I’ll bet you still have times when you have a tough time waiting on slow connections.
Houston, we have a problem. Since I have built quite a lot of pages, html by hand and php dynamic pages, I know a little bit about what it takes to build a page in terms of kbs. Any page that weighs more than 500 kbs is bloated. Any page that weighs 1mb is gouging bandwidth. And any page that weighs 2 megabytes or more is probably a major stock holder in a bandwidth provider. Or, maybe a bunch of those guys are getting a kickback from service providers based on bandwidth. It looks suspiciously close to outright racketeering to me. Consider this. A single 2mb page is running enough code to fill four full length Harry Potter books. I can’t find or comprehend where all the coding goes. What I see is no better and no more functional, than the pages that used to weigh as little as 10% of what they do nowadays. It would be no problem to cut Internet traffic in half simply by eliminating the ridiculous and unproductive bloat in current dynamic page designs.
Well, as one more thing leads to yet another, this discussion now comes full circle. Hoping that bandwidth kickbacks are not the real trouble, the only other explanation is that the technicians have taken control of page design to the detriment of the original intention – which is to deliver content. I know, bells and whistles and tricks are great, but Dear Web Developer, you will never deliver an actual cheeseburger across the Internet. It ain’t gonna happen!
Web Developers are important people, but in the end wheel barrels are just wheel barrels. Guys like USA Today Chief David Callaway will do well to remember, and apparently he at least has – Content is King.
© 2013 – Jim Casey
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