Wednesday, August 03, 2005

opinion: Firefox and the e-conomy

(This post is a year older than its post date here, so keep that in mind when reading!)

Since starting to use Firefox, my Windows has stopped getting corrupted. IE is now used merely to access, and suddenly, I feel safe. Happy to do my online banking. Happy to shop at amazon, buy tickets for transport and entertainment online. In this way, Firefox is indirectly better leveraging the potential of the web economy. Dot com bubble, where art thou?

There is one more step for me to go: from buying real-world goods online to buying virtual goods, online. I imagine that my events magazine could allow me to subscribe, at a small extra cost over what I already pay for the mag, to an online database of movie reviews. Maybe my Linux magazine will do the same. I don't want to subscribe to the mag, because not every issue interests me that much. But not having to keep boxes of old magazines around in case I need some information would be well worth a small investment.

In the same way, I am already paying for internet radio that came bundled with my broadband connection. And happily so. What else is there that I could become convinced is actually useful for me? Who else is going to reassure me that they are not spying on me, merely providing a transparent service that I feel in control of?

Currently, there is a reluctance on the part of the content providers to invest in such web databases, interfaces and new subscription models. After all, not all users may think like me. But they could. And once they start doing so, the web economy will be running smoothly once again. And Firefox is the key.

Original post published on Jan Fri 21st 2005:

Edit: What has been missing from the publication model so far is to allow customers to mirror content locally, so that if they unsubscribe from a magazine, they keep their past copies. This is particularly important in scientific publishing, where published articles retain their importance for at least several decades after publication. Unfortunately, this is especially poorly understood in science, and it has been hard for me to communicate the importance of local mirrors to library staff and boards at my institution.

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