The net positionby Andrew Brown / April 20, 1998 / Leave a comment
Published in April 1998 issue of Prospect Magazine
I have just upgraded my internet access to an ISDN line, the fastest domestic connection you can get. This has two effects. The first is that the computer crashes every time the phone rings; the second is that I have realised (more than ever) that less is more on the internet. I have come to treasure web sites where everything is simple text, so it whizzes down as quickly as possible without pictures or plug-ins slowing things down. Among the best is Need To Know, a sarky little digest of industry news and comment laid out to look as if it came straight off a typewriter in Shoreditch. If you have to acknowledge the existence of the digital revolution, this is the way to do it. They are also among the few people to have seized on the possibilities of witty domain names. The address www.unfortu.net shows that Britain still leads the world in some things.
The other site worth a visit as an example of everything that is best and most pointless on the net is maintained by a group who call themselves “the people with no lives.” It is the Urban Legends Archive, containing discussions of things that don’t matter at all, such as whether anyone ever really placed a baby or even a cat in a microwave oven. It is an outgrowth of one of the few Usenet discussion groups to have remained both useless and interesting for six or seven years now, alt.folklore.urban (www.urbanlegends.com) and it hardly has any pictures at all. Though there are some glyphs suspiciously reminiscent of singed cats.