Tim O’Reilly grudgingly defends Web3

Tim O’Reilly: Why it’s too early to get excited about Web3

Web3 is definitely a bubble—but bubbles are often built on top of legitimate expansions of value—the industrial revolution, the internet, etc. It’s too early to tell, says O’Reilly, whether the bullshit of Web3 is built on a solid foundation, or it’s bullshit all the way down.

O’Reilly is more generous than I am. From what I’ve seen, Web3 is designed to exacerbate a fundamental societal problem, rather than mitigate that problem.

The problem is too much concentration of wealth and power in the hands of too few people, leaving a huge portion of the population struggling in poverty. Pharma executives get rich while diabetics ration their insulin so they can pay for food and rent. Real estate magnates get rich while millions struggle with homelessness. Jeff Bezos becomes a billionaire and rides his own private rocket into space, while his employees die in tornados. And so on.

The 1% gets its wealth, not from building anything useful, but by inherited privilege and by playing financial games that generate no value for anyone. And Web3 is just another financial game, played with crypto, blockchain, and NFTs.

Could Web3 result in something revolutionary and useful, like the industrial and internet revolutions did? Maybe. But so far I’ve seen zero sign of it, and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

On the other hand, Tim O’Reilly is smarter than I am so if he’s optimistic probably you should be too!

“Big News” is an interesting new news aggregation service, now in beta

Big News combines RSS, newsletters, and bookmarks in a single app, with offline support for when you don’t have an Internet connection.

The screenshots look like Apple News.

Supposedly, the service has algorithms to surface top stories — it’ll be interesting to see if they can make that work. In my experience, algorithms are hard to implement, and only Apple News and Google News do a good job there.

I like that it combines bookmarks with everything else — within the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that using RSS to keep up with high-volume sites like the Washington Post or the Verge are a bad idea, and a person is better off just visiting the site.

Also, I like that there’s just one email address for all newsletters. I like including newsletters in a news aggregator, and services like Inoreader and Kill-the-Newsletter do that for you. But it’s inconvenient generating individual emails for each newsletter. Having just one email address for all of them saves a step.

I’ve signed up for the beta.

We stopped watching Doctor Who

Midway through this week’s episode, Julie turned to me and asked, “Are you enjoying this? “ I was not, and we switched it off.

I used to just love that show, beginning with Christopher Eccleston in 2005, through the Matt Smith years. It was whimsical, and wonderful, and weird, and like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Over the years, I have collected half a dozen TARDISes, and Julie even had a very small TARDIS-blue tile installed in my shower, when we were remodeling the bathrooms. I have two Doctor Who T-shirts, and a sonic screwdriver.

But the Peter Capaldi years were uneven, although there were a few great episodes. In the Jodie Whittaker and Chris Chibnal years, there were more bad episodes, and fewer good ones. This current season is just confusing and uninteresting.

Russell Davies is supposedly coming back in about a year and a half or two years. I will give the show another try then.