During my university studies, I first encountered the idea of the Myth of Progress — in 19th and 20th centuries a lot of people assumed that the world generally gets better each generation (aside from occasional blips like depressions or world wars), with less bigotry, better medicine, new technology, etc., but there’s no guarantee that any next generation will build on and improve the accomplishments of the previous one, and history’s movement may be more akin to a random walk.
Case in point: in the information technology world, the greatest accomplishment of the most talented coders and business people in GenX was replacing the Baby Boomers’ nasty old platform-dependent shrink-wrapped computer applications with open web applications that could run anywhere, from a Windows desktop to a Linux cell phone. Write once, run all over the place on any hardware/OS you want. GMail instead of Eudora. Wikipedia instead of Encarta. Cool, eh?
So GenY comes along and says “hey: instead of encouraging people to browse the web with open standards, let’s build proprietary applications that run on only one type of mobile phone. And we’ll allow only one store to sell those applications for each type of phone, and every proprietary, platform-specific app will have to be preapproved and precensored by the phone manufacturer, who will extort^H^H^H^H^H^H be gladly offered a cut of sales.” Even Microsoft in its monopolistic hey-day — before it became the toothless lion it is today — never had the balls to try anything like that with Windows apps.
Who, ten years ago, would have predicted an IT catastrophe like this after so much progress and hope? It’s enough to make a person cry. Let’s encourage those GenY’ers who taken up the torch and continue to work on the dream of an open web.