There has been a lot of chatter in recent days since the Obama administration announced it plans to transition the control of ICANN away from US control, and most of it has been highly predictable.
I’m not sure I believe that the US stewardship of control over the web has been good enough to lament its passing, nor am I convinced that some other control of it will somehow herald the end of the web as we know it.
However, I am convinced of something related: handing off control of the web to someone other than the US government will inevitably force the web itself to evolve.
To me, that outcome is the best and most exciting thing to come along since the web itself. Since the first time I browsed to a web page in the summer of 1992, my main complaint is that the web, as currently construed, has settled into a constant rehashing of what has already been done. I think a lot of that rehashing is the result of how the web has been managed and controlled.
Now, I don’t think for a moment that this evolution will be clean or pretty, but just like the telco deregulation of the 8os, this deregulation is necessary for the technology and its uses to continue to develop and grow.
It turns out that I am in the market to buy a second PC for our household and businesses. We’ve tried for just about a year to function with one PC and various mobile devices, and we’ve found that there’s just enough overlap between our need to use the PC that sometimes it gets annoying. Add to that annoyance the fact that our PC right now is an all-in-one and I actually need a machine I can use elsewhere, and suddenly we need a second machine.
Enter the world of buying a computer in 2014.
It seems like it should be so simple. Once upon a time, it was. Most people didn’t have a lot of real choices. So, you picked a price point and a company and hoped for the best. If you were really savvy, you built a machine yourself. But in the end, they were mostly the same thing: riffs on processor types and memory and whatnot.
Not so today. Today, it’s sometimes difficult to even know what everyone means by a PC. To some people, a PC is not a Mac. To others, a PC is not a desktop. To still others, a PC is not a tablet or smartphone.
Even the machines themselves are kind of confused. There are machines the size of my all-in-one you can use as a tablet, sort of. There are laptops that detach from their keyboards. There are machines that fold in half. There are machines that run both Windows and Android.
How’s a guy to choose?
Ultimately, the same way he always did: by deciding what he wants that machine to do and picking the best set of features that can do it. Now, it’s just a matter of picking from a larger set of variables.
And it’s complicated.