Ajax

What does Asynchronous Javascript And XML mean to you? Well to those at the sharp end of the digital revolution this would be made into the acronym ‘Ajax,’ and be used to describe one of the programming formats for developing interactive web pages. For a concise definition check out here.

For those of you who’ve been reading this column for a little while, you’ll have noticed that one of the things that I am interested in is the growing of interactivity and programmability of the web. The growth of areas such as software as a service, web 2.0 all point to time when the internet will be able offer a much more personal experience than it does at present.

One of the more visible manifestations of Ajax is Microsoft’s Windows Live. Windows Live helps the user to pull all the various different information sources that they look at into one place, creating in effect your own personalised portal through which to gaze at the web. Have a look at Microsoft’s own description here.

I find these sorts of applications both useful and creepy at the same time, and it makes me wonder whether we are heading to the sort of future described in the wonderfully dark short web film ‘Epic 2014.’ This supposes a future in which Google and Amazon have merged to create the uber-portal Googlezon.

Googlezon provides users with the ultimate in personalised experiences. News that’s only relevant to them, concerning not so much world events, but the minutia of their and their friends’ daily lives. As a result interest in the bigger picture of world events is confined to the elite. To view this for yourself check out.

I don’t actually think that this will happen. I think that users will appreciate greater personalisation of the web, but not to the exclusion of everything else. Unfortunately only time will tell, so I look forward to revisiting the question 10 years from now (if this column’s still going.)

In the meantime it’s the e-crime congress this week, the annual gathering to talk through all that’s new in electronic crime. One of the dangers of a more personalised reactive web is the growth in the ways your patterns can be followed and you can be defrauded (and not only on your credit card.) To see what’s hot in the world of e-crime check out here.

I shall return with more babble later on this week.