tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

May 26, 2006 8:14pm

a pox on javascript

Update, Friday: Ray recommends Safari Stand, whose site alteration feature does exactly what I hoped for.

Rant on.

I like javascript, but its use by a few big sites (looking at you, nytimes.com and wired.com) makes me break out in hives. When I turn off javascript in Safari, both of these sites are screaming fast as I'd expect. When I have it turned on, both are excruciatingly slow, and simple actions (selecting text, clicking links) lead to baffling delays and beach balls. I haven't yet spent the time with Venkman to figure out why this is, but I have my suspicions. A lot of the scripts are coming from Google, Doubleclick, and other "strategic partners" checking in on my activity. Wired seems interested in where I'm from (see the "GeoIP" section of headerLayer.js), and The New York Times likes to know what text I'm selecting, and which links I'm following.

It would be ideal if sites like this put the Ajax crack pipe aside for five minutes and erred on the side of usability. It would also be nice if Safari's javascript implementation were faster, or threaded, or whatever.

Barring that, I have a feature request: per-domain javascript disabling. Javascript is now too useful and pervasive to be turned off entirely, but certain domains abuse the privilege and ought to be denied. Even a javscript on/off switch in the Safari browser chrome would go a long way towards helping.

Rant off.

May 26, 2006 12:42pm

tiered costs

Courtesy of CNN and Slashdot, another reason Net Neutrality is a good thing:

"I'm going to pay my $29.99 a month for access, and then I'm going to pay higher prices for consumer goods all across the economy because these Internet companies will charge more for online advertising."

Gem and I visited a mushroom farm last week for one of her classes. Each batch of mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, etc.) are cultivated in bagged blocks of sawdust and nutrients. Each plastic bag holds about a gallon of substrate, and has a small filter attached to it, allowing flow of air when the bag is sealed. These bags are single-use, and historically cost the farm 18 cents apiece. As a result of rising fuel costs (the bags are shipped from Texas), the price has gone up to 19½ cents apiece. Every day, they start 2,700 bags, so an extra $40 isn't going to break the bank. But I bet that extra cost is going to be passed on to the buyer, on top of all the other gas-price micropayments piling up across the rest of the items at the checkout counter.

I understand fuel costs—high demand, low supply, etc.—but these "preferred routing" fees proposed by AT+T's lawyersharks are purely artificial. They have no reason to exist, and they add no new capacity to the lines. As I understand it, performance across the board may actually drop, because of the additional overhead of looking at each packet to determine its priority instead of passing it off like a hot potato as quickly as possible.

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