The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

This is just annoying

Screenshot of Wired.com graph

 Chris Anderson and Michael Wolf of Wired.com opine extensively on the decline of the worldwide web, with a graph. 

The main unarticulated assumption is that total internet traffic has been a constant number for the last twenty years, and that in recent years the bandwidth consumed by video transmissions has exceeded that used by HTML and other file types.  They seem to ignore the fact that a lot of video viewed online comes through a web browser.

This is expressed as percentages of a twenty year fixed amount of internet traffic, with a graph.

This is nonsense, or more appropriately, “So what?” That watching a single video will consume more bandwidth than will a month of web browsing is not worth nearly so many words.  Without adjusting the numbers to account for annual changes in internet capacity and traffic, the many words are mostly empty.

I’m speculating here.  I didn’t make it past the second paragraph of the Wired story. I stopped reading and started writing, and making my own distorted graph. The internet is a much bigger pie than it was twenty years ago. This makes for bigger slices, and more of them. It is possible to have both. Bigger slices and more slices. In my view, web video was added on top of standard web traffic, and not as a substitute.

My distorted graph is based upon the conservative assumption that total internet traffic has increased only ten-fold since 1990.
New graph

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Written by Tom Fox

08/18/2010 at 9:20 am

Posted in Journalism, Technology, Web

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