O'Reilly editor Steve Talbott describes the
focus of the contest: "Catching the dew and
sunlight, and serving as an efficient means
of livelihood, a spider's web is one of the
glories of creation. Depending on your
perspective, a spider's web is also a prison
the most delicate, flexible, and refined
instrument imaginable for immobilizing life.
As you and I settle into the World Wide
Web, are we in the role of the spider or the
The "Spider or Fly?" contest invites you to
illuminate the deep nexus between
computerised networking technologies and
the human being. Where, amid all the
dizzying technical advances, do we carry
responsibility for their social consequences?
How can we exercise that responsibility?
Have we been embracing it or shirking it?
In other words: does the Web own us, or do
we own it?"
O'Reilly's Web site contains detailed
information on the contest in the "What's
Up" section at
Let's see... go to WebWideWalker search
page... hit stop before the advertisement
comes up... Rats! half an image and it
looked kind of interesting... oh well, in a
hurry, it'll come up again... put in word...
hmmmm should I add others to tighten the
search? no, in a hurry... just see what this
Arrgh! maxed out to the 150 matches... should have tightened search... some of these are interesting... huh? what does this page have to do with anything... just take a peek... oh very nice... barely mentions my subject though... wow I never knew that... I will have to come back sometime... save this site to my bookmark file... check it... blast that title doesn't tell me anything, edit it to something that will let me know why I added it... ok back to it... odd subject for a page... wonder about their link choices... NO! return to search results page... ok color change shows I already went there... moving on... wait that interesting page is flagged... 'more sites like this one' ... just take a peek... this one not nearly as good... wait, what does this link have to do with this page?... oh, I see... now THAT side of this I can understand... maybe if I search on this word I will find more pages on this that I can understand... save this link to my
bookmarks... and... or... then... some...
other... NO! get back to search results...
Aargh! rolled off the history... got to
remember to set that higher... do it now... ok
history higher... return to search results... oh
yeah it's gone... what was I looking for? ...
why am I so hungry? ... why is it so dark?
... wish my computer chair flushed...
"Dear? Do you remember what I was
looking for? Dear? Hello? Are you in bed?"
I wonder if this is why they call it a web...
The WEB is a subtle sticky trap. It is
misleading in its appearance of being simple
and organized. You may seek to poke it
with your finger in curiosity but it grabs
your finger and won't let go. So you invest
more fingers and attention to straightening
out what you have gotten into. You soon
discover that more fingers in the web simply
gains you more web which requires more
fingers which gains you more web.
I believe the World Wide Web to be quite
aptly named. It is a trap of the most
incredible proportions. It seeks to ensnare
all, large and small. To include
governments, corporations and individuals.
All will be part of the web. Spiders and
Flies at the same time. Sometimes feeling
predator, at other times feeling prey. And
both unable to escape the mesh that once
appeared simple and inviting.
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