Surfing can be irritating

I read your editorial “URLs, URLs: they’re everywhere” ( ComputerWorld Canada, May 18, 2001, page 16) with interest and felt I just had to add my rants and raves.

In particular, your second-to-last paragraph hit home 100 per cent. I use the Internet on a relatively daily basis for research and it is becoming an absolute disgrace. The amount of advertising is disgusting, but the thing that really disgusts me is the constant “pushing” of windows at me. If I wanted to have all these windows pop up, I’d ask for them. I have visited some sites via search engines such as Yahoo and Alta Vista, and the sites that supposedly contain the information I might be looking for insist on creating two, three, four, sometimes more windows, and the problem is getting worse.

Sometimes they obscure the main window, other times they are behind it. Regardless, it wastes my time finding and closing them. I have never yet (and probably never will) either responded to or gleaned any useful information from these intruders. Even Microsoft has now started putting these windows up, most recently a request asking if I wanted a survey sent to me in 30 minutes. I could supposedly tighten up my browser security, but then I’d be killing the sites that are actually reasonable.

Speaking of search engines, that’s another rant. The content is changing so fast that I would hazard a guess that 50 per cent or more of the technical information pages indicated as valid from searches are not. In many cases the pages have not existed for over a year. It could be a great service to us poor users if the validity of a search engines content could be periodically validated. Not only does it waste my time being sent to non-existent information, but is must also account for a tremendous bloat at the engine’s site. Unless some effort is made to clean up these links, it won’t be long before these search engines are not worth visiting.

So your sentence “In other words, soon the only way to achieve value from this wonderful, free service will be to pay someone to filter it for you” hits home in a big way. The unfortunate thing is that one of those “someone” is likely to be the same as one of the perpetrators, i.e. Microsoft.

Thanks for allowing my ranting …

Phil Parsons

Newmarket, ON