Monday, May 09, 2005

monkey-wrenching the web

If you've seen my greasemonkey scripts but don't know why greasemonkey is such a big deal, check out this page for more info.

When people started writing their own webpages, I thought it was one of the first truly democratic uses of the net. In time, of course, most pages disappeared or were infected by the advertising hordes that claimed the net as their own. Blogs are still mostly independent, but the number of blogs that have advertising on the page is increasing constantly and millions of blogs have been created as link farms to boost someones pagerank; advertisers pissing in the pool again.

I think greasemonkey is the first tool that really lets you view the web the way you want to. RSS came close and is still a useful tool for increasing the signal-to-noise ratio of aggregated sites; greasemonkey lets you increase that ratio for specific sites. Significantly. Some of the user scripts that have been created must have companies saying 'why didn't we think of that?' (Like the script I'm runnning that links movies in my Netflix queue to their pages in the IMDB, and vice versa). Others must have companies wondering how to stop it... and that's the best part: they can't. They can decide what information they are going to put out there, but they can't decide how you are going to view it.