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This is your mind on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Opera Unite, Typical Marketing Hyperbole

I’m not going to do an analysis of Opera Unite. The long and the short of it is that Opera (the browser maker) has made a play for the social networking space. Their claim to fame is that clarion call to freedom! Be free from your social platforms, your servers, your oppressors in the cloud! But as this razor sharp analysis from Chris Messina FactoryCity will illustrate to you Opera Unite is selling you anything but freedom. I have a few things to say about that as well. Among the things that the astute FactoryCity critic points out are that:

  1. Opera makes you use their domain name
  2. Opera sets condition on what you can and can’t share; among those things:

    upload, transfer or otherwise make available files, images, code, materials, or other information or content that is obscene, vulgar, hateful, threatening, or that violates any laws or third-party rights, hereunder but not limited to third-party intellectual property rights.

    In other words: anything we don’t like.

  3. You have to use their software and their software is closed source.

  4. Also, Opera marketing makes claims to be peer-to-peer, that is, direct from your computer to your friend’s computer, but… you have to go through their proxy servers. Oh well.

If you care about this sort of thing, I strongly encourage you to read Messina’s full in-depth piece. It’s worth it. For me, this is just yet another example of marketing bullshit, and by bullshit, I mean the technical term. Marketing of this kind isn’t really lying inasmuch as it is bullshit. Lying would imply that the lie-teller was aware of the truth and is conniving to keep you from it. Bullshit is a total disregard for the truth or falsehood of any claim. Opera is “reinventing the web.” Bullshit. First of all, no one’s going to revolutionize the web until something comes along that is something other than the web. And second, why is reinventing something a claim worth making? We have an old expression: “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” The web is the wheel. Do something new. Stop reinventing what works perfectly well.

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