App craze

. My own translation of my own text in Dutch, based on a translation proposal requested from ChatGPT.

Modem and floppies

In the early 1990s, you could already connect a modem to your computer and do things online. That was amazing. For instance, there was a program called Girotel from the Dutch “Postbank”, that let you do your banking without having to send punched cards by regular mail. Instead, you used the keyboard and screen, and transmitted what you had prepared. And bank statements could be downloaded.

You needed a special program for it. The bank provided it for free on a floppy disk.

Shortly after, the tax office also adopted this method: you could file your taxes using a computer. Again, with a tax-filing program on a floppy disk.

And there was Viditel (in the Netherlands), Minitel (in France), Prestel (UK), using special hardware, or a program you could purchase for a small fee, on a floppy disk. For Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), there was Telix.

It was a great time. Suddenly, those expensive computers could do so much more than before.

A miracle

But the real miracle was yet to come. In 1994, the internet became accessible to the general public. No longer through offline uucp, but directly, truly online, almost in real-time, with http. Web pages were created, interlinked with hyperlinks, allowing you to follow references to ever more interesting information. We all started to surf the web en masse.

The pages and references formed a web without limits, The World Wide Web, WWW. The best part: a single program could do everything: a browser. Thanks to standardization, this single program could retrieve and send all information. You no longer needed separate programs from floppy disks, one for each task.

A revolution! Impossible to imagine life without it now.

Back to square one

Nearly 30 years have passed since then. However, progress has been reversed. Progress always happens in leaps: three steps forward, one or two steps back.

For Google: an app. For Google Translate: a separate app. YouTube (also by Google): download the app! Radio 1: an app. Radio 2: a different app. Gmail (by Google): so handy using the app! It just doesn’t stop. All separate programs, each several megabytes in size – they wouldn’t fit on the floppies of the past, which had 1.44 MB. Everybody’s phones are hoarded with them. Windows now calls their regular laptop or desktop programs “apps” too, fearing they might miss the boat if they don’t. But those are still the same old executable files.

What kind of craze is this? An app craze. Everyone blindly follows without pausing to think. That’s how people are. Herd animals. Sheeple.