The Dependability of the Web

by Nathan Redman

A new age is upon us - the computer age. More specifically, the
internet. There\'s no doubt that the internet has changed how fast and the way
we communicate and get information. The popularity of the net is rising at a
considerable rate. Traffic, the number of people on the web, is four times
what it was a year ago and every thirty seconds someone new logs on to the net
to experience for themselves what everyone is talking about. Even Bill Gates,
founder of Microsoft, a company that really looks into the future in order to
stay ahead of the competition, said the internet is one part of the computer
business that he really underestimated. As one of the richest men in the world
I doubt if he makes too many mistakes. Nobody could have predicted that the
internet would expand at this rate and that\'s probably the reason why troubles
are arising about the dependability of the web.
As usage soars (some estimate there will be over eighty million users by
the end of 1997) could the internet overload? Even though no one predicted the
popularity of the net some are quick to foresee the downfall or doomsday of
this fade. If you call it a fade. The demand continues to rise and is now so
great that technological improvements are continually needed to handle the
burden that\'s been created from all of the people using the net.
Their are many things that can lighten the load that\'s been slowing down
the internet. First, it needs to have a lot better organization because with
over seventy-five million web pages, and rising steadily fast, being able to
pin-point the information you are trying to find is very difficult. It\'s like
finding a needle in a haystack. When you use a search engine to find
information on a certain topic the search can come back with thousands upon
thousands of pages or sites. Sometimes with over fifty-thousand. Now you have
the never ending task of looking through each site to find what you want. Plus,
with links on most pages people can end up getting lost real fast and not being
able to find their way back. Search engines should develop what I call the
filter down affect. In the filter down affect a broad topic is chosen and then
sub-topics are chosen continuously until the list of sites has narrowed the
search to respectable sites and the information needed. Having better
organization would remove some of the worthless sites around cyperspace from
ending up first in the search engines results.
A second way to lighten the load of the internet is by improving the
time it takes to load a page. The speed of loading a page depends greatly on
the type of equipment, software, how much memory you have, your connection speed,
plus a lot of other factors, but web page designers should make more text and
less graphics, animation, and video because text takes a lot less time to load.
According to an October 1996 survey by AT&T, sixty-seven percent of sites were “
off the net” for at least on hour per day because of overload. The web wasn\'t
designed to handle graphics, animation, audio, and video. It was first
developed for E-mail (electronic mail) and transferring text files, but web
page designers want their pages to look the best so that people or for in the
case of business, potential customers, visit their site and are impressed by it
so they come back in the future and tell others about the site. After all, the
best way to have people visit your web site is by word of mouth because it is
very hard for people to find the site unless they happen to know the exact
address. Sometimes though, popularity can kill a site. For instance, when the
weather got bad in Minnesota one weekend the National Weather Service web site
got overloaded with people wanting to read and see the current weather forecasts.
The result was the server going down from the overload leaving nobody the
ability to visit that site. With more businesses seeing the dollar signs that
the web could produce they compete for advertising on the web because it is much
cheaper then advertising on television or the newspaper and it can reach people
all the way around the world. Designers for these pages can\'t forget that
surfers aren\'t willing to wait very long for pages to load so simplifying pages
can make the web a lot faster.
Another way to make