In the mid-1980s, Apple Computer started the “desktop publishing revolution” by pairing its new, graphics-oriented Macintosh with the first 300-dot-per-inch (dpi) LaserWriter. So excited was one computer industry pundit – whose “insider” industry newsletter was one of the first of that extraordinarily profitable kind – that she insisted on the most sensational sort of boosterism. “This [technology] is going to put the First Amendment into overdrive!” was a typical pull-quote from her 1986 issues. Eagerly anticipated was a bumper crop of Mac-and-LaserWriter-equipped reincarnations of Shakespeare, William Randolph Hearst and Stephen King.
Not everyone was so optimistic. “It’s like thinking that the invention of the phone would improve people’s diction,” one technology writer told the Washington Post at the time. He knew that the result of lowering the cost of entry into publishing would be reduced standards in every specialized skill used in the process: lower quality research, writing, editing, graphic design and final product. “There will be a ton of 300dpi garbage,” he predicted.
Who won the DTP revolution?
Looking back over the past 25 years, it is clear that his prediction came true. Fact is, the desktop publishing (DTP) revolution has now spawned several generations of semi-literate, button-pushing, macro-wielding, template-dependent DTP’ers – along with some real geniuses, of course, who would have been geniuses whatever tools were available. So, once again, the human race learns the lesson that great tools don’t create great craftsmen.
It is a curious thing to see the reaction of people who had expected their new hardware and software to make them creative geniuses. For some reason, they are always surprised when their designs look like the “gallery pages” that came with their graphics program. It’s a reaction that is quite baffling, frankly. With the best paintbrushes and canvas in the world, few people will ever get close to creating what Picasso or Dali could with an eyebrow pencil and a cocktail napkin.
Many people have forgotten, and many more never knew, that before the advent of the World Wide Web and its one-button blogging, there were writers who thought that certain technological aids could make them great graphic designers. They soon found out that “the DTP revolution” wouldn’t, couldn’t, shouldn’t make them artists. The first wave of DTP tools, hard and soft, did succeed in making a lot of corporate communications look vaguely similar, from coast to coast. And it made scripting common for all kinds of Web 2.0 applications, fromSelf Storage toReal estate sites to40,000,000,000 (40,000,000,000) synonyms for “peaches.”
But it also caused everyone to raise their profoundly warped expectations, like McElreath Bennett did when he wrote in the Atlanta Constitution that “with the Internet on every desk, we’re transported to a playground where our every instinct is ‘buy, buy, buy.”‘
Before the Internet, it was difficult to get published without having to put some effort into the look and feel of the article. There was a perception that the publication of content on the Internet was tantamount to an endorsement of that content’s level of quality. Who could it hurt? There was a golden age of quality Internet publishing when the major Web 2.0 applications were relatively new, and the concept of digital rights management was still fringe; things looked darker and more uncertain.
But the Internet is now part of our daily routine, as vivid and bold as the dawn. We have entered an era of mass-produced, high-quality, wide-area network-access Internet communications. And as a result, the problems associated with that rapid proliferation are now at an affordable level. Businesses, and authors and graphic artists and software developers can now afford to create more work-dis exhibiting more creativity on minimum budget and, in some cases, without regard to the consequences to their future earnings.
The ability to respond to audience demand for a particular product or service is no longer a given, but a necessary one. And to do so efficiently and effectively requires a significant level of expertise in the field of Information Technology, or in Business IT in the case of design and development.
It is in this light that I began this article, hoping to start a discussion about the importance of Network Security, or in Business IT in the case of a Web based business. In addition, I hope to have earned my rightful place as a GRID CAPITAL!