2x44: Seven Systems


Stuart Langridge, Jono Bacon, and Jeremy Garcia present Bad Voltage, in which there are more rants than expected, there are seven seconds of panic, and:

Come chat with us and the community in our Slack channel via https://badvoltage-slack.herokuapp.com/!

Download from https://badvoltage.org


Is it my imagination, or do reactions to the Edge news basically track with whether the person uses Chrome as their main browser? Because it seems like this is one of those weird times when large parts of the open source community in particular is suddenly A-OK with a web monoculture. Or is it an age thing, where it’s getting harder to remember the days when websites were designed work with IE6? Whatever, this won’t end well.

Honestly, I was hoping that the announcement was going to be putting Edge under an open source license. This almost feels like an attempt to ingratiate Microsoft with Google, especially given how many of the early stories referred to “Chromium” instead of “Blink,” and that can’t possibly end well.

Also, interesting that none of the reporting on the phone sales decline thinks to talk about the bad press about unconscionable supply chains, abusive business practices, pervasive tracking, market concentration (speaking of Google), and disinterest in fixing robocalls. Market saturation and sufficient technical capabilities are obviously part of the story, but if they were the whole story, we’d actually be in that “post-PC era” we were all assured was coming a few years ago instead of pretending nobody ever brought it up…


That was a terribly long time ago, in internet years…

I think it’s fairly likely that New Edge will be based on Chromium Embedded Framework, not just Blink. Although I imagine Microsoft will customise it more than most.

Hm. I think that if that were a major contributing factor then we’d also see a decline in phone usage as well as phone purchases; after all, robocalls, which are a big problem in the United States although a much smaller problem elsewhere (as we investigated in a previous show) apply to you whether you buy a new phone or not. There may be such a decline in phone usage, but I haven’t seen stats for that; if someone has them, chime in.


I am not a web developer so I don’t know the nuances – are Safari and Chrome interchangeable in terms of features and supported standards? Blink forked from WebKit several years ago now, and I don’t know how much they have diverged. Is it fair to describe the browser space as a monoculture or are there two major players (the same two players as with mobile OS’es)?

Personally, I use Firefox, so Edge going away makes me sad, but even within the Chromium sphere it might not be fair to call it a monoculture.


Unusual one, this episode. I laughed harder than I have done for a while listening to BV, but also was getting bored of the multiple news articles talking for some time on the march towards monopoly (or two-to-three competitive survivors at most) that inevitably happens in big industries. In fact I think a more profound question is… why hasn’t this happened sooner in the “browser wars”?

Have a lovely festive season all of you.


I’m not as sure about that. Granted, I’m one of the weirdos you occasionally hear whispers about who doesn’t use a cell phone, but it seems like “we would expect less cell usage” assumes that communications are all discretionary and that there’s an immediate cause and effect with news and I’m not sure that’s how the market works. What I mean is that it seems like it’s a lot harder to change a person’s lifestyle than it is to change their upcoming purchases.

You’re right, though, it’d be interesting to see something like a chart of the number of calls placed over cellular networks per year, maybe contrasted with the number of minutes spent on those calls or something. Although, with the number of “Millennials Are Killing XYZ” articles out there, surely…well, it’s the UK and not the US like I was expecting, but this Guardian article seems relevant. Inc also chimes in with–word of warning–an article with a loud auto-play video a couple of screens down.

Of course, bear in mind that reference to a generation as a monolithic entity (like “Millennial”) is kind of a red flag, since Strauss-Howe is…well, it’s actually a lot like Chinese astrology for people who can’t handle the complexity of twelve whole animals…


I think the decline in phone purchases is simply a result of market saturation. Everybody who wants a mobile phone has one and new phones are not offering new ‘must have’ features.

Personally I can’t imagine any feature my phone could have, and doesn’t have now, that I would use so I have no intention of upgrading. My phone is Android and I almost never use mobile data. I have Wifi at home, at work and in my local pub so I don’t often need it.

Eventually battery life will become an issue, or it will slow to a crawl, or stop working altogether and I will replace it. But, not until one of these happens. My daughter feels she needs the latest iPhone, which she has but will probably be pestering me or a boyfriend to buy her the next version when it comes out.


And to think that many older phones had easily replaceable batteries. I’m using an old Samsung S3 that popping the back cover off and swapping batteries takes less time than purchasing it.


When I bought my first mobile phone the technology was rapidly changing so I wanted the new features as they were introduced with new . I upgraded to my second phone because it would also work in Asia, the US and Canada as well as Europe, I could only use my first phone in Europe.

As such features drove my purchase. Today I have all the features I want so Manufacturers rely on battery life degrading over time to push people to upgrade.


Are you accusing manufacturers of planned obsolescence? I’m shocked!! :joy:


One former Edge worker says that Google would intentionally change things on their websites to cause other browsers to be slow.



I felt @jeremy’s “and now Bad Veldtage” intro was insufficiently dramatic. Maybe have Bryan back as a guest MC?


Smart Reples and automatic emoji: Yes, agree 112%. I learned to Internet on IRC and I typed what I meant to type and not just a cue to a content generator. And I want to write my emails using a text box, not a Magic 8-ball.


Unfortunately, the recipients of my emails would prefer the Magic 8-ball. :wink:


That’s certainly fair. I’m not wholly sure it’s all cause and effect, but there’s undeniably a decline…

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