Composed on


# It wasn't always like this but people get the point of where things went wrong consistently wrong.

## Or, the Web started at CERN and ended with SimulBrowse

Before there was Mozilla, there was Netscape. Before there was Netscape, there was Mosaic. Before there was Mosaic, there was WorldWideWeb.

WorldWideWeb was simple, easy-to-comprehend, and almost entirely void of features. I would normally choose to ignore its existence, as I always do with creations made before the Web was filled with all manner of beautiful moving picture and words, like .gif and <marquee>, but it is occasionally important to look to the past to know what the genesis did correctly, and find what modern browsers are doing wrong.

Take a good look at it. Absorb it. Then take a good look at the image we opened with. "SimulBrowse." Can you find what the difference between the two is? The disastrous difference, not the beautiful imagery or the multilingual text.

The difference is tabs. Far beyond invasive marketing, "JavaScript," the absorption of data from nearly all humans for the ultimate goal of profit and unending surveillance, or anything else, what genuinely killed the World Wide Web was tabs.

Humans are incapable of true multi-tasking, and as a species we have trouble keeping much at all in our active memories. Depending on the language you speak, there's somewhere between five and thirteen items you can keep in your head at once. The introduction of tabs into the toolbox of Web users single-handedly destroyed any hopes we may once have had of the Web being a source of infinite, global potential that could reach across borders and create a better, more meritocratic society.

Do you see it yet?

The growth of productivity in the United States started stagnating precisely as tabs first reached global audiences in browsers like Opera, Mozilla, Safari and Internet Explorer. This is tragic, but not surprising. Tabs encourage what were once users but who with tabs become audiences to browse with much less intent. A social media tab perpetually on the left, electronic mail somewhere in the mix, both hijacking every link you click on with a warning that you're leaving them to another, more dangerous site.

You are leaving email.topleveldomain.





This link leads to could contain malware. Still visit

Modern Web browsers are designed to keep you from enjoying anything while also keeping you just distracted enough not to focus on anything important. Your pseudo-attention disorder was designed not by a scary social media corporation, but by a Web browser developer just trying to help you. Some of the worst evils are completely accidental.

It's never quite too late to turn back.

Uncheck the box.