21 05 2009

As a pessimist and reasonably observant American, I am prone to think that in the USA almost no one will expend major effort to produce anything that doesn’t make money. And that’s an assumption of many online commentors as well. In a recent discussion of advertising on the Internet, one post after another said, essentially, that there would be no content on the Internet without advertising. And those commentors weren’t displaying pessimism, either. They simply knew their culture from within, and expressed the truth of it as they knew it.

But I have reason to know that what they and my pessimism say is nonsense. I have multiple interests, and in pursuing them on the Internet I’ve seen the most stunning, informative, long-lasting web sites be built by people who simply have a hobby, or by organizations that want to inform or delight us. Here are five examples. I realize you aren’t likely to be very interested in the subject matter of a couple of them, but take a look at the depth and quality of the sites!

1. Phil’s Old Radios:

2. JavaJune’s Blog:

3. Loveyoutodeathbut’s YouTube Channel:

(And permit me to recommend one of the videos:

4. Astronomy Picture of the Day:

5. Steve’s Supreme Instruments Collection:

An additional amazing thing about this last site is that both the site and the test equipment presented on it are unusually fine-looking, almost beautiful. This is all the more amazing when you consider that the test equipment items presented by Steve were designed and sold in the 1930s for a completely utilitarian purpose. As you can imagine, most other contemporary electronic test equipment was NOT physically attractive :-).

I think people who do things for love instead of money are givers of wonderful gifts to those around them. Laboring away quietly in the interstices* of this Tower of Babel of Greed, they are not sufficiently honored.

*I got to use this word yesterday and I liked it so well I’m using it again today!