the web is almost legal!

13 03 2009

happy 20th birthday to the world wide web.  march 13, 1989 is the day that tim berners-lee is credited with inventing the world wide web.  check out scientific american’s tribute to this world changing event.

having used the internet for 18 years or so, it just doesn’t seem comprehensible how far we’ve come so fast.  one of my favorite stories is from the 1992 when I was working at heinle & heinle and the five editorial directors got t-1 access to our desks.  i gophered to singapore national university’s web site and downloaded their campus map.  five or six colleagues stood around my desk – oohing and aahing.  seriously!

the internet in 1985

the internet in 1985

One of my favorite artifacts from the development of the internet is a map that marty lyons created in 1985 that shows the entire internet as it existed then on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper!  (click on the image to the left to see a larger version.)

to think that today it’s nearly impossible to create a site map for an average blog on one sheet of paper helps put the progress we’ve made.

as short a time ago as 2001 i was working on a project that would depend heavily on metadata tagging and microtransactions.  two things that at the time were questionable as to their viability.  Now millions of sites process billions and billions of transactions everyday and social networking has turned metadata tagging into a normal practice for everyday folks like my Mom.  that campus map i downloaded 17 years ago took several minutes to make it to my computer.  today we can watch real-time broadcast television on our cellphones!

so happy birthday world wide web.  go get a fake id and tip back a pint or two.  you deserve it.