The CERN datacenter with World Wide Web and Ma...
The CERN datacenter with World Wide Web and Mail servers via Wikipedia

The internet (a.k.a. WWW, World Wide Web, the web, the net) is changing so rapidly that every time I come back to update this entry (that is, every few years), I find it hopelessly outdated.

First developed by the USA military in response to the Russian Sputnik satellite of 1957, the web really came to maturity in the 1990s, but free Telnet access had been available in the US since 1975.

Since dominating the market in the 90s, the web remains relatively new and fast changing. And although it didn’t create a global utopia, the internet does represent a whole new vista for mankind’s ability to share information.

Not just a massive, worldwide encyclopedia, the web is a medium – some would say “space” – where those with access to a computer and an ISP (internet service provider) may create their own web sites to express personal views, share information, communicate or sell goods and services.

In its beginnings, many hailed the internet as the new organ of democracy, others saw it as the royal road to riches. Then came the so-called winter where a large number of internet businesses went bust. Early idealistic and get-rich-quick thinking about the internet was gradually replaced by a more realistic view of its tremendous potential.

Although an exciting media technology, the web operates within existing global structures. As such, its economic and transformational potential depends on a variety of factors and, at bottom, choices made by human beings and their governing bodies.

While the web continues to get bigger and faster, specialty features like customized headline search involving RSS (really simple syndication) and various applications (Apps), in combination with new wireless technologies have made the internet an even more effective tool for gathering information. And social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Flickr and free software like Skype have pretty much changed the way we relate as a species.

All this change has taken place with a simultaneous growth in hardware. Computer processors are always getting speedier, and short and long term memories larger. So a good computer of just a few years ago is really just a mediocre one today. And anyone who surfs the web a lot will be able to tell the difference in less than two seconds flat!

Related Posts » Burrows (William S.), Digital Scanning, E-mail, Gould (Glenn), Internet Addiction, McLuhan (Marshall Herbert), Tek War, Urban Legend


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