Happy Birthday WWW

"25"Phil: Yesterday was the World Wide Web’s 25th birthday.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun?

I remember working for the ministry of cows and cobbling together a laptop PC, fax modem and Compuserve CD to get on-line for the first time. I logged on in glorious black and white (the best the laptop could do) and then wondered, what do I do next?

A colleague with an X-File obsession suggested we look to see what the was on her favourite TV show and since she ruled the typing pool with a rod of iron and I needed to get export certificates through there in less than a month, I had a quick search. Downloading the pages took ages and when we saved them to a floppy disk and transferred them to a colour PC, the results were a bit rubbish, but it didn’t matter. This was the future.

A few months later, having been made redundant, I spent hours at the local library using their single web-connected computer to surf. Inspiration was provided by a Yellow Pages of web sites. Literally a printed book listing sites under different categories. Even then it was a fat publication.

Two years later, it was suggested I take over the company website because I was publishing a magazine so I knew about pictures and things. A couple of days later I had learned enough HTML from a book to finish the launch of our commercial arm’s website. Nerdy types will shrink in horror at the way we used tables and even frames to lay out content, some of which was animated GIFs, something I still thin are pretty neat even if I know them to be considered as dated as drop shadow (If you have no idea what I’m on about here, don’t worry).

The web has made a huge difference to authors. No longer do I submit articles on paper, floppy disk or CD. Everything flies around using electronic magic. On the other hand, if I wanted to waste time on the computer, I played Solitaire until I (quickly) got bored. Now there is an infinite supply of procrastination accessories.

More importantly, it has made the e-Book possible. Can you imagine this taking off if it weren’t possible to download the words? Would anyone want to carry the Kindle to the book store to pick up the latest novel?

Of course, most importantly, without the WWW, the great writing team of Nolanparker would never have met up in the first place. I wouldn’t have been employed to look after the website at a quango where I met my friend. Who knows where or what we’d have ended up doing? You wouldn’t be reading this, but then without the web, there would be no websites or WordPress either.

Yes, Tim Berners-Lee made the world a different, and I think better place. Here’s to the next quarter century.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Happy Birthday WWW

  1. True words but surely it cant be that long ago? I started off on a BBC Micro long before the web but remember seeing my first web sites at a symposium in Cambridge and immediately thought his would be great way for companies to show their catalogues rather than having to send out bulky publications. Then I obtained my first Mac and artwork and typesetting were dead. We still needed commercial printers but had to have a dedicated ‘phone line installed over which to send the electronic files or get a courier to bike them over on a disc. Technology moves on faster and faster in some spheres but where’s the flying car we were promised back in the 1950’s?

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