Tag: World Wide Web

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Tuesday, 12 March, 2019

The World Wide Web is 30 years old. Congrats! Its founder, the English engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, first proposed the system that would become the WWW on 11 March 1989. To celebrate the anniversary, he’s distilled his ideas about the internet in a letter to the world titled, 30 years on, what’s next #ForTheWeb?

“Today, 30 years on from my original proposal for an information management system, half the world is online. It’s a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go.”

This is a very positive opening message from Sir Tim. Sure, lots of bad actors have enriched themselves during the past 30 years thanks to the WWW, but the web is a world of wonders and there’s much to be grateful for. And Sir Tim is indefatigable.

In fact, last September, he announced the launch of Inrupt, co-founded with cybersecurity entrepreneur John Bruce. The goal is “to restore rightful ownership of data back to every web user.” Berners-Lee has been working on a new web platform called Solid for some time now and this will re-imagine how apps store and share personal data. Inrupt will power the development of the Solid platform and transform it to a viable infrastructure for businesses and consumers. The big idea behind Solid is that, instead of a company storing all your personal data on its servers, you keep it on your own personal data “pod” on a Solid server and you can then give individual apps permission to read and write to your pod. Inrupt plans to make money by offering products and services to businesses and individual who want to implement Solid. The company is based in Boston and is backed by the VC firm Glasswing Ventures.

“The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time. Today, half of the world is online. It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity.”

Since attending an HTML course in Dublin at the end of the 1990s, your blogger has done his best to contribute to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity. The road goes ever on, however.

“The web is for everyone and collectively we hold the power to change it. It won’t be easy. But if we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want.”

Sir Tim


Link love

Thursday, 19 March, 2015 0 Comments

“Link is acceptable in reference to a hyperlink on the web. If an article refers to material of interest to readers, such as a website, document, image or video, provide an embedded link as a convenience.” The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage, 2015 Edition

As a convenience, here is a link to a shop selling the updated version of The New York Times style guide. Since the last edition was published in 1999, much has changed, and the new guide reflects the impact of “web, the.” BTW, for the NYT the lowercase form is now acceptable in all references to the World Wide Web. And BTW again:

“abbreviations popular in online and texting slang should be used only rarely, for special effect, and should be rendered as readers most often see them: BTW, FYI, LOL, OMG, tl;dr, etc.”


Paper, continued

Wednesday, 10 December, 2014 0 Comments

“Why should I want to have a lot of copies of this and that lying around? Nothing but clutter in the office, a temptation to prying eyes, and a waste of good paper.” — John Brooks, Business Adventures

John Brooks (1920 — 1993) was a longtime contributor to the New Yorker magazine, where he worked as a staff writer, specializing in financial topics. His Business Adventures was published in 1969 and perhaps the books’s most relevant piece from today’s perspective is his account of life at Xerox. In the early 1960s, the company introduced a proprietary process that let copies be made on plain paper and with great speed. It had almost $60 million in revenue in 1961 and this figure jumped to more than $500 million by 1965, by which time Americans were creating 14 billion copies a year.

Brooks describes the “mania” for copying as “a feeling that nothing can be of importance unless it is copied, or is a copy itself.” Xerography changed the nature of text distribution more than anything since the time of Gutenberg and stoked up hopes and fears akin to those experienced in the early days of the World Wide Web. When Brooks visited Xerox HQ in Rochester, New York, he found the that the company’s biggest concern, however, was figuring out how to support the United Nations — an admirable ideal, in many ways, but not that relevant to its core business.

Meanwhile, researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center were developing several key elements of personal computing, including the desktop metaphor GUI and the mouse. These radical ideas were frowned upon by the board of directors on the East Coast, obsessed with their charitable giving, so they ordered the Xerox engineers to share the innovations with Apple. The rest is history.

It’s no surprise that Bill Gates, the entrepreneur and philanthropist, finds Brooks so instructive today.


#web25

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014 0 Comments

“By design, the Web is universal, royalty-free, open and decentralised. Thousands of people worked together to build the early Web in an amazing, non-national spirit of collaboration; tens of thousands more invented the applications and services that make it so useful to us today, and there is still room for each one of us to create new things on and through the Web. This is for everyone.” Sir Tim Berners-Lee