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3/12/2014
11:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Web Turns 25: 10 Graphics To See

Tim Berners-Lee's proposal changed the world. These visual representations show what his World Wide Web has become.
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The World Wide Web turns 25 today, March 12, 2014, and despite what you may have heard, it's good for you. Nevermind the malware, the fraud, the trolls, the porn, the flames, the misinformation, the surveillance, the hate speech, and the rickrolling, time-wasting, fatuous social stew that passes for human interaction. We have only ourselves to blame for that.

The Web has become an indispensable communications medium, capable of conveying content that ranges from banal to brilliant, from silly to sublime. It has become an interface for democratic participation, for commerce, for science, for health, for advertising, and for entertainment. It is a doorway to connection and to contention. It is an economic engine.

The Web is not the Internet, though many people believe they're the same thing. Type "25th anniversary of the" into Google and its autocomplete algorithm will suggest "25th anniversary of the Internet" before "25th anniversary of the World Wide Web."

This may be in part because there was a celebration of 25th anniversary of the Internet in 2006. It was a recognition of the formal standardization of the Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), through publication of RFC 791 and RFC 793, in September 1981. But you could choose other relevant dates to celebrate, like January 1, 1983, when the ARPANET, precursor to the Internet, switched from NCP to the TCP/IP protocols.

The Internet, as a network of networks, doesn't have a single point of origin; rather, it has many milestones. And the same can be said of the Web: Some readers may recall that last year we celebrated the Web's 20th anniversary, based on the first webpage, published by CERN in 1993.

The Web was built atop the Internet, based on a proposal written March 12, 1989, by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The Web is a way to present information -- text, images, and sounds --from within a software application called a Web browser, through HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

"On the Net, the connections are cables between computers; on the Web, connections are hypertext links," explains Berners-Lee on his website. "...The Web made the Net useful because people are really interested in information (not to mention knowledge and wisdom!) and don't really want to have know about computers and cables."

Berners-Lee released the first Web browser, called "WorldWideWeb" before it was renamed "Nexus," in late December 1990. Other browsers followed, most notably NCSA Mosaic 1.0, released on April 22, 1993, the first browser to display text and images together on the same page.

That changed everything. It opened a world previously inhabited by computer experts to the less technically inclined, even if many of those people subsequently retreated from the Web toward the simplicity of a social network that offers a single, commercially friendly form of expression: the "Like" button.

So here's to the Web and to hoping it survives the app-centric mobile revolution. Take a look at what Sir Tim hath wrought.

Image credit: NielsAD

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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MAJ346BWAY
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MAJ346BWAY,
User Rank: Strategist
3/17/2014 | 12:15:34 PM
Re: The 13%
I remember setting up modem pools with a Shiva LANRover on a NetWare 3.11 network back in the day. People used to fight over who had been connected too long! Ah, the memories!

 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/14/2014 | 8:48:03 AM
Re: The 13%
I'm up to get one of those T-shirts.  It amazes me that it was 20 years ago I was setting up a corporate modem pool in Netware 4.1 so we could browse the web from any desktop in the company.  I remember talks about what we could use this new tool for and if it was ever going to be so valuable to us that we would need more than 6 modems.  
FlyBoy111
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FlyBoy111,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/13/2014 | 7:50:56 AM
Re: The 13%
It's never too late Rob ... helped a 92 year old get her first e-mail account about 7 years ago ... 99 and still going strong!
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 11:56:00 PM
How healthy is the US Web?
It's interested to point out that the US is 4th in the overall Web Index (measure of the Web's growth, utility and impact).

Nevertheless, it's 12th in Universal Access, 10th in Relevant Content. 1st in Impact & Empowerment though, but 27th in Freedom & Openness; which is the sub-index that assesses the extent to which citizens enjoy rights to information, opinion, expression, safety and privacy online.

It's really worth to take a look at the whole Index and play with the sort by to see how other countries rank

Web Index. Image created by Roxana Torre

mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 10:23:40 PM
Re: Bigger Images?
@Somedude8

If you click on the link below the paragraph/description (it says something like image credit), it'll open a new page where the images are. I hope it helps
matinintoronto
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matinintoronto,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2014 | 8:40:37 PM
Re: Huge advance has come with an unintended cost
Daniel, I think the part that is the largest shift in all of this is the lack of understanding, by many, many users, that the world does not actually revolve around them (personally).  The ME-centre has infantilised many users, lacking (as they seem to do) any understanding that they are merely part of a larger whole (or larger part of something), and that not everything one puts on the net creates value for everyone else.

I am not in favour of a return to a formalised structure that 'kept everyone in their place' (such as religion tries to do, for a non-exclusive example), but it seems we need some sort of much larger, more expansive, education that helps kids and young adults start to seriously find their place as part of a larger whole, and their best efforts and thoughts and work may make things better for all.

At the same time, with care, one of the most wonderfful and democratic developments in society as a result of both the web and the internet is the slow breaking down of caste and class.  The ability to be somewhat, or completely, anonymous has a HUGE advantage in this area.

Best wishes from Toronto on a blowy, snowy, blustery night ...

Martin
Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 7:20:12 PM
Re: Bigger Images?
How strange. I tried Chrome, FF and Internet Exploder, all the same. Win7.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 7:10:08 PM
Re: Bigger Images?
@Somedude8

I think it has to do with your browser or perhaps you have something like NoScript going on. Because when I click on the link, it opens a new window (a different website) where the full size image is.

And yes, great article
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2014 | 5:01:36 PM
Re: Ouch: 'The browser and Web are moving us in the wrong direction.'
In comparison to what?  It has always far exceeded a green screen no matter what anyone says or believes.  In the early days it was no match for local app GUIs but the ease of deployment offered by green screen and matched by the browser was a vast improvement over the local apps.  IMO it was almost a tie because local apps were so darn hard to manage.  (Of course Apple has now taught everyone how to do it.)  

A lot has changed since those days.  While it's still not quite as good as a local app GUI, if folks give Google money for browser-based word processing and spread sheet apps, the browser interface is at least pretty darn capable.  (Personally I find Google's apps very limited compared to local Office but ABMers have a different view.)
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
3/12/2014 | 4:22:57 PM
Ouch: 'The browser and Web are moving us in the wrong direction.'
I remember how some people in the computer industry being turned off by the Web browser. It was such a dumb, inadequate user interface. "We're going backwards," they said. The lesson to remember is that the computer industry sometimes moves forward by going backward to an earlier, simpler state and building out again on it. Nothing simple about what goes on in the browser interface today, because it's connected to so many powerful servers on the Internet. Good images, Tom.
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