Friday, March 13, 2009

Creation Myth

Today is the World Wide Web's 20th birthday. The Internet itself -- the network of connections between multitudes of computers -- is older but the Web was invented by a gentleman named Tim Berners-Lee. He was a scientist working at the CERN nuclear physics lab in Geneva, Switzerland in the ancient year of 1989. Back in that dark time we stored our data in arcane repositories accessed by programs with weird, estoteric names like "Archie," "Veronica,"and "Jughead" and we talked about them (and other geeky subjects) on UseNet and "BBS's." No, really!

Then one day Mr. Berners-Lee had the bright notion of hyperlinking files on different people's computers. If two scientists did that to two files in opposite corners of the world it should be theoretically possible for one of them to click on the hyperlink for that file and download it to his or her computer with no further ado via this Inter-Networking system they've been using for UseNet and Archie transfers.

So he did what any good underling would do and handed a proposal to his manager at CERN, thereby opening a Pandora's Box of untold good and evil that can never be shut again.

No comments: