Saturday, March 14, 2009

World Wide Web 20th Anniversary

Very interesting news articles and videos have appeared the past few days noting the 20th Anniversary of the World Wide Web (WWW).

In The Industry Standard, Paul Boutin notes that Tim Berners-Lee is widely credited with the first proposal, in 1989, to create a hypertext model that would allow researchers to share documents over the Internet that linked to each other.

By far the most impressive description of the history of the WWW is given by Tim Berners-Lee himself in a 16 minute video presentation provided by the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference. Watch this video where "he talks about his next web - a network for open, linked data that will unlock our information and reframe the way we work together.

Another source, provides a short history of Berners-Lee involvment with the WWW using a series of 10 images and text starting with the statement that what started on March 13 1989 "gave birth to the WWW and thus, eventually, Facebook, eBay, Google, iTunes, YouTube,, blogs...." On slide 10 Berners-Lee is pictured at the March 13, 2009 Celebration at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. Text on this slide notes that 'Berners-Lee offered this historical reflection: "When people built the Internet, it was designed to be a cloud," he said. "When routing packets, the system only looks at the envelope--it's an important design principle. Now people find out what you write in your letters."

For the past few months I have been very busy experimenting with many other social/interest networking concepts (Google Earth, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc., etc., and as a consequence have not been posting to this blog as often as I want to. I hope to use this 20th Anniversary to re-energize my effort to post more regularly in the future. As the global economy has gone topsy turvy and associated, but less discussed, global ecological problems accumulate, we understand that everything will be (has to be) different now and in the future. Citizens, communities and governments simply cannot behave the way they have been if there is to be a reasonable quality of life for humans in the future. There has to be an equalization of quality for people around the world and there has to be a sustainable environment/ ecosystem for this to happen.

The WWW and many new open source initiatives being made available today reinforce the message conveyed by Tim Berners-Lee in the video above that linked and shared data is critical to our future. I have outlined some of my own thoughts about these new citizen empowering WWW opportunities in an online presentation titled "GeoWeb Common Adventure Networking" I produced for the November 2008, Idaho Environmental Summit.

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