The Warp and Woof of the Web

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30 years ago, when Sir Tim Berners Lee needed to name his invention, he settled on the World Wide Web because it:

“…stressed the decentralized form allowing anything to link to anything. This form is mathematically a graph, or web. It was designed to be global in reach.”

On the first ever webpage he decribes it like so:

…a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.

Everyday, newer and fresher information pops up on our devices, linking us to expertise and wisdom not hitherto available in our immediate surrounding, albeit in a less interactive way via radio and TV. It is made a level playing field in the endeavour of learning about the world and influencing behaviour and I would argue, quality of life.

According to Sir Stephen Frye in his acclaimed audiocast The Great Leap it was all made possible due to the invention of the printing press in the late 1400’s. The last 180 years in particular we have seen the invention of the train, the telegram and the electrical transformer to name a few. Unprecedented new ways of sharing and collaborating are available to anyone with the inclination and the wherewithall, the ability and the means to connect. For his part, Tim makes it sound so easy:

I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and — ta-da!— the World Wide Web.

A.k.a. the printing press on steroids. To be literate in the age of the internet means using the tools at our disposal. As dwellers of the internet age, there is an opportunity, dare I say a responsibility to represent myself, not least raise a toast to those influencers and mentors who have helped to bootstrap the web into a rich tapestry.

Monkey see, monkey do! 🙊

The hundredth monkey effect is a hypothetical phenomenon in which a new behaviour or idea is claimed to spread rapidly by unexplained means from one group to all related groups once a critical number of members of one group exhibit the new behaviour or acknowledge the new idea. ~wikipedia reference

When I seek answers online I almost always find them, when I don’t I have to wonder “Is the answer so blindingly obvious no-one has bothered to write about it?” Sometimes you’ve got to wonder. No doubt there are many and varied technical hurdles to overcome when learning this new toolset. If something isn’t working, there’s the concept of failing fast and going back to the drawing board and starting again with a new approach. Tech, like life, is about knowing what you want. You hold to your vision defining the critical path as you go. In life in the the broader sense, I subscribe to Stephen Covey’s philosophy in the Seven Habits, one possible envisioned destination may be: “How would you like your 80th birthday to look?”

Or as Yogi Berra put it:

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”


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