The World Wide Web Is Thirty Years Old!

Smith Corona
My typewriter. It gets used.

Happy Thirtieth, World Wide Web!

The first computer I remember using was an old IBM running DOS. I was fascinated with the thing. It didn’t do much, it ran a few games and created documents and took up a lot of space. And completely mesmerized me.

I learned the ins and outs of basic computer use on a Macintosh II. That very specific shade of green still haunts me in my dreams, and when I’m playing Fallout games. I prefered the PC, I liked using computers and understanding all the technical stuff going on behind the User Interface, but I loved playing games and, let’s face it guys, Apple has never had strong support for gaming.

I remember when we got around to connecting to the internet. It would have been around twenty-five years ago now. Holy applesauce that’s a long time! The America Online disks in the mail, the cruel and unusual load times that seemed magical back then, but would be considered felonious these days if offered to a customer, the yelling back and forth across the house due to tied up phone lines and missed calls of great import, the BBS’s, the musical tones of dial-up. My first screen name was B4zk1ttK4s3, or something like that! Oh, what a wondrous time, who could have guessed that such an amazing technology could lead to so much division and vitriol?

I love being online, being connected, having virtually unlimited access to all the information and many of the services in the world that I could ever want. I love that I can share my thoughts and the things I create and even have somewhat of an impact on the world; if small, it’s still real. I love the economy of being online, more people are able to supplement and even replace their traditional income simply by meeting a need. I love the instantaneousness of it all.

I also fear for our humanity. I used to fancy myself a neo-luddite. I thought that I could have my computer games and eat them too. I really didn’t know what I thought, I just knew that I knew that there was an ugly monster hiding just beneath the surface of this amazing thing we call the Internet. I think we’re going to be okay, it’s just going to take some self-control from the masses. That’s a tall order, I know, but it can be done.

Disconnect for a while, folks. Go buy yourself a typewriter, or a polaroid, or a Magic Eye, or a freaking merry-go-round! We are soon going to be connected to everything, all the time, everywhere we go. Privacy is going to mean authentication, not hiddenness; communication will be continuous; commerce and enterprise will look completely different. Everything is changing and, by the time we get used to it, it will be changing all over again. Don’t look outside yourself for validation, don’t assign value according to someone else’s idealized fantasy.

I love connectedness. I love humanity more. Look at all the amazing things we’ve accomplished this far, just imagine where we’ll be in another three decades!

Go out and do something worth remembering!

Thanks for stopping in folks! It has been a long few weeks, and the next few are going to be even longer. I appreciate your time and attention, and I challenge you all to challenge yourselves to be the best version of you that you can be.

 

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