And here we are

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And here we are

Postby nomo » Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:20 pm

<!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Happy Birthdays<br><br>Two birthdays are floating around us this month. The personal computer turns 25 and the World Wide Web 15.<br><br>Other personal computers existed at the time but the IBM 5150 is generally heralded as the Homo Erectus to our contemporary Mac, Linux and PC Sapiens (and if I’m fiddling with a clumsy metaphor, the mainframe would be the Neanderthal, complete with the ongoing debate over whether it was a completely different species).<br><br>Think about that. Serious. The 25-year-old part, not the Erectus/Sapien/Neanderthal part.<br><br>Now it’s my turn.<br><br>Until 1981 PCs didn’t exist outside of geek labs. Mainframes were the name of the game. IBM sold theirs for $9 million or so and all you needed to have one was a huge air conditioned room and a swat team of technicians to keep it up and running.<br><br>And then, on August 12, 1981, IBM announced to the world that for a mere $1,650 you could have a personal PC with 16 kilobytes of memory.<br><br>Trusty audio casettes loaded and saved data. “Green phosphor characters for reading comfort” made the monitor a thing to behold. User manuals made it “possible to begin using the computer within hours.” That’s what the press release told us anyway.<br><br>Twenty-five years on the combined stock market value of hardware and software firms is over half a trillion dollars, according to the Economist.<br><br>Much of that value comes from our pimply friend, the World Wide Web. It was 15 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee posted his Executive Summary to alt.hypertext. He’d developed the Web at the Cern laboratory outside Geneva and his post started like this:<br><br><!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em> The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system. The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups. </em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--><br><br>The great inovation by Berners-Lee and those such as a Jeff Groff who worked with him was to overlay a level of simplicity on the internet. Essentially, they hid the technological complexity that prevented people from finding what they were looking for.<br><br>Two years later Marc Andreessen created the first browser for PCs (now 12 years old) while at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois and the rest, as they say, isn’t quite yet history.<br> <p></p><i></i>
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