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To Web or Not to Web:1

Discussions on the Internet and its development.
by Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communications
Many things appear from time to time, achieve remarkable popularity, then simple fade away. The Citizens Band radio(CB) enjoyed remarkable widespread use for more then a decade, but has ceased to be as common as it once was, simply because the widespread availability, ease of use, and reliability of cellular telephones. Is the phenomenon of the Internet and its World Wide Web(WWW) going be a similar fad that will, in a short time, outlive its usefulness and be replaced by yet another means of communications? Actually, if the Internet were to achieve the same length of use as the CB, it would be quite remarkable, but we already know the trend and for those involved there is little mystery.
Though we have only been exposed to the hype that is associated with the Internet for the last two years, it really has been around for a long timeand during its life has demonstrated a remarkable and predictable evolution. To give you some perspective, consider that the personal computer, as we have seen it develop, first became available to the public in 1979. Certainly there had been earlier devices that had the foreshadowing of the computer, but in 79 they were available in the market place. They experienced remarkable development and their continuous technical improvements were accompanied by the equally amazing decline in their price as it relates to both innovation and technical capability. But from the beginning, it was clear that they could communicate with each other by using telephone circuits. The first mass marketed Radio Shackdevices could be purchased with modems.
By 1984 computer telecommunication was a standard procedure permitting email, chat lines and bulletin board operations. Universities had become linked into a spreading network of mainframe computers in the 1960s and this was to become the 'Internet'. In the late 80s email, news groups, ftp(file transfer protocols), had become common place on the universityInternet network, but the need to show more was for the first time developing with HTML(hypertext mark up language) and the first usable browser, Mosaic, offering the Internet world fully developed pages with text, pictures and interactivity. This was the beginning of the world wide web and though you may not have heard of it until the last couple of years the thing has been growing and developing steadily for now over ten years.
Internet as a fad
Computers can communicate
Saturday, June 13, 1998