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The nature of the computer and its capability is not as fixed or as predictable. The early computers with eight bit processors and four kilobytes of memory have given way to thirty-two bit processors and sixty-four megabytes of memory. Storage has grown from thirty- four kilobytes on a five and a quarter floppy to standard hard drive capacities of four gigabytes. The text based machines from the beginning have moved to almost entirely graphical interfaces and the newest systems are about to be wholly network based. Disk operating systems (DOS) became hard drive systems and now are evolving into network systems. Essentially, in computer technology, we have come full circle from the pre-personal computer days of mainframes and terminals, to personal machines with interactive network capability.
So, what then is the future of the web, the answer is more and more. The nature of the web has gradually been changing with the introduction of non-academics to the Internet, it has of course, become largely a means of commercial advertising. But the advertising has had to fit into the environment in which it finds itself, the competition for the visitor to come to a site, means that the web site must offer something if it expects visitors, otherwise, it is just so much hard drive space. This means that the material on the web has to have something of substance that the visitor can access or he/she is unlikely to wait for the download. The continued improvement in speed has meant that the content on the web continues to increase in its volume. More picture, more virtual reality, and we anticipate more and more use of video.
If you recall the example of the CB radio I mentioned earlier, if you had experienced that era, you will remember that volume became one of the serious limiting factors. The more users, the greater the variety and the slower traffic. Such is the case on the Internet, but with a major difference, unlike CB radio which relied upon a fixed technological basis and extensive regulation, the Internet does not have these limiting factors. Though the government of he United States has on several occasions considered ways and means of getting some control on the very thing they started, these attempts have been thwarted. (Just to recall for you, the Internet was developed by the US department of defence linking universities together when it was worried about a math and technology gap with the Soviets.)
Computer technology continues to progress almost unfettered. The only technological problem has been the economic dominance and amazingly retrogressively popular utilisation of Microsoftsoftware. The monopoly by Microsoft is a real threat to innovation and it is to be hoped that the American Justice Department will successfully dash the strangle hold this company currently enjoys, despite the widespread development of several highly superior systems to that produced by the ultra conservative Microsoft.
Networks Make Comeback
Commerical Webbing
Continuously evolving
Saturday, June 13, 1998