Thank you, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for what you did 25 years ago today.
On March 12, 1989, you wrote a proposal for linked information systems, a proposal that eventually became the World Wide Web. Perhaps the World Wide Web is the most awesome Winter Wonder ever.
It's sobering to me that some (perhaps, many) of my blog readers do not remember a time before the World Wide Web was an everyday part of life.
We should not confuse the World Wide Web with the "Internet" The internet is your massive network of computers. The World Wide Web is one way of accessing information over the Internet. We may use others regularly (e-mail and instant messaging), and some perhaps not very much (FTP).
So, of course, I turned to the World Wide Web to find a timeline of - well, the World Wide Web.
I first went online in January of 1997, having bought my first computer in late 1996. I used a dial up Internet service called CompuServe (remember non-Internet online services such as GEnie? Some of my friends do) using a 14,400 baud modem, and a browser called Mosaic. My first computer ran Window 95 and my son, the lover of obsolete technology, still owns it.
It is hard to explain what early websites looked like but some of them are actually still up - including the homepage of the Dole/Kemp U.S. Presidential Campaign website of 1996. (presented for educational purposes, that is.)
People didn't quite know what to think about what we once called the Information Superhighway.
And, there is the Internet Wayback Machine, which has snapshots of various websites on various dates - for example, eBay on June 14, 1997.
Or Yahoo on September 11, 2001.
So, how long could we live without the World Wide Web? Today, I used it at work (I use several websites at work and part of my job is done online). I used it to keep in touch with friends and relatives on Facebook. I went to Twitter to find the breaking news of the two buildings that exploded today in New York City. I did research for this blog post online. And, of course, this blog post is online, on the World Wide Web.
What about the next 25 years? An article described it as "Hope, doom and gloom..." about the future.
A very happy 25th birthday, WWW. May you remain free forever.