“History of the Internet” + “History of Networks” + “As We May Think”

[Week 2] The History of the Internet and network readings were a good review of the different technologies involved with the world-wide-web. I was surprise to discover the number of different organization and international efforts that originally sets the original standards. At that time, there was a lot of common efforts toward a common goal, but I feel that today’s internet major player are more inclined to keep their data and technologies private on order to maintain their status. Yesterdays organizations that has put their efforts into the public domain are the building blocks of today’s web. While the web is evolving very quickly I deplore the fact that such ideology aren’t the norm anymore on the web. There is still a lot of open-source efforts going on, but there’s still major part of our online activities that are not organized by public standard. For example, all instant communications (msn, gTalk, facebook) are manage by private networks. All of our contacts on social web are also privately managed by the websites owners and not an open standard. These things have become major part of web activity today and I think web would develop more quickly if more integration was possible using open standard. By looking at all the ongoing debates around html5, we can understand the difficulty of setting common agreements. But on the other hand a lack of standard on the long run will centralize or web activities on some private products only (google, facebook, e-bay, yahoo, etc).

The “As we May Think” text by Vannevar Bush written in 1945. At a time where computer are nothing more than giant pieces of circuitry resolving simple math operations, Bush explained the advantage of an organizational system based on the human mind. By creating organic links across the content, Bush envisioned that data would be accessed more quickly and more naturally. The web is based today on such structure and allow et data to get organized in a complex, but effective organic ways. The algorithms behind today’s search engines are exactly based on the analysis of these organic links between web-pages. In other words, the system imagined by Bush is today the key of online content found-ability.


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