Should there be a name for the last pre-internet generation?

Tuesday, 6 September, 2016

If you were born before 1985, then you have lived with, and without, the internet. What do you think your life might be like today, had the internet not come along? I’m not sure I could imagine a world without anymore. In fact, I’m not sure that I’d want to. Life might be simpler, but it would also be a lot more, well, cumbersome.

Think of having the world at your finger tips, which we do to a degree, against having to go out into the world to attend to everything yourself. That’s not to say there aren’t downsides to being constantly plugged into an all seeing, all knowing grid, so maybe it could be said we’re neither better nor worse off, overall.

These people, says Harris, are the last of a dying breed. “If you were born before 1985, then you know what life is like both with the internet and without. You are making the pilgrimage from Before to After,” he writes. It is a nice conceit. Harris, like your correspondent, grew up in a very different world, one with limited channels of communication, fewer forms of entertainment, and less public scrutiny of quotidian actions or fleeting thoughts. It was neither better nor worse than the world we live in today. Like technology, it just was.

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Tips for achieving internet fame in less than a year

Friday, 15 January, 2016

I wouldn’t mind a little bit of internet fame, so long as said fame was restricted to the internet, and didn’t spill over any further. That’s like wanting to have your cake, and eat it though. Still, if you’re looking to ramp up your profile online, try taking a few pointers from Myha Luong, a US nail stylist, and now internet star:

Things didn’t go well at first. Few customers dropped by Lovely Nails, and no matter what she tried, Lovely Mimi couldn’t get past 5,000 followers. “I was trying to get followers for the longest time,” she said. But pictures and videos depicting her family life didn’t attract many followers. Then on April 29, she posted a short video. It showed her in her car, hair dyed neon green, breaking into a Vietnamese accent. It snared more than 1,000 likes – more than anything she’d done.

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To see the internet in fifty years time, look at the internet today

Wednesday, 29 July, 2015

San Francisco based computer programmer Maciej Ceglowski predicts that the internet in fifty years time will look much like the internet of today. The apparent lack of innovation over the next half century may not be quite as bad as it appears to be though.

This contempt for the past also ignores the reality of our industry, which is that we work almost exclusively with legacy technologies. The operating system that runs the Internet is 45 years old. The protocols for how devices talk to each other are 40 years old. Even what we think of as the web is nearing its 25th birthday. Some of what we use is downright ancient – flat panel displays were invented in 1964, the keyboard is 150 years old. The processor that’s the model for modern CPUs dates from 1976. Even email, which everyone keeps trying to reinvent, is nearing retirement age.

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The internet of wisdom, there is a corner somewhere

Monday, 3 November, 2014

What is something someone said that forever changed your way of thinking, as put together by Reddit members. I can always do with hearing another perspective…

I met a person who was in a wheelchair. He related a story about how a person once asked if it was difficult to be confined to a wheelchair. He responded, “I’m not confined to my wheelchair – I am liberated by it. If it wasn’t for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my room or house.”

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Windows 94, is that what we could call Microsoft’s first website?

Thursday, 21 August, 2014

Microsoft website, 1994

Did Bill Gates really utter the words “I don’t believe in the internet” in 1991? Whether or not the Microsoft co-founder said such a thing didn’t stop the company launching its first website just over twenty years ago though.

Maybe Gates said he didn’t believe in easy on the eye web design instead, if the inaugural front page of the Microsoft site, above, is anything to go by. Mind you, he wasn’t alone in that regard, that’s what much of the web at the time looked like.

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Will the internet learn that I’ll always be 29 on my next birthday?

Monday, 11 August, 2014

Well, thanks to the internet, and social media, having a birthday seems to be becoming a hazard to our well being… depending on what you do, and, sorry to say, don’t do:

But let us call this what it is: birthday harassment. Social networks can use your birthday to determine what people are important to you. Brands use your birthday as an excuse to tell you they exist. The data tracking and governing algorithms that are part of your everyday internet experience become more visible on your birthday.

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What might the internet of ten years time be like?

Tuesday, 15 July, 2014

Regulation, surveillance, and commercialisation, are some of the forces that will play a part shaping the way the internet is used over the next decade, but technologists do not believe, or should that be hope, their impact will be significant.

As Internet experts look to the future of the Web, they have a number of concerns. This is not to say they are pessimistic: The majority of respondents to this 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing say they hope that by 2025 there will not be significant changes for the worse and hindrances to the ways in which people get and share content online today. And they said they expect that technology innovation will continue to afford more new opportunities for people to connect. Still, some express wide levels of concern that this yearning for an open Internet will be challenged by trends that could sharply disrupt the way the Internet works for many users today as a source of largely unfettered content flows.

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Into the wide blue coloured internet

Tuesday, 8 July, 2014

If there’s one colour that web designers and brand strategists have a preference for, it would be blue, but you don’t need me to tell you that. But why is so much blue used on the internet in the first place? Might it be because blue was one the first colours, aside from black and gray, to make an appearance online, back in the day?

The man who invented links was writing them to a grayscale screen. The first popular browser, Mosaic, later turned links blue because it was the darkest color available at the time that wasn’t black; they needed to stand out, but only just. Blue was the best alternative. Blue always survives the focus group. Blue wins the a/b test. Which is convenient, because blue is usually already there.

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Giving the internet a human face, a talk by Maciej Ceglowski

Thursday, 5 June, 2014

The Internet With A Human Face, the transcript of a recent talk given by US computer engineer Maciej Ceglowski. Thought provoking to say the least.

I’d like to start with an analogy. In the 1950’s, the United States tried a collective social experiment. What would happen if every family had a car? Eisenhower had been very impressed with the German Autobahn network during the war. When he was elected President, he pushed for the creation of the Interstate Highway System, a massive network of fast roads that would connect every population center in the country. Over the next 35 years, America built 75,000 kilometers of interstate highways. If you want to be glib about it (and I do!), you can think of the Interstate as an Internet for cars, a nationwide system unifying thousands of local road networks into an overarching whole.

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The way the web will be used in the near future

Wednesday, 28 May, 2014

If you’re reading this then you’re probably inclined to consider the web, being the World Wide Web, or the internet, and yes, I know there’s a difference, as being ubiquitous. How else would you be viewing this web page if not?

While the web may feel like it is everywhere, especially as far as those residing in developed nations are concerned, some three billion on the planet still do not have internet access. Three billion people.

Smartphones however stand to change that state of affairs sooner rather than later, and the way many of these newcomers will use the web will differ markedly from what we’re familiar with.

Interestingly, services such as Instagram will be an integral part of many businesses, or “informal businesses” in emerging economies, or places where people are coming online for the first time, at least according to The Emerging Global Web, a slideshow presentation that explores the internet’s future.

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