The web at twenty

This is the NeXT machine on which
Tim Berners-Lee invented the web.

It was twenty years ago today,
Sir Tim taught the band to play
It’s been going in and out of style
But it’s guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years,
The incredible, mind-expanding world wide web.

Twenty years? That’s a short time to take over the world.

Twenty years ago, pre-browser, I remember logging onto the web, not quite sure why. You had to log on to this very machine, the one in the photo, this server, because it ran the entire web.

Confusing? You bet. Why was I logging in on some advanced physics site in western Switzerland? CERN. That was the only point of entry. It felt like it might become important. It was an improvement on the hottest technology of the day: online bulletin boards.

It’s wonderful to be here,
It’s certainly a thrill.
You’re such a lovely audience,
We’d like to take you home with us,
We’d love to take you home.

And along came Mosaic. A browser. You could click on LINKS! I wanted to go home with that one.

I don’t really want to stop the show,
But I thought that you might like to know,
That the singer’s going to sing a song,
And he wants you all to sing along.

And HTML. Geez. You could create your own pages. Soon you could even incorporate graphics. This was an entirely new deal. Netscape. Beta upon beta. It just kept getting better.

So let me introduce to you
The one and only interactive net
And Sir Tim’s amazing World Wide Web!

The only reason Tim Berners-Lee has yet to be awarded a Nobel Prize is that the prize committee has yet to establish a category for his sort of genius.

Who else has had a bigger impact on the progress of the world?

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