The web is ten years old today!
May 17, 2001 11:46 AM   Subscribe

The web is ten years old today! So how has it impacted our lives over the past decade? I'll point out that I am not working in a coffee shop to pay for my failing acting career. So there is one benefit right there (I make a lousy waiter than I do an actor). How has the web changed you life over the last decade? How has it changed society? Or just post your birthday wishes.
posted by captaincursor (32 comments total)
It's made me a miserable curmudgeon.
posted by Succa at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2001

Woo! I would've bought a card, but I totally forgot. Instead, I'll just continue to work on my site.

For me, the web changed everything about what I wanted to do with my career. I had long planned to sit in front of a screen programming code all day. Then along came HTML and the web and, yes, while HTML is arguably code, the web offered the ability of self-expression. Immediate self-expression, no less. It was - and is - incredible.

Also you can order Marshmallow Fluff over the web.
posted by hijinx at 11:51 AM on May 17, 2001


sorry your content keeps getting either more commercial or dumber as each day passes. but don't worry, these are just growing pains.

after the last free host dies, after everyone gives up on using advertising as a business plan, everything will become a LOT better. i promise.
posted by jcterminal at 11:57 AM on May 17, 2001

the web drew me out of poverty, gave me an interesting hobby, and introduced me to my fiance.

it's also turned into the biggest time-sap I could imagine, so it's sort of a bittersweet romance, but that's me, not the web's fault at all. it has radically changed every other aspect of my life for the better.

yay web! glad to know you.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2001

Instead of being a frustrated English PhD making a crappy salary working as an editor, I'm a frustrated English PhD making a pretty decent salary working as an editor. Thanks, web!
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:11 PM on May 17, 2001

Yaaar it's just a fad!

What the heck did we do without it? It's as important of a development as Sun studio, radio, refrigeration, harnessing electricity, the internal combustion engine, the written word, and fire. Yay!
posted by mimi at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2001

for me, like miz Blood, the web introduced my to my girlfriend, increased my income 262% over 2 years, and helped me to accidentally piss off Jeff Buckley's mom.

that, and i've made a lot of friends. (just not Jeff Buckley's mom.)
posted by liquidgnome at 12:12 PM on May 17, 2001

incidentally, i turned 23 today!
posted by gnutron at 12:17 PM on May 17, 2001

Wow. What a day!

I went from being a too-young suit-wearing management/training consultant to a relatively old and radical grad student working on a web-only academic journal to a full-fledged web careerist, and hobbiest, since 1991.

Much of that would never have happened without the web. It was a part of prompting me to go back to school, and attracted much of my attention while there, and took me away from academia afterwards. And, for the foreseeable future, looks like it will be my bread and butter.

Yay web!
posted by mikel at 12:20 PM on May 17, 2001

Rblood: I hear you on the time-sap. But it's also got me a job to get me through grad school and revitalized my teaching.
posted by mecran01 at 12:22 PM on May 17, 2001

I came on when you were just a kid, dear Internet. At first, I pointed my Mosaic browser at you (carefully typing out URL's for the bookmarks I wanted to keep). Then I heard about this new thing: Netscape (1.8 or thereabouts). Wow, did that make things easier--bookmarks at a point-and-click! I kept with NS until the add-ons made it unwieldy and cumbersome. I switched over to fast and lean Opera, where I happily remain.

You've brought me a lot of pleasure and convenience. Thanks, dear Internet.
posted by caraig at 12:26 PM on May 17, 2001

When I graduated from art school in 1993 I had no idea there was something out there that would let me express both the creative side and the geeky side of myself, while at the same time giving me an opportunity to make money from doing something other than flipping burgers. Thank you Web!
posted by owen at 12:55 PM on May 17, 2001

Dear Internet:

Thank you so much for all that pornography.
posted by Skot at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2001

Like owen, I wasn't sure how to find a job that used my geek talents and my artistic talents. I also wasn't sure how to find a job with a BA in English. But the WWW changed all that.

Of course, just last week on vacation I found myself saying, "you know, I think if I never went back online again, I'd be fine. I wouldn't really miss it."

I'm not really making much of a point.

Yay web!
posted by megnut at 1:08 PM on May 17, 2001

If there's one good thing to come from the web, it's that it has made geekiness more acceptable, even "cool". I thought I was doomed for life.

You know, web, you're allllllll-riiight!
posted by Succa at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2001

Actually, I think this is belated happy birthday. Here's an April 21, 1991 file that was posted by Tim Berners-Lee. (I believe this may be the oldest page on the entire web.) And in the web chronology on the W3 site, it says "March [1991] Line mode browser (www) released to limited audience on "priam" vax, rs6000, sun4." This seems to be an internal network; later, in August, "Files available on the net by FTP, posted on alt.hypertext (6, 16, 19th Aug), (20th), comp.text.sgml and comp.mail.multi-media (22nd)."
posted by beagle at 1:44 PM on May 17, 2001

beagle, you beat me to it.

There's also this presentation from February 1991, although I'm assuming it was posted later.
posted by mrbula at 1:47 PM on May 17, 2001

Creating sites for the web was something I did in college as a hobby while I was studying for a degree in photography. When I graduated with that degree, I couldn't find any commercial photography gigs that I thought I would enjoy and I couldn't sustain myself with art alone, so I went back to the web.

Now, I create sites for the web in order to make a living (a as well as in my spare time) and photography has become the hobby. Funny how that worked out...
posted by almostcool at 2:04 PM on May 17, 2001

Yeah, web.

Unfortunately, while I was at Uni doing my Information Studies degree 1993-1996 - the web wasn't quite as graphical and 'essential' as it is now, so I was saddle for at least the first eighteen months using a text protocol to look at world wide web pages - so you can imagine how gorgeous all those [image] tags looked in green.

The upshot of that was that instead of using search engines and WYSIWYG, we were still learning programming commands to fish abstracts from DIALOG - which I don't think I've ever seen anyone really use - ever.

So of course by thime I graduated, unless I'd actually bothered to explore a little using the ooh three internet machines in the campas library (bookable for one hour at a time) I've a feeling I would have been dreadfully out of date. I mean we were still taught that Mosaic was a viable option and that Webcrawler was the greatest of the search engines . . .

If anyone want to know how things were back them, this should do the trick.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:03 PM on May 17, 2001

When personal computers first started making the rounds, I remember feeling they were something magical, mysterious, and altogether Tron-like. As I learned more, the feeling didn't fade. There seemed to be endless possibilities to change the world, and my life. It did both.

Decades later, It's still all Bridges and Boxleitner for me. Happy Birthday, y'old thang.
posted by frykitty at 3:12 PM on May 17, 2001

I came on when you were just a kid, dear Internet. At first, I pointed my Mosaic browser at you

Wow, I didn't realize that Mosaic's creator developed the software when he was a toddler--an even more amazing feat when you consider that he didn't even get onto the Internet for another 17 or 18 years!

That's what I call confident software development. Imagine the buglist he had waiting for him upon his first login! :-)

Remember people: The Web is not the Internet and the Internet is not the Web.
posted by fooljay at 4:49 PM on May 17, 2001

Dear web,

Thank you for keeping me indoors most days and away from cancer-causing UV rays, most specifically this summer by introducing me to neopets.
posted by lia at 1:51 AM on May 18, 2001

Did the Web change my life? Or did it become my life?
posted by tsja at 4:13 AM on May 18, 2001

It brought me here, thats a good thing.
It gave me a better job, thats a good thing too.
I spend too much of my working day on the web, I'm still trying to decide if thats a good or a bad thing.
posted by Markb at 6:28 AM on May 18, 2001

In the early days, I was excited by the ability to use the WWW to 'travel around the world' in a virtual manner.

Today, I'm excited by the fact that the WWW was the vehicle that allowed me to move to From North America to Europe in reality.

I wonder where it will take me next...
posted by syzygy at 8:20 AM on May 18, 2001

Continuing my skepticism, here's info on a web browser written in late 1990:

(captaincursor, is there something special about that talk that makes it the birthday of the web?)
posted by mrbula at 8:47 AM on May 18, 2001

And not to keep beating a dead horse, but Tim Berners-Lee says he created it in 1989.
posted by mrbula at 8:56 AM on May 18, 2001

Well yes, I forwarded this around and then later people brought up a bunch of evidence that the web was created earlier.

So what is the web's birthday? Do we have a definitive date?
posted by captaincursor at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2001

In his book weaving the web, Tim Berners-Lee writes: The WorldWideWeb browser/editor was working on my machine and Robert's communicating over the Internet with the server by Christmas Day 1990.
posted by Armarius at 11:44 AM on May 18, 2001

It's possible to still make the case that May 17 was the date in that it seems that the C5 committee presentation was a sort of "coming out" event - when his work went beyond the development phase (just with colleagues, still more or less a closed project) to something he felt was ready to show to a larger, otherwise non-involved group - and an official committee to boot.

I like the fact that there might be a specific date like that - whatever it turns out to be.
posted by mikel at 2:15 PM on May 18, 2001

Also noted on the w3 site is that May 17th was the day of the "General release of WWW on central CERN machines. " I suppose that could be considered the day Tim & Co. let the Web go off on it's own, so it is a birthday of sorts.
posted by mrbula at 9:38 PM on May 18, 2001

There's the day he invented it on his NeXT machine.

And then there's the day he PRESENTED it, using the web itself to outline his presentation. That was ten years ago 17 May. The day he PRESENTED it to others is the day it became a medium, and not an interesting invention on Tim's computer.

(Similarly, there's the day you begin designing a site, there's the day it's finished and you test it, and there's the day you LAUNCH it, making it a publicly available work.)
posted by Zeldman at 1:41 AM on May 19, 2001

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