Oh, hey.  See, you might be wondering why I’ve been so quiet lately, and this is why: Lately I’ve principally been using the web browser on the Wii downstairs.  Now, it’s a good web browser, but it seems its HTML comprehension isn’t up to date enough for me to log into WordPress (but then, what did I expect, it dates from ’07 or ’08.  So, presently I’m using my mom’s computer to do some email related stuff (’cause the Wii doesn’t have enough RAM to load the latest version of the AOL homepage) and I though, why not log into WordPress and post something while I”m at it?  (Normally, I’m only able to do e-mail and WordPress and such from my dad’s house, except in special cases, like the e-mails that I just sent out… which a handful of you reading this may have gotten, perhaps, I don’t know.)  So anyway, I’m going to do something interesting: a retro 90’s-style piece on this exciting World Wide Web.  See, recently I’ve got to thinking just how amazing some of the technology we take for granted today is, and I thought I’d write a piece from the perspective of when that technology was still considered amazing.  So, without further ado:

Imagine this, if you will: You’re reading a fascinating scientific article.  You’ve reached the bibliography at the end, and you tap on one of the titles… and immediately, the material cited appears before you, and it has constantly twinkling stars in the background of the text, to boot.  You read it, then you go over to check your mail.  You see a letter from your friend in your inbox, and you write out a reply to it… then, within seconds, you receive a notification to the effect that your reply is in your friend’s inbox.  Does all this sound impossible?  Not with the World Wide Web, it isn’t.  The World Wide Web is a global network of computers, connected by the telephone lines.  To connect to it, all you need is a computer, a modem (which is a device that plugs into your computer and “talks” to the phone line for it) and a subscription to an Internet Service Provider.  In the example given above, your computer sends a request for the article in question to a university computer via the Internet Service Provider, and then the university computer sends the article to your computer– all within minutes, instead of the days or even weeks it would take to request the scientific periodical containing the article via interlibrary loan.  Then, the references at the end are what are known as web links, containing the Web “address” of the articles referred to– think of it as being like the web-equivalent of a phone number, belonging to the computer with the article on it and the name of the digital “file” in question.  The twinkling star background is an animated GIF, an image file which, when displayed on a computer screen, will loop through several frames.  Lastly, you check your electronic mail, or “e-mail” for short.  This works by sending mail to be stored on a great big mail-processing “server” computer, at which point it’s sent to the mail server that your friend connects to to check his mail, and sent to your friend’s computer when he checks his e-mail.  And all this potentially happens within 30 seconds or less.  The World Wide Web is a revolution, and we’re lucky to be living in these exciting times when it’s coming about.

Well, what do you think?  Oh, on a side note, I’ve been dabbling a bit in the study of magick, and would welcome any advice on the matter if there happen to be any other aspiring Witches or Wizards reading this.  Well then this is Zerbie, signing off.

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One response »

  1. Terri says:

    Welcome back, Zerbie! Your piece is really great. I lived through that ’90’s revolution. I can remember the first time I logged onto the Internet. You hit the nail on the head!

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