August 23 – Happy Birthday, World Wide Web!

Posted on August 23, 2015

I have never heard of the word “internaut” before – have you? – but I read that it is a portmanteau of the words “internet” and “astronaut.” It means a person who either designs internet sites, or operates internet sites, or even uses internet sites (which includes just about all of us, although I think “internaut” is supposed to include only those of us internet-users who are technologically knowledgeable!).

Today is considered by some to be The Internaut's Day.

That's because today is the anniversary of the opening up of the World Wide Web to the general public, to new users, to the whole world.

The World Wide Web, usually referred to as the Web (or WWW, or W3), was the brainchild of British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. He first developed the system of identifiers (URIs) and hyperlinks, to be accessed via the Internet, as a better system for CERN scientists to communicate with one another. But he instantly realized that the system could be used throughout the world. He built the very first website in December of 1990, tested how it worked, wrote up the results in August of 1991, and finally opened up the system to all users on August 23, 1991.

Note the sarcastic "Yeah, right" inserted by British editors over the
claim that the invention of the "computer geek" Berners-Lee
would change billions of lives...... And guess who got the last laugh?

What's the difference between the World Wide Web and the Internet?

The Internet is a huge network of networks.

It is the infrastructure that connects millions of computers together all over the world. A computer in Spot A can communicate with a computer halfway around the world, at Spot B, as long as both computers are connected to the Internet.

Information travels over the Internet using several different languages (or “protocols”).

The World Wide Web is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet. It uses only one protocol, HTTP. Users can either type a URL (which all start “http://” and often include “www.”) in order to find a particular website, or they can use a Web browser such as Google to find websites that suit their needs. Websites can include text, graphics, sounds, and videos.

If the World Wide Web was a gigantic circle that included all websites, the Internet would be an even larger circle that entirely contained the Web – BUT also included e-mail, Usenet news groups, Instant Messaging, etc.

Did you know...?

Tim Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the world, and he was also honored at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. He appeared in person at the London Olympic Stadium, where he tweeted “This is for everyone.” The message was instantly spelled out in LED lights attached to the 80,000 chairs in the stadium. So the people sitting in the stadium got to see the message while actually sitting within the message. Awesome-sauce!

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