We’re still at Kitty Hawk

The BBC has posted a feature to commemorate the 15th anniversary of CERN directors allowing the technology that enables “The Web” to be used by anyone free of charge. (Thank you, CERN.) While it’s hard to believe that so much could happen in 15 years, recall that the Internet had been around since the 1960s*. It took 20 years of Internet usage — and about that long using rudimentary early consumer-oriented systems like Compuserv and its geekier precursors — to realize that some of the hyperlinking, visual-oriented, interactive-multimedia things taking place in closed networks and on ones desktop (Hypercard, for example) could be replicated in a more open, universal way utilizing the Internet. What you’ll note when reading the observations of the experts is this: The Web is still in its infancy. We’re still playing in a giant sandbox here. I’ve written often about Paul Saffo’s thoughts on the 20-year adaptation rule about new technology (“Never confuse a clear view with a short distance”) — there is no such thing as “Internet time” — he argues. The older I get and the longer I get to observe the long arc of these things, the more I realize how slowly things move. No matter how fast you think things are moving, we’re still at Kitty Hawk. And that’s a good thing.

*Eventhough it’s ten years old, I still recommend Katie Hafner’s “Where Wizards Stay Up Late” (AMZ Link), as a great read on the origins of the Internet.

[Cross-posted at Hammock.com/rexhammock.]