Vanity Fair: “I Was Devastated”: Tim Berners-Lee, The Man Who Created The World Wide Web, Has Some Regrets. “Berners-Lee, who never directly profited off his invention, has also spent most of his life trying to guard it. While Silicon Valley started ride-share apps and social-media networks without profoundly considering the consequences, Berners-Lee has spent the past three decades thinking about little else. From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation.”
The Boston Diaries: There was a time when search engines were a thing. And it seems they still are. “I was poking around in the deeper parts of my harddrive when I came across the source code for Geofind, a metasearch engine I wrote back in the late 90s. A ‘metasearch engine’ is a website that searches not the Internet, but instead passes the search query to other search engines. Back in the 90s, search engines weren’t quite as good as they are now (although some might contend that they aren’t as good as they were a decade ago), but there were a fair number of them, and the thought at the time was, ‘hey, if we query a bunch of search engines at the same time, maybe one of them will have useful results.’ In fact, quite a number of them. Unlike the … um … two? (Google and Bing). maybe, three? (if you count DuckDuckGo, which I only know about because of the circles I travel in on the Intarwebs) which exist today.” Wow, he doesn’t even look for Ask Jeeves, Northern Light, WWWWorm, Electric Monk, etc. but check out his list and get ready for the nostalgia.
New York Times Magazine: Want to Understand What Ails the Modern Internet? Look at eBay. “There was a time when eBay was practically synonymous with buying and selling things online. Now it’s surprisingly easy to forget that it exists, until you need to buy something you can’t find anywhere else or clear some space in the attic. Or until someone like Elon Musk, made fabulously wealthy when PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002, muscles his way back into your consciousness by, for example, launching rockets into space or burrowing tunnels under major American cities. Where did he come from, exactly? As with a surprising number of tech heavyweights, the answer is complicated, but it runs through eBay.”
New York Magazine: ‘I Fundamentally Believe That My Time at Reddit Made the World a Worse Place’. “Over the last few months, Select All has interviewed more than a dozen prominent technology figures about what has gone wrong with the contemporary internet for a project called ‘The Internet Apologizes.’ We’re now publishing lengthier transcripts of each individual interview. This interview features Dan McComas, the former senior vice-president for product of Reddit and the founder and CEO of Imzy, a community-focused platform.”
CBR: Tim Berners-Lee fights Google, Facebook, Twitter over internet control . “Tim Berners-Lee has called for more action to be taken against technology firms, in a bid to make the internet a safer and fairer place. The creator of the World Wide Web has said Facebook, Google and Twitter have become too dominant in the online world. In order to squash this power the scientist has called for more regulations to be put in place in order to tackle the increasing problem.”
Fader: A new Twitter project finds the origin of your favorite GIFs. “Director and Twitter favorite Matthew A. Cherry took on a bold task Friday afternoon. The self-proclaimed GIF Connoisseur announced he’d begin sourcing classic GIFs to their original video, and has so far made it through at least 20 well-used memes, sometimes with help from others.” What a terrific idea!
The Register, with a bit of a mean headline: Open source turns 20 years old, looks to attract normal people. “The Open Source Initiative, a non-profit that advocates open source development and non-proprietary software, pegs the date of inception at February 3, 1998. That’s when the term ‘open source’ was proposed by Christine Peterson during a meeting convened to build upon interest arising from the decision by browser maker Netscape to release its source code.”