- A short incident happened. The ones who were present experienced it. The anecdote then left their tongues to all directions.
- An anecdote is a piece of content. A piece of content is an anecdote.
- You cannot, and I repeat, cannot chain down content and prevent its spread. A piece of content is a direct result of thought.
- Because, it is a mad nomad. It can’t stay anywhere, for long. It will move from place to place.
- It will meet new people. It will be liked by some people, disliked by some. Some people will affect it. It will affect some people.
- It will change, for better or worse, become someone else’s. It has no loyalty. Because it is born of thoughts, it will behave just like thoughts.
- What will you do by putting your thoughts into a box and stick a price tag on it, ready to be shipped, ready for delivery?
- The mad nomad has a talisman on its ankle. It cannot stop moving.
A group of classical absent minded weird scientists and professors got very concerned with sharing educational and scientific data around the world. They invented the internet. There is a poignant tale of the birth of the internet:
“We set up a telephone connection between us and the guys at SRI* …”, Kleinrock … said in an interview:
“We typed the L and we asked on the phone,
“Do you see the L?”
“Yes, we see the L,” came the response.
We typed the O, and we asked, “Do you see the O.”
“Yes, we see the O.”
Then we typed the G, and the system crashed …
Yet a revolution had begun” ….
*The first ARPANET link was established between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Stanford Research Institute at 22:30 hours on October 29, 1969.
So, yes, the first word that this baby spoke was ‘lo’. It crashed before it could say the ‘g’. Nevertheless, the whole goddamn business started with a log! (Bloggers can get secretly happy, now.)
Then Tim Berners-Lee, invented the internet as we know it. This is the one that should be called the World Wide Web, ideally (if you are such a nitpick humbug).
This is generally considered a very bad move by anyone you ask now. Yes, tell me honestly that you’ve never had a thought, ‘What if I had to go without internet for a few days?‘… followed by a smile, a nano guilt trip and a rude return to reality, with a few bad words for the addictive internet of pesky digital media salespeople.
Disregarding such future existential dilemmas and innocently ignorant of wholesale privacy concerns, the Queen made him Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
However, you see, when Sir TimBL invented the World Wide Web, he did not suddenly have a vision that brought out a revolutionary technology. There were initial competitors like Gopher. What TimBL did was more fundamental. He understood that the internet did not have a clear problem to solve.
A lot of bullshit advice you’ll get about doing anything is to first define the problem, break it down into steps or goals and then try to achieve them. That’s great for boiling an egg or learning advanced yoga, but it is useless if you want to invent something like TimBL’s World Wide Web (okay, henceforth, screw ideals, I’m calling it the internet). While everybody was trying to find the problem and then create a solution for it, TimBL understood that the internet had to be vague. It had to be able to evolve, it had to scale.
So, instead of creating a system, he created an architecture. An architecture that can be used to build countless systems out of a basic framework. Systems, that in the future, could fully satisfy the human need to study cat expressions and poses.
Now, the moral of the story is that the internet is a very vague sort of mishmash, backed by a basic set of objects and methods that make up a loose but infinitely scalable framework. The framework is infinitely scalable because it is vague. When something is vague, you can do anything with it.
He solved a vague problem with a vague solution. A well defined problem can be solved by anyone. Defining a problem is a skill, a talent, a great technique. However, solving a problem that can’t be defined properly and is vague by nature is pure genius. In this series (The Art of Problem Solving) of articles, we shall discuss this art of solving vague problems with vague solutions. For, if you really sit down to think about it, the internet is really vague, as is life. What do you think?
Calculators and Books
Let’s say there are two kinds of websites in the world: Calculator websites and Book websites. I’m not going deeper into this distinction. Think of why you use a calculator and the process of using it. Think about books and reading them. There’s a vast difference. Websites that resemble the calculator more than the book are Calculators. The opposites are Books.
Let’s not even get into the discussion on how most Book websites have very advanced functionality. That there is actually no such distinction. True that. However, the Book website would still serve its fundamental purpose, if you just displayed a .txt file (written with notepad). A calculator website at the basic level needs programming.
The Dhamma of a Website
Now, following this post shall be posts that will talk about, only the Book websites. We’ll try to revisit the history of such websites in a social theory perspective. We’ll try to explore the fundamentals, the dhamma of such websites. We’ll then try to understand the nature of such websites in more technical detail. In short, we’ll explore the art, science and zen of web development, design and strategy in graphic details as we progress on this blog.