1993, 1994, 1996, & 2003

April 15, 2003

Wired 2.10: Billions Registered

Before I had a PC, I remember reading Wired in the library of Dalton College. All of the new terms and the excitement about technology just pressed into my head, and I remember one article about registering domains.

In 1994, companies were registering their competitor’s names. People out of the blue could have (as the article state) registered mcdonalds.com or nbc.com or any name out there for the shear purpose of squatting on that domain. The legality of it was all questionable, so a lot of companies threw money at people who had their domains. Although some decided to sue the heck outta these people too.

Can you believe that in 1994, Coca-Cola didn’t even have Coke or Coca-Cola registered? 50% of the Fortune 500 didn’t even have an address either. The web just came out of nowhere, scaring the shit out of people who worked in traditional jobs…who were now forced to put a website online and use a computer instead of a typewriter or god forbid Pagemaker or Quark.

Reading about the 10th anniversary of Mosaic made me realize, I’ve been on the web for 9 years. 9 years. I remember the first time I heard the term, e-mail”. A friend of mine went to UIUC….birthplace of Mosaic. She was in for the summer and before she headed off to Illinois suggest we keep in touch with e-mail. What a strange concept…”I login to a computer and type a letter and it gets to you like a fax?”, “Yes”.

It was an odd concept to explain to people. They understood Prodigy{.liinternal} and Compuserve (and for a few eWorld & AOL), but to not have those was just off to some people. When I actually worked in computers, I knew telnet and a couple of basic unix commands…as we were moving from some proprietary Data General OS to UNIX. But email and web browsing were just hard to explain. Most probably thought I was looking up porn.

Think about how many URLs you see on a daily basis. Think about how many were in ads in 94? (probably none) or 96? (probably more than half of the ads). Now think about how much the web has changed in those 10 years, since Mosaic. In the grand scheme of things, not a lot. People still chat online, surf websites, build personal homepages (and blogs) and email. The VRML revolution from 96 never materialized. “The Spot ” wasn’t the big revolution it was hyped up to be.

So did the technology of the web change our lives? Not really. The people behind those pieces did. They put a face and words behind this revolution online. Then those people pushed it to the masses, where you hear about Blogs on NBC, see a url on a soda can, or just read a paper online.