warren laine-naida blog post 11 2019 the internet is not free

 

01
November
2019

The Internet is Not Free

On October 29, we celebrated 50 years to the day that a computer at UCLA sent a message into the ether. (UCLA sends message via ARPANET in 1969).

After that, students brought E-Commerce into life at the Stanford’s AI Lab by doing drug deals over the fledgling internet in 1971. A precursor of how we would be using the internet today. ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/apr/19/online-high-net-drugs-deal )

DARPA, MIT, UCLA, ARPANET – the Internet has a fascinating and accelerated history ( https://www.internetsociety.org/internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet/ ) and was pioneered by extremely innovative people.

The digital age has given birth to a rich terminology – “Packet Switching Networks”, “Dial ups”, “Gateways”, “Earned Marketing”, “CGI Influencers”. The Internet is best known to us by the beloved term “Website”.

I created my first website, a static HTML one that I cobbled together learning how a mouseover image worked, in 1994. Since then, I have created many (I stopped counting at 300) websites of various generations and functionality using different CMS and frameworks.

My favourite websites (and I know this will age me) are the simple handmade HTML ones. This does not make me a Sociopath. :o) However, I still find it very cool to put together markup and build something that displays in a browser. Actually, it is like baking a cake when you are hungry. Okay, perhaps I do need to get out more.

The World Wide Web

The parent of facebook, amazon, youtube, and your own website, has it’s beginnings with The World Wide Web (WWW), which was created in 1990 by the British CERN physicist Tim Berners-Lee. In a stunning show of naivety, CERN announced, on 30 April 1993, that the World Wide Web would be free to use for anyone. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website )

After the hardware and software costs of an internet enabled device, the internet provider fees, and whatever headaches or fees you have had either trying to log on to your bank, or learn to build a website, they were probably right – now you are free to use the Internet.

Open Source code and software is free – to the extent that you probably need to pay either upfront or in time to learn it. Access to the Internet is not entirely inclusive – if you are very old, or suffer from a visual disability, or live in the country – your access to the Interent will not be completely free. A lot of Internet content is shown us via algorithms, so we see what are supposed to see – making the Internet not entirely free of bias.

Free is a relative term. The Internet has been valued at 1 Trillion dollars a year. By most standards, a Trillion dollars is a bit north of “Free”.

Making Things Free

We can help make the Internet free is varying ways. Teach others by sharing our knowledge. Share and support tech. Be open minded and educated about how we access the Internet. Reduce and recycle hardware as much as possible.

Then again, they say nothing of any value is free. You need to work for it.

I normally research and craft my monthly posts, but I have a very bad cold, and my teaching load has exploded. I put this one together when I mistakenly arrived 2 hours early to teach WordPress at the Community College. :o) May The Web be with you.

Are you a small business, non-profit, school or same and need help with your Website? Interested in some in-house training? Do you have budget constraints? Drop me a line. We’ll work it out together.

I just saw these articles, which you might like to read:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191025-the-fight-to-keep-the-internet-free-and-open-for-everyone

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-internet-is-not-free_b_2631150

https://t3n.de/news/50-jahre-internet-dekadent-1213099/