By the wonders of the internet, an update arrives in my inbox...
IF you want to know more about virtual private networks and much more visit vpnmentors portal HERE
SITTING quietly doing my email when one catches my eye. Its from Lurie Austinser and I am betting she is sat somewhere in California and yet...
It seems she has read this page on little old Lyng on Line. Well Hi Lurie and thanks very much for the info.
For you see she has reminded me that I have not visited this page in a long, long while. And the internet? She never stands still! Now I could do a total update but that would spoil the fun. So I shall point up a few changes here and in the text below - which will otherwise stand as a memorial to my arrogant belief that I have even a smidgeon of knowledge about the astonishing world that people like Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
And that is without recognising the part played by a Hollywood glamour puss by the name of Hedi Lamar who had an idea for encrypting submarine messages by putting the data in short packets and transmitting at varying frequencies in a random sequence. Bet she would fall flat at the sight of an iphone today! But she helped make it possible.
So, if you like me revel in the tecchie stuff, read on.
(By the way vpn stands for virtual private network and is the core of all corporate internet netwroks)
So here we go with just a few stunning new facts:
When I wrote this in about 2014 I said there were over 600 million web sites - well now it is over 900 and will pass the billion anyday soon.
Today very nearly half of ALL internet users are in Asian countries.
The fastest annual growth at 17% is now in mobile and social media.
You can read all about this by visiting vpnmentor HERE
Did the world-wide web change the world?
Your webmaster (RW) first tasted the joys of the internet in 1994 when working in newspapers. That year I set up a dial up modem and an account with AOL. I thought I was very avant garde until I discovered the internet was working fine in 1974 and some of its features pre-dated even that.
The speed of the modem was 9 Baud – about 9K in modern terms. A page of A4 text is about 1K and the average web site was pretty simple (see example here) but to describe it as slow would be an understatement. But it was nonetheless miraculous for that. In any event my PC was possessed of about 500k of memory as I recall! (Today mine is small by 21st Century standards but has 1000 times as much.)
But I was looking at the content of computers (web servers - more below) on the other side of the Atlantic in virtual real time. I could even send them an e-mail and get a response.
In 1995 I saw an advertisement from a company called Pipex who wanted a corporate communications specialist. Right up my street and I also had nearly 20 years of computer skills. So I applied and got the job. I did some work for them in late '95 but it was not until 1996 that I actually joined their Cambridge office team.
By then the Internet was old hat (well sort of – it was still capitalised then!) and the World-Wide Web was the new paradigm – it was only 3-5 years old depending who you now listen to. And ditto the first secure on-line trade was (is now) reported to (have) happened – not, in my view. The order and delivery were maybe OK but payment was not on line or secure!
Anyway, my job was to protect this nascent world leader from its own hype (PR!) and evangelise this new paradigm on platforms from conferences to the media, including Radio and TV stations.
Thing is, even we had no idea how it would grow – see this graph!
And for the next 10 years until 2004 this was my life. I feel lucky. My grandfather grew up in the age of the motor car, the airplane and the armoured vehicle. He worked in two out of three areas but found his happiest days turning the weird and wonderful contraptions of Practical Wireless into our first televisions. No wooden cases mind you, just 30,000 volts on a bare aluminium chassis. Nine inch screens and frankly sepia coloured ghosts!
I thought all the new stuff had gone and I had missed the boat(s) but the Internet (as ion the internet!) changed everything.
Suddenly I was at the cutting edge – well for a few years anyway. For before I knew it the mobile phone, internet on the move and instant hand to hand comms would change the entire world. Well, sort of.
Anyway, how many web sites is LOL competing with? The answer is about a billion and growing faster than the eye can see (see HERE!). But, and I take small consolation here since I shouted long and loud for this definition, the number of ACTIVE sites (like LOL, up-dated regularly) is 600-plus million (HERE). Which is still a lot.
And who is looking? Ah, now that always was the really big question. Plenty of my finest presentation were stalled with that question from the floor.
I could answer of course but the question was “looking” and how do you look unless you know what you want is there? The search engines seemed then and now to be the answer but it is not wholly true. Our browsers (Netscape Navigator where are you? Oh, Mozilla? Hmmm) were simply the roadways through the network; they needed guidance.
The first search engines were good enough for the day and the tweaks we all learned to help them were soon codified and first Yahoo and then Google found the way through. The devices used had wonderful names – sniffers, and spiders and crawlers and... oh happy days! Today the situation is more complex, commercial interests get in the way. What you find is not always what you want.
But even in late 90s there were debates. World-wide web was a mouthful. W3? Nah. Dub-dub-dub? Nah. What was broadband? Surely a modem at 56k was good enough? Nah. Always on? What, not dial-up? That was the thing. Broadband AND always on? No way could we support that – we only had 135meg across the Atlantic – we'd need... ooh... gigabytes....
And by it was all about disintermediation (Amazon anyone?); secure trading (E-Bay anyone?); instant on-line communications (Facebook anyone?); needs a new name... social media. Hmm.. whatever that is. Video on demand? You Tube anyone? Bandwidth? Plenty by now.
And it would spell the end of old fashioned snail mail. Well it surely hammered the letter but parcels? If the Post Office monopoly had not bee ended it would have been boom time by now. Even so, the Royal Mail Parcel service is still their best cash cow – thanks to all that e-commerce which was hyped every year until it actually happened.
Which was just after the Dot Com Crash. You will recall that all this hype led to overblown share prices for companies just a few years, even months old. It was made worse by the prison-worthy fraudulent activities of the likes of Enron and (woe is me!) WorldCom.
Soon after that we would have to say that the internet and world-wide web had become mainstream.
In 1991 there was just one web site (see its home page here) run by Tim (now Sir) Berners Lee, a lightly employed English watcher of the mind-boggling stuff happening at CERN who took the Internet and its file sharing system to invent, (via some sharp graphics handling stuff) the world-wide web.
If that was not enough he made an even bigger decision – he let it loose on the world without patent, licence or copyright. That way, he reckoned, it would grow fast. Yep.
Today, less than 25 years later, there are over 600 million active web sites (like LOL) and the same again simply hanging in cyberspace (rather like woodses.co.uk is mostly doing now).
This bbc site shows some of the growth of the internet: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8552410.stm
And this site is great for stats: http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm
A few hard facts:
Right now (08-2014) there are 644 million active websites on the Internet according to Netcraft. (Its now 966m) Netcraft's March 2012 website survey discovered 644,275,754 active websites, to be precise. Half a billion is a lot. But when we're talking about the Internet, sounds kind of small. (Source: Google)
The one billion websites (watch the total increase) milestone should be reached by the end of 2014. (Wronmg but we are nearly there) From 1 website in 1991 to over 600 million in 2013, the chart and table below show the total number of websites by year throughout history,
For those who might need the help:
Hyper text protocols (HTML and HTTP) are essential for handling the stuff we humans actually can read, as opposed to the stuff computers can read. A Transfer Protocol (HTTP or FTP) allows digital content to be moved from one computer to another.
We all use 'client' computers (whether desktop, lap-top or mobile). These have addresses of their “own” (Internet Protocol IP addresses). The web sites are on computers all over the world called 'servers'. The whole lot is linked by the network that is the internet made of fibre, wireless or even old fashioned copper phone lines.
To get a message from your client computer to a server you send a request to the address (www etc) of the server with your address on the message. In between you and the servers are the 'routers' which are complex computers working pretty much like superfast, highly efficient telephone switchboards.
In the blink of an eye the content of the web server page you asked for will appear on your screen. You can read it, intereact with it and do pretty much what you like (if it is not protected).