Today marks the 27th anniversary of the first website.
“You’re probably wondering how we ended up here?”
The incredible Tim Berners-Lee published the world’s inaugural website from his lab in Switzerland on 6 August 1991 and today it would be impossible to imagine life without the internet and its millions upon millions of websites. So, as we reminisce about our own first encounters with the World Wide Web – mine was Ask Jeeves – we thought we’d also take a brief look at some of the other technological firsts that have established themselves firmly in our daily lives.
The first computer
The World Wide Web may be turning 27, but it’s still a long way off the age of its forefather, the computer. In 1822, Charles Babbage, with the help of Ada Lovelace, built what many interpret as the first computer. Far from the desktop-style computers, we have today, Babbage invented the first automatic computing engine, making the computer 196 years old. It wasn’t until World War Two that a machine more closely representing our modern computer was created: Alan Turing developed the Bombe, which allowed him to crack the infamously cryptic German Enigma Code. Here I am just using it to watch the latest series of Arrested Development. We all have our skills in life, I guess.
The first laptop
Ah, laptops. On any train, on any plane, the mini-machines are seamlessly whipped out of bags, allowing for portable work, films, shopping, cat meme-ry… can you even remember your life without them? Well, you’d have to think back to 1981, when the Osborne 1 was released. At a mighty 25 pounds (that’s 11kg!) the first laptop really pushed the limits of the word ‘portable’. In fact, it’s no surprise that the term ‘laptop’ wasn’t coined until a few years later if you imagine trying to support that colossus on your lap.
The first website
What better way to celebrate creating the World Wide Web than to explain it on the very first website. When Tim Berners Lee first created the web, there were very few who even understood it, let alone knew how valuable and useful it could be. Can you imagine what that website would look like? The immense detail of the World Wide Web? The endless potential? The fact that it could change the very fabric of our society irreversibly? What would this even begin to look like?!
It turns out, it looks incredibly simple. The website was whittled down to eleven easy to understand points – it would take me longer to explain the first Harry Potter book. Hats off to you, Tim. You truly are the master.
The first mobile phone
As possibly the only device we use more than computers and laptops, our mobile phones have become fundamental. We’ve all experienced the darkest of days: you’ve left your phone at home and have reverted to a state so primal it can only be described as prehistoric. To think that the mobile didn’t exist 45 years ago will blow the mind of many millennial.
The necessity that is the mobile phone has changed appearance a fair bit too – think stock markets in the 70s. Yet, the idea that directed mobile inventor and modern saviour Marty Cooper is really quite refreshing. He wanted numbers to assign “not to a place, not to a desk, not to a home, but to a person”- both inspiring and a good excuse if someone says you spend too much time on your phone.
So, Happy Birthday World Wide Web, and thank you, Tim Berners-Lee. You’ve changed our lives and the products around us endlessly. Would any of these five have stood the test of time if they hadn’t evolved? With everything Tim B-L has achieved so far, we’re eagerly keeping an eye on “Solid”, his latest project where he aims to create true data ownership. We wonder what the world will be saying about this early version in another 30 years.
Have we missed a favourite? Have any personal pics to share of your first mobile or laptop? Let us know on Twitter – @RedSift.