Everything you ever need to know about the internet

John NaughtonJohn Naughton is consistently one of the – if not the – best writers we have about technology. His A Brief History Of The Future is a simply fantastic introduction to the internet: why and how it came about, from Vannevar Bush‘s vision of the Memex through Douglas Englebart‘s ‘Mother of all demos‘ to Arpanet and Tim Berners-Lee‘s use of HTTP and HTML to form the world wide web. It was the first book I thought to lend Breda when she joined my little team at Learning Pool.

His blog and Observer column are well worth regularly checking too. Occasionally I am lucky enough to meet up with John, along with that other titan of technology, Quentin Stafford-Fraser, for lunch in Cambridge. It’s difficult not to feel utterly fraudulent during these conversations, but I do my best.

John’s name has been punted all round Twitter during the last couple of days thanks to a feature article that appeared in the Observer on Sunday, called Everything you ever need to know about the internet. It’s a great context-setting piece, reminding us all how new this stuff is – and yet, at the same time, that many of the issues involved are as old as time.

This ties in with some of what I have been thinking and writing recently about people’s attitudes to the internet – such as the fact that it shouldn’t be viewed as just another channel, and that it is a profoundly creative space. I suspect a lot of this comes down to a lack of real understanding of what the net is about.

So, go read the article. Then print it out and put it in your boss’s in-tray. The world will be a better place.

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Dave Briggs

I'm Head of Digital and Design at Adur and Worthing Councils.

One thought on “Everything you ever need to know about the internet”

  1. Couldn’t agree more about the excellence of this little article. Seeing the headline I must confess I winced, but it turned out to genuinely be what it said on the tin – wonderfully condensed, absolutely true, and clearly written stuff.

    Of a slightly more depressing note, though, a little further reading might lead one to eventually discover the likes of Jonathan Zittrain’s The Future Of The Internet And How To Stop It (http://futureoftheinternet.org/)or perhaps, with slightly more media coverage, the recent Atlantic article Closing the Digital Frontier. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/closing-the-digital-frontier/8131/1/)

    What make you of such doomsaying?

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