Archives » November 8th, 2002

November 8, 2002

Tim Berners-Lee Interview

Thanks to Shirley Kaiser I was able to find this interview with Tim Berners-Lee that was done on NPR last week. Tim, of course, is the inventor of the World Wide Web, the man who took the concepts of Internet connections and hypertext and markup languages and combined it all into this new idea, a web of interlinked pages, accessible from anywhere and expandable by anyone. It’s hard to imagine that something like the WWW, which consumes a large majority of my time and is so essential to the way so many things are done, has only been around for twelve years. And it’s only really had public recognition for seven or eight. And so it’s equally surprising to hear an interview with “The Inventor Of” something so huge and world-changing, and to find him so young, so vibrant, so full of new ideas. It somehow doesn’t seem right, like turning on the radio and hearing someone interviewing Thomas Edison or the Wright brothers.

The interview, though, is fantastic. He touches on so many topics, yet he describes them in such a way that I just start shouting out, “That’s right! That’s right!” Unfortunately, my brain isn’t up to the task of retaining so much knowledge, but hearing him talk made me want to jump up and start doing things, start learning more about the Semantic Web: XML, machine-readable documents, and the systems that can use them. I wanted to start contributing something myself — in a way, I guess that’s what I’m doing by writing here. But I especially think that effect was enhanced by the fact that it was in audio. It was totally unlike reading an interview on the screen, in that you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice when he is talking; you can tell how truly he believes in what he’s saying. You can even hear his English accent (or I should say his American accent) fade in and out as he gets more excited and more thoughtful. And, of course, without the audio, we wouldn’t be able to hear his impression of a modem handshake. It’s a gem.

And the rain rain rain came down down down…

I guess the entire West Coast is getting hit by this storm. Doc and Dave are both talking about big water coming down, and Dave’s power even went out all last night. I guess that beats my hour and a half of ’Net downtime.

Here in the rain shadow we’ve been getting it pretty steady, which tells me it must be a huge storm. Usually the Sierra Nevada mountains stop any wetness from coming our way, dumping it all instead in Lake Tahoe. But in the last 24 hours, we’ve gotten more rain than we have all year, and it’s still coming. It’s starting to feel like Washington around here. Which, well, isn’t really a bad thing.