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fab people

Tim Berners-LeeNov 2, 2010

Tim Berners-Lee

The Technology
Not too many people know of Tim Berners-Lee, but his work has benefitted millions of people on the planet and irreversibly changed humankind's way of doing things. Because of him, the world was shrunk into a global village. Information at your finger tips. Messages to people half-way around the world can be a click away. You can have a realtime face-to-face webcam conversation with someone from the remotest hinterland. It allowed people to work remotely. To those willing takers of this technology, the working cubicle has been rendered obsolete. Before, to influence public opinion, you had to be a publishing magnate like Murdock or Turner. Now, Joe Blow who puts his pants on one leg at a time, can post a blog and move a global audience - without spending a dime!

World Wide Web
What I've written here is only a pixel-like dot on a multi-dimensional matrix that spawned a life of its own. With every passing day, new ways of implementing this technology continue to defy long-standing tradition of 'how things ought to be'. Tim Berners-Lee is the guy who summoned the genie...and now, there's no way the genie is going back into the bottle. Welcome to the infinitely fascinating world of the World Wide Web (WWW) - the single-handed creation of a brilliant mind who selflessly shared it with the free world.

Highlights:

  • graduated from the Queen's College at Oxford University, England, 1976 with a degree in physics
  • built his first computer with a soldering iron, TTL gates, an M6800 processor and an old television
  • left the Church of England because he could not "believe in all kinds of unbelievable things"
  • worked at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, where he proposed what would be the genesis of the WWW.
  • served as the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium
  • knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (Sir Tim!)

   Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.
-- Tim Berners-Lee
  

Here's why he's Fab
His invention alone earns him the Fab People award. But there's more to the man than the brilliance of his mind - his lofty vision for humankind and the size of his heart. Dig this: 48.27 billion webpages are on the internet. How many users and stakeholders would that be? Imagine if every internet beneficiary paid Tim Berners-Lee a fee for its use. How many lifetimes would Bill Gates have to work to match that wealth? That was the economic lure Tim Berners-Lee walked away from. No, he did not apply for a patent on the technology. Personal gain was not on his periscope, and he is not in the slightest bit perturbed that he did not commercially benefit from his brilliant invention. He gave new meaning to open-source - a Fab People's Fab Person!

Ending Thoughts
On a personal note, Tim Berners-Lee gave me a new lease on life. Just when I thought I hit a career wall after I sold my office coffee service (OCS) business, then came the WWW - the greatest of all equalizers. Since it was a new technology, everybody started off on an equal footing. Yes! I didn't have to restart my career working in a corporate mailroom competing with guys half my age! With new technology, it didn't matter if the other guy was a 20-year computer programming veteran or a used car salesman.

The buzzword then was 'webmaster'. They were hailed as the neo-millenium alchemists who oscilliated between the brick-and-mortars world and the then-esoteric realm of the virtual world. After 3 months of intensive schooling, I earned my cyber-badge: webmaster. I was the incarnation of a cyber-world warrior armed with Photoshop, notepad and an array of fonts! There was no looking back after that. What followed were enigmatic wormholes and trapdoors to new and exciting possibilities through this unchartered frontier.

Now, I can ride my mountain bike up a steep summit offering a panoramic view of the oceans and the valleys, boot my laptop, plug-in my Wifi-stick and start cranking SEO-enhanced webpages that grace Google's first page ranking to a client-site another continent away - for free! Yes, on that mountain top, the web redefines 'working cubicle'. On that mountain top, I'm on Sunday school and my high priest is Tim Berners-Lee!

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Christian RonquilloChristian Ronquillo
(Nov 4, 2010) <hail>Hail to the chief!</hail> Hahahahha! :p I'm grateful to Sir Tim as well; his HTML was what prompted me to take Computer Science with complete conviction :D


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