Hard to believe that the World Wide Web launched into being on March 12th, 1994. Its ethos, its architectural principals, and its use, have helped to open the world to each of us, with the simple power of the link. My career, and more important, the friendships I have made, wouldn’t have been possible without it.
A couple years after launch, in 1996, I attempted to launch my own home page on VoiceNet, a Philadelphia ISP. Like Kimberly Blessing (a friend, old coworker, and influence on my career), I decided to see if I could restore it, and here it is, mostly.
Jason Kottke wrote for Nieman Journalism Lab an opinion piece, that along with the additional notes he added on on his personal blog, I mostly agree with. The roles that blogs grew to take on during their heyday (when was that really?), have been largely subsumed by social networks and open micro-blogging ecosystems these past few years. But that’s no reason to stop, and like him, I’ll be doing this for a long time going forward.
This form of web publishing has provided me opportunities to make connections and friendships from across the world. It has helped provide me a means of sharing what I’m passionate about and to learn from those who care about the same. It has given me a place to experiment with multiple publishing platforms and idioms over the years, in a challenging, exciting environment, that is still filled with promise, the open Web. And it has been a place where I can build something, make something, that at times gave me a way to give back to my community.
I’m going to keep on, keeping on (along with a lot of my friends who are doing the same).
Voyager 1 has recently entered interstellar space, take a moment to pause and think about it, it will leave you inspired.
Yesterday my daughter and I watched episode 6 of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos,“Travellers’ Tales” (watch it for free at Hulu). One of my favorite chapters of Cosmos, it pulls together stories of Earth’s early explorers and the team at NASA who were working on Voyager. Brit Mandelo wrote a great description of the episode:
“We have travelled this way before, and there is much to be learned by studying those great voyages of a few centuries ago.”—This is the guiding sentiment of “Travellers’ Tales.” It’s a literary sentiment, the idea that stories structure our world, and that stories are the commodity that we gain from exploration then bring back to trade amongst ourselves. The juxtaposition of stories—the 17th century Dutch scientific and exploratory culture with the late 70′s narratives of the Voyager spacecrafts—allows us, in a metonymic way, to understand a piece of human nature that Sagan seems to be arguing holds us together as a species.
Even among planetary scientists, who tend to dream large, the idea that something they built could travel beyond the Sun’s empire and keep grinding away is impressive. Plenty of telescopes gaze at the far parts of the Milky Way, but Voyager 1 can now touch and feel the cold, unexplored region in between the stars and send back detailed dispatches about conditions there
The New York Times piece quotes Suzanne Dodd, one of the original engineers on the project and who is now Voyager Project Manager.
I’m experimenting with a few of the themes after upgrading WordPress to 3.6.1, hope you don’t mind. I had thought I settled on the latest and greatest WordPress default, “Twenty Thirteen”, but I’m not sure yet. In either case, experimenting with different layouts and themes in WordPress is fun.
“Developing Philly” just posted the fourth update in its ongoing series to share the evolving and growing Philadelphia technology and media scene with the world. Each episode is under 15 minutes and is worth every minute of your time.
I feel so much a part of this, and I hope you do too. We are making this happen.
Along similar lines, but coming from a place that is less from the ground up and focused on Philadelphia’s place as “America’s first city” is “The Great Experiment”, which recently published an inspirational trailer you have to see:
To my friends and family who are stuck thinking about Philadelphia in a negative light, who have never seen the city for all it is, the truth of our home is varied and exciting. There is so much to do, and so much to fight for. I’m proud to still call this city home.
Marc Stiegler wrote a short story for Analog Magazine in 1989 called “The Gentle Seduction” that is a hopeful take on the Singularity. It reminded me of a much older short story by Isaac Asimov, “The Last Question”. Both are thought provoking.
It began, not surprisingly perhaps, with a modest online message.
About two weeks ago, school district officials had announced, once again, a serious hole in the District’s budget and had laid out, once again, severe cuts that would be implemented if a roughly $300 million hole wasn’t filled — this time invoking layoffs and cuts to programs, especially arts and extracurricular.
And as students pondered cuts to their favorite programs, the irony that last Friday would mark “Teacher Appreciation Day,” was not lost upon them.