Ancient (or at least older than me) Technology: The Memex

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The world wide web, the public face of the internet, was officially released in 1992 in Geneva, Switzerland by CERN, a particle physics laboratory. Do take note, this is not the same as “the internet” which is a broader term referring to the interconnection of computers, dating back all the way to 1958 and a country-wide radar initiative. The World Wide Web however, refers to data that despite all its diversity can be watered down to a few simply elements: Text, Hypertext and Multimedia (Image, Video and Sound) and viewed on “browsers”. The desire to freely access those items, is a concept that dates back much farther than 1992, in fact, an intention was purposed in 1945 that closely resembles what we now know as the World Wide Web. The Invention: The Memex, the inventor: Vannevar Bush. Trying to describe how this thing works is probably easier done with a picture (worth 1000 words right?):

What is particularly intriguing is that some of the features of the Memex, such as “commenting” and “user created associations” did not become standard on the web until quite a while after its public release, though now quite common on blogs and wikis.

Unfortunately, this machine was never actually created as we were far too busy building microwaves and nuclear weapons in the 1940's.

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