/dev/random: Web of Darkness
Robert G. Ferrell
Behavior outside the acceptable social norm is part and parcel of human nature. We live, work, play, and interact on a bell curve. We also compute there, as has become increasingly evident in recent years.
I won’t claim to have been present at the birth of the Internet—I was only 12 years old in 1969 when the ball really got rolling—but I spent a fair amount of time in the early to mid-1980s playing with the first incarnations of TCP/IP and hanging around on USENET. As with most of my colleagues at the time, I could see the potential for NSFNET to connect, eventually, all the world’s academic institutions and libraries and thus be a really useful thing to have around. I don’t remember predicting the monster it would actually become, but I did once tell a skeptical boss in the early ’90s that having a web presence and email would be essential to doing business within a few years.