This was quite a humbling piece to read. To think that only 20 something years ago a system that I spend a vast majority of my time engaging with was still a concept being flogged to the general public to be met with some doubt.
I spend virtually (literally) all of my time on the Internet (or the World Wide Web as I believe is properly denoted as) and to see a book written about it’s basic function during a time prior to it’s existence is fascinating. I, somewhat jokingly somewhat seriously, claim the Internet as my homeland because in terms of the eclectic nature of my knowledge and interests I seem most influenced by it’s inter-connected nature as a person. My favourite media is produced solely for distribution over the World Wide Web and I revere it as the most useful tool in my life for essentially any activity.
This reading starts off with a preamble explaining to the reader how to engage with the book in a way that best emulates HyperText (and subsequently HyperMedia) in that it is interconnected. The document states that some readers may not understand it, and some may do, and reading that now sounds very strange indeed. Of course I know how HyperText works (or in a more modern way, Hyperlinks)! Why would I need that explained to me?
This shows the drastic changes in perspective we have in today’s society compared to back then in the late 80’s. How awful it must have been to lack an automatic hierarchy of filing web pages and media over a global network. How terrible to have had to buy music in person and physical form, as well as books, photographs, or any medium! What an absolute nightmare to have had to manually arrange and organise file structures so that another user wouldn’t be hopelessly lost trying to locate a single file (although, that can still be a problem, I don’t get why some people can’t use proper file naming and saving techniques).
In terms of Design Fiction, like the other reading for this week, this is precious context for a network we now take for granted. We expect free Wi-Fi with our large fries or latte nowadays, else find yourself lunching in some primitive food establishment. Of course it doesn’t have quite the same foresight as the 1945 design fiction example, but the ‘what if’ situation of an interconnected network is, independently, a simple concept. Immensely useful, but simple. Fast forward ten, twenty years and the growth is mind blowing.