Talking to the World on the World Wide Web
March 9, 2001
The world is getting smaller every day. Trite but true!
Now we have the computer and the World Wide Web. Like every new
invention there are those who love it and those who hate it and a lot
worldwide who never heard of it. In an article in the magazine
Civilization in 1995, Reed Karaim wrote, "Throughout history there have
been those who saw our doom approaching with every new contrivance, from
the written alphabet to television. When some cave dweller first lit
his own fire, a guy dressed in skins sitting two rocks down probably
turned to his buddy and said, 'Oh man, I'm not sure this is a good
The Web, like fire, the printing press, and television is here to stay
and it has expanded and changed the way we communicate. Personally, I
have barely scratched its surface, but I find it invaluable for what I
need -- email and a quick source of information. When the computer
acts up, I hit the phone and yell, "Hey, Ken, help."
But son Dave has gone way beyond and developed a beautiful and complex
professional web page. It wasn't easy. This was his description of the
first one. ". . . . They showed me that HTML is really easy. It looked
kind of like fun, so I gave it a try. Sure enough. It was really easy
to develop a web page -- that looked really crappy! But I was hooked.
So I tried again, started reading, and fooled around with it until it
didn't look too bad. . . except that six months had now passed and I
hadn't had lunch!"
Several months later he added a link and gave me a page of my very
own. That's one great gift from your kid.
Dave's page is designed for his business, the arcane art of system
information on his book and the many articles he has written. He gets
an average of hits from 50 countries a month and maintains active
correspondence with people in Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Russia
and India, to name only a few. He says feeling a part of the world and
realizing the similarities among us is a thrill no money can buy.
My site is much less impressive. But even so I had 1871 hits last
month, 13 from countries from Ireland to Japan to Russia to the Slovak
Republic. Some searching souls from Singapore and Lativia to Austria
stopped by but didn't pause. They were probably looking for feed for
I am not unrealistic enough to think that very many of those people
actually read one of my columns, but who knows, maybe now and then I
show a tiny slice of American life to somebody, somewhere. I share
Dave's enthusiasm. It truly is a thrill - especially when he forwards a
message from his pal Vladimir Evdokimov, his pen pal in St. Petersburg,
Russia. "I've read some articles of your mother too, and probably I can
find out who has teached you to write."
I have a few favorite web sites. Every morning I read the New York
Times. They have a daily news quiz which I always take. I have been
known, very rarely, to score 100% but I have also come up on occasion
with a big zero. I'm glad I'm not being graded; 60% is my average.
I keep track of my favorite columnist, Molly Ivins by reading the
The WNBA page keeps me informed about changes in personnel during the
winter months, like the fact that Cynthia Cooper will coach the Phoenix
Mercs this year, and then gives a running record of all the basketball
activities when the season starts.
Then I can put a reserve on a library book, check the weather, look up a
word in the Encyclopedia Britannica or read a bill the Lege is
There are over 2 billion web pages floating around in Cyberspace. Some
are great. Some are awful. Some are dangerous. But they have changed
the way we communicate and we do have choice and judgment.
Unfortunately, we always have the guy on the third rock over saying,
"This may be a good invention, but we must censor and control it.
Sorry, guy, you can't control the Web. The world is getting smaller