Firstly, thank you to all of you who sent me questions via Twitter to ask Sir Tim Berners-Lee tonight at the Science Museum (see previous post as well). I was live Tweeting the event using the hashtag #Berners-Lee.
The talk was truely fascinating, and by no means just a simple run down of how the Internet was born. I left feeling Sir Tim Berners-Lee was a true genius, and so genuine. The talk was actually filmed by BBC Click and as I was on one of the front rows you are guaranteed to see me in the background mesmerised by his talk and tweeting updates!
Below is a mini write-up including answers to your questions tonight:
- Your questions for Sir Tim Berners-Lee
- My write up and review of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s talk at the Science Museum
- @Walkerama asked: Can you have a word with Microsoft about IE6?
Not covered in the talk specifically, but he did say that information on the Internet should be available independent of the platforms or browsers, and that includes being accessible to people with disabilities
- @DavidWilcock asked: The Internet has brought porn to the masses, do you feel this makes you one of THE great social pioneers?
Again, not answered specifically (!), but Sir Tim did say that “the web is a reflection of humanity”, good and bad.
- @wallglamour asked: you could ask him if the Grid really does exist or are we doomed just to have 24mb download speed.
I don’t think he believed any of the internet was static; download speeds, just like the technology it relies on, will continue to improve.
- Anon asked: What kind of idiot decided that mixing semantic tags (quotes etc) with visual styles (colors, sizes etc) was a good design choice for HTML?
HTML was actually made to resemble the existing CERN documents as closely as possible to encourage people to adopt it quickly.
- @nsdesign asked: “do you regret not charging a royalty to every web user ?”
Sir Tim Berners-Lee absolutely believes in royalty-free data and information. Keeping it that way means more people adopt it, therefore more people collaborate on it and consequently a much more invaluable invention.
- @_elj asked: What’s your favourite recent web innovation?
Sir Tim Berners-Lee loved the social web, connecting people. He also loved mash-ups where people had used raw data to produce new information such as the Google Maps mash up with traffic black spots. He praised companies that released raw data WITHOUT creating excuses in delaying making it freely available.
- Audience member (and I) asked: You clearly believe in data and information being made freely available, but where do you stand on newspapers charging for access to their articles online?
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said there was a need for high qualilty, professional and reliable content online. He compared that with the abundance of untrustworthy blogs online now with questionable sources.
- Audience member: At what age do you think children should allowed online; not from an online content point of view, but one whereby some people believe the Internet can hinder a child’s development?
While stating that he was not qualified enough to answer this question, he concluded that early adoption of the Internet by children can either promote great multitasking skills (that older members of the audience may not have) or it could be their road to ruin!
Sir Tim Berners-Lee also made the following points:
- The WebFoundation.org will be launching later in 2009
- The Internet should be independent of the platforms and technology used to access it including disabilities. It should act like a collaborative knowledge bank that anyone can access.
- Documents therefore need to be decentralised; the Internet needs to be independent. An example of this would be social networks where you need to re-find your friends due to them being siloed.
- The Internet should work independent of size like water, which is a scale-free system with parts that overlap seamlessly.
- As the Internet is about sharing data between people the social side of it is intrinsic and should always be included in the process of web science.