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Decoding the Internet: Wrestling with Jello

April 13th, 2024 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, from the surface to the deep reaches and the dark side, what makes the Internet tick?

The realm of digital technology, and its god-incarnate the internet, is for the most part an unintelligible mystery to me. The more I try to understand it the more perplexed I get. But occasionally I feel the need to educate myself since it is an unavoidable part of my world. I tried again today.

First there is the Surface Web which is open to everyone. All its content can be found using a web search engine including things like news sites, company websites, blogs and open forums. It makes up less than 10% of the whole internet and is sometimes called the Visible Web. Okay, I get that.

Next there is the Deep Web with makes up the other 90%.  It includes everything not indexed by standard search engines and/or requiring a log-in to access. It is also known as the Invisible Web and includes things like company intranets, internet banks, private forums, company databases and medical records. Okay, that is a bit fuzzy but I get it in broad terms.

But wait. There is a subset of the Deep Web known as the Dark Web. It consists of Darknets which are overlay networks that use the Internet but require special software or authorization to access. No one knows the actual size of the Dark Web but it is where most of the illicit activity takes place. Okay, rather nebulous. But clearly I do not want to go there.

The Internet, of course, has evolved over time and can be subdivided into generations or eras.

Web 1.0 lasted from 1991 until the early 2000’s. Websites in this era were static pages that did not have much functionality for interaction. More or less a giant Wikipedia. Okay, been there and done that in my working career.

Web 2.0 kicked in somewhere around 2004 and is still being developed. It was built around the idea of the web as a platform and gave birth to social media. Site visitors have the option to consume or create content themselves. Web 2.0 opened the door for Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google and Meta who are centralized repositories of content.  Okay, rather intimidating but I get it.

We are now apparently in the infancy stage of the Web 3.0 which is characterized by bottom-up design, decentralization and community-owned platforms rather than company-owned ones. It democratizes content by storing it in multiple locations on the network simultaneously thanks to something called blockchains. Okay, now my brain is overheating.

But wait. We are also apparently in the infancy stage of Web 4.0 which includes advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing and the Internet of Things – technology in many electronics that use online access for sharing information. So Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 co-exist while we are still sort of in Web 2.0? My brain just threw out the white flag.

Do I understand the Internet better after this brief exploration? Not really. Trying to get a grip on the beast is rather like wrestling with Jello. It is a slippery, shapeless, formless thing that I cannot grasp and frankly do not want to.

Fortunately, I do not have to understand the internet in depth to use it in the limited manner that I do. So I will go back to chasing insects and leave the technology beast to move onto the Web 5.0 whatever that may be.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com .

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Tags:   · · · · · · · · · · 2 Comments

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Avenue 17 Apr 24, 2024 at 6:25 pm

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  • 2 Avenue 17 Apr 25, 2024 at 12:51 am

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