"I understand that you are fascinated by thoughts
and the thought process ?" Kiran inquired. I could see disbelief
in his eyes.
He must be referring to my web page, I realized.
Oliver looked up from his transparency. "Did your team lead scream at you ? Forgive him, he knows not what he does." I expected such sage advice from a person involved in educating others. I nodded in approval.
"So you two won't help me." Another terse statement ! Actually, 'terse' is an understatement. Would 'curt' do ? Anyway.
Kiran was to take part in a debate in his office. (So what's new I asked,
trying to have my revenge, but was prevented the satisfaction by the cool
answer that for a change the debate was official.) The subject of the debate
was "Is the World Wide Web really world wide ?".
"Have you thought about it first ?"
I decided that I was no more going to be relegated to a position of
"I think the mere meaning of world-wide-ness is its technical capability - due to the fact that some universal protocol(s) is being employed by heterogeneous machines - of being available to a wide array of - different types of - computers and hence their users... something which spans the local network idiosyncrasies... well ?"
That last "Well ?" was unnervingly terse. I must steel myself. I shouldn't be analyzing voice textures. It diverts attention from my primary goal - debate.
"Actually", I continued, "its only a question of being privileged enough.
If the focus of the Internet had remained education, I doubt whether it
would have gone even this far. The fact that it is used for business
purposes has in my opinion propelled its growth thus far."
Eureka, I thought. That's a nice piece of theory I've thought about. Now I must defend it tooth and tail, oops, I mean nail.
Kiran nodded. "As with any other resource, the Internet sure costs something...
i.e. the use of the medium, though not the contents, many a times."
He looked at both of us, and looked at his screen again. He murmured something like "I've to finish with this tutorial with multimedia technology by midnight" and I think I heard the words "Macromedia Director". I told you I admired him.
I looked blankly at my design document.
"Technically, yes, it is worldwide, but one more question comes to my mind now, I thought aloud. "If it is not going to be worldwide content wise, what is the use of it being worldwide technically ? We might as well have separate unconnectable/unconnected networks for each country - this is just one type of isolation, there can be more."
"If the world-wide-ness is going to be hampered by language, ideology, etc, why the web in the first place ?"
"The reason the various network people opted for a common interconnectable network protocol was I think basically because they felt the need to exchange information, which would have to be in a common language. And if this info doesn't reach maximum people then the purpose of being worldwide is defeated."
"Even if one accepts that TVs are world wide media without argument", I didn't think I agreed fully, "the web and the TV are not comparable. The web was developed because an American wanted to talk to a Chinese".
That was a long enough piece of monologue. Of course, people would now remind me that its different from a debate.
As expected, it was Kiran.
"I do not agree that the web was developed because an American wanted to talk to a Chinese. I think Internet was first used to exchange information between academic institutions within America itself... correct me if I am wrong".
"Yes but then it was not intended to be and neither was it called the
WWW. The staring point of the WWW was when an American wanted to talk to
a Chinese, that's what I meant."
"Continuing with your argument that the contents should be understood worldwide in a common language, I think English, for whatever reasons, is still a common language of communication across continents. Please let me know any other language which is as widely known. The percentage of people who understand it may be very low, albeit. What alternative do we have, anyway ?"
"Esperanto perhaps ? But that's wishful thinking. No, I agree with you".
But how could I agree on everything ? We were debating see !
Kiran seized the opportunity.
Now, I had to agree. I agreed.
A few moments of quietness reigned. Kiran had a smile on his face. Oliver's face was buried in some paper. I was trying to make something of this new face of the problem.
"If we try to make the Web worldwide in the sense as I have mentioned above, it will run into problems created by the language barriers. Just like the TV", I mused.
"This is a valid point. And we should argue about which should
be the common language of information interchange rather than whether a
medium like WWW or TV is worldwide.. It is sufficient that the mediums
are technically worldwide. It
I thought that was about the end of it. But I realized I had written of Oliver too easily. He cleared his throat, to speak. He looked serenely at us, with a slight smile on this face.
"Now is the time to put in my two cents worth to the discussion."
"If you look at things carefully, many of the inventors who created
things did not envisage the different uses of the thing they invented.
Take Einstein for example. He did state e = mc^2 and put forth the theory
that was finally converted into the nuclear bomb by other scientists. When
he saw the results at Hiroshima, he became the most ardent speaker for
nuclear abstinence. So, the point is that it is very difficult for
one person to think about all the aspects of a creation right in the beginning.
It is for us, to make use of the created technology for advancement and
I was getting confused.
"Now about English. English is a common language for communication because England ruled many of the places where the technology is being developed right now."
"And no, the Internet was not created in America, but was created at
Zurich at the
"See, in fact, it is the diverse culture and the diverse language that will finally make things better. Language wise, we might find things difficult as things stand, but a I feel that therein lies the advantage. Knowing different languages and cultures makes us rich. If the world spoke only one language and had only one culture, it would be quite boring."
"Yes, it is up to the content providers to make the contents widely understood. This has always been the case, whether it be books or CDs or cassettes or any other medium of communication. The medium does not determine what we convey. It only decides the effectiveness of the matter being conveyed. In the end, it is the content brings out the most in the medium and not the other way round."
Sigh. I told you I admired him.
"Hmm... sounds like you are almost on my track," and with a mischievous look at me, "and you seems to agree too ! What a surprise ! I mean an argument reached consensus !"
Let Kiran say what he wants, I am not going to take the bait.
We all nodded. I decided I was going to put all this down on paper. I could do with something good for my homepage.
"Thanks a bunch, guys, bye.", and he dissappeared as abruptly as he
Message in Public Interest
Human. Professional. Technologist. Musician. Naturophile. Linguaphile. Traveller. Philosopher. Friend. Don't-Worry-Be-Happy-ist.