Net diary or how Internet changed our life

Posts about changes produced by Internet since the first years of WWW ! Tweet On 28 9 106 17 18 3 zito
from address wrote:

Word frequency in a text

The other day I was overwhelmed when I found on Amazon
that I could for scanned books, not only search the
occurrence of any word, but also have the most used
100 words represented as a "word cloud". This gives
a rough idea of the book content.
In addition Amazon will give you a list of around ten
"Statistically Improbable Phrases": these are sentences
that are present only in this book.So probably thse sentences should describe what makes this book different
from other books on a similar argument.
Another list given is that of Capitalized Phrases frequent
in the book.

All these informations are reported in the section "inside
the book"

I looked for such statistics for the Summa of Saint Thomas:
I found them only for a book containing a summary of the
Summa and of course the most used word were: god, good, man,

The reason of this search was that at least 30 years ago
in the prehistoric age of computer programming, I followed
a presentation done by a monk that for the first time studied with the use of computer (no scanners available)
the concordance in Saint Thomas Summa. It was an heroic
feat, and now voila' you have everithing done for you from
the computer and available from internet.

On 27 2 106 11 36 5 zito
from address wrote:

Social bookmarking: the way of the ants

How to make valuable resources on Internet readily available?
The way of the editors was the worst and it has almost

It is a lot better to mine the collective intelligence
of people browsing the Web.
This is what Google has done by giving each page
a rank based mostly on links from outside pages.

But now with and other sites , there is
an even better way. It is the way of the ants.
Each ant by seeing(in fact scenting) the trails followed by other ants,
becomes instantly very good at reaching valuable resources.
Delicious simply makes visible your web trails and in this
way there is no need of having all those bots classifying
the web: the users themselves are doing the job guiding other internauts to valuable resources.
Can this in the end make the Google way obsolete?
We will see.
On 3 1 106 11 59 zito
from address wrote:

The Chinese are coming!

What will happen when all Chinese will be online on Internet?
I have no idea.But we surely will see a lot of changes.
Until now the language of Internet was english. No other language was so used that it could challenge the fact that if
you would reach everyone on Internet you should use english.
India the biggest nation after China , has also english
as mother language. But for China it is different. Will
Chinese people learn English or there will be two Internets:
the english Internet and the Chinese Internet?
What will be the influence of Chinese Internet behaviour on
search engines? Will the Chinese, only because of their number,
make some sites very popular? I have seen in some social
service the first signs of "Chinese influence".
In any case this is a good thing and I eagerly wait for
my Chinese neighbors to become Netizens.
On 2 11 105 13 54 4 zito
from address wrote:

End of printing and TV

The PSP with a web browser and wi-fi connection is a first
approximation of the device that will make TV and books
Imagine a device the size of a pocket book with an
high resolution display that can show a book or newspaper page without loss of information. That weights like a book , that you can take anywhere and has a high bandwidth connection to Internet. That costs like a PSP or less.
With a browser installed you can download any book
and also look any TV channel.
On 28 1 105 14 10 4 zg
from address wrote:

Fighting trolls,vandals and spammers

I have some hypertext that can be changed by readers, but
I use some home-made tools and it has never been abused
by spammers, vandals and trolls.
This is not the case with other netizens and it is
really a sad view that of open wikis badly damaged .
I am curious to know how a project like Wikipedia
where everyone can contribute, controls the quality
of articles.
They use administrators elected by the more active users
to check everything and cancel damaged pages. They can also
vote to decide to completely delete an article.
They use a set of changing rules which are the result of
a discussion going on all the time to adapt to changing
It is interesting to see if they will succeed.

On 26 1 105 18 24 zito
from address wrote:

It's about 10 years since the last time I visited my department library

My last visit to the department library was done around 10 years ago.
I mean in person. I visit the library site often
to consult the electronic version of research journals. Instead of browsing the
paper copy in the library for new articles, I visit the web site of the publisher.
Or ,at least, this was what I did. Now there is a better way. I use Bloglines,
a web rss feeds aggregator, and subscribe to the rss feed of the Journal.
Bloglines informs me when new papers are available. Another way to catch interesting
new documents in my field of interest is by searching both the popular
section and the relevant tag section.
I don't miss my visits to the department library, but sometime I have to check if there is
still a paper journals display area...
On 16 12 104 18 24 zito
from address wrote:

On the irrelevance of the Web

Umberto Eco speaking about the book Schott's Original Miscellany says that culture and also our life is based
on "digesting" and ultimately destroying tons and tons
of irrelevant facts and information. If we remember
everything and don't destroy anything we become like
Jorge Luis Borges Funes el Memorioso:an idiot.
Then he says that the WWW is like
Funes el Memorioso .
On 1 3 104 15 16 zito
from address wrote:

The next Google

There is no doubt that Google has changed our life.
Google has set a standard of search excellence.
When we will have the next Google? Yahoo has made public
its new Web database. Its results are very similar to
Google's results:so they are using the same algorithms.
This is the first time something like this happens!
I imagine that in the future we will see interesting things!
Altough Google works, there is plenty of space for
improvements. What about those trillions of online
documents waiting to be classified. What about keeping
the documents that are deleted by the sites?
On 7 11 103 17 15 zito

November 7, 2003

from address wrote:

It's night in Italy:hundreds of thousands of computers
are busy swapping files.

What you do if you have an ADSL connection and can stay online
all the time? We now know the answer. You share files. This
seems to be the true killer application that will use almost
all available bandwidth for a long time.
On 28 10 103 12 20 zito
from address wrote:
October 28, 2003

The juvenile acne of Internet

Will spam destroy e-mail? I don't think so. I have my e-mail
adress in hundreds of Web pages, so my rate of spam in the mail is perhaps 99% (I don't know exactly the number
since most messages are filtered and destroyed before reach
me). Awful you say... Well , yes and not. I consider them
just something inevitable as Internet grows and becomes
adult. In the future we will look at spam with the same
way that we remember the pimples and zits of our juvenile
acne. When we were young it was an awful tragedy but
seen from far away it is something that makes us laugh.
On 16 10 103 18 49 2 zito

October 16, 2003

from address wrote:

Unicode one of the good things of Globalisation

I find truly amazing that now you can read on the Web text
in any of the major character sets (cyrillic,arab,chinese,etc)
All this thanks mostly to the magic of Unicode.
Those strange four digit numbers that the browser transforms
in exotic (for me) shapes like this sequence of arab
that I don't have any idea of what they mean but for a lot
of other people are essential for their communication.
On 7 8 99 1 45 5 sam nelson

from address wrote:

i am really satisfied with the way the internet makes me feel about my life..

i have alot of "internet friends" that are really friends and are there for me whenever i need them. Sometimes i am sad after i get off of the internet cuz of how much intense sad feelings it gives you..
its so crazy when ever i get on for a long period of time and talk to friends .. i get all sentemental and mushy..
i dont know how to explain it but its so wierd.

well if someone feels the same way about this email me ok
sam nelson
On 24 3 99 11 34 2 zito
from address wrote:

Globalization of ideas

We think about globalization as something that concerns
only the market.There are no more boundaries among nations
and we have now a global economy. But,with internet,
globalization reaches any realm.Consider,for example,
the powerful ideas that we call with the name "religion".
Why not having a globalization movement also for religion?
And for culture in general? I am not saying that we
should all have the same ideas, but that like on Internet,
where each idea is accepted, so in the real world, boundaries
among groups should collapse and we should see places used
by all groups. For example, cult places shared among different
religious groups.
On 17 7 98 13 20 roberto gilli
sorry for the mistake..
narrative hpertext in italian

from address wrote:
hi and sorry for the link mistake....

just 1 note: as the nice zito home-page illustrate:

the link between memory and hypertext (in particular with HTML) it is very strong.

so another way on which internet changed my life:
thanks to internet i learned HTML and with HTML i becomed more able to "organize" my mind and my memories (see
(before html i used a dos hypertext: hyplus: a very good one...)

ciao di nuovo
On 17 7 98 13 4 5 roberto gilli
(a hypertextual narrative work in italian, comments appreciated)

from address wrote:
did internet change my live?

let me immagine my last 4 years without the net:

completely different: so internet changed my live...

1- work: teleworking in the last 2 years (work at home it is nice...)
2- people: to keep in touch with distant friends
3- new people: meet new people and discuss, it is a very important aspect
4- information: probably one of the most important thing:
to see who are working in some particular field, what they are doing and thinking:
a really need when you are thinking on "strange idea" (i mean "strange" as no-one near you think about it)
discovering that "you are not alone" and grow with other person is the most important aspect of internet.

finally: i can not immagine myself without internet.

hi everyone

On 23 6 98 1 5 4
from address wrote:

The Internet moves us closer to a unified global community.

Are we ready for it?
On 7 5 98 15 57
from address wrote:
The Internet

hasn't changed my life very much (apart from
more than doubling my phone bill).

Surfing as a hobby
doesn't have a high priority for me.

On the other hand, it has made me more keen on the quality
of information of topics that interest me, and the best way
of getting that information.
And it's a good way to get into contact with people I
certainly never would have met otherwise. The Internet
makes you more 'connected'.
It also offers new ways of communicating. Email is
somewhere between talking and writing a letter to someone.

It's only beginning. (Good site this, by the way).

Rob Biemond
On 2 3 98 12 47 zito
from address wrote:
March 1,1998

Netsurfing like walking in a library

When you walk in a library and browse a book you are
seeing together with the page, the entire book, the books
nearby, the shelf, etc. This helps a lot us in sorting out
the relevance of the page we are reading. We can even
understand from the state of the book how much it is popular.
On the Web we see only the page and almost nothing less,
so you are uncertain about the value of what you are reading.
At least this was true until now. A new service,called is starting
to change all this. What alexa is doing is,first of all,
an attempt to archive the Web. Doing this, they have built
a database with information about Web sites. They will make
this information available to you ,so, when you arrive at
a new page , you already know how popular is the site, how
many pages it contains, etc
Unfortunately you have to "pay" this service with the fact
that you have all your surfing monitored. But,as I said,
this is only a first attempt.
On 9 2 98 15 49 zito
from address wrote:
February 9, 1998

The disturbing nearness of evil

Internet is a new communication medium. In my opinion,
its importance is equal to writing and print. Like these
other two technologies Internet is making possible
communication at an unprecedented level creating
a global community. Where print and writing made possible
the creation of empires and nation, Internet will make
possible the creation of a single community.
There are places now, like the search engines which
are visited by millions of people from everywhere in the
But I don't want to speak here about borders among nations,
I would like instead to speak about other walls present in
our real life communities. Evil is something present
everywhere humans are, but we usually manage to keep it
out of sight in our everyday life.We have built "walls"
to keep it hidden, like the room of forbidden books in
some libraries. But evil is there everywhere in real
life and in Internet. Internet is evil like writing is
evil, when it is used for evil purposes. What is different
on Internet, is only the fact that we have (not yet) built
those walls to keep evil out of our sight.
For example looking at what people look for on search
engines (what some of them allow) gives you this
disturbing feeling of seeing the human nature in its

On 29 10 97 13 12 2 zito
from address wrote:
October 29, 1997

Consult the expert, ask your son!

There is no doubt that now the technology behind Internet
(or the computer in general) is too complex for most people.
But there is no doubt also , that the new generation has
a certain fluency about hardware,software and internet
even without spending a lot of time with technology at home.
So,it comes with no surprise that kids are the best experts
around when older people need help. In Costa Rica they are
doing an experiment of having elections for the Government
through Internet. When aged people go to vote, they are first
trained by who? Elementary school pupils!

On 6 10 97 15 53 2 G.Zito
from address wrote:
Oct,6 1997

Building the temples of memory

One of the main use of our homes is to serve as store and
display of objects, pictures,recordings that remember the
past of our families. This is very important for keeping
our personal identity and ultimately our humanity, especially
when we become older and the memory in the brain starts
failing. The sense of being part of a family is also
sustained by these materials when we share them with our
relatives ...
What a perfect place to build such temples of memory is the
Web! Especially if the members of our family live far away.
Now you can share your familiar memories in any moment
and everywhere.
On 23 9 97 11 38 5 zito
from address wrote:
sept. 23 1997

The content, where is the content?

The situation is really depressing. If you take a good book
on any argument and try to find the same material on the net,
you will find almost nothing. In the best case the equivalent
material is dispersed in a plethora of sites among a lot
of junk. It seems hopeless. But wait...There is a big difference
between the Web and paper books. When a book goes out of
print its content is lost. On the Web content will instead
accumulate so I see a slow increase in the quality of the
sum of all contributes until we will perhaps start having
the equivalent of a good book without having the paper
book online and then books only on paper
will become marginal if not obsolete.
On 10 9 97 19 0 1 zito
from address wrote:
Sept. 10,1997

From home pages to electronic living rooms.

What is a personal home page? Everyone has a different
idea about it. And this idea changes with time. For
example for me, first the home page was more or less
a CV than has changed in a place where I can find quick
access to tools connected to my work, but also a place
for people interested to what I do. I also have added some
decorative gadgets and also some more serious tools that
allow anyone to discuss with me and to see what's going
on now. It seems that more and more personal home pages
are transforming themselves in the future electronic
living rooms. Imagine having a 3D VRML living room decorated
with always changing paintings, video screens, music
players, and other gadgets. But this is also something
that you can share with friends. A friend can enter,hear
and see what you have put inside the living room communicate
with not only with rudimental webchat,but also with gestures
of the avatar, or voice, or writing in a digital whiteboard
. Then we can engage in some videogame.
On 9 9 97 14 50 5 zito
from address wrote:
Sep. 9, 1997


The mourning on the Web for lady Diana,reminds me of
an episode happened some time ago. I was looking for fractal
images on the web and I found one especially interesting.
Seeing that it was part of someone personal home pages,
I looked at the main page,finding the following message:
X Y died away suddenly on xx yy 1996 etc...
This prompted my curiosity to look at what happens to
personal home pages of people passed away and in general
how mourning of loved ones is reflected on the Web.
I discovered a part of the Web unknown and touching.
For example the people is ising a lot of pages from
Geocities just to create a memorial for a dead relative.
Virtual memorial garden
is a good starting point to explore this part of the Web.
On 24 7 97 10 19 zito
from address wrote:
24 july, 1997

net archaelogy

Sites in cyberspace that are not regularly updatet become
like ghost towns. Link rot will gradually set in:some
addresses will change, some online material will be
deleted or lost. At the end you will find mostly ruins
like in the archaelogical traces of a city no longer
inhabited:only very few links will still work and it is
only useful to get an idea of how was cyberspace in those

On 11 7 97 8 56 1 zito
from address wrote:
11 july, 1997

A first for the Web

The Internet people is getting crasy about Mars and you
can see the effects. The backbone from Geneva to Usa
,usually very fast, after midday GMT gets slow.
I am getting hits on a page of mine only because the
word "Marte" was present there. This seems to be the
first global event that, at least here in Italy, has been
followed more through Internet than normal TV networks.
Does it mark the start of the decline of traditional
On 7 7 97 16 33 5 zito
from address wrote:
July 7, 1997

How they sample the Web

Search engines databases are not growing anymore and all
sample something like 50 millions of Web pages.
This was the size of the Web one year ago:50 millions
pages from 100,000 sites. now we should be at around
150 millions from 650,000 sites. So the question is:
how are the search engines sampling the material.
It seems that they are sampling a few pages from every
site;only frequently accessed sites are completely
sampled.They are focusing more in keeping the data base
updated. The idea behind is that most of the queries are
answered from a small percentage of the data base.
For some time, this will work but what will happen in a
few years? A possibility can be a collaboration among
search engines and webmasters that will put meta data
like a list of keywords in documents describing the content
of their site.
Another possibility are specialized search engines which will
target for example a language or a field. In this case the
major search engines could act as general encyclopedias and the
others as specialized encyclopedias.
On 20 6 97 20 6 5 Jory

from address wrote:

I read the previous messages about how Internet changed your life,
and I couldn't help but notice that nearly nobody gave a more personal
view, I mean

what influence Internet (e-mailing) has on somebdy's private life.

Can I say something about that?
First of all, for me Internet gave me the oppurtunity to "meet" quite
a lot of people all over the world, with whom I have good and profound
contacts, some who I can even call my friends now. We can "talk" about
nearly everything and when I need a little bit of support or some "smiles"
because life is sometimes difficult, they are there for me with kind words
or good advice or really stupid jokes that make me laugh! (thank you Gennaro,
you are the best!).
mailing with each other intensively since the beginning of December and
you know what, it was as we were old friends seeing each other again.
There was so much to talk about and we already knew so much about each
other. Next month when I go to Italy on holiday with my family (I live in
Holland) I hope to see my Italian e-mail friends (tell Gennaro he must come
to the Abruzzo!).
The only "negative" thing about this communication might be if you fall
in love with somebody who lives far, far away and when mailing is the
only form of communication. That can be frustrating!!!
When are they going to invent Internet-travel, so when you type somebody's
e-mail address, you can be with him/her in a flash!!!
Thank you for listening.

On 5 6 97 19 27 1 zito
from address wrote:
5 June, 1997

Internet the source of disinformation

All information on Internet,no matter what the source,
should be potentially suspect. Internet is the source
of disinformation. Perhaps this is true also for Tv and
paper magazines, but usually we consider these sources
as trusted only because we are lazy. But on Internet
you are on your own, you must judge anything for youself.
On 4 6 97 15 19 1 zito
from address wrote:
June 4, 1997

Welcome to the biggest technical support service in the world

The Net is the biggest technical support service in the
World. Only the Net can answer every problem because it has
encountered every problem.You have a problem with your
computer? Ask a newsgroup, look at the FAQ's , search
Altavista:there is someone out there that has had your
problem before and can help you. No organization, no
service can match what you can get from all the people
connected to Internet.
On 28 5 97 14 20 5 zito
from address wrote:
May 28, 1997

Test Drive to Internet

Obviously, for people already connected to Internet,
everyone will be soon connected to it.
But,in fact,there are some problems convincing people
who have something better than struggling with a stupid
computer, to buy one only to get connected to Internet.
A solution is that the computer disappears in some way:
this is what has happened with Web TV and will happen
with other devices that will soon appear on the market.
Another possible solution is to let the people experience
Internet by giving them a kind of free test drive.
It's like car producers trying to convince people to buy
their new model. Probably this is what will happen in future,
when the only way to convince new clients to buy a computer
will be the use of Internet.
On 23 4 97 15 53 5 zito
from address wrote:
April 23,1997

The law of Internet growth

Last 11 months our server has had in total 1 million hits.
In the last month the number of hits has been only twice
the number of hits one year before. Instead right now,
yahoo is having 11 billion hits/year and growing by 400
percent per year. What means all this? As the number
of users grows (by year 2000 500 millions), the number of
sites will also grow phenomenally (in 2000 100 millions
sites expected). The users will have more and more material
at disposal but they more and more will favor big sites.
So the traffic in small sites like ours will grow very
little but Yahoo probably will jump to 200 billions hits
in year 2000. When I started this business I espected
our server hits to grow like Internet:in fact it doesn't
work like this, since the number of sites in competition
is growing more than the number of users!
A recipe for growing the number of hits based on this
trend, is to increase the material in your site in such a
way that the users tend to get "captured" in the site:this
is what is happening with the bigger sites like Yahoo that
now offer a staggering number of services.
On 16 4 97 19 8 2 zito
from address wrote:
April 16, 1997

Trying to summarize the web hypertext

Search engines face the big problem of trying to summarize
both single documents and the full Web.
Concerning single documents, it is interesting to see how
different search engines summarize the same document.
You can understand in this way the problems that robots
have to classify documents.
Another problem for search engines is how to summarize the
material which is not classified. Hotbot has found some
interesting solution, since it will classify also directory
listings. In this way it will have at least,if not the content,
the names of the files which compose the worldly web.
On 10 3 97 16 8 1 zito
from address wrote:
March 10, 1997

The fluid state of Internet

There is nothing better to understand the fluid state of
Internet, the fact that it is continuosly changing, than
to keep a list of around 100 hyperlinks alive.
After few months most of the links will be dead,if you
don't check and update them frequently. I can understand
this:a document of mine is by now present with four
different adresses on different (or the same) search engines.
You must change adress every time you change server.
Since computers last only a few years,so URL have to change
continuosly. I don't know if there is any solution to this
On 6 3 97 15 33 zito
from address wrote:
March 6, 1997

The revenge of the geek

Many,many years ago a book called "Computer Power and
human reason" described for the first time the geek.
Now after the pc revolution and the Internet revolution
what was a small group with peculiar concepts has become
maistream.Words once spoken by this exclusive class are
now on the tongue of everyone.The "dummy series" of book
after explaining obscure computer subjects is now
attaching other more traditional fields like sex and
wine making.The computer section in bookshops continues
to expand invading other sections.
On 5 3 97 13 21 4 zito
from address wrote:
March 5, 1997

Shadows and lights of cyberspace

A few days ago I was present at a seminar with this title
given by Prof. Angelo Meo from Politecnico di Torino.
It was intended to explain cyberspace to lay people.
I have mixed feelings about it. It started very well with
a semi-ironic presentation of Cyberspace and the new
technologies as blessed ones with "Saints" and "miracles".
Then it presented what he called the "Act of faith of
cyberspace" with all the things Cyberspace will make
possible like instant democracy. The conclusion was
pessimistic and quite unespected.
What Meo said is more or less this:the new technology
not only wan't solve any real problem but will accellerate
an awful economic situation of the world with more and
more persons unemployed.
I found that conclusion strange since I think about cyberspace
not as a technology but as a new way to communicate among
humans. Seen in this way I can only find it beneficial.
Being humans social animals, everything helps increase
the communication like telephons are beneficial.
It is true that cyberspace is made possible by the same
technology that is perhaps producing this World Crisis,
but perhaps it can help in solving these problems.

On 4 3 97 13 29 3 zito
from address wrote:
March 4, 1997

The e-mail address of Umberto Eco

As an exercise of Web surfing, I have asked to students of
my mini-course on Internet to find the e-mail address of
Umberto Eco. From his writings I know he has one, but out
of my students search nothing turned out. This was some
time ago so I concluded that Umberto Eco prefers to keep
secret his address. In the meantime having received myself
some "strange" e-mail messages, I can understand why Umberto
Eco is doing this. These strange messages are both replay
to messages I never sent or bounces of messages sent
apparently by me but I didn't write. I have in this way
discovered that anyone can send a message with your name
and using your mailer. For example a simple and stupid
joke is that someone subscribes to a mailing list for you.
But worse someone can send hate mail to people that you
don't know using you name. In these mails by looking at
the path followed by the mail I could try to understand
who was using my name:but perhaps also this data can be
On 26 2 97 12 51 4 zito
from address wrote:
26 February, 1997

One server per person

Yesterday I have installed on pcba10 my "personal server"
I mean Web server. This is installed on a PC on my desk.
I am asking if in future, anyone will have a personal
server on his desktop computer. Up to now there are
around 400,000 Web server to be compared with 16 millions
computers connected to Internet(with Internet address) and
probably 100 millions people connected.So the personal
servers should be very few. This isn't a problem of lack
of addresses:with the new scheme we can have (and will
probably have) in every house dozen of computers connected
to Internet (one for each piece of "intelligent" machinery
around). It is possible that in future,anyone will have
a standard name for his webserver like now you have a
telephone number or a e-mail address?

On 24 2 97 15 17 3 zito
from address wrote:
February 24, 1997

The size of the Web

There are projects to store a copy of the We,as it is now,
to use it in future to study the history of its growth.
This brings back questions about how big is the Web now.
It seems that there are something like 100 millions
html documents with an average size 4K and time span 40
days. The multimedia part has been evaluated as being
4 times the html. This isn't such big an amount of information.
You need now around 10 Terabytes of space (1 Terabyte=1000
Gb).This is about 10,000 CD. Or if you prefer 5000 videos.
More or less the amount of information in the Ascii text of
the 20 millions books contained in the Library of Congress.
On 21 2 97 11 56 zito
from address wrote:
21 February, 1997

Write on the world your knowledge of the world

I find the post-it cards very useful:you write the information
and put it where you need it. Internet is the ultimate post-it
since it is a medium which is everywhere. If I write some
information on internet on how to do something, I can find
it anywhere in the world where I need it. In the future
when Internet will literally follow us,like a pager now,
we would write on Internet informations about any
activity we perform(not only activities connected with
computer) and we will access them exactly where we need them.
For example,we have again this problem with the oven.
We remember we have solved it once writing how to do it
on "Internet". Having this kind of terminal in our pocket
connected to internet we find the information, put the
"terminal" right in front of us and follow the instructions
to repair the oven.
On 20 2 97 11 56 1 zito
from address wrote:
20 february, 1997

Free internet for everyone?

From time to time here in Italy we can hear rumors about
giving free internet access to students or,in the last
days, to everyone.
But what does this mean? To access Intrnet you have 3
kind of costs:
- The Pc to access Internet with a modem (around 3 ml lire)
- The annual fee to a Internet provider (around 300,000 lire)
- The cost of dial to Telecom(1500-60000 lire per hour!)
From this costs you see that the only beneficiaries of the
Internet explosion are Telecom and computer vendors.
The people connected at these level of costs are only 1%
and the Internet providers have very little to gain having
to pay themselves a lot of money to Telecom for leases lines.
No wonder that the biggest Internet provider:video on line
has been sold from the former owner Grauso to the Telecom
It is obvious that to start really Internet here the costs
paid to Telecom for the calls to connect to Internet must
drop. There have been rumours about opening everywhere
green lines(the equivalent of 800 numbers in USA) with free
calls to allow everyone to access Internet.
Also with this you have still the other two costs (remember
that a PC needs also a lot of money just to maintain it):so
Internet will still be for few not everyone.
On 19 2 97 15 47 3 zito
from address wrote:
February 19, 1997

Waiting for agents...

Waiting for digital agents doing searches on Internet for
us,the search engines are starting to offer a new kind of
services much more sophisticated than the simple query.
For example Excite offers a list of the answers ordered
by site. Also the same search engine allows you to explore
documents similar to those found by clicking on a link
near the document. Something similar but built dynamically
is offered from the "Live Topics" service of AltaVista.
After you made a query with thousands of documents in the
answer it builds a graph of keywords connected to the
subject and you can explore these "connections" including
or excluding keywords.
On 17 2 97 20 7 2 zito
from address wrote:
17 February, 1997

The greening of local cultures

As the english language is becoming more and more the
Internet language (around 85% of Internet content is written
in english) the other "imperial" languages like french,
spanish,etc feel threatened. They feel that they will
have the same fate they caused to many small languages
connected to local cultures. In fact these local cultures
and the thousands of other languages present in the world
have nothing to complain about Internet. For the first time
they are able to contribute to the global evolution of the
human language on the same level of the languages of
once dominant cultures.
On 13 2 97 14 34 4 zito
from address wrote:
February 13, 1997

The metamorphosis of search services

In this moment Yahoo,Excite,AltaVista are in the first 10
places in terms of number of accesses. They are exploiting
this success using their pages for advertising. Also AltaVista
after almost a year without advertising now has its always
changing adverising banner.
But they are trying also to exploit the success of their
service by offering other services different from search,
in the attempt to convince the user to spent more time
on their website.They are for example offering news,so
when you connect yourself to the site you can have the
latest news. For example Yahoo is offering news from Reuters.
Excite is offering "News Tracker" with news from many sources.
This is a powerful addition to their services and it is
interesting to see if they will be able to compete with
the professional news sites like CNN or Pathfinder.
On the other hand Hotwired has understood the importance
of such search engines and has created its search engine:
On 12 2 97 13 30 5 zito
from address wrote:
February 12, 1997

Microsoft is rewriting Office in Java

I expect that sometime in the next months Microsoft will
make this announcement. Up to now, the reaction of Microsoft
to the Web has been relatively slow but also overwhelming.
Once the decision taken of going to Internet, it has
completely embraced the new technologies contributing also
to their success. I don't see why this should not happen
with Java. Of course they have to think about it, but in
my opinion they can only benefit from such a decision.
It is true that part of the success of Java is due to the
opening of a new platform in concurrence with Wintel,but
it is also true that up to now Java with other Internet
technologies are increasing,not decreasing, the percentage
of Wintel machines on the market. This is because these
technologies work better on this platform and this trend
will continue with Java.
On 11 2 97 12 10 4 zito
from address wrote:
February 11, 1997

Who controls Internet

As Internet continues its phenomenal worldwide growth more
and more issues about its control are brought up in local governments and
tribunals.It becomes more and more clear that no
local laws can control it.
Take the case of the german judges that request
some documents to be taken away from a german
web server:the only consequence has been that
now the same document is available from a
dozen of servers outside Germany.The only organizations
that by now can control to some degree Internet
are multinationals like Micosoft,Compuserve,etc.
And this brings up another problem:local governements
are almost powerless not only with Internet but also
with these multinationals.For example:why and how should
USA control Microsoft if this same multinational is
also one of the main sources of the economic wealth and power of USA?
There are only two possibilities for control of Internet:one
is already here:Internet is in some way
autocontrolling itself by enforcing its Netiquette rules. The
other one will require the building of a real worldwide
government that unlike ONU will be able to issue and
enforce laws on all mondial issues.

On 5 2 97 14 9 zito
from address wrote:
February 5, 1997

Internet time

Given the fast growth of Internet, everything which is connected
to it happens at a fast pace. The Internet year corresponds
perhaps to 4 months.New versions of programs will come out
after 6 months instead of 2 years. In two years the web
has gone from plane html to internet phone, to internet
radio transmission,etc Virtual Reality with Internet has
at last started to take shape and we are already to VRML 2.
Going to the situation here at the University:in two years
we are going from a University with no network facilities
(only our department out of 20-30 had a lan) to a completely
cabled University with access to Internet in every building

On 4 2 97 13 11 4 zito
from address wrote:
February 4,1997

Welcome to the internet casbah!

The Usenet newsgroups remind me the casbah of the internet
city. I live in Bari where we have the equivalent of a
casbah,which is the old city.It is the heart of Bari,the
quintessential Bari both in good things (the magnificent
San Nicola church is there) and bad things (criminality,
scippatori,etc). I enjoy going there for a stroll from
time to time:it is one of the (few)pleasures living here.
I also go every day for a stroll in Usenet neswgroups:
I read only 2 or 3 but there you get of first hand feeling
of what is this community which is building right now in
cyberspace. Like in a casbah everything is exagerated in
Usenet with its flames, spamming, etc...
Urban legends and rumors run fast and repeat themselves
day after day. They may look disturbing to newcomers or
make some old Internet resident say that Usenet is like
10000 elephants shitting around.
But,after a while,you accept both the bad and the good things
and enjoy the stroll like I do in "Bari Vecchia".
On 3 2 97 13 27 2 zito
from address wrote:
3 February, 1997

Let's talk about the baby

When you talk about a baby you know that he is growing and
everything you do is influenced from this contnuous change.
Nevertheless you alrady know how more or less what he will
look like in a few years.
The same situation we have with Internet with the
difference that we don't know what it will look like in a
few years. Those that criticize internet on the basis of
how it does look like now, are perhaps considering problems
that will disappear with maturity. Altough Internet has
reached the critical mass and we are now sure that the
information highway will be Internet, on the other end is
has at least 5-10 years of growth before it reaches maturity.
It is the same situation that in physics is called change
of phase:the water is starting to boil but there is still
no clue to what it will become.Peoples like "Silicon snake
oil" Clifford Stoll, or the same Bill Gates speak about the
future of Internet giving the impression that they know:
perhaps thy know less than the others.
On 31 1 97 14 40 1 zito
from address wrote:
January 31, 1997

24 hours of life in Cyberspace

The apparition of this book in the series "24 hours in
the life of a nation" illustrates well the point that
Cyberspace is an international community,a new nation,
that includes all people connected.
I think that anyone that is working from some time on
internet has this idea of internet as a place full of
people like a big town.
From where I get this idea of a place? Not only from
browsing, or receiving mail, or partecipating to Newsgroups
or chat.
There are other things that give me this feeling of place
full of people whith a definite structure.
You have almost a mental map of it although this changes
continually. From where you get this map?
For example by looking at the complete hierarchy of Usenet
newsgroups. Or by looking at the logs of my server.
Or by looking at the queries people do to search engines:
that allows you to see them. So you get a feeling about who
is the Internet people:how many people you have from
different nations,is the percentage of women online increasing,
Also the page What's new from Yahoo
gives you this sensation of a community growing and changing
in continuation.

On 30 1 97 14 3 5 zito
from address wrote:
January 30, 1997

Personal memory, mankind's memory

Wanting to put a link to more information on a list of
people working in the department, I put a link to AltaVista
Now it is becoming common:you want to know what your colleague
is doing and you ask a search engine.
Well, sometimes I ask a search engine also to know what am
I doing! I explain:I work on many computers and it is difficult
to keep track of every file, but if the files are on the Web
I can use a search engine to search through my files.
Why not? This possibility offered by Internet and search
engines is extraordinary and offered to us for the first
time:I wonder if search engines will be able still to offer
it in the next years when 1000 millions people will be
connected to internet instead of the around 50 millions now.
I see for example that since six months there seems to be
no increase in the number of documents stored on the
greatest search engines(in this period of time the material
on the Net should at least have doubled). So what will
happen? Perhaps it is unthinkable that search engines can
store all files like they more or less now, but the amount
of documents that they can manage has proved to be huge.
In fact,since in the Net everything is connected, it is
not necessary for them to store any document. When for
example they reach a tree of documents, it is enough to
store the document in the root since this will allow
someone to reach all other documents. So perhaps around
one document per person would perhaps be enough.
The more complete lists of documents in special fields
can be kept from interested people.

On 29 1 97 13 25 1 zito
from address wrote:
29 January, 1997

Cut and paste programming.

During the HTML course that I do, there is someone that has
absolutely no experience with computer programming but
is so interested with Web documents especially interactive
ones, that after having mastered HTML wants to master also
Of course Java is a programming language and to master it
instead of a few days (the time you need for HTML), months
if not years are requested. So, what should I answer: follow
a academic course and then come back?
But perhaps, I have found a solution:teach then
"cut and paste programming" .
First thing: get the JDK and install it on your computer.
This shouldnt be very difficult.
Second thing:try to compile and execute some simple applet
or application. Don't write them yourself:just cut them from
the Net, paste them in your text editor and save them.
Then proceed with compilation, etc.
This again shouldn't be very difficult.
Now we come to the real work:shop around the net and cutting
and pasting, create your private library of applet and
applications complete with source code.
At this point he/she should start trying to do some trivial
changes to the code.
For example:
changing a output sentence
drawing something different
adding a button
With time the student should go from a mechanical cut and
past of the code to some understanding of the same.
Of course, in the meantime months are passed, but I said
you that it isn't easy!
On 28 1 97 12 53 5 zito
from address wrote:
January 28,1997

The next step after the invention of writing?

The invention of writing around 6000 years ago made possible
the development of empires. The roman empire is unthinkable
without the writing technology.Societies that had only
spoken language until very recently(like Northamerica Indians)
could afford only a tribal society but nothing similar to
modern nations.
In fact the modern nations have been strenghtened by the
invention of printing. So the available communication
technology has dictated the range at which human societies
could collaborate toghether. The spoken language is only good
at the village level, the written word can bind nations.
And now Internet is another (big) step . This is the first
technology that can bind a society at the planetary level.
Each Net citizen (Netizen) feels himself/herself a member
of a worldwide community.
On 27 1 97 12 3 5 zito
from address wrote:
January 27, 1997

The first uses of a new communication technology

As soon as Gutemberg had put to work the first printing
press,they started printing on one side bibles on the other
side porn books.
Being humans like they are, there is nothing to wonder
about the fact that almost the same happened with Internet.
Last summer I visited an exhibition of ancient greek painted
vases here in Bari. Guess it:two thousands years ago a
common theme of vase paintings toghether with Gods, was
porn images!
On 24 1 97 11 58 zito
from address wrote:
January,24 1997

Esperanto is here!

There is this dream about a universal language,the Esperanto,
understood by anyone in the world. Well, after Internet,
English has become,de facto,the esperanto. I write English,
instead of Italian (my mother language), on Internet when I
want to communicate with anyone in the world, not only with
Will this destroy the local languages?Not at all,but in the
global village of Internet, we will have both:also before
Internet in Italy this two language situation was very common:
for example my mother language was a dialect spoken only in
south Apulia and then there was italian.
Our sons will probably experiment the same situation but at
another scale:Italian will be "the local dialect", English
the common language.

On 23 1 97 13 20 4 zito
from address wrote:
January 23, 1997

Meet you in

In the HTML course I give, to demonstrate that the
Web is a two-way communication medium, I play this
kind of game with students. We have all Netscape
pointed to one of these guestbooks available on many
sites. We start communicating using only this guestbook.
For example I ask:
Find a french flag and post it.
The students will search for flags images on the Web
and once find one they will send a return message
like this .
The student that sends first the right image wins the game.
Then I note that we could have been everywhere in the world.
We used a Web server to communicate as one can use a post
office or a Telecom office.
Of course, the people on the Web are aware of this
possibility and there are many sites that offer services like:
- Free email service
- The possibility to send anonymous mail
- The possibility to send illustrated postcards
- The possibility to chat in real time with people that
are surfing on the same site.
So,perhaps, in the future the surfing experience may become
a social experience:you arrive at a site,look who is around,
start talking with friends that happen to be there.

So, meet you at at 10:00 GMT sharp!
On 22 1 97 17 0 1 zito
from address wrote:
January 22,1997

CD-roms are flat and finite,the Web is round and infinite

The main difference between CD-roms and the Web as source
of information, isn't so much in the quantity of information
(Although the information on the Web may seem huge, a search
engine like AltaVista can keep a compressed copy of a
percentage of the web on its disks) as in the fact that
the Web is made by people and this makes the Web as
information source limitless.
Consider the case of these italian parents
La Repubblica)
with a newborn baby that has a rare genetic illness:
the Stickler syndrome. A search on AltaVista has put
them in contact with the people partecipating in a
mailing list about this disorder:in this way they
can access all the information they need .
Can a CD-rom or a library give this kind of help?
On 21 1 97 11 42 5 zito
from address wrote:
January 21, 1997

Check the spelling on Alta Vista

Quick, what is the exact spelling :
accelleration or acceleration.

You get 400 hits for the first and 109000 for
the second,so ...
I use AltaVista also to find the meaning of a
word unknown to me in english but also in italian
and many other languages. You look for the word,
then read one or more documents containing it, and
from the context, try to understand its meaning.
On 20 1 97 19 50 zito
from address wrote:

January 20, 1997

Last chance before everything goes to WWW

In a cartoon by Sidney Harris,the cartoonist
who does many science cartoons,there is a
bookshop with a sale advertisement that
reads " Last chance before everything goes to
WWW". I have discovered that the caption in
the original cartoon was:
"Last chance before everything goes to
microfilm" !!!
So,if books survived microfilms, they will
probably survive WWW. But I must admit that
I buy less books and magazines since I
surf the Web. I still prefer reading paper
more than a computer screen , but more and more
frequently what I read on paper is printed
from the Web. So I go less to the Department
library and instead of xeroxing some paper
from a magazine, I print it directly from
the Web.
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