Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, has launched a scathing attack on IT workers for the casual way in which they refer to his invention.
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) he claimed that abbreviating ‘World Wide Web’ simply to ‘the web’, or worse still ‘the interweb’, is failing to acknowledge this monumental achievement.
“I have given the world a great gift and expect due reverence when referring to it. IT workers have become increasingly sloppy in their attitude to technology, often considering it ‘cool’ to deliberately abbreviate or mispronounce words. I can tell them here and now that it is not big and it’s not clever.”
“This sloppiness is now spreading to other technologies”, he went on. “Social networking sites such as Facebook are being amalgamated with entirely unrelated video sharing tools like YouTube to create an unfeasible chimera called ‘FaceTube’. Not only is this puerile, but innocent members of the public are being fooled into thinking that the geeks have made a mistake, only to be embarrassed that they are not ‘in on the joke’.”
“I believe this childishness emanated from America’s Silicon Valley, where young pioneers of information technology took to inventing silly words for their latest inventions. Flexible magnetic data storage discs (Type 1 Diskettes) were named “floppies”, after two hippies at IBM took a long and alcoholic lunch. The smutty innuendo continued with the invention software protection hardware, which was ‘hilariously’ named a ‘dongle’!”
“As a student in the late 80s I was lucky enough to have access to the immense processing power of the computers at CERN. It took hundreds of hours of computing time to generate a name for my HTTP communication tool. The program searched literally every letter of the alphabet to find the letter with the most syllables. This letter, which was found to be W, was then fed into a second program to generate a workable three-letter-abbreviation (TLA) which is three times longer than the phrase it abbreviates. Hence the World Wide Web was born.
“Having deliberately made it almost impossible to say ‘double U double U double U’ I now find that my invention is referred to as ‘wubble U wubble U’, or even ‘wibbly wobbly’. I even introduce two entirely unnecessary punctuation marks known as ‘strokes’ into the address line to appeal to the smutty-minded, but the geeks reject this in favour of saying ‘forward slash, forward slash’ as though they were pissing on my genius.
“I hope that my declaration at the foundation of W3C will suitable restore my standing as an inventor and pompous pontificator: to ‘Advance the Web to empower humanity by launching transformative programs that build local capacity to leverage the Web as a medium for positive change’. Unfortunately I got a bit carried away with this and accidentally abbreviated my own invention!”