The Gluten-berg Diet – The Flour of Innovation Advances; Petal to The Metal
The next great leap toward our modern Web came with the further development of the written word and unquestioningly the invention of Movable Type.
The world’s first known movable type system for printing was created in China around 1040 A.D. by Bi Sheng. This never really caught on as being practical though, as the Chinese writing system has thousands of characters and that’s a lot of type to move around.
So generally, at least in the western world, Johannes Gutenberg is credited with inventing a viable & improved movable type mechanical printing system,,, around 1450. I mention the date, not because it is hugely relevant… I just want you to believe that I actually did some research on this.
However, the ability to distribute information in printed form was truly a big step forward. No longer did everyone have to come to the source of the information (wall) but now, the information could be sent out & distributed among the people. Its just a pity that no one could read back then. But that did not lessen the popularity of this new-found source of communication. Toilet paper had not yet been invented… so everyone eagerly subscribed.
So okay… at this point we were not yet ready to refer to this system as the Information Super Highway. It was more like the Info Rut in the Cart Path of Future Enlightenment. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it does have a nice ring to it. And it was definitely a step forward.
Equally important and spawned by the ability to distribute printed information, was the advancement of “the medium” No, not psychics. Paper!! The medium the information was printed on. Originally paper was very expensive & difficult to create. In fact, paper did not become truly affordable until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. And at that time, the flow of information literally exploded in the form of distributed newspapers, books, magazines, catalogs, almanacs & hand bills. Printed information became extremely popular. In fact, an American president was elected on his promise to provide a chicken in every pot… and a Sears catalog in every outhouse.
This was truly the dawn of our modern Web. But it was still limited to the speed and range of the distribution network. And the flow of information was also limited to one direction; from supplier to consumer. It would take something both mysterious & miraculous that pre-dated ancient man to move us to the next great leap toward our modern world wide network. Stay tuned. I’m sure you will find this next chapter… electrifying!! (Cont)