I don’t need to tell you why the web is important. I don’t need to list all the various success stories and revolutionary advances in web technologies and how they impact our world. You already understand, if only subconsciously, the tremendous power of a world of interconnected human minds. Together we are changing the rules of business, economics, innovation, growth, communication, and self-fulfillment. You can feel it in your gut- the anxiety of knowing that an explosion is about to happen, but you don’t know exactly when or what to do after. This is a natural feeling- we have it so that we act when the world needs us to. And right now the world is needing massive change.
This new era began (for me) in the early 90′s. Raised on an Apple computer, I discovered the wonderous online world when we signed up for AOL on one of the early Macintoshes. I remember the day distinctly- the screeching of the modem, the AOL pyramid, and the key that opened it… magic to the eyes of a 8 year old. That day marked the beginning of my growth as an internet savvy technophile. Some years later I would host my first server on Hotline over my 56K dial up. I established my first alias, HackMac, worked my way into the ‘underground’ crowd and made some smart friends. The top dog at the time was a fellow named The Weasel who ran the popular HackAddict server and e-zine. We all looked up to him, desperate for the scraps he’d throw us now and again when he’d make an appearance. Besides, he was the preeminent Macintosh hacker on Hotline- think Crash Override from ‘Hackers’- he was uber rad. When I began email correspondence with him over an article I wrote for HackAddict describing methods of ripping off coke machines and payphones, I thought I had somehow ‘made it’ and I was ‘connected’ to the underground hacker culture. Pure adolescent nirvana- Christmas paled in comparison.
When The Weasel moved on to bigger and better things (his life) we all felt a void. Well, maybe I more than most. I decided to try and continue his legacy and edit the next generation of Macintosh hacking e-zines: Happle. It was pretty much a flop. I was just getting into a life of my own, and hormones were telling me that trying to get laid was a more important endeavor than trying to find writers and readers for a little known hacking e-zine. I passed the buck onto a british friend named Jambo (who went on to publish another 4 more editions) and completely dropped out. That was over ten years ago.
That, like all first experiences of an important passion, left an indelible impression on me. For the first time in my life I connected with individuals from all around the world, and we accepted each other for our common interests and the pleasure of interchanging ideas. I didn’t realize it then, but this was more than just a neat way to communicate with distant peoples, this was the beginning of the future of human interaction- the infancy of a fully-realized world of interconnected minds.