But how can this be? The Web is the greatest thing thats ever happened to humanity… is it not? First off, I would climbing down out the tree’s probably ranks as one of the best (and one of the worst) things we’ve done as a species, the web hardly comes close to that. That said, the title of this post says it’s taken us backwards, and in a way it has. When Microsoft brought out DOS (and later windows), together with IBM (and later Intel), they introduced the masses to computing. Before that computers had mostly been Mainframe terminals and such. Even as PC’s were taking their foothold in the minds of the human population, Mainframes were still the order of the day within large companies with lots of money to loose. Mainframes constituted (and often worked with and within) very large data-centers.
How does a stupid-old; slow-and-clunky; text-only mainframe relate to the web. Simple.
Your browser is nothing more than a modernized mainframe terminal.
When you use Google Documents; Gmail; Hotmail; Yahoo Mail; Google Spreadsheets; WordPress; (insert other web systems here); the data is stored in a huge big data-center, and the software is running on some enormous server-farm (and in the case of a Web 2 application, they farm a chunk of the work out to your browser). So you see. We’ve gone backwards, it just looks better.