Wunderkinds! (Indexed FoRKs in Nerds 2.0.1)

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From: Janie Wilkins (wilkins@princeton.lib.nj.us)
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 09:50:21 PST

Our library has just added two hardcover copies of "Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief
History of the Internet" by Stephen Segaller to our collection. The
publisher is TV Books, which "publishes books developed from quality
television". Perhaps many of you have already seen this book as it was
published in 1998 (around the same time that the television show aired
on PBS with Rohit making several appearances). Our library has owned
the complete Nerds video sets since they first came out and it is funny
that we did not purchase the companion book -- in fact, we still haven't
bought it as there is a book plate at the front of both copies stating
that "This book was added to the Library's collection thanks to the
generosity of the author". Basically, this book is the transcript of
the television program in a very readable format.

Here is a little bit of index trivia:

The index entry for Khare, Rohit contains 4 references -- pages 15, 289,
290, 320. [note: I have not had time to examine the index fully and I
am sure that there are several FoRKs, past and present, who also appear
in the index.]
By comparison, John F. Kennedy has 5 indexed references (p. 35, 36, 38,
43, 100); Larry Ellsion has 3 (p. 221, 354-55, 356); Jeff Bezos has 2
(p. 13, 347-349); and Jimi Hendrix and Sammy Davis Jr. each have one
indexed reference (p. 330 and p. 119 respectively). Surprisingly, Tim
B-L has only 7 indexed entries (p. 20, 284-86, 288, 289, 290, 291,
333). Also of note, Steve Ballmer is in the index 14 times; and Bill
Gates is in 18 times compared to 11 entries for Steve Jobs.

For the record, and to make sure the archives are complete, here are the
Rohit "King of the Wunderkind" Khare references that appeared in the
print version of "Nerds 2.0.1":

Rohit Khare, a twenty-two-year old wunderkind of the World Wide Web
Consortium, claims that in the Web universe, "a person with two years'
experience has gotten more experience in Web years than someone who's
got twenty years of the previous generation of programming (p.15)

Rohit Khare is a Web wunderkind, whose career has already included a
spell as an executive of the World Wide Web Consortium in Cambridge. he
has subsequently become a Ph.D. student at the University of California,
Irvine, developing new Web protocols and studying the process of
Internet standardization. At the age of tweny-two, he has as much
hands-on experience of the Web as anyone: "The key insight I credit Tim
Berners-Lee with, is the URL. The idea that says there's a Uniform
Resource Locator that says I can point to any particular bit of
information on the Internet. If I mean that you should go to this
university, look in their FTP [File Transfer Protocol] archive, and
download this picture of a Corvette and put it up on a screen, I now
have a way of doing that. Whereas before I would have actually had to
send you an email telling you to use your file transfer client, go to
Washington University in St. Louis and go to the graphics directory and
get the Corvette" (p.289)

Like the ARPAnet, the World Wide Web is not a commercial product, an no
one has made any money by selling the Web application. As a consequence,
according to Rohit Khare, it has evolved quickly, and in a collaborative
fashion" "The Web is a success precisely because it is not a monolithic
new software product. You don't get Web 9.0 in the mail on a CD-ROM.
The Web is a collection of a whole bunch of small technologies that fit
together because a couple dozen people all thought about how they'd work
together cool. They're all being evolved constantly in realtime by
thousands of people around the world. There isn't any central release.
You can't go anywhere to go buy a copy of Web." (p.290)

The acceleration of technological progress has also leveled the playing
field between experience and youth, according to Rohit Khare. In 1997,
no one had more than four years of Web experience. So in two years of
working for the World Wide Web Consortium, at the age of twenty, Khare
traveled around the world fives times, was involved in half a dozen
technical initiatives, ran over a hundred standards organization
meetings and public events: "This is completely without comment. This
is not out of the ordinary. That's just the pace of events, you expect
to get two hundred e-mails a day. You expect to not be able to survive
more than forty-eight hours out of e-mail connectivity." (p. 320)

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