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The Web at 25: Dot-com bubble bursts and breaks me, too

Part 1 of The Web at 25, my look back at the first quarter-century of all things www, left off with both the Web and myself at the peak of an awkward adolescence in early 1995.

This is where things start to get really interesting.

Data nerds who shunned the Web when Tim Berners-Lee first demonstrated it in the United States in 1991 could no longer ignore it mid-decade. After the pioneering Mosaic Web browser launched, the Web saw an annual growth rate in service traffic of 341,634 percent, according to author and early Internet evangelist Robert H. Zakon.

In the span of about two years, Mosaic transitioned from a university-based project to a publicly traded company named Netscape that saw the price of its shares close at more than twice the opening price on their first day of trading in August of 1995. Companies grow up so fast these days, don't they?

From that point, the dot-com bubble began inhaling all the air (and capital) in the room and didn't stop until it left us all with economic Bubble Yum stuck to our faces.

There are millions of stories told about this epic boom, bubble, and bust period. This is mine. … Read more

Google Maps Gallery debuts as Web's interactive digital atlas

Ever wanted to know the best escape route out of a city in case of an emergency? How about which of the world's coral reefs are in the greatest danger? Or, the exact route of the Lewis and Clark Trail in 1814?

All of these maps are now far easier to find because of a feature Google launched on Thursday called Google Maps Gallery. This gallery is full of interactive digital maps from a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofit organizations, such as National Geographic, World Bank Group, and the US Geological Survey.

The topics covered in the maps … Read more

Who needs 100-foot scuba limits with this 1,000-foot exosuit?

As anyone who's ever been a recreational scuba diver knows, diving beyond a depth of 100 feet requires special training. So imagine being able to go down to 1,000 feet and stay there for hours.

That's the goal of the deep-diving "exosuit," a "next-generation atmospheric diving system" that will be on display at the American Museum of Natural History through March 5.

The 6.5-foot-tall, 530-pound, hard-metal suit is designed to let a diver reach depths of 1,000 feet, where water pressure is 30 times that of the surface, and to conduct … Read more

7-foot-tall hedgehog piques 'Natural Curiosities'

If Sonic is the first name that pops into your head when hearing the word "hedgehog," British naturalist Sir David Attenborough wants to change your perceptions about the prickly creature.

A life-like hedgehog statue, measuring 7 feet tall and 12 feet long, covered in coconut fiber and over 2,000 wood spikes, was unveiled on Clapham Common in London to launch Attenborough's new nature series, "Natural Curiosities" on UKTV this week.

"Natural Curiosities is a really unusual series so we thought the best way to mark it was by doing something quite surprising," … Read more

Behold Google Street View's Taj Mahal imagery

It's said that roughly 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal in India every year. Now, tourists don't need to get a plane ticket to witness the wonders of the ancient white marbled mausoleum.

Google Street View just unleashed its latest mapping project, which covers not only the Taj Mahal but also 29 other Indian landmarks. Armchair explorers can wander the grounds of Humayun's Tomb, gaze at the intricate details of Red Fort's sandstone walls, or trek around the ancient temples at Muvar Koil.

"These Indian heritage sites have historically been admired by those lucky … Read more

Quickly retrieve past messages in Messages for OS X

Apple's iMessage is the company's alternative texting service, and is the default service for anyone using an Apple devices. As with any messaging service, when using it you may want to quickly access a message or two that you've sent, either to send it again, or to copy it for use elsewhere.

One approach is to scroll through your message history, and manually select and copy the contents of a desired message from the previous bubble.

This approach is doable, and is perhaps easiest for retrieving a message when browsing far back through your history. However, if … Read more

Take a trip down memory lane to Google's first data center

Before Urs Hölzle became Google's first chief engineer, he took a tour of the company's server room at the Exodus data center in Santa Clara, Calif. Not yet a Google employee, Hölzle was taken there by Google co-founder Larry Page on February 1, 1999, on possibly the shortest Google data center tour of all time.

"You couldn't really 'set foot' in the first Google cage because it was tiny," Hölzle said via Google+ on Tuesday, almost 15 years to the day since that tour. Hölzle continues to … Read more

Review: Clipboard History keeps up to 20 clips at a time for easy copying and pasting

Clipboard History stores up to 20 text clips at a time to make copying and pasting a much quicker and more efficient process. For items that you copy and paste frequently, you can create "stickies," permanent entries that don't cycle off of your clipboard as you add new items. You can also customize shortcut keys for accessing your clipboard and pasting items.

The interface of Clipboard History is pretty minimalist, so it can be a bit confusing to use at first. But since there aren't many features, you'll get the hang of it quickly. Just … Read more

Google's peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. doodle

Google's doodles aren't universally popular.

Last week, the Washington Post published an opinion from Justin Moyer, who suggested that history's great names had become "marketing tools."

Of course, it's not just Google that has featured famous people. Apple's "Here's To The Crazy Ones" as is all about a company attaching itself to history's rebels in order to sell a computer.

Still, for Martin Luther King Jr. day, Google offers a simple, peaceful rendition of Dr. King.

Moyer in his piece wrote: "We'd be appalled if McDonald's … Read more

Code breaker casting call: Be a part of Bletchley Park history

Do you have what it takes to be cast in an upcoming digital experience for the historic Bletchley Park Trust?

Made famous by the likes of Alan Turing, Dilly Knox, Enigma machines, and the world's first electronic computer, Colossus, Bletchley Park was home to more than 10,000 employees -- more than half of whom were women -- that included code breakers, mathematicians, cryptanalysts, and linguists. Their efforts in breaking the Enigma machine codes intercepted from the Germans and other enemy forces may have shortened WWII by years. … Read more