With the advent of so many forms of communication technology, the average Canadian can take for granted how easy it is to attain information. A simple jump on to the internet can get a person just about any info necessary on just about any topic. And many of them check out this blog on a daily basis! Good for you.
North Americans, in fact, use the internet so frequently that words like “tweeting” and tasks like “updating your status” are commonplace in today's vocabulary and activities. Numerous pop culture references have poked fun at our new society's obsession with the internet. “The Simpsons”, for example, once had the hairbrained Homer Simpson exclaim that he heard that they “have Internet on computers now!” D'oh.
What we take for granted though, some parts of the world do not yet have access to. Earlier today, groundbreaking news was made with the announcement that the internet is set to undergo changes that will see international domain names and e-mail addresses begin to accept non-Latin script.
As Kelly Olsen of The Associated Press reports today, this week a meeting was held in Seoul, South Korea by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN ) to discuss this issue. There is now a likely possibility of the Internet finally allowing after a surprisingly quick four decades the ability for web addresses to be written “in characters as diverse as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic – in which Russion is written.”
Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board, believes that approval for this development with be granted as early as this Friday. “This is the biggest change technically to the Internet since it was invented 40 years ago,” he said, “(It is a) fantastically complicated technical feature.”
For those of you who are scratching their heads at the thought of the internet being forty years old already, its roots actually date back to experiments that were conducted at a United States university in 1969. However, as Olsen explains, it wasn't until the early 1990's that the web was used outside of acedemic and research institutions and became available as an information source to the general public.
Perhaps, however, it should come as an even greater surprise that after all this time, the internet only featured Latin characters, disallowing many Asian nations the ability to surf the web using their native dialects.