This is an article I wrote for the May issue of Metro Sports, a free Boston newspaper on sports and activities around the area. I wrote it at the request of the guys at the Inline Club of Boston (ICB). The final version (on the streets on or around May 5, 1995) was slightly edited down, but retains pretty much the same content as this one (the original!).

Skating the Web

Like a comet, whose tail is but a blur, she silently grazes the pavement, hands barely off the ground, in a graceful yet powerful rhythm. Aided only by two small pockets of technology confined to her ankles and feet, known by most as inline skates, she is able to break the human speed barrier in a smooth and flowing release of natural energy. This is the final stretch of the course, which ends at her apartment, where she will embark on an entirely different experience.

Again empowered by the leading edge of today's technology, we can "surf" much of the known Infosphere - what we call Cyberspace - on an abstract wave known as the World Wide Web. The Web is a multi-branched thread of organization utilizing the communication pathways of the Internet. But it is so perfect in its concept that it brings great power to anyone with access - both the Web's authors and its surfers.

The Internet itself is not really a "thing." It really refers to the interconnectedness of many of the world's computer networks. In fact, the Internet by itself is not very useful. Think of it as a telephone network for computers. It may provide a way for the computers to talk to each other, but unless they know who to call or what to say, what's the point? That's where the Web comes in. It sits "on top of the Internet," and provides some sort of road map to what's out there. It really brings the Internet to life!

The Web links computers to each other by reference points in what we call hypertext - a kind of "living" text. Each unit of information is called a "page," and contains key words or phrases that are highlighted (colored) and can be clicked on to take you to another page somewhere else in the world (hence the "web" idea - these hyperlinks are sort of like strands of a giant web, stretching all over the world!). In a matter of minutes you will find yourself surfing all over the globe, finding information you never thought existed. And this information is not just words. The Web supports total multi-media, including pictures, sounds, and short movies.

As you might imagine, this is the perfect context for a club or organization to tell the world what it is all about. And the most likely people to find this small pocket of information are those following links from other related pages on the Web. Thousands of people also have their own little parcels of space on the Internet. We can now enter the miniature worlds of other individuals and see what interests them. They can express themselves in endlessly creative ways. Would-be artists can place their work up for public viewing in Cyberspace perhaps to be discovered some day. And the great thing is that you, as a "surfer," can choose to look at or ignore what you find. It's totally up to you!

The Inline Club of Boston (ICB) has joined the Web and so can be considered "real" in the realm of Cyberspace. Now anyone in the world can find out about the club, its members, and activities. All you need to know is the address of the club's "home page" (and have a computer and an Internet connection, of course!). The term "home page" really refers to the collection of pages that make up a Web site. Here's the address:

This is the place to check for the most up-to-date info on the club, like the event and activity schedule. You can also read some great club trivia like its history and purpose. Another new attraction is the club email list, which you can join. All the info you need to start getting volumes of skate-banter is on the Web page, or send email to and put "help" in the body of the message (you'll get some info on how to join the list)!

Currently, the ICB Web site is mainly informative. Since the Web is so multi-media oriented, there are many opportunities to include cool skating pictures, movies, etc. This is only the beginning...

So hold onto your chair and get ready to surf. As in inline, there are no speed limits on the Internet, and cruising down the paths you will discover is quite exhilarating indeed!

Blue Skies, and happy surfing and skating!

Joe Peterson

...or hey, visit my Web page...