Summary and Info
Correcting the Great Mistake People often mistake one thing for another. That’s human nature. However, one would expect the leaders in a particular ?eld of endeavour to have superior ab- ities to discriminate among the developments within that ?eld. That is why it is so perplexing that the technology elite – supposedly savvy folk such as software developers, marketers and businessmen – have continually mistaken Web-based graphics for something it is not. The ?rst great graphics technology for the Web,VRML,has been mistaken for something else since its inception. Viewed variously as a game system,a format for architectural walkthroughs,a platform for multi-user chat and an augmentation of reality,VRML may qualify as the least understood invention in the history of inf- mation technology. Perhaps it is so because when VRML was originally introduced it was touted as a tool for putting the shopping malls of the world online,at once prosaic and horrifyingly mundane to those of us who were developing it. Perhaps those ?rst two initials,“VR”,created expectations of sprawling,photorealistic f- tasy landscapes for exploration and play across the Web. Or perhaps the magnitude of the invention was simply too great to be understood at the time by the many, ironically even by those spending the money to underwrite its development. Regardless of the reasons,VRML suffered in the mainstream as it was twisted to meet unintended ends and stretched far beyond its limitations.
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