The www is an oral medium (actually, an oral medium hybrid, but I'll come back to that): The fastest you can hear about a page on the www is the fastest people can carry the message by telling each other.
This is even more true of email, before spam, and more evident too. The fastest information can travel is the fastest you can receive the email and forward it or a version of it to someone else.
There are two large hybrid parts in the nature of the www.
There's a different abstraction point in email. The message and message reference are once more combined so that when you forward a message you take a copy of it and send it on. This is oral. However, the break is between the person and the reference to the person (you, and your email address). Because of this break, people-references can be gathered in a way people themselves can't -- the relationship is similar between your television and you. Your television is a reference for you, the viewer. That these addresses are independent of you gives email the aspect of a broadcast medium, hence spam.
I've deliberately not mentioned anything about webpage being person-proxies because I think that's an abstraction point too far. The nature of the www is independent of the means the webpage addresses are communicated.
A few further throw-away points:
(Yes, I'm currently reading Understanding Media (Marshall McLuhan, 1964), so apologies to all the media studies students out there for getting everything wrong as I undoubtedly have. Any pointers towards understanding the various media on the internet would be very welcome.)
Apologies in advance for the sudden dive in taste, but I have to pass on the fad mentioned in Maria McErlane's column in The Sunday Times: "My favourite gossip of the evening, though, was speculation about celebrity anal bleaching. (Apparently one can now have the skin around the rectum bleached to make it, er, more socially acceptable.) I just love the idea of a Hollywood husband saying: 'Oh darling, you need your roots doing'".
Coming soon in Hello magazine, a do-it-yourself celebrity glamour guide involving a bottle of Domestos and one of: a hand-mirror, or a very trusted friend with steady hands.
Another 3G application: Collaborative filtering of locations. Your handset relays your location to a central server, which: runs your location through a Geographic Information System to find the properties you've been in; matches the properties against a business directory to see which commercial places (pubs, shops, cinemas, museums, tourist attractions) you've visited. Using the following pieces of information:
...then you can compare that information against the same set of information for everybody else using the same service, and in particular against people who have the same kind of visits/interests as you, and use it to suggest: People like you also visited....
Imagine. You visit a new town for the first time, stop in at a cafe that looks nice, and hang around in a couple of little bookshops. Based on your behaviour so far, and the kind of places people like you enjoyed when they went to that town for a weekend, your phone recommends a small photography exhibition down a sidestreet you would otherwise have missed. Refine the suggestions by reporting back whether you had fun.
Kevan points out (by email) that with your 3G handset acting as a Conversational TiVo there'd be a lot of uncomfortable "Is that thing on?" going on. Okay, so: you're in a group of people, all with your handsets out. The handsets talk via Bluetooth to register interest in a conversation. A group is determined by looking at the various phone addressbooks, and comparing volumes of components of the conversation. To listen to something that happened on your own recording, you need approval from other members of the group.
Or another solution. A gizmo strapped to your neck over your voicebox has three modes of vibration which subtly alter your voice: one mode for public, one for private, one for this group only. You can alter which mode with a simple switch. The recording device extracts and understands this vibration mode before allowing playback and uses it for Digital Rights Management, ie a device will refuse to play speech that has a "private" voice watermark imprinted.
There are more 3G applications in the Interconnected archives.
3G mobile killer app: Conversational TiVo. Taking advantage of the always-on and high-bandwidth nature of the 3G network, the cellphone keeps a rolling recording of the last 24 hours of audio. At any moment you can jump back in and listen to that name you were told ten minutes ago; archive a speech and email it as an mp3; do voice-to-text on that taxi phone number somebody mentioned earlier this evening; find out exactly what you were talking about in the pub at 10.30 last night.
In the www architecture corner, this email from Roy Fielding to Tim Berners-Lee on URIs and resources is view-changing. Fielding's position is that a URI is an opaque reference to a resource and a web page is just one representation of that resource. It's a shift away from Berners-Lee's position that a URI is an identifier for a document, and that document comprises the resource itself. This small change in metaphor gives quite a good lever for understanding and building things on the www, and leads almost directly to the REST architecture.
Teledyne Water Pik Family Oral Irrigator WP-30, a review [via Memepool]. My sides very nearly split.