Category Archives: history

Internet…Second Life?

So far this class has been quite interesting. We’ve talked about the history of the internet, created a website explaining the details of how it works, and now working on the impacts the internet has had on the world. One thing that we have yet to actually mention is virtual worlds such as Second Life and their impact. I first heard about Second Life in one of my first college classes, when a guest speaker mentioned that he knows people that have paid off their college tuition through Second Life. That instantly sparked my interest of how that is possible.

So what is Second Life? Second Life is a 3D virtual world imagined, and designed by its users. It even has its own economy. People can interact with others, make friends, flirt, build worlds, buy property, run businesses, recreate themselves and do virtually anything they want to. People are able to do anything they could do in a real world and much more. It is a place where peoples imaginations can run wild. Members can even be completely immersed into this virtual world through Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset for 3D gaming. Although it may seem like a game at first, one may argue that it is something far from it.

The earning money part is quite interesting. Second Life has an economy, in which its paid members receive a stipend of $X amount Linden dollars (Second Life currency). With that money, members are able to create products or services and sell them to others. Those linden dollars, believe it or not can be traded for real currency. The info-graphic below will shine some more light on some staggering fact and statistics taken at Second Life’s 10th anniversary. There is a massive list of other impacts that Second Life has had. How Second Life Affects Real Life

Week 5 Forcasting

For the week concerning the future of the internet I liked the idea of us actually using cloud computing and creating free accounts. As far as communicating, I think that we should all meet up via google hangout. Topics such as cloud computing, internet of things, wearable technology, 3d printing are all a part of the future and should be discussed. As far as the actual presentation of the content. We can make a great, thorough explanation of everything in a wiki and possibly extend our timeline into the future.

Moving Forward!

Looking back at week three, I think that the project came together pretty well. The most interesting part about it to me was definitely working with CSS/ HTML, domains and etc. I still would like to see how the internet course site actually works and how it is set up to integrate everything. The way that we decided to explain the content was good because there is an overwhelming amount of information that could be expanded within each section of how the internet works. Steven did a great job leading the class, and I am excited to see the final product.

Now this next week, I am definitely looking forward to some great discussions. Social, political and economic impacts of the internet is a topic that I originally chose to lead before teaming up with Kimberlee to do the History of the Internet. To me, this is probably one of the most interesting topics of this entire class because it directly affects many aspects of our lives. Today the internet is very much woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. It affects business, social relationships, networking, politics, economics, news, media, time management, education, dating, crime, innovation, and so much more. My anticipation is to learn some eye opening facts about how the internet has changed the way we live. Hopefully we can bring an outside speaker to speak with us like we did last week.

Few ideas for next week  that we can brainstorm and possibly take into consideration:

1)Create a thought provoking, informative, youtube video sort of like a movie trailer that shows our research and explains the topic in question. We can use graphics, music, and create something that would generate millions and I do mean millions of views on youtube.

2)Another idea is that we shoot our own TEDx talk and post it to youtube. Hmmm… does this class have its own channel yet? TEDx talk can incorporate our major points, stats, google mapping, and shine light on all of our findings. Approach it in a Pareto’s law kind of a way. If you don’t know what pareto’s law is, click HERE

3) Create a comparison of negative impacts vs positive. The internet has done a lot of good (economic. Social, political, etc.), but also has hindered our social interactions, created a daily distraction, Cyber bullying, crime etcyber bullying, crime etc. It would be interesting to talk about that.

Extra Content: Here is a link that will take you to a channel on TED talks devoted to shining some light on how the internet and social media are affecting our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. Our Digital Lives


Lets Reflect on the History of the Internet

As we continue to learn about the history of the internet, I am continually fascinated with how this massive giant we call the internet came to its existence. It is mind blowing that this is even in existence today. I definitely have built a new appreciation for the internet. One of the most intriguing facts to me is how far back these ideas go back. These pioneers saw the future and potential of technology way before it ever existed.

I am confident that the collaborative effort of the class, fueled by the enthusiasm of the instructors will result in a masterpiece of a timeline.  I love the fact that the torch will be carried on by future classes. I promise you that I will be checking back months from now to see where this thing goes, and what it evolves into. The Google Hangout with Howard Rheingold was very interesting. In all honesty, there is nothing that beats a 1st person point of view. Through the power of the internet, we could possibly link up with many more speakers that may give us 15-20 minutes of their time, and put us back in time so to speak. I don’t know if we will have an opportunity to speak to others as the class proceeds, but it would be exciting to hear from experts, and thought leaders on the topics we study. It would even be great if we could prepare questions to ask the speakers. Now that would be research. 

p.s. Thank you everyone for all of your hard work! 

Chalk talk

I looked over Jim’s collection of chalkboard shots, and thought a little about each one.

In the 70s, we see conditions developing – protocols (like FTP), applications (email, games), and personal computers (Apple II). These things are setting the stage for the Internet as we know it. Viruses are in there too, another part of the Internet as we know it. As Jim mentioned, personal computing and the internet were on separate paths. I suppose they needed to be at that point. The computer needed to develop as a household device so that there would be a broad user base to connect to the net.

The 80s saw a number of networks pop up – USENET, NSFNET, bulletin boards – and further infrastructure development with TCP/IP and DNS. Early in the 80s author William Gibson coined the term cyberspace. Some people in the science fiction community, like Gibson, imagined things to come. This was the Cyberpunk movement. One of Gibson’s famous quotes is “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” I see that idea manifested over and over again in this course. Everything was there long before most people knew about it. Everything has roots that go back much farther than we might expect.

The Web was born in the 90s. By that time, personal computers were commonplace in the workplace, and were becoming more common in the home. The net was becoming commercialized and ISPs like AOL were making home connections more affordable. Services like AOL and Geocities created communities where people could interact online. This led to explosive growth in computer sales. Amazon showed how businesses could exploit online communities, although I don’t think they were actually profitable at any point in that decade. The dot-com boom-bust came from that combination of explosive growth and elusive profitability. P2P and Craigslist, showing up late in the decade, had considerable impact on the offline businesses of music and newspapers respectively going into the next decade.

The 00s seem to be the decade of social media, with blogging, Myspace & Facebook, photo and video sharing, and other sites of that ilk. What’s notable about these, it seems to me, is not so much what people do with them as much as how many people are on them. And the information they have on all those people, which bleeds into the Big Data idea that takes hold more in the next decade.   We also see legal mechanisms to deal with P2P, like DCMA and DRM, and extra-legal ways to deal with that, like Bittorrent and Tor. A major technological event was the introduction of the Iphone, spurring the mobile web.

And that takes us up to the current decade, with even more ubiquitous computing, like wearable tech and the internet of things. Since things are on the internet as well as people, all the possible IP addresses are getting used up, which necessitiates the move to IPv6.

And there’s the international internet – even though the internet always had international input – Davies and Berners-Lee, for example – it started out very US-centric, and a lot of what we’ve talked about in class has been US based even if it is a world-wide web. But if we look at the top sites as ranked by Alexa, only half of them are American. Some countries, like China and Iran, want more regulated communications more than the web was built for. And due to NSA activity, US based sites and servers are no longer considered as secure as they once were. Could this lead to a fracturing of the web? I don’t know, but the character of the internet, its ethos of openness, is changing.

Internet History: Watch the Movie

One of the things I am excited about this go around with the Internet Course are all the resources I’m finding thanks to awesome folks like Alan Levine and Micahel Berman. In the comments of my last post, Alan linked me to Ted Nelson’s YouTube channel. On it you can watch Nelson give his own, very particular, history of the world wide web as seen through his “much misundertood initiative” hypertext Xanadu.

So crazy, not only can we talk about Nelson’s pioneering work in the world of hypertext, but we can hear him ran t about the  history of the web just a easily. Something that embitters him to no end given his own hypertext project Xanadu was jettisoned on the rocky shores of historical obscurity.

If that’s not enough, in the same comment thread Michaal links me to yet another awesome internet history gem on the Internet Archive (he was responsible for pointing me to this gem starring Alan Key talking computer interfaces) about the Internet Superhighway.

Here’s the description:

It wasn’t quite the World Wide Web yet, but everybody started hearing about this thing called “the Internet” in 1993. It was being called the Information Superhighway then. This program looks at the earliest stages of the Internet including Aladdin Systems SITComm, a Macintosh communications program for Internet access, and the WELL (Whole Earth Lectronic Link), an early online community. Also featured is a visit to the former Bell Labs in New Jersey (now Bellcore) for demonstrations of internet based teleconferencing, video on demand, ISDN, and optical network technology; a preview of the World Wide Web as used at NASA; a visit to where it all began, ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency in Virgnia; and a look at the Internet Multicasting Service in Washington, the first Internet radio station. Guests include Brendan Kehoe, author of “Zen and the Art of the Internet”, Howard Rheingold, author of “The Virtual Community”, Dr. Robert Kahn, former found of ARPA, and Carl Malamud, author of “Exploring the Internet”. Originally broadcast in 1993.

The role of documentaries and other resources for framing this relatively recent history is part of the process we need to dig deeper into, and I am really loving this.

How Domain Name Servers Work

In today’s day and age, anyone who goes on a website goes through a DNS, or a Domain Name System. This is the technology that allows us to go from a domain name to an IP addresss. The authors compare the Domain Name System to a GPS system for the internet. They give lots of great examples to explain how DNS works. For instance, the process is similar to that of dialing a phone number to get connected with the person we are trying to reach. On a cell phone, we don’t have to keep our own record of telephone numbers, but rather just click the name and the phone takes us to the number we are trying to reach. When we type in a certain web site, due to DNS, the IP address to that web site is found through a DNS server, which is essentially a big domain name IP address database. The process is called DNS name resolution. Just like a dialing the number on a phone, we are able to get to a web site by typing in the actual IP address right away, but domain names are much more practical and easier to remember. The authors explain how your computer knows what DNS server to use and dive deeper into the complex process of dns name resolution. How Domain Name Servers Work

Domain Name System


Andrew Blum: Discover the Physical Side of the Internet

What is the internet? Where is it really?   Andrew Blum is a best selling author, who went on a two year journey to explore the physical infrastructure of the internet. In his book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, he states, “I have confirmed with my own eyes that the Internet is many things, in many places. But one thing it most certainly is, nearly everywhere, is, in fact, a series of tubes. There are tubes beneath the ocean that connect London and New York. Tubes that connect Google and Facebook. There are buildings filled with tubes, and hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and railroad tracks, beside which lie buried tubes. Everything you do online travels through a tube.” His journey started when a little squirrel bit his Ethernet cable and killed his internet connection. From that day, he ventured into a two year journey documenting giant data centers, yellow fiber optic jumper cables, switches, routers, and even underwater cables. This video gives a better understanding of what actually goes in into making this network of network possible. 

Andrew Blum: Discover the Physical Side of the Internet


“Katie Hafner: The Origins of the Internet”

Link to Article

This article is about how Katie Hafner came to write “Where the Wizards Stay Up Late”. The book written by Hafner is about how the ARPANET came to be created. Created in 1969 ARPANET was the first of its kind. It is the progenitor of the modern internet as we all know it. Hafner became involved with the ARPANET developers due to her interest in writing a book about them in the 1960’s. The book research took over three years, as Hafner visited with and interviewed key members of the Arpanet team. One of the Arpanet leaders with whom Hafner spent a lot of time was Jon Postel, inventor of the Domain Name System, sadly, he died in 1998. Postel was known for not caring about the frills of becoming wealthy due to computer research. ARPANET was ground breaking because it allowed people to develop the current internet we are familiar with. It all started as a military project in order to keep up with the Russians during the Cold War. The Russians had just launched an artificial satellite, which caused the United States to increase the research and development of various technologies including the internet. The main goal of ARPANET was to have a network for file sharing in case of a nuclear attack happened. The ARPANET was capable of functioning without all of its connection sites, which allowed for it to be a versatile adaptable piece of technology. Since the military was in charge of the APRANET group most would think that it was only to be worked on for militaristic matters, however this was not the case as ARPANET was able to be developed for more than just military application, something that was vital to its greatness. Since it was able to be modified and tweaked it allowed for other types of technological innovations to be produced and created. The Arpanet was quietly decommissioned on 28 February 1990. The modern Internet, with its speed, graphics, and video, might make its precursor seem like a dusty antique from a much earlier age, but today’s Internet owes a tremendous amount of its success to research done while building the Arpanet.

“The History of Telecommunications”

Link to Article

Computer science experts have used the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense) for communication between computers since 1969. This for many is the advent of the Internet. ARPANET was initially created in order to enable scientists from different locations to share their research results and also, their computing resources. The first four sites to be connected were the Stanford Research Institute, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The messages traveling between these centers were over 50kbps telephone lines. In 1962 when the ARPANET was being designed, the Cold War was in full swing and so one of the specifications for the design was that the network should be able to survive a nuclear attack in which parts of network were knocked out. Another design feature of the ARPANET which further improved its robust nature was the use of packet switching. In packet switching, the incoming message is first divided into smaller packets of binary code. ARPANET grew quickly, so fast that by 1983 there were 562 sites connected. By 1992, the number of ‘‘host’’ or ‘‘gateway’’ computers connected to it had reached one million. Four years later, the number was 12 million. The term ‘‘Internet’’ came into use in 1984, and this was also the time when the United States Department of Defense handed over the oversight of the network to the National Science Foundation. The Internet is currently run in a very loose fashion by a number of volunteer organizations whose membership is open to the public. Their main activity is focused on the registration of names, numbers and addresses of the users of the system. In 1971, the Intel Corporation produced its first microprocessor, the Intel 4004. It was used in a calculator and its clock frequency (an indication of how fast it operates) was 108kHz. The following year the Corporation produced the Intel 8008 which was twice as fast (200kHz) as the 4004 and it was used in 1974 in a predecessor of the first personal computer. Also in 1974, Intel produced the 8080 which was clocked at 2MHz. The 8080 was marketed to computer enthusiasts as part of a kit and it very quickly became the ‘‘brains’’ of the modern personal computer. By the year 2000, the Intel Pentium III processor had achieved a clocking speed of 1.13GHz (over four orders of magnitude faster than the original 4004). This phenomenal increase in speed was coupled to an equally incredible decrease in price which made the personal computer affordable to the general public.