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July 2, 2014 | 0 comments

In the 1970s and early 1980s, during the nascent and internationally tangled development stages of what would become the Internet and the World Wide Web, the new TCP/IP – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol – was thought to be a possible lingua franca, a common language that disparate computer platforms within universities, research facilities, governments and even homes could speak.

But not everyone in the fractured computer networking community was convinced of TCP/IP's viability.

CERN programmer Ben Segal, however, was convinced that TCP/IP was the key to solving computer-to-computer communication problems. Between 1984 and 1989, Segal encouraged CERN, one of the world's largest and most influential research centers, to accept TCP/IP so that the research center's own disparate computer population could all communicate.

Segal also introduced the TCP/IP protocols to fellow CERN researcher Tim Berners-Lee, who used them as a foundation on which to invent the World Wide Web.

A science whiz

Segal's personal history is as tangled as the Internet's. Two years after he was born in 1937 in Tel Aviv, Israel, his ophthalmologist mother left his general practitioner father to return to her...

May 15, 2014 | 0 comments

News media from Europe to the east and west coasts of the U.S. and from South China to East Africa and everywhere in between, covered one of the top tech stories of the year in April: the induction of 24 luminaries into the Internet Hall of Fame. Here are a few of those stories, in case you missed them:

Hosting the induction ceremony for the 2014 Internet Hall of Fame helped Hong Kong burnish its credentials as a “tech town,” said the South China Morning Post.

A Pakistani business publication takes note of the induction of Mahabir Pun into the Internet Hall of Fame for “providing wireless Internet services to villages which had lacked even a telephone service.”

The...

May 6, 2014 | 0 comments

In the 1990s in Nangi village, Nepal, if you wanted to send a small message to another village, you had to walk for several hours because there was no modern communication system. If you wanted to buy a cow or buffalo, you had to hike for several hours over mountainous and rocky terrain to ask the farmers in the nearest village if they have a cow to sell.

Then Mahabir Pun had an idea.

Pun, a native of Nangi, had returned from the US in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in science education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, which had awarded him a scholarship. Upon his return, he founded a high school in Nangi, but he also saw a chance to have a more profound impact on Nepal’s poor and rural villagers. All it would take would be a little money, adventurous and computer-literate volunteers, the evasion of a government ban on the importation of wireless equipment while a civil war was raging, and the installation of wireless network in a sparsely-populated area above 2,200 meters high with no roads, slow postal delivery, and no phones or electricity.

Incredibly, he succeeded. Today, some 175 Nepali villages like his own are connected...

April 24, 2014 | 0 comments

The Internet is a moving target, constantly changing and evolving. As I contemplate its likely trajectory over the next 10 years, I hope whatever form it takes, it continues to exhibit the original values we established in its earliest years. These include the principles of ethics, trust, openness, free access, and shared content. However, I do fear and worry that we are already seeing trends toward certain governments controlling Internet access, conflicts between privacy and security, content and pricing control by a few large players, and more.

At the same time, I foresee a healthy blurring across many disciplines and domains. These “white spaces” open up tremendous opportunities and possibilities: the blurring of physical and virtual reality; the blurring of geography and national identity; the leapfrogging of technologies in developing nations; the rise of autonomous machines and intelligence; the pervasiveness of mobile devices and access; the ubiquity of smart spaces with everything Internet-connected.

The next decade will likely be characterized with extreme mobility, mass personalization, video addiction, location-based services, surprising applications, and continued dramatic societal and lifestyle changes -- and all this wonderful technology will disappear into the infrastructure and be there to serve and assist us wherever, whomever and whenever we are.

Today in Hong Kong 24 new...

April 8, 2014 | 0 comments

The Internet Society has announced the names of 24 individuals who have been selected for induction into the 2014 Internet Hall of Fame. Representing 13 countries, the 2014 class of inductees created new technologies and standards that were foundational to the Internet’s development and expansion, pushing the boundaries of technological and social innovation to connect the world. Read the full press release.

“We all benefit today from the contributions of these individuals, who helped shape the global Internet,” noted Internet Society CEO Kathy Brown. “They forged into uncharted territory with innovative ideas, groundbreaking technologies, and collaborative work to connect more people and countries to the Internet. We are delighted to honor these leaders for their foresight, creativity, dedication, and achievements.”

Internet Hall of Fame inductees fall into three categories: Pioneers were integral to the early design of the Internet; Innovators built on that foundation through technological, commercial or policy advances; and Global Connectors helped expand the Internet’s growth and use around the world.

Over the next 12 months, the Internet Hall of Fame...

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