For one South American country, Internet access would be just a dream without the contributions of one woman.
One of the first women to study computer science at Uruguay's University of the Republic, Ida Holz graduated almost 20 years before the country had widespread Internet access.
Despite being introduced to computers via Fortran punch cards, Holz went on to become one of Uruguay's most vocal advocates for email development and Internet access expansion in her home country in the 1980s and early 1990s. In a Spanish language interview with El Observador recently, she noted:
"When we began with the Internet here, we looked at each other sideways," she said. "I remember the lawyers told us that the Internet couldn't happen here because there were no owners, no regulations. They kept assuring us it would be anarchy. But it happened, in a way that nobody expected.
"We don't know what's going to happen within 10 years, but the world advances and the speed with which it has changed in these last 20 years is impressive."
The Internet Hall of Fame has translated into English the full interview from El Observador below.
Ida Holz: The Uruguayan of the Internet
There once existed a world...
Despite the average web page only lasting 100 days before being deleted or edited, international efforts are underway to preserve the Internet in all its ethereal glory.
Inductee and pioneer in artificial intelligence and supercomputing, Brewster Kahle began bulk-capturing the web in 1996 and storing it on the Wayback Machine, which now carries more than 273 billion often-defunct web pages.
The Wayback Machine is part of Kahle's Internet Archive, a nonprofit Internet library dedicated to ensuring that historic web pages are preserved as cultural artifacts, and accessible to everyone.
Based in San Francisco, the 20-year-old archive adds more than 250 million pages per week, including an extensive trove of Balinese-language material, old GeoCities pages and, in the near future, Vine videos.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Kahle said he firmly believes in making all human knowledge...
Although the years of the “flower power” culture that Teus Hagen says helped shape his ideals are long gone, the accomplished mathematician and Internet pioneer is still a bit of a rebel.
Retired for nearly a decade, Hagen says one of his “hobbies” is environmental activism.
Now a resident of southern Holland, near the Phillips GrowWise Center that was established to develop models for urban farming, Hagen says he is committed to gathering data for environmental protection.
“I do a lot of things in this area,” he said. “To try to wake up the politicians about the unhealthy state in which we live.”
Hagen says he collects data from all over Holland, and posts it on a website to show the true state of environmental pollution as measured under the international Air Quality Index followed by the United States and China.
“The website provides charts and graphics for environment pollutants in the agricultural environments in the whole of the southeastern part of the Netherlands and neighboring Germany border,” Hagen says.
“The data originates from governmental measurement stations. Charts and graphics are calculated into the international Air Quality Index. The graphs enable the user to compare the situations over the years and warns about recent air quality...
Teus Hagen is a self-admitted product of the “flower power culture” of the 1960s and ‘70s.
And like many early Internet pioneers from that generation, it was his willingness to challenge authority – and break some rules – that played a crucial role in development of the global network as we know it today.
For Hagen, it started when he was a student assistant in the 1970s at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), the Netherlands’ national research institute for mathematics and computer science.
Hagen says he was working on a complicated graphics project and looking for a better operating system when he found an article about the Unix operating system being developed by Ken Thompson. So, he sent him a letter. In return, Hagen says, he was given a free Unix license.
Armed with one of the first such licenses in Europe, Hagen initiated Dutch Unix User Group (NLUUG) and the European Unix User Group (EUUG, later called EurOpen).
But the system, he said, was in its very early stages and needed some work, and to keep it running, Hagen says, “we needed to interchange, exchange knowledge. We did so via the phone system using modems from the US.”
“To make that possible I created a dial-up system in the mathematics center,” he said. “But communicating...
Able to read a webpage in Korean? You can thank Dr. Tan Tin Wee.
His efforts in the mid 1990s opened up Internet access for millions around the globe whose first language uses a non-Latin alphabet, such as Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. Prior to 1995, only ASCII characters could be displayed on online interfaces.
Dr. Tan was also involved in introducing the Internet to the disabled, including personally setting up modems, routers and network cards for the Singapore School for the Deaf.
In an interview with OpenGov, Dr. Tan said his efforts were in an attempt to facilitate access to information not only for himself, but for his colleagues around the world.
“At a personal level, it’s about making a difference in the way I think about information,” he said. “ From the perspective of my research community, the most important achievement was enabling researchers to search scientific data online with ease...