Blog Posts for 2017
Although Internet development and the technology industry are fields that have been historically dominated by men, there have been some exceptional women who have made their mark, including Susan Estrada.
Estrada in 1988 founded CERFnet, one of the original IP networks that serviced the academic and commercial communities in California. As executive director, she took the initial National Science Foundation funding of $2.8 million and grew the network from 25 sites to hundreds of sites.
Under her leadership, CERFnet also developed a number of notable firsts for the Internet, including the first deployment of dialup IP, accounting reports for customers and high quality service with 24/7 monitoring.
In 1993, she wrote 'Connecting to the Internet, An O’Reilly Buyer’s Guide', a Barnes and Noble bestseller that gave practical advice on how to get the best Internet service.
As head of Aldea Communications, Estrada continues to consult on Internet infrastructure, and to investigate technologies and techniques needed to increase older-adult use of the Internet.
Estrada was named an Internet Hall of Fame Pioneer in 2014...
2013 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Qiheng Hu was a key player in a team that helped China become part of the world’s Internet community. Madame Hu, along with six different organizations in that country, had to figure out how to connect China to the Internet in the absence of high-end supercomputers. In 1986, the U.S. and Japan had agreed not to sell supercomputers to China, so the team faced the challenge of recreating the technology themselves. In 1994, however, Madame Hu attended a scientific collaboration conference in Washington, D.C., and the relationships she formed there paved the way for China’s eventual connectivity. Watch this exclusive interview to hear more about her pioneering story.
One of the problems with today’s Internet is the unpredictable quality of experience and the inability to really determine why that spinning wheel comes up when you are watching, for example, Netflix.
“We need to begin to find ways to link quality of experience and its impairment to the underlying causes so we can disentangle them.… That’s a question that fascinates me,” inductee David Clark said in a recent interview with the Internet Hall of Fame. “If we know what happened, we might be able to fix it.”
When it comes to home networks, for instance, he says, it can be almost impossible at times to figure out what is causing slowdown or disruptions.
“It could be your ISP. It could be a modem that’s about to fail. It could be congestion. It could be a Netflix problem. It could be the link into your house,” he noted.
Clark relayed a story about his own Internet service: calling Comcast to his house to try to diagnose his network issues.
They sent out a technician who turned out to be “profoundly good,” and he figured out there was a two-foot piece of bad coaxial cable.
“The idea of some slight impairment in this cable, manifesting itself as a Netflix spinning wheel— how do you trace that back? How do you get that fixed? This is what we are dealing with and what we have to deal with to take the Internet to the next level,” he said.
“Then we have to get the Internet deployed to the developing world.”
The tech community is mourning the loss of a pioneer who, despite leaving his fingerprints everywhere, is rarely mentioned in the history books.
Robert Taylor died last month at his home in Woodside, California, last month at age 85 due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.
Taylor’s impact dates back to 1961, when, as a young project manager at NASA, he decided to direct funding towards a project that spawned the computer mouse. Five years later, he convinced his supervisor at what is now DARPA to invest $500,000 of taxpayer dollars to build Arpanet, or the precursor to the modern internet.
While at Xerox PARC in the 1970s and early 1980s, Taylor led a lab team that developed or perfected several innovations associated with modern computing, including icons, pop-up menus, overlapping windows and bitmap displays.
Towards the end of his career, Taylor created and ran the Digital Equipment Systems Research Laboratory in Palo Alto, California, which helped create AltaVista, one of the early modern search engines.
In an obituary published by Wired, Leslie Berlin referenced the...
David Clark is known as one of the original architects of the Internet. Someday he may also be remembered for developing the Internet of the future.
He’s already taken some key first steps, overseeing a National Science Foundation-funded project to get researchers to think more broadly into the future, and is in the final stages of a book summarizing his findings and the ideas that have been floated for an alternative Internet architecture.
The idea behind the project, he said, was to get “at least some parts of the research community” to look beyond the incremental and instead “have the courage to ask the more fundamental questions, like, if you didn’t have to worry about migration, what do you think the Internet 15 years from now might look like.”
“It takes a long time to make changes, so someone has to think ahead,” Clark said.
So what might an Internet of the future look like? One goal, obviously, he said, would be to make it safer.
Another change might be addressing. Currently, the way the Internet works is through the shipment of data packets from machine to machine, he says. One alternative is to make it more about connecting to a service rather than a machine.
“There are advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “As a research question, it’s wonderful.”
One of the most extreme ideas from the research community, he said, would be to have smarter routers that would not only...