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Blog Posts for 2021

September 21, 2021 | 0 comments

When it comes to the future of the Internet, Doug Comer has moved past hope...and on to expectation.

A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Comer wrote the first series of textbooks explaining the scientific principles underlying the Internet’s design and communications protocols.

In a recent video interview, Comer said that his initial early hopes for the Internet, including reliable public access, were surpassed years ago. He is now banking on a future that includes infrastructural improvements that facilitate greater network access. 

“In terms of hopes, I’d say I have expectations that things will continue to get better in terms of technology,” he said. “We will have faster, more reliable, ubiquitous Internet everywhere, all the time.”


  

September 9, 2021 | 0 comments

When you listen to Klaas Wierenga talk about the development of eduroam, the access tool that provides academics and researchers with wifi roaming services at campuses around the world, you hear one phrase over and over again: “So I said, ‘Sure!’”

That spirit of affirmation is what made the development of eduroam possible. Saying “yes” to working together is what the system is all about. In fact, Wierenga calls eduroam “the poster child for collaboration.”

Launched in 2002, eduroam is currently available in 106 territories around the globe, connecting hundreds of academic institutions. Travelling students, faculty, and staff log in via their home-institution network no matter what campus they happen to be on. End-to-end encryption means that private-user credentials are only available to the home institution.

In addition to giving visitors wifi access, eduroam relieves the host institution from having to provide guest access. eduroam can also be used as an institution’s complete wireless network to serve its own campus.

The man who planted the eduroam seed that “grew into a very big flower,” as Wierenga puts it, was an indifferent high school student. “I would pass every year with the absolute minimum,” he says. The university environment, though, sparked his interest. Wierenga performed his government-...

August 25, 2021 | 0 comments

Thirty years ago, the World Wide Web was in its infancy. 

In a retrospective piece for ZDNet in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Internet Hall of Fame inductee Tim Berners-Lee turning on a server that would become the World Wide Web, Steven Vaughan-Nichols noted that that action dramatically changed the world. 

Prior to that server being turned on in August 1991, Internet access was limited to the military, scientists, researchers, and academics. Within two years, the public was starting to learn about the Internet and its potential uses. 

Vaughan-Nichols wrote about the web’s launch in the early 1990s and acknowledged that at the time, he didn’t completely grasp the magnitude of what he was covering. 

“It was, after all, created to help scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, share search, not share cat pictures,” Vaughan-...

July 31, 2021 | 0 comments

Apparently you can put a price on history. 

Tim Berners-Lee, a member of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, recently auctioned off a copy of the original source code for the World Wide Web as a non-fungible token. After adding in auction fees, the package sold for $5.4 million, with the proceeds going to organizations selected by Berners-Lee and his wife.

The anonymous buyer will be able to download or view the 9,555 lines of code originally written in the early 1990s. The purchase also comes with a 30-minute video showing the code being written, a digital poster, a graphic of Berners-Lee’s autograph and a letter from Berners-Lee about the process involved with creating the code. 

In a statement to Bloomberg, Berners-Lee said the auction preparation work sent him on a trip down memory lane. 

“The process of bringing this NFT to auction has offered me the opportunity to look back in time at the moment I first sat down to write this code 30 years ago and reflect on how far the web has come since then,” he said.

July 29, 2021 | 0 comments

Doug Comer did not see spam coming. 

A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Comer wrote the first series of textbooks explaining the scientific principles underlying the Internet’s design and communications protocols. His 1987 textbook series is now widely considered to be the authoritative reference for Internet protocols and is credited with making them more understandable for a new generation of engineers and information technology professionals. 

In a recent interview, Comer said it caught him off guard the first time he saw the web being used for nefarious purposes rather than academic or more benign needs. 

“We didn’t assume bad people would be using the Internet,” he said. “When spam appeared, that bothered me. When people started using the Internet to do crime, we knew any technology would be used by criminals to do crime, but it seemed completely out of the range of what we were thinking.”

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