Although Ed Krol had many storied technical accomplishments during his 30-plus year career at the University of Illinois, the award he is most proud of is having one of his books named one of the New York Public Library’s “Books of the Century."
Krol made the esteemed list with his 1992 book The Whole Internet: User’s Guide & Catalog.
“It’s sort of a really good parlor trick,” he said. “It’s like, ‘What can you say about yourself that’s not Internet-related?’ I can say ‘I’m peers with Rachel Carson and Adolph Hitler.’”
Today, the book is described on Amazon as “still the best book on the Internet.” If you want to learn what the Internet was like in 1998, you can download the book for free non-commercial usage at a variety of sites.
Carson was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring was credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
Hitler made the list for his book, Mein Kampf.
If you ask Ed Krol how he got in to the Internet Hall of Fame, he’ll likely attribute it to luck, or at least fortunate timing.
Clearly, however, it was a lot more than that. In fact, it was his early work to make the Internet public that helped create the basis for today’s Internet.
As an author of a popular series of books about the Internet, he also played a key role in educating non-technical colleagues and the public about this technical, new, arcane world long before most were able to even connect to the network.
Ironically, he didn’t originally set out for a career in computers when he went to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
“I came to the university as a physics major,” he said. “But it was the 1960s, so I switched to political science because then you felt like you had to do something relevant. In my junior year, I discovered computers. I found them incredibly interesting, incredibly stimulating. So I switched to computer science and have been doing that ever since.”
His first job, he said, was doing weather modeling for atmospheric scientists.
“At the time,” Krol joked, “we could predict tomorrow’s weather next Sunday.”
But then he moved into networks, becoming the first networking manager for the university’s National Center for Supercomputer...
Published by UCLA’s Steve Crocker, that initial request was meant to help generate unofficial notes that would facilitate the development of the modern Internet’s precursor.
However, as noted in a SciHi blog post, the RFC has evolved beyond that since the initial call for “Host Software” to a two-step process that helps provide a fuller picture of the Internet’s development.
Writes SciHi: “The serialized RFCs compose a continuous historical record of the evolution of the internet standards and practices.”
The Internet is not quite in the same league with cockroaches and Twinkies, but one of its pioneers thinks it is close when it comes to indestructibility.
An Internet Hall of Fame inductee, Ben Segal was a developer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in the web’s early days and created code such as legacy-to-Internet gateways to help protocol transitions.
In a recent interview with Sputnik, Segal noted that the Internet was designed with multiple redundancies, thus making it difficult to completely shut off, save for a nuclear explosion or other catastrophic event.
“A nuclear bomb launched over a country...can do tremendous harm with electronics,” he said. “That's been known for many, many years, and I'm quite sure all sides have got the capability to do that if they feel threatened.
Having survived and thrived through more than two decades of tremendous changes in how women in the workforce are seen and treated, these four Internet Hall of Fame inductees offer their advice for women rising in the technology field today:
- Susan Estrada: Find your power. You are smart or you wouldn’t be in tech. You are tolerant or you wouldn’t be able to cope with your coworkers. You are a person who dared to be one of a minority – you already know you have power and confidence. Embrace your power. Find a colleague, male or female, who can be a supporter, a challenger, one that helps you embrace your power. They are out there, although sometimes they might be hard to find. In my case, I had two male bosses at different points of my career who guided me, encouraged me to make my own decisions and take the risks and rewards that were part of those decisions. People may not want you to succeed – some because you are a woman. And, if you are able to hire people, make sure that a fair amount of them are women. And, be good to your sisters in tech.
- Dorcas Muthoni: It is what it is. A largely male tech world. Take it as it is and ensure you build your relationships and support across men and...