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September 3, 2014 | 0 comments

Erik Huizer’s passion for engineering started early. “As a child, I was taking apart appliances in my mother’s kitchen,” he says. “I always wanted to see how things were made.”

That passion never left him. In 1983, while earning his PhD in solid-state physics, he needed to automate his data. So, he recalled recently, he bought two IBM PCs that in size, “resembled a dog house” and ran “the kind of floppy disks that were literally floppy.” He needed the two machines to communicate with each other, so he studied programming and implemented the Internet Protocol on both of them.

Today, Huizer is still tinkering: He is the Chief Technology Officer for SURFnet, a nonprofit that develops and maintains the national research and education network in the Netherlands. SURFnet is a member of GEANT (the pan-European research and education network) and the Trans-European Research and Networking Association (TERENA); and collaborates with other international partners such as CERnet in China and Internet 2 in the U.S. “While SURFnet is aimed at the Netherlands, it really knows no borders,” Huizer says. “Like Internet 2, it tries to be the most advanced network in the world. It’s geared to innovation and change, and we try to bring the latest tools to our users.” Huizer first began working for SURFnet in 1988, and he’s grateful for the...

August 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Pandora. Spotify. Rhapsody. Slacker. Beats Music. iTunes Radio. Google Music. These are just a few of the streaming music services beginning to dominate how we groove to our tunes. According to Nielsen, music streaming is up 42 percent during the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year, while album downloads have dropped nearly 15 percent.

All of which is just as Karlheinz Brandenburg, often called the father of MP3, originally envisioned the way music compression would be used.

But during MP3's 13-year gestation from 1982 to 1995, streaming music wasn't a gleam in anyone's eye. In fact, during this age of the new and capacious compact disc, Dr. Brandenburg and his thesis advisor had a hard time convincing anyone that music needed to be compressed in the first place.

Considering MP3 occupies the intersection of music and math, Dr. Brandenburg seemed raised for the task. Born 20 June 1954 in the Bavarian town of Erlangen, Dr. Brandenburg's teacher parents instilled a love of music and math in the boy. Like many teens, he loved the Beatles. Unlike many teens, Dr. Brandenburg built his own amplifiers, and even sold some to his fellow students.

After high school, Dr. Brandenburg attended the local Erlangen University, earning an M.S. in electrical engineering in 1980, then his master's degree in mathematics in 1982. The chair of his...

July 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Eric Huizer, of the Internet Hall of Fame Class of 2014, points out that fighting cybercrime is a difficult task. Of course we want an open Internet, he says, but the multinational nature of cybercrime inevitably involves politics and a nuanced approach.

July 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Internet Hall of Famer Ben Segal says that the real threats to the Internet are the social ones. The “rich and powerful,” he says, should not be allowed to control the Internet; instead, he hopes the “democratic spirit of the Internet” will be maintained. 

July 31, 2014 | 0 comments

July was a spectacular month for news-media mentions of some of our favorite Internet Hall of Famers. Here are a few examples of what the fireworks were all about.

Mahabir Pun wins the Internet Society’s Jonathan B. Postel Service Award for bringing the Internet to rural Nepal.  

Inaugural Hall of Fame inductee Vint Cerf  tells the Washington Post: Inside every 71-year-old there’s a 17-year-old wondering what happened.

Internet Hall of Famer Dai Davies named one of “50 Top Welsh Men and Women of All Time.” What we want to know is: How the heck did he beat out Tom Jones and...