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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

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...

July 29, 2014 | 0 comments

Inaugural Internet Hall of Famer Vint Cerf testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation – testimony that may well have set the bar for all future efforts to explain the importance of basic research.

In his Senate testimony, while insisting that basic research must be adequately funded by the government, Mr. Cerf was careful to note that “basic and applied research go hand-in-hand, informing and stimulating each other in a never-ending Yin and Yang of partnership.” He stressed that applied research projects take a long time to mature, and he used the Internet as Exhibit A, detailing how its development over the years has progressedthanks to major investments from government.  He added that “Consistent and increasing support for basic and applied research … has been the source of most major advances in science and technology in the past 70 years.”

In addition to the Scientific American piece, Mr. Cerf was recently featured in ...

July 3, 2014 | 0 comments

African women face the same challenges confronting women everywhere: cultural attitudes that men can do “tech stuff” better, that motherhood distracts them from focusing on their work, that they are somehow not suited for careers in technology, math, science or engineering. Dorcas Muthoni has proved those attitudes wrong, and in doing so has proved an inspiration to girls and women across the continent and beyond.

Muthoni, the founder of AfChix, an African-based organization designed to encourage girls and young women in Africa to take up careers in tech, says simply, “I like to help people to reach their full potential.” AfChix activities include organizing annual Computing Career Conferences to demystify computing.

“A big challenge is the lack of information many high-school girls and college women have,” she says. “They need to know that computer science requires you to be on top of things every minute, because it’s constantly changing. You have to keep up. Still, with the right skills and information, you can go anywhere. I try to tell them, ‘You can do it,’ and show them how.”

Muthoni, who became a mother for the first time earlier this year, is the perfect role model for AfChix conference attendees. In high school, she wanted to be an architect, but when...

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