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August 21, 2019 | 0 comments

Although he wants to see continued expansion of Internet connectivity, Ermanno Pietrosemoli does not want it to be dictated by commercial interests. 

A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Pietrosemoli is one of the founders of Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes, an organization that promotes information technology across South America. 

During his 30-year tenure with the telecommunications laboratory at Venezuela’s Universidad de los Andes, he played a key role in building a direct connection between his institution and the Internet’s early backbone in Homestead, Florida.

In a recent video interview, Pietrosemoli expressed his concern that technological advances in the commercial sector have come at the expense of the social goals that were at the heart of the Internet’s early development. 

“There are so many commercial interests that have been…orthogonal to the original goal of advancing connectivity and joining people together,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of the latest developments have been against that trend. In the pursuit of economic benefits...

August 16, 2019 | 0 comments

2012 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Danny Cohen, whose work paved the way for voice over IP (VOIP) technology, died August 12th in Palo Alto, Calif., according to his family. He was 81.  

Writes The New York Times:  “Dr. Cohen, an Israeli immigrant who started out as a mathematician, is credited with designing the first real-time computerized flight simulation system, providing the experience of piloting a plane without having to leave the ground. When he took on the project, he told Wired magazine in 2012, the challenge was not just to master flying as a skill -- he later became an accomplished pilot -- but also to represent it graphically on a computer.”  

Cohen developed the flight simulator in 1967 on a general purpose computer (he also developed the first real-time radar simulator). This led to the creation of the ...

August 9, 2019 | 0 comments

When you grow up surrounded by civil war, you tend to ignore the rules and become resourceful. 

That’s what Nabil Bukhalid did in the late 1980s and early 1990s with an ad hoc group of colleagues at American University of Beirut (AUB), turning what began as an effort to get faculty access to medical journals over computer networks into a full-fledged effort to connect the country to the Internet. 

Bukhalid was trained as an electrical engineer, “during the early phases of computing, back when we used to build computers rather than use them,” he said. He began looking at networking in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s while developing his specialty in biomedical engineering.

“Medical devices were starting to connect to networks then,” he said, and he began looking at connection options to help researchers and doctors in the war-torn, resource-lacking country gain access to a new online library for medical journals.

“We had no infrastructure, no government,” he said of his early efforts. “Even when the civil war ended we had no government and the infrastructure was completely destroyed. We had no electricity. The war made us a bit creative." 

Still, he found himself in a catch-22. Without a proper phone line or modem, he was unable to gain an IP...

July 30, 2019 | 0 comments

Since the Internet became commercialized in the 1990s, we’ve heard about the digital divide between those who have access and those who don’t. 

But today, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Nabil Bukhalid says he is more concerned about the economic divide. 

“We used to have the technical divide. Now we have the economic divide… because the Internet did not bring equal distribution of resources to the various communities on the Internet. I believe something should be done about that.” 

Besides looking for solutions to that conundrum, Bukhalid said he continues to look for security solutions.

 “During the technological and protocol development, we did not pay enough attention to the security of the Internet infrastructure,” Bukhalid says. “We need to provide better identity authentication and encryption methods.”

“The biggest challenge,” he adds, “is that a lot of people lost trust in the Internet. We need far more efforts to regain that trust.”

 

July 22, 2019 | 0 comments

When ARPAnet’s founders began sending messages in 1969, they probably did not envision Pokemon Go or Grumpy Cat as part of their creation’s future.  So maintains Xconomy’s Wade Roush.

Written as part of a regular series in honor of the 50thanniversary of the first message sent over ARPAnet, Roush notes that just as it was difficult at best for the early tech pioneers to predict the first 50 years of the Internet, it would be equally difficult for anyone to try to predict what the next 50 years will bring. 

Considered the forerunner to the modern Internet, ARPAnet was an academic network funded by the U.S. military that established the basic transmission protocols still used today. 

“We pundits know in our hearts that we can’t speak with much authority about how the Internet will work, what its impact might be, or even whether it will still exist in the year 2069,” he writes. “But we...

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