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July 5, 2018 | 0 comments

The development of the world’s first search engine was not spurred by a natural disaster or an epic journey. 

Just an “aha” moment for a graduate student.

While attending graduate school at Montreal’s McGill University in the late 1980s, Alan Emtage developed and launched Archie, the first Internet search engine. Derived from “archive,” Archie was a database of early websites and facilitated the development of multiple techniques used by modern search engines.

In a recent interview, the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductee said his creation’s origins were not particularly dramatic, but still required a little subterfuge in the early days to get around some academic red tape. 

“It sort of happened organically,” Emtage said of Archie’s development. “There wasn’t a goal where I had to struggle, ford rivers or climb mountains to get to it. The powers that be didn’t realize what we were doing, so we had to do it under sort of the cover of darkness and not let them realize we were utilizing all of these resources. They didn’t really understand what was going on.” 

Watch our full interview with Alan Emtage below:

 

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June 27, 2018 | 0 comments

When he’s not on the road, Mike Jensen spends much of his time in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.

He particularly enjoys his time on the coast of Bahia, Brazil, he said, because, in addition to being close to nature and providing great outdoor activities for his three children, Jensen said he likes “living in an environment that exposes me to the same types of problems I am working to address.”

His current projects include advising on improving connectivity in the Marshall Islands, devising ways to track regulatory change in West Africa and documenting successful community-based rural connectivity initiatives in developing countries.

So, what are the biggest hurdles today in bringing connectivity to such far-flung locations?

“The biggest bottleneck really is the level of awareness of governments in terms of what they need to do to make their networks more cost-effective, and thus more affordable for the general public,” he said. “There is still a general attitude in many countries that incumbent legacy operators must be protected, or that there is only one strategy to connect the unconnected, which is mobile broadband.  … It continues to be difficult to break that mentality.”

Other issues are access to electricity, poor roads and lack of skilled workers.

And what are the most promising new technologies for solving these issues?

“The potential for low-earth orbit constellations of satellites is one area that is extremely...

June 25, 2018 | 0 comments

Frank Heart, who was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2014 for leading the team that built the first routing computer for the Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet, died June 24th in Lexington, Mass. He was 89.

Examining Heart’s historic contribution, Katie Hafner writes for The New York Times, “In 1969, Mr. Heart led a small team of talented young engineers to build the Interface Message Processor, or I.M.P., a computer whose special function was to switch data among the computers on the Arpanet. To this day, many of the principles Mr. Heart emphasized — reliability, error resistance and the capacity for self-correction — remain central to the internet’s robustness."

Heart entered the computer age in 1950 as an MIT student working on MIT’s Whirlwind computer. Whirlwind occupied most of a small building and was less powerful than today’s handheld devices. Later, Whirlwind came under the aegis of MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and Heart spent the next 15 years at Lincoln, working on the Sage air defense system and on numerous projects connecting computers to real-time data sources, before moving to Bolt Beranek and Newman, where he built first I...

June 14, 2018 | 0 comments

The developer of the Internet’s first widely used search engine says he sees the Internet’s rapid development as a mixed bag. 

A native of Barbados, Alan Emtage launched Archie in 1990 while working on a post-graduate degree at Montreal’s McGill University. Derived from “archive,” the site was basically a database of web file names that could be matched with a user’s query.

Emtage was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in September and is the first honoree to hail from the Caribbean. He currently splits his time between the United States and his home country.  

In an interview with Yello, Emtage said the expansion of the Internet has become a double-edged sword. Although it has facilitated more opportunities for personal growth and development, it has also fostered a greater sense of isolation in real life for many users.

“It’s created some amazing things and allowed communities, for example, people suffering with rare diseases to get in touch with each other and realise that they’...

June 8, 2018 | 0 comments

Mike Jensen began his career studying the impact of acid rain pollution in the 1980s. But he abandoned his research when it became apparent that dealing with the problem required a more informed public rather than more articles in scientific journals.

So, he first switched fields to journalism, and then to electronic communications, when these tools became accessible to the public in the early 1990s. Since then, he has spent almost 30 years working with innovative new technologies and business and policy models for bringing the Internet to isolated regions and developing countries.

His activities have taken him to more than 40 countries, mostly in Africa, where he has helped establish Internet-based communications systems. This work earned him a spot as a Global Connector in the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame.

Unlike many fellow IHOF members, however, his career path has been less traditional. He didn’t study computer science or math, instead earning his bachelor’s degree in biology at Queens University, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, and then going to Canada to work on his master’s degree at the University of Guelph.

After waking up at 2 a.m. one night to the realization that his acid rain research would likely have little impact, his move to journalism was driven by the need to raise broader awareness of the problem. He began by volunteering at the local community radio station and newspaper in the small town of Guelph outside of Toronto, where he...