2012 Internet Hall of Fame inductee Lawrence Roberts, who was hired in 1966 by the U.S. Department of Defense to design the ARPAnet, died on December 26th, according to his family. He was 81. Roberts’ design of the ARPAnet was seminal as it established the foundation of the modern Internet.
As Chief Scientist of ARPA, Roberts based the ARPAnet’s design on a concept that was brand-new at the time, "packet-switching.” The concept, which drew on earlier research by fellow inductee and MIT colleague Leonard Kleinrock, enabled information to be cut up into “packets” and then reassembled. This technology, which optimizes channel capacity and minimizes latency, is what allows large amounts of data, such as video, to continue to be successfully sent over the network today.
Following his work on the ARPAnet, Roberts went on to found five startups, including Telenet, NetExpress, ATM Systems, Caspian Networks and Anagran.
Over his lifetime, in addition to his 2012 induction into the Internet Hall of Fame, he received numerous awards for his work, including the L.M. Ericsson prize for research in data communications, the ACM SIGCOMM Award, the IEEE Internet Award, the...
Despite being home to a wealth of information, the Internet largely remains unaccommodating to about 15 percent of the world’s population.
Although federal agencies and departments are required by law to make their sites accessible, only about 40 percent of disabled American adults feel comfortable using the Internet according to a 2016 Pew survey. In the United Kingdom, the number drops below 30 percent.
For example, someone who relies on voice commands to operate a computer has to sit and listen to every element on a single page just to get one piece of information. Gifs and other web components that flash more than three times per second can cause an epileptic to have a seizure.
In a recent interview with Quartz, Internet Hall of Fame Inductee Vint Cerf described the web’s lack of handicap accessible sites. Cerf is color blind and hearing impaired.
“It’s almost criminal that programmers have not had their feet held to the fire to build interfaces that are accommodating for people with vision problems or hearing problems or motor...
When Tracy LaQuey Parker left her full-time job with Cisco in 2001, she directed her passion towards a few different areas. In addition to raising her two loving sons, she continued to work with the University of Texas. There, she founded the UTeach Institute in order to replicate the UTeach science and math teacher preparation program at universities around the country.
But she has also found a new passion: The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, community-based, members-only digital media news organization in Austin that is one of a growing number of non-profit digital news operations that have sprung up around the country as newspapers have been dying.
“When I first heard about it, and the concept behind it, I had the same feeling about it as I did about the Internet,” she said. “So, I went online and made a really large donation, for me. It was completely unsolicited. I put it all on my credit card.
“I don’t know what was driving me, but I was like, this is going to disrupt journalism, and I don’t know how… but they were all...
Although he has long been working with machines and code, the human aspect of the technical world is what keeps pushing Nabil Bukhalid to give back.
A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Bukhalid led the team at the American University of Beirut that initially brought the Internet to Lebanon. He is also the founder of the Lebanese Academic and Research Network, co-founder of the Lebanese Broadband Manifesto Support Group, and BeirutIX - the first Internet Exchange Point in Lebanon.
In a recent interview, Bukhalid said he was truly taken aback by the collegiality he experienced when he first met with other online pioneers in the early 1990s, and this inspired him to help improve access in his home country.
“When I went in 1993 to Stanford, I was looking for a technical solution [to our connectivity problem]. What I came back with was a people solution,” he said. “I came back with an address book of friends and colleagues who were ready to assist free of charge. That was not very common, especially if coming from an industrial environment. It was the openness and friendship of the core community that surprised me. It gave me the drive to do the same, to offer the services to whoever needs the support and it’s been very fulfilling.”
Ed Krol does not want to see politics get in the way of future generations of Internet innovators.
The author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Internet,” one of the earliest non-technical Internet guidebooks, and “The Whole Internet” book series, Krol helped develop the web’s early infrastructure through the development of regional networks.
Krol, a 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, said in a recent interview that he worries about the impact that Federal Communications Commission actions regarding net neutrality will have on web developers’ ability to continue pushing the bounds of modern technology.
“One of my big fears is the politicization of the Internet,” he said. “I started out my career worrying about big business getting in the way, and now with net neutrality stuff, it’s the same thing all over: that we need to protect the ability of innovators to build an application and use the Internet in a way they see fit.”