Blog Posts for 2015

December 21, 2015 | 0 comments

One of the most interesting historical features of the Internet is that the protocols were—and still are—free and open to anyone to build upon. Anyone with a good idea was (and is) encouraged to make suggestions for new or improved Internet protocols.

One of the key ways this happens is through the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The IETF is the principal organization engaged in the development of new Internet standard specifications, and the way it does this is uniquely transparent and democratic.

Just as the Internet is shaped by its users, the work of the IETF is determined by its own participants—and any individual with relevant experience can participate. Drawing on extensive technical experience developing, deploying, and using Internet technology, IETF participants include network designers, engineers, operators, vendors, and researchers from around the world who care about the evolution and operation of Internet architecture. 

Good ideas come in all shapes and...

December 8, 2015 | 0 comments

As we head into the holiday shopping season, a new video from Shopify offers an interesting glimpse into e-commerce history. So, what was the first thing ever sold on the Internet? Read Fast Company's introduction, and then watch "Proceed to Checkout: The Unexpected Story of How E-Commerce Started."

November 12, 2015 | 0 comments

Each year since his death in 2011, November 8 is celebrated online as #AaronSwartzDay, when countless tributes to this Internet Hall of Fame inductee are made across multiple digital platforms. This article on Catch News examines his life, work and the legacy he left behind.


November 12, 2015 | 0 comments

Radia Perlman, the inventor of the Spanning Tree algorithm, summarized it in a poem titled "Algorhyme," (adapted from the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer).

Here, Perlman accompanies on the piano at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory while her daughter, Dawn (voice), puts the poem to music.    

November 12, 2015 | 0 comments

The 1973 paper by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn describing TCP/IP represented the start of the ‘Internet Age.’ By 1987, key developments in the U.S. planted seeds for the global Internet: adoption of TCP/IP by the ARPANET, and two TCP/IP-based, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded community networks. These were CSNET (the Computer Science Network) and the NSFNET.

What is often overlooked is that this U.S. activity was not emulated elsewhere. Governments of almost every country actively opposed Internet adoption. They viewed the Internet as a non-standard U.S. technology. They favored a collection of protocols, commonly referred to as OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), being developed by the world’s standards bodies (such as the International Organization for Standardization). In Europe, most national governments and the European Commission would not fund Internet R&D.

In the U.S., there also was anti-Internet pressure. The Commerce Department supported the GOSIP (Government OSI Profile) directive requiring that OSI be included on U.S. government computer purchases. And many U.S. companies preferred OSI to TCP/IP.