If you ask Ed Krol how he got in to the Internet Hall of Fame, he’ll likely attribute it to luck, or at least fortunate timing.
Clearly, however, it was a lot more than that. In fact, it was his early work to make the Internet public that helped create the basis for today’s Internet.
As an author of a popular series of books about the Internet, he also played a key role in educating non-technical colleagues and the public about this technical, new, arcane world long before most were able to even connect to the network.
Ironically, he didn’t originally set out for a career in computers when he went to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
“I came to the university as a physics major,” he said. “But it was the 1960s, so I switched to political science because then you felt like you had to do something relevant. In my junior year, I discovered computers. I found them incredibly interesting, incredibly stimulating. So I switched to computer science and have been doing that ever since.”
His first job, he said, was doing weather modeling for atmospheric scientists.
“At the time,” Krol joked, “we could predict tomorrow’s weather next Sunday.”
But then he moved into networks, becoming the first networking manager for the university’s National Center for Supercomputer...
Published by UCLA’s Steve Crocker, that initial request was meant to help generate unofficial notes that would facilitate the development of the modern Internet’s precursor.
However, as noted in a SciHi blog post, the RFC has evolved beyond that since the initial call for “Host Software” to a two-step process that helps provide a fuller picture of the Internet’s development.
Writes SciHi: “The serialized RFCs compose a continuous historical record of the evolution of the internet standards and practices.”
The Internet is not quite in the same league with cockroaches and Twinkies, but one of its pioneers thinks it is close when it comes to indestructibility.
An Internet Hall of Fame inductee, Ben Segal was a developer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in the web’s early days and created code such as legacy-to-Internet gateways to help protocol transitions.
In a recent interview with Sputnik, Segal noted that the Internet was designed with multiple redundancies, thus making it difficult to completely shut off, save for a nuclear explosion or other catastrophic event.
“A nuclear bomb launched over a country...can do tremendous harm with electronics,” he said. “That's been known for many, many years, and I'm quite sure all sides have got the capability to do that if they feel threatened.
Having survived and thrived through more than two decades of tremendous changes in how women in the workforce are seen and treated, these four Internet Hall of Fame inductees offer their advice for women rising in the technology field today:
- Susan Estrada: Find your power. You are smart or you wouldn’t be in tech. You are tolerant or you wouldn’t be able to cope with your coworkers. You are a person who dared to be one of a minority – you already know you have power and confidence. Embrace your power. Find a colleague, male or female, who can be a supporter, a challenger, one that helps you embrace your power. They are out there, although sometimes they might be hard to find. In my case, I had two male bosses at different points of my career who guided me, encouraged me to make my own decisions and take the risks and rewards that were part of those decisions. People may not want you to succeed – some because you are a woman. And, if you are able to hire people, make sure that a fair amount of them are women. And, be good to your sisters in tech.
- Dorcas Muthoni: It is what it is. A largely male tech world. Take it as it is and ensure you build your relationships and support across men and...
Tracy LaQuey Parker was a young, rising female star with Cisco in the early 1990s when, in the company’s hospitality suite at an important industry conference with her CEO and several senior male executives, she got up for coffee and – without thinking – asked if anyone else wanted one.
“I realized immediately what a big mistake I had made,” she said. She had automatically put herself in a position that reinforced traditional gender and age roles, even as she was working to position herself as an equal. “But I just gave up and decided to go all in.”
She was saved, she said, when her very astute CEO stepped up and “said very clearly, ‘Thank you, Tracy, but I will get my own.’ And then he made a point of walking across the room to the drink area.’”
“It might seem like a little thing,” she said, “but it was a huge statement that he made as the CEO. I was so grateful he had awareness to do that.”
For much of their careers, the early female tech pioneers say, “giving up and going all in” was just what they did on a regular basis.
But with awareness and the right mentors, they said, women can overcome the hurdles and continue paving the way for progress and more gender equality.
Like Parker, Susan Estrada, who in 1988 founded CERFnet, one of the original regional IP networks, credits an...