Tag Archives: Internet

Very Cool Technology

Wanna get the Internet to folks in remote parts of the world?

Rather than relying on cell towers, phone lines, or fiber optics, Google plans to beam 3G-speed Internet to the world’s most inaccessible corners using helium balloons. The experiment is called “Project Loon.”

FLATOW: And where – would those – those are under-covered places around the world. Where are the prime places for that?

CASSIDY: There’s lots of places. In the Southern Hemisphere alone, two-thirds of the countries, the cost of Internet access is higher than the average monthly income for people in those countries. Even in China and India, there’s over a billion people that don’t have good Internet coverage. So I think there’s lots of places around the world where there’s sort of remote and rural areas that don’t have coverage, or it’s unaffordable.

Go world!

Barack Obama: Government Invented The Internet

For the record, I said this first:

Contrary to what Obama would have you believe, it wasn’t the government that created the internet, it was individuals engaging in business that invented the internet.

Now, from the Wall Street Journal:

It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet. The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike. The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens—and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way.

For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think,” Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a “memex” through which “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a “world-wide web.” The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: “The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.”

If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

But, did the government impact the creation of the Internet in any way?

As for the government’s role, the Internet was fully privatized in 1995, when a remaining piece of the network run by the National Science Foundation was closed—just as the commercial Web began to boom. Blogger Brian Carnell wrote in 1999: “The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished. . . . In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia.”

Other than delaying the innovation for 30 years, the government seems to have done not a thing.

Obama: Government Invented The Internet

You might have heard by now that Obama gave a speech in Virgina.  And in that speech he made a statement.  He made a statement that individuals can’t claim credit for their successes.  Rather, they must acknowledge that what they have labored to craft is the result of the collective.  And, more importantly, that leading the way is the government.  After all, it invented the internet.


Maybe not.

Most people give credit to the invention of the internet to ARPANet, a DOD agency.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was the world’s first operational packet switching network and the core network of a set that came to compose the global Internet. The network was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the United States Department of Defense for use by its projects at universities and research laboratories in the US. The packet switching of the ARPANET was based on designs by Lawrence Roberts of the Lincoln Laboratory.

But did ARPANet really invent the internet?  Not so fast say some:

In February of 1966 I initiated the ARPAnet project. I was Director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) from late ’65 to late ’69. There were only two people involved in the decision to launch the ARPAnet: my boss, the Director of ARPA Charles Herzfeld, and me.

Numerous untruths have been disseminated about events surrounding the origins of the ARPAnet. Here are some facts.

The creation of the ARPAnet was not motivated by considerations of war. The ARPAnet was not an internet. An internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.

-Bob Taylor


But if ARPANet didn’t create the internet, who, or what, did?

On further analysis we come up with at least five distinct theories, each of which can be credibly discussed. We state from the beginning that we do not personally see the theories as mutually exclusive – we have for many years believed in a multiple origins theory rather than a single point of invention one.

But the theories which need to be examined are:

1. Packet switching represents the origins of the Internet
2. The TCP/IP protocol represents the origins of the Internet
3. A range of telco-led activities from the 1960s represents the true origins
4. The birth of the Internet is best explained through a history of applications rather than the protocols
5. The range of inventions and activities emanating from Xerox Palo Alto laboratories, including Ethernet, represent the true beginnings.

All five theories are interesting.  Personally, I find theory 1 and 3 the most compelling with theory 3 possibly encompassing theory 3 almost completely.  Digital transmission and switching was accomplished in 1962, seven years before ARPANet claimed that accomplishment.    Further, the languages of the internet, C and Unix, were developed not by ARPANet but by AT&T.

Who knew?

In any event, what we CAN conclude is this:

So then, where and when did the Internet begin? The only thing historians seem to agree on is that it was not 1969, or the Pentagon, (or for that matter Al Gore). From there on, there is a wide divergence of views as to when, where, and by whom the Internet may have been invented.

Contrary to what Obama would have you believe, it wasn’t the government that created the internet, it was individuals engaging in business that invented the internet.


Like everyone, I love L-O-V-E my morning coffee.  Perhaps like many fewer, I like my coffee to be of specific make; Goya Espresso coffee.

As I made my coffee this morning, I noticed that I was running a bit low and would need more soon.

So, I got on my magic typewriter, typed some letters that included “www” and entered an online “market” where distributors from all over creation competed to sell me my Goya.  More than that?  They’re shipping it to my door for free.

Gotta tell ya’, that free market sure does suck.

Can You Be More Free By Demanding Less Freedom?

There are some that would have you believe that in order to ensure freedom, we must first restrict that same freedom.

That we must take a system that exists in the exact way and manner we desire, change it, all to make sure that it never changes into that condition it has never demonstrated.

And these are the same people that lobby for ever ore and more government.  All in the noble name of “Freedom” and “Liberty”

My advice to you:

Beware the freedom fighter who approaches you with the chains of bondage.

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The Power of the Web

The internet is a massive game changer.

Information that had been kept secret or at least “unknown” is now available in seconds.  It can be searched, looked up, studied or even sent to you daily.

We have the ability to shop hundreds of car dealers.  I can find used books in a market unimagined just 20 years ago.

Contractors are able to reach customers in so many ways that business doubles; or triples.

And I am able to read reviews of those contractors further tightening the information.  I’m able to avoid scheisters, cheats and incompetents.

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Evil Internet Companies?

I’m not so sure; in fact, I tend not to think so.

After all, the net works much like any other service/product.  Companies wanna profit from it.  And the best way to profit is to make it as good and fast and available as possible.

However, not everyone agrees with me.

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Net Neutrality

So, have you noticed that the news brought to us by the News and Observer is really just little more than Associated Press clippings or “posts” from the NY Times?  Gross.  And they wonder why people aren’t paying to have this crap delivered to our doors.  Heck, I don’t even like it when they deliver the free stuff anymore.


So, the News and Observer had an article the other day talking about “Net Neutrality”.  In the opening statement, the author describes what the Chairman of the FCC wants to do:

prohibit Internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks

Who wouldn’t?  I mean, can you imagine an internet where things were not flowing freely or certain applications were prevented from, umm, being free?  Not me, and certainly not anyone if you believe this article.  But here’s the rub.

There are a lot of things that the ISPs do that we would kinda want and expect them to do.  For example, I live on a residential street that is fairly mature.  We have very very few high school kids, many older folks and some young parents with young children.  I kinda expect the internet in our neck of the woods to be used to browse.  During the day, probably to work from home kinda stuff.  But I doubt that we have serious kids “gaming” on their computers.  And so I think that I am getting what I pay for from my internet provider.  Namely, reliable consistent access to the internet.  But now let’s say that Petey and Mikey and Johnny move in down the street and start playin’ games, downloadin’ songs and movies and whoo knows what else, all of a sudden, that connection I had to the internet is not so available.  It’s full.  You see, internet connectivity is a lot like plumbing…there’s only so much water you can fit in the pipes.

Additionally, not only are the pipes constrained by “internet traffic”, those pipes can be built with filters that allow some traffic to move faster than other traffic.  And this is as we want it.  You see, data that is sent over the internet is like, well, lets see…., it’s like a letter that is broken into multiple postcards.  So, when you are sending grandma that 3 page letter, the internet is taking it apart and creating many many smaller postcards.  And THOSE postcards are being sent through the internet.  Now, if what you are sending grandma is really just a letter [email] and not a phone call then you are fine.  Cause the internet can handle the fact that post cards may not arrive in the same order in which they are sent.  And because of that, an email may take an extra 2-3 seconds to hit your inbox.  Big deal right?  Right.  But when you are streaming live video chat to grandma, those two extra seconds DO matter.  It becomes critical that those postcards arrive in order and quickly.

How do the carriers handle this?  They have built in technology that allows for specific applications to have their traffic delivered first–and fast.  Slower applications, like email or web browsing, can have their data sent later, a bit slower.  The result?  Internet chat works and no one notices that emails takes an extra second to get to you.

And finally, we get to the last part.  Providers are beginning to see the amount of data being sent across their networks rise, and rise fast.  In fact, it is to the point that they are having to build out additional infrastructure to handle the traffic.  And that’s not cheap; they wanna be able to recoup their money.  And how are they going to do that?  Well, by charging more of course.  But, you say, is that fair?  Should grandma have to pay more to send her email once and week while the boys up the street are gaming to the tune of gigs of data a night?  No.  Soo the providers would set up tiers in pricing.  Just like in cable.  You use this, you pay that.  You use that, you pay this.

But no, the “Net Neutrality” folks come along and claim foul.  You can’t do that!  The net should be free and open and all data should be equal!  Damn it!

And if they win..well, then grandma doesn’t get to send her emails, video quits working and we simply have to live with crappy old technology that doesn’t work.