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This week you should know... 2

How much do you know about the internet?

The beginning of internet…

In 1957, the Soviet launched Sputnik (Russian for "traveling companion" or "satellite"), the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. It was a big surprise to the United States, who feared that it was falling behind technologically against its Cold War enemy.

In direct response to Sputnik, President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed the Department of Defense to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency or ARPA in 1958. One of its research programs was headed by Dr. J.C. R. Licklider (or simply "Lick"), who convinced the U.S. Government to create a computer network, which would later evolve into the Internet.

Licklider, in his epic 1963 memo to "Members and Affiliates of the Intergalactic Computer Network" (Yes, that's right - "Intergalactic") explored the challenges in creating ARPANET, the precursor to today's Internet.

Before internet, ARPANET

In 1969, after Licklider left ARPA, his successors Ivan Sutherland, Bob Taylor, Larry Roberts and colleagues created the network that would later become the Internet. The initial ARPANET consisted of four nodes (or computers called Interface Message Processors, which would later evolve into routers) located in UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Utah

TCP/IP: The Language of the Internet

In 1973, Vint Cerf (who is often called the "father of the Internet") and Bob Kahn created the TCP/IP suite of communication protocols - basically a language used by computers to talk to each other in a network.The TCP/IP protocol is so simple that, as an 1990 April Fool's joke, D. Waitzman of the Internet Engineering Task Force proposed that pigeons be used to carry IP traffic!

A decade later, IP over Avian Carriers was actually implemented by the Bergen Linux user group. They released 9 packets over a distance of 3 miles and actually got 4 responses (that's a packet loss ratio of 55% and a response time between 3,000 to 6,000 seconds).

Al Gore Actually Did Create the Internet.

During the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election, Al Gore took quite a drubbing for the claim that he "invented" the Internet. Problem was, Gore made no such claim. During an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Gore was asked how he would distinguish himself from others, and he replied:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. ...

Though the term "initiative in creating the Internet" is vague, Gore did quite a bit of legislative work in creating a high-capacity national data network that is a significant part of the Internet.

The Rise of the Blogosphere

Blogs (short for web logs) are regularly updated journal published on the Web. According to Technorati, there are about 112.8 million blogs on the Web right now, with 175,000 new blogs added every day. That's about 122 new blogs a minute or 2 blogs a second!

The term "weblog" was coined by John Barger on December 17, 1997 to describe his website Robot Wisdom that "logged" the links he collected while surfing the Net - as such, his website got the distinction of being the world's first blog.

Blogging became more popular in 1999, with the creation of hosted blog tools that made writing for and managing a blog easier (like, LiveJournal, and Today, blogs have become mainstream - newspapers have 'em, corporations have 'em - and heck, even politicians have 'em.

The Rise of Social Networking and Social Media

In a way, the Web is a big social network. Even before there was the Web, BBSes served as online communities where people chatted and collaborated. But the term "social networking" became a buzzword when it was reported in 2005 that MySpace had more pageviews than Google (Source).

But before MySpace, there was (launched in 1995) and (launched in 1997, dead by 2001). Afterwards, more successful websites followed: Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, LinkedIn and Facebook. And how successful were they? MySpace was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $580 million and Facebook is now valued in the billions of dollars).

There's a social networking website for everybody under the sun: Like movies? There's Flixster. Online games? Avatars United. Anime? Gaia Online. Books? LibraryThing and so on. (Wikipedia has a huge list of social networking sites )

On the other side of the new Internet are social media websites. The term "social media" is kind of a hodgepodge (Wikipedia, blogs like Neatorama, and videosharing websites like YouTube can all be classified as social media). But all of them have one thing in common: they encourage active interaction and participation of their users.

An interesting subset of the social media websites are social news sites like Digg, reddit and Mixx. These user-driven websites let people discover and share content on the Internet in a social way: users submit and vote on others' submissions to determine which links get featured prominently on the websites' front pages.


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