Dominican Ramblings

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blog Post #3

Here I am "Last Minute Charlie-ing" my blog post for Sunday morning, only to find that this post was due LAST WEEK! I should formally apologize to Michael first. Taking 3 classes this summer has been hectic and I guess the freedom I was alotted last weekend went to my head. I barely touched a notebook at all--my bad.

Anyway, I was contemplating the history of the internet for my post, and I was thinking that "back in the day" as an undergrad at U of I, I remember talk of supercomputing. As I remember it, they were tearing up the quad to lay more phone lines or something and the student body was not happy about it. We wanted our quad--lazy days, playing frisbee with dogs in bandanas, etc. The student government went to the administration about this, and various articles were written about it in the student newspaper--lots of uproar. This was the late 80's and we didn't care about supercomputing--even though some engineering student wrote some article saying that the quad was miniscule in the context of what was going on in the world of computers. Still the complaints--bring back the quad.

I decided to check out the U of I connection to internet history. I found a short but sweet article from the Lemelson-MIT program that archived Inventor of the Week The article told all about Marc Andreeson and Eric Bina, co-inventors of Mosaic. Apparently, these two clever guys were tired of the browsers that were available for only expensive Unix machines. They saw what was happening on the World Wide Web and thought they might be able to develop something that was more user friendly. They used HTML code, but added tags like center and image. The image tag was big, since images were only available as separate file up until then. They also developed the hyperlink--all components of Mosaic. Blah, Blah Blah, the two graduated from Uof I and made it big. There was a dispute (read lawsuit) with the university, but Mosaic eventually became Netscape--the browser first used by most early internet users. I do not know what they are doing today--maybe I will look that up next.

So, a walk down memory lane, a few regrets about having strict rules against dating engineering geeks at U of I, and the realization that the supercomputing that was going on at the school changed everyone's life. Maybe tearing up the quad was a small deal....


Blogger Mikey said...

So, supercomputing was the big deal when you were at U of I. My brother is an engineering geek at U of I right now. Now if supercomputing was the big way of storing and processing information for the early steps, he is on the ground floor for the next big step. Greatly changing the physical medium that is used to transmit internet data: Ceramics. He tells me that with advances in ceramics coupled with existing fiber optics some day soon we will be accessing huge multimedia information at nearly unimaginable speeds. Think about it having access to content such as full streaming or even downloadable high definition movies and tv shows. This could possibly change the face not just of the internet but of television too. Oh the wonderful possibilities...

12:38 AM  
Blogger Michael Stephens said...

I'll date myself here and say I remember when the computer students carried punch cards around... :-)

5:33 PM  

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