Change

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How things have changed since 1995. How we think (not really, how the computers think for us) and communicate. I suspect 1995 probably looks at 2017 and covers its mouth in fascination, envy or even horror. How did it happen, how we got here, and how we got hooked to the computers? The bearers of the original idea of networking and inter-networking might not have envisioned seeing men “living” in and by computers. The idea of using computers as a communication tool is dead, resource-sharing is no longer the thing. Having our goals and problems solved faster and by smarter computation is the ultimate goal.

Fascination: There is a lot to marvel at. The new iPhone are the climax of this fascination and amusement. The tech companies such as Apple and Samsung seem to be buying the political tool for control, that the way to gain power and influence people is my getting their attention and keeping them focused. This is what they have been doing for a decade now. They produce new gargets to inflate their sales and make them smarter to get customers’ and users’ attention. They are expensive, but we don’t care. We buy what is at our disposal because we are married to their charm of smartness and have our attention arrested. This market coercion is a sufficient explanation because it allows them more revenue, influence and control. The Face ID is an indirect way of Apple telling us we can’t no longer spent own daily lives without them. You can’t ignore Iphone X. You must look at it attentively for it to unlock. The computational way of life today even of the ordinary mundane things is fascinating. As computation and garget mimicry of human potential spreads from desktops to personal computers and now mobile phones, the more we fall in love with using computers and how life feels incomplete, “formless and desolate” unless we live inside the computers.

Envy: Think of children who are yet to master the art of walking. They want to hang on to their mother’s heels when they leave, they want to run and play with the older kids, but they can’t because they limbs are not yet reliable. I guess that child is 1995, looking at 2017 with envy. But we must appreciate the intellectuality of those days. The scientific community set the pace for the world of today. File transfer is as easy and efficient as it might get. We not only hear each other on phones, but also see each other in real time. Of course, no more telephone lines switching. It worth noticing how proud the founders of networking and internet should be. They have influenced and sponsored our faster, efficient and smarter tomorrow. Think of the 7.1 earth quake in Mexico. I younger girl caught under the rubbles and debris of her classroom sent a WhatsApp message asking for water. Well, this is sad and saddening that we can’t save ourselves from natural adversities with our advanced smartness, but WhatsApp might have created a lifesaving space for the young girl. I hope it did. 1995, be proud we can personalize emails and afford unlimited storage.

Horror: We consume and enjoy what the internet offers us daily, but to enjoy the goodies of internet and social platforms, we have sacrificed a lot of our privacy and we get misinformed. The problem of fake news is indeed a disaster. This fake news is believable and audience oriented. We should be horrified and afraid of where this is leading. I think 1995 would be horrified at how we do business online today. The companies have moved to online advertising where they can get and set target audience. This put into question the security of private information. The gatekeepers of personal information such as Google and Facebook are losing our trust. However, advantages of this transformation in the last 22 years outweigh disadvantages. Change is inevitable!

 

I Got Mailed

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A day earlier, we discussed how the internet world had the dilemma of what to consider as norms and what to prohibit to preserve the openness in the internet. This reminded me of my grade seven teachers. Back in 2010, when Facebook was charmingly getting to everyone, two girls from my class created Facebook accounts despite receiving compassionate advice from our teachers against such a move. Of course, they were punished “according” for availing their personal information. They were deemed indiscipline and rebellious.

The fun side, I receive a Friend Request from one of those teachers a few days ago. He also followed me on Instagram, and when I didn’t respond, he texted me on messenger. I was honestly amused by the irony. Here was an adult who tried by all means and ways to protect young people from what he considered evil, now following to the same sword. This makes me reconnect with the members of the Message Group who could not stick to particular standards of electronic mails.

The GINGER command was never a good hack. Keeping the internet open was necessary for its growth. The only way to win the trust of other users and gainfully tap information from them is by engaging fully with them. Providing an avenue to encourage privacy would have been a fall back from achieving what everyone had been resourcing for. I guess the command made the other users believe that someone is hiding something. Thus, they strived to reach the hidden. This encouraged hacking, invasion of privacy, hence the birth of hackers we know today.

I am surprised that the Message Group could not agree on standards for mail handling software, instead they coined cyberbullying through “flaming”. The open criticism on social media and public spaces today may have persisted from 1970’s. As time goes by, I doubt we will achieve uniformity in the digital and technical world. I have a HUAWEI phone, a good one, but I can’t facetime with my friends on Apple platform. This is the mess we are in.

Oh wow, it’s amazing how we are enjoying the fruits of other people actions. We get e-mailed at alarming rates never imagined by the inventors. They and people like Steve Jobs may not be here to enjoy the performance of computers as extensions and supplements of human potential. I wonder for how long we will enjoy e-mailing or getting e-mailed before it being replaced by something intriguing and mind blowing.

 

Taylor and Networking

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In the history of computer networking, I feel Taylor is not given as much credits as he deserves for his contributions in making computer networking a workable idea. His predecessors dedicated their time and government funding to developing time-sharing, graphics, and interractive computing.

From his first day in office, he made it clear that he didn’t like having to log on to three computers with different procedures. He found this irksome. He then realised that duplication was not the only obstacle in computer reliability—the researchers across the country were demanding expensive computers at their centres. This is what pushed Taylor to champion computer networking to cut the cost through resource-sharing.

The evolution of internet was not born out of interlectual curiosity. It resulted from Taylor’s desire for efficiency and eficacy. I wanted to be significant knowing that he was not going to be there for a long time. He employed his negotiating funding with ease. As a good manager, he knew how to get the right people to work for him. He knew Roberts was the best for ARPA, and he made sure he got him. All in all, Taylor was more of a manager than a technician, and he delivered.

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