Welcome!

Linux Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Rex Morrow, Datical, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, Linux, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

SOA & WOA: Article

Birds, Booze and Tim Berners Lee - Memories of the World Wide Web

Happy 25th Birthday WWW

Like many organizations across the globe today iomart is celebrating the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web.

iomart would not exist had a young British computer scientist called Tim Berners-Lee not submitted his idea for allowing scientists to share information to his manager at CERN. Today our data centers provide the physical infrastructure that enables start-ups, SMEs and large enterprises to deliver their services online.

To mark this anniversary we asked our staff to share their memories of the early days of the World Wide Web and we’ll come to their recollections in a moment. But one member of our board really was there at its birth.

Ian Ritchie CBE is Non Executive chairman of iomart but back in the early 1980s he founded Office Workstations Limited (OWL).  OWL was the first and largest supplier of Hypertext/Hypermedia authoring tools for personal computers which customers used to implement large interactive multimedia documentation systems in the automobile, defense, publishing, finance, and education sectors. This is how Ian describes encountering what would become the World Wide Web.

“In late November 1990 I was attending a technical conference on Hypertext at Versailles near Paris when I was approached by a pleasant, rather earnest, young researcher,” he recalls. “'Are you Ian Ritchie?', he asked, and when I said I was he introduced himself as Tim Berners-Lee and said he wanted to speak with me. We retired to the bar and over a beer he told me about his project - the World Wide Web. My first reaction was that this was a very ambitious name for a system which only existed on his computer in his office at CERN - it was first made available to the rest of CERN the very next month in December 1990.

“He was, however, totally convinced that his system would take over the world one day and people everywhere would use it to communicate with each other,” Ian remembers. “At the time the Internet was not open to everyone but was restricted to not-for-profit public bodies such as universities, government, defense and science researchers, such as those at CERN. He wanted my company, OWL, to write a browser for his system, as he didn't have an effective mechanism for viewing his documents. Our hypertext system had multiple fonts, graphics and layout and his was restricted to plain text only. However, he wasn't able to commission any work and I was running a commercial company and really couldn't undertake unpaid work of this kind. I told this story in a TED talk -  http://bit.ly/1otPUAY .

“So we passed on the opportunity. I first saw the Mosaic browser for the World Wide Web demonstrated by Marc Andreeson at the Hypertext conference in Seattle in 1993. He had developed it at the publicly funded National Center for SuperComputer Applications (NCSA) in Champaign, Illinois, and all subsequent Web browsers have been based on this work.  It is ironic that the World Wide Web, which has disrupted almost all of the world's commercial processes, entirely originated from publicly funded research programs.”

So our chairman can actually claim he was there at the birth of the World Wide Web. What about our employees? Well, some (older!) staff remember those first days of dial up and some (much younger!) weren’t actually born. However what they all share is the experience of the impact it has had on the world we now live and work in where two out of every five people are ‘connected.’

When asked ‘What was your first memory of the web?’ the overarching memory is the noise that accompanied those first dial up modem connections. “It was like a donkey in pain!” says one, remembering that you could go and make a coffee and run a bath in the time it took to connect.

The NCSA Mosaic browser that Ian saw back in 1993 was pretty popular it seems, although you had to wait for the web pages to load one line at a time. The browser was accessed on “stone age Packard Bell” and Pentium PCs. “I remember thinking how slow and useless this was,” says one of our senior managers.  

While it was exciting – “It was so much better than teletext” says another - it didn’t foster much brotherly or sisterly love. “My first memory was having to unplug the house phone and my five sisters going mental because the line was always engaged,” while another was caught out by his older brother who handed him a huge bill for the ISDN line that he’d been using to chat to people in CompuServ chat rooms!

Grandparents are often seen as slow adopters of technology today, back then they came in quite handy. “I got a Yahoo ID (which I still have today), set up my 56k modem and hooked it into my gran’s phone line. Then of course arrived the £600 phone bill as Demon Internet were only providing penny per minute Internet access at the time. Thankfully Freeserve eventually released unlimited dial up internet!”

Freeserve seems to have been the way a lot of us accessed the web in those early days. Internet chat rooms were the place to hang out and from there many of our older staff started building their first web sites.  

Many first memories were chatting with friends and potential partners via MSN Messenger and AOL. “That’s how I met my first girlfriend,” says one, while others just asked Jeeves, “I was told it answered questions and remember being very disappointed with its answers!”

What did we first use the web for? “There wasn’t much on the web at the time. It was mainly government stuff and a couple of corporates,” others looked at the NASA and the FBI websites. “Curiosity of America the Super Power was the first thing me and my mates wanted to look at.  We honestly thought we were going to find proof of aliens or something!”

Favorite websites today include Google, BBC News,  Wikipedia, Gmail, You Tube, Twitter, Soundcloud.com, imgur and Failblog.org,  “Nothing makes you feel smarter than the browsing the consolidation of some of the silliest things human beings ever attempted.” While one older site is dear to the heart of a particular iomart staffer,Yahoo Chat without a doubt. I met my wife on there you know, long before it was fashionable to meet people online.”

So what has the World Wide Web given us? For many of our staff the biggest benefits have been for learning and connecting with their families and friends wherever they happen to be in the world.  Others say: “I can find really niche music from wannabe artists who don’t receive much press, and they can get feedback from folk like me”; “I no longer have to use Yellow Pages or call BT when looking for a telephone number”; “I see the doctor less”; “Amazon. I hate going shopping!”; and “Ebooks….Because….well, have you ever tried carrying 10,000 books at once?!”

It has definitely given us careers in one of the fastest growing industries. While that might be a career that could have turned out differently for one senior employee - “Without it I wouldn’t have run my own business for almost ten years. Such a shame I wasn’t 18 when I first came across the web, I would be a millionaire by now!” – for all of us it has created more jobs and opportunities.

Has it changed our lives? “Well, it hasn’t - it’s just become part of my life. I’ve lived with the internet, longer than I’ve lived without it.”

The response to Tim Berner-Lee’s idea from his boss to his idea all those years ago was, “Vague, but exciting.” That doesn’t even get near to describing what has happened as a result. Ensuring that the World Wide Web was made royalty-free meant it could be used by everyone and it has revolutionized our lives ever since, allowing a whole new type of business and way of living to develop.

So thank you Sir Tim from everyone here at iomart!

More Stories By Phil Worms

Phil is the Chief Marketing Officer of one of the UK's largest managed hosting and cloud computing services companies - iomart Group plc. He is a 30 year IT industry veteran, having started his career with BT plc, joining the company as it emerged into a brave new commercial world following privatisation.

A full and varied career has seen Phil move through various senior product/project and marketing positions with companies as diverse as Centrica plc, One.Tel and VarTec Telecom, Phil has been described as “an old head who has been around the block more than once” who “continues to be a powerhouse of ideas in all areas in which he provides his considerable experience to” - which probably means he should have been pensioned long ago.

@ThingsExpo Stories

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), a global leader in embedded systems, today added 96 new products to the Spansion® FM4 Family of flexible microcontrollers (MCUs). Based on the ARM® Cortex®-M4F core, the new MCUs boast a 200 MHz operating frequency and support a diverse set of on-chip peripherals for enhanced human machine interfaces (HMIs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. The rich set of periphera...

WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, will discuss how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Matrix.org has been named “Silver Sponsor” of Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Matrix is an ambitious new open standard for open, distributed, real-time communication over IP. It defines a new approach for interoperable Instant Messaging and VoIP based on pragmatic HTTP APIs and WebRTC, and provides open source reference implementations to showcase and bootstrap the new standard. Our focus is on simplicity, security, and supporting the fullest feature set.
Predicted by Gartner to add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is based on the idea that devices, systems and services will connect in simple, transparent ways, enabling seamless interactions among devices across brands and sectors. As this vision unfolds, it is clear that no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the horizontal aspects of the IoE. The AllSeen Alliance, announced in December 2013, was formed with the goal to advance IoE adoption and innovation in the connected home, healthcare, education, aut...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
Be Among the First 100 to Attend & Receive a Smart Beacon. The Physical Web is an open web project within the Chrome team at Google. Scott Jenson leads a team that is working to leverage the scalability and openness of the web to talk to smart devices. The Physical Web uses bluetooth low energy beacons to broadcast an URL wirelessly using an open protocol. Nearby devices can find all URLs in the room, rank them and let the user pick one from a list. Each device is, in effect, a gateway to a web page. This unlocks entirely new use cases so devices can offer tiny bits of information or simple i...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
TechCrunch reported that "Berlin-based relayr, maker of the WunderBar, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware dev kit which resembles a chunky chocolate bar, has closed a $2.3 million seed round, from unnamed U.S. and Switzerland-based investors. The startup had previously raised a €250,000 friend and family round, and had been on track to close a €500,000 seed earlier this year — but received a higher funding offer from a different set of investors, which is the $2.3M round it’s reporting."
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. Over the summer Gartner released its much anticipated annual Hype Cycle report and the big news is that Internet of Things has now replaced Big Data as the most hyped technology. Indeed, we're hearing more and more about this fascinating new technological paradigm. Every other IT news item seems to be about IoT and its implications on the future of digital busines...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
The Internet of Things needs an entirely new security model, or does it? Can we save some old and tested controls for the latest emerging and different technology environments? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, will review hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal privacy options and a new risk balance you might not expect.