Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Web

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  • Jean Hughes, in reply to BenWilson,

    Can anyone else here claim an active 18 year old email address?

    yep - I still have my original Ihug address ( and others of course) that I realise is also 18 years old

    Mangere • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • JWT1,

    How about a shout out for Lou Montulli, one of the developers of Lynx, a text only web browser released in 1992 and still in use. I used it for years after Netscape became available if I was on a slow connection. Lynx was developed by students at the University of Kansas. Lou later joined Netscape and was instrumental in setting up the Famous Fishcam, which it still available ( http://www.fishcam.com/history.html ) . My defining moment with the WWW was when the scientific Journal of Biological Chemistry went on line with full text and graphics in 1995. Thank you Bob Simoni ( http://stanfordprofs.com/gallery_simoni.html) and Stanford University HighWire Press ( http://highwire.stanford.edu/ ).

    Manawatu • Since Aug 2010 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jean Hughes,

    yep – I still have my original Ihug address ( and others of course) that I realise is also 18 years old

    I abandoned my old ihug address -- which had become something of a spamtrap anyway -- when I departed ihug. It was a little bit of a moment, given that I was one of the first customers on their game-changing monthly flat-rate account. I actually walked into their old bunker on Newton Road a couple of days after they'd announced it as the Tuanz conference, found Nick Wood surrounded by modem banks and signed up.

    Oddly enough, Nick and Tim Wood had actually set up my original Iconz account, when they were working there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Presumably Google must've learnt from Jeeves and their ilks' mistakes and the rest is history.

    I believe the answer to that is PageRank* - Google's original algorithm for search ranking. To follow up Russell's point re the academic origins of the web, I understand that the PageRank patent is Stanford's, not Google's...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    Yep:

    The word is a trademark of Google, and the PageRank process has been patented (U.S. Patent 6,285,999). However, the patent is assigned to Stanford University and not to Google. Google has exclusive license rights on the patent from Stanford University. The university received 1.8 million shares of Google in exchange for use of the patent; the shares were sold in 2005 for $336 million.

    Worked out well for Stanford, which has quite a record in delivering start-ups.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    game-changing monthly flat-rate account

    It's interesting the way NZ went. In the UK dial-up access was typically through a revenue shared standard rate call (0870 number ISTR) such that the ISP got per-minute revenue. Often you didn't even have to sign up, and there were services where you could start your own virtual "ISP" at negligible cost. There were even models where you got some kind of information service, like stock prices, in return for connecting through a particular number.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    It’s interesting the way NZ went. In the UK dial-up access was typically through a revenue shared standard rate call (0870 number ISTR) such that the ISP got per-minute revenue.

    Whereas we always had free local calling. The big ISPs here did kick off by charging $5-$6/hour for access, but Ihug made that untenable. Bravo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I registered taniwha.com back in 1993 so my email address is ~21 years old

    Could be a winner. I had email in 1991, they were standard issue in Computer Science. I had to learn Unix commands to access it, and could not, for the life of me at the time, see the point of it. It was a way of sending information around internets, but the only internet I was on at the time was the University one, and I'd rather actually talk to someone in the building than struggle with Emacs in a command line just at the time that nearly everything was switching to GUI. That account is probably still stored somewhere, given University policy on tampering with private data. But my hotmail account is my main email, even now. It's the address I give people.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Rex Croft must have registered vital.org.nz for me around 1998, so I've had my site, email address etc for at least that long. /namedrop

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ...and Windows XP comes off life support soon too

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/04/technology/security/atm-windows-xp/

    An estimated 95% of American bank ATMs run on Windows XP, and Microsoft is killing off tech support for that operating system on April 8. That means Microsoft will no longer issue security updates to patch holes in Windows XP, leaving those ATMs exposed to new kinds of cyberattacks.

    I wonder how many ATMs in NZ use WinXP...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc,

    While I'm in the granddad mood.

    First email 1985 (uucp): plexusuk!chris
    Second 1990 (CompuServe): 100242,1003
    Third 199? (Internet): chrism@iconz.co.nz
    Fourth ???? (Free): chris_mckay@hotmail.com
    Last 1998 (Own domain): chris@defacto.com.au

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since May 2008 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • ange wither, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    and heres a screen shot of the old e-world, to show where XTRA got the idea from:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    Ah such fond memories of our 486, Alta Vista….the family email address we all shared and used for nothing more than emailing Grandad. Learning how to clear your browser history (so important for a teenager). It seemed like I had no idea what the internet was in 1994 and was using to study for assignments in 1995.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I actually walked into their old bunker on Newton Road a couple of days after they’d announced it as the Tuanz conference, found Nick Wood surrounded by modem banks and signed up.

    I did exactly the same thing in, 1995 I think, modem banks sounds flash what I remember was a long bench piled a meter high with modems , cables everywhere, it looked chaotic, I nearly didn't sign up but it was a good deal.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Speaking of hyper text
    BBC releases 30th Anniversary Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text game

    and IIRC The Residents ended up here on their 13th Anniversary Tour in '86, due to them being impressed that someone in NZ had email...
    (or something like that)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7948 posts Report Reply

  • sandra,

    In the early 1990s (90-92) I used the term "virtual reality" in conversation with my husband and was mocked, if not scoffed at! (I'd read a Time magazine article and had discussed it with my boss, who, despite being apparently ancient, was pretty clued up on evolving technology.)
    So I had to work really, really hard to convince old Forkbeard that we should have an email account, starting out with voyager who, later on, dumped us, sigh.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • sandra,

    I really got excited about the internet while living in Lebanon from 1998 - I could either go to the British Council library to research stuff in their reference section, or try and find it on the 'net. The latter was often more convenient, although a year later reliable electricity became the issue, thanks to a certain country to the south.
    Somebody said way back at the start of this thread that searching the net used to be more fun, leading into all sorts of byways, and I agree. I didn't mind using two or three search engines and getting different results from each, although admit the Google is pretty mind-blowing.

    tauranga • Since Dec 2011 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ok, back to
    Back in the Day
    from TVNZ.
    Back in the Day: Introducing the Internet
    Interesting that the XTRA sponsored program was using Netscape rather than Internet Explorer, guess that was to placate those pesky Macintosh users. ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pew has posted a nice Web timeline. I remember a lot of this stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’d rather actually talk to someone in the building than struggle with Emacs in a command line

    You used EMacs as a mail reader??


    Actually, yeah. Knowing EMacs I could believe that.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to izogi,

    I think I may have composed a mail in EMacs. Once. The Linux nuts loved going on about how user friendly it was, and I could only scratch my head when comparing it with a GUI mail client. They were speaking from a world where access to a mainframe was a big deal, a really cool thing to have, to someone moving into a world where desktops were more than powerful enough to do anything I wanted to do, and running everything from a command line just to keep the client thin was becoming irrelevant. There's still a place for it, but shooting off an email didn't seem to be that place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    The Wold Wide Web - The dark dark side

    Communications security has held my curiosity since the days of Captain Crunch and other members of the Phone Preaking community, among whom was a chap who went by the handle of Oaf Tobark aka Steve Jobs, who went on to become one of the gurus of followers of the new technology, the computer generation if you will.

    That was, of course well before any of us heard the scream of a modem connecting to our ISP or some distant server but the security of our information has its roots back with those guys driven by the curiosity of a new technology.
    Here's a very interesting article from The Well back in 1995 featuring one Kevin Mitnik.
    Security on the Net A Cautionary Tale by Bruce R. Koball 15 March 1995

    Some of the mysterious files contained email, so I scanned them in an to identify their owner. All of it was addressed to a single individual. I didn't recognize the address until later that evening when the 28 Jan issue of the New York Times landed on my door step.

    Shades of Eric Snowden?
    Without the world wide web those "Secrets" would still be sitting, hidden from those affected by them, in the hands of the power hungry elite'
    where will we go from here?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I am really quite surprised, if not astounded, that this thread has received so little response. In light of the fact that Russell cut his MSM teeth on this very subject, Computers and Internet, in the Listener magazine, in fact he won an award for the column in 2001 at The Net Awards (not to be confused with the Onyas, who’s inaugural event took place some ten years later)
    I like these threads, a mix of history, techno-babble and nostalgia. They seem far too rare considering so many readers and corespondents on these boards are involved in IT and Communications tech, admittedly not so many now that Hard News seems to have morphed into Knitting Yarns and one of the most vicious knitting circles I have ever encountered.
    It would be good to see a section devoted to tech stuff, audio, A/V and general computer hardware and programming rather than some of the hand wringing opinionated offerings we have these days.
    Onya Russ, why not give it a go?.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    A bit of reminiscing from Russ at the Australia New Zealand Internet Awards on the evening of Tuesday, September 17 in Wellington
    From... nz.general: a speech

    ....websites created by individuals like Bruce Simpson, Rob Cawte and Mark Profitt. The latter two published the text of my weekly radio rant, Hard News, from 1993. Someone knocked me up a listserv for it, and I put it on Usenet.

    The power to publish had arrived.

    That same year, I accepted a proposition that I should stop writing about rock music for The Listener and start writing a new column called Computers. The column might as well have been called “Internet”, because that’s mostly what I wrote about. At one point, the editor asked me in for a chat and said there had been some complaints: so much of this internet thing – could I not write more about CD-ROMs?

    CD-ROMs... Fnahhh.
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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