The Rise and Fall of .Ly

Jon Postel

The Rise and Fall of .Ly” covers some of the not so widely known Internet history, including The God of the Internet, Jon Postel:

Until 1998, the Internet had a “God.” His name was Jon Postel.

Postel was a computer science student at UCLA in the late 1960s. In 1969, he got into the Internet more or less on the ground floor, when he was part of the team that set up the first node of the ARPANET — which would lay the technological groundwork for the modern Internet.

In these early days, computers would refer to each other and the files on them by IP address. The earliest web addresses were strings of numbers, like: 123.45.67.89. If you wanted to reference, access, or communicate with a computer, you’d type in its numerical address. As the ARPANET grew, its moderators compiled a single file mapping memorable names, often pronounceable strings of characters, to IP addresses. This file was named “HOSTS.TXT”, and it was like a giant phone book with every computer’s name and number in it. Hosts made copies of the master HOSTS.TXT. This system got more and more cumbersome as the network got bigger and bigger.

In 1983, ARPANET became a subnet of the early Internet. At around the same time, Postel, along with computer scientist Paul Mockapetris, devised a new system to name the various places of the web. Their invention, called the Domain Name System (DNS), took the role of the HOSTS.TXT file and distributed it across an eventually vast, multifaceted network of servers.

Celebrating Columbus Day …

Just in time for the celebration of the Columbus Day in the USA, kottke.org links to a few sources (one, two, three) that suggest that the guy was not worthy:

Population figures from 500 years ago are necessarily imprecise, but Bergreen estimates that there were about 300,000 inhabitants of Hispaniola in 1492. Between 1494 and 1496, 100,000 died, half due to mass suicide. In 1508, the population was down to 60,000. By 1548, it was estimated to be only 500.

Understandably, some natives fled to the mountains to avoid the Spanish troops, only to have dogs set upon them by Columbus’s men. (Bergreen, 205)

1994 web design from Apple, Microsoft

Jason Kottke links to some examples of the early (circa 1994) web design from both Apple

apple-early-homepage

and Microsoft (still online, by the way)

microsoft-early-homepage

Quite an evolution we went through!  Here are some interesting bits to notice:

  1. “If your browser doesn’t support images” on the Microsoft one.
  2. Painted grey background, even though that was a default browser background color back in a day.
  3. Microsoft server is NOT running on IIS. Yet. But HTTPS is mentioned already!
  4. I still, in 2015, know multiple so called “web developers” who wouldn’t be able to implement these designs in any sensible time frame (within a day). How rusty are you image maps?

The good old days…

Berlin in 1945 and today

In additional to the video I posted yesterday, here are some comparison images of Berlin in 1945 and today, in 2015.

Reichstag

And this is just a single city from the World War II.  I’m pretty sure most of Europe and half of Russia looked like that.  And these are cities, which survived.  Think of hundreds or thousands of villages that were completely erased from the face of the earth.  Think of tens of millions of people who perished.  All that was just 70 years ago.  And it looks likes we haven’t learned or remembered our lessons.  It’s 2015 and the world is still at war.

“It’s different now”, you might say.  But I’ll argue.  People die the same.  And places are destroyed the same.  Just have a look at some of the images from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Syria, Egypt … the list of countries grows every year.

Berlin in July 1945

My great-grandfather was there.  My grandfather was there.  My mother was there.  And last year I was there.  Standing in front of the Reichstag building was very moving and emotional.  As was visiting war memorials.

This colored footage of Berlin just three month after the World War II has ended is amazing.  The areal shots at the end of the video of the destroyed city are mind blowing.  Look at all the people involved in restoration.  Look at all the military presence.

Found over at kottke.