The Internet and personal computers

The ARPAnet was a packet switching network, funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency, ARPA. ARPAnet was used to transmit programming information across lines between MIT, Stanford, Xerox, and Ft Belvior. It was the first packet switching network to use TCP/IP and became the foundation of the modern day internet. TCP/IP stands transmission control protocol/ internet protocol, this protocol breaks the switching packets into smaller pieces (like Shannon’s work) and then makes sure they are put back together at the receiving end in the correct order. The ARPAnet was designed to withstand a nuclear attack. There is no central headquarters, this allows for rerouting of information if one point is attacked or down. CERN also uses the ARPAnet. Tim Berners-Lee while at CERN comes up with the World Wide Web, he wants to find an easier way to share information between scientists. He finds a way to use his hypertext protocol with the TCP part of TCP/IP and a domain naming system and you have the WWW.

Douglas Englebart advances these ideas even farther. After receiving his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, he patents the “mouse” for the P.C. and in 1968 he concludes that you could use a screen, such as a tv, with a mouse as a computer. You could use hypertext programs to link to other programs, these should no longer be closed systems. Englebart goes to Xerox park where they want to expand on his ideas. At Xerox park they come up with command line prompts, and input. In 1975 they develop G.U.I, the graphical user interface. The G.U.I. is all the options we use with our mouse we are familiar with now days such as the scroll down menu, windows etc.

In 1976 an Apple inventor gets a tour of Xerox and 5 years later they produce the first mass marketed personal computers. By 1993 NCSA released the graphical interface “Mosaic”. In 1994 “Netscape Navigator” is out and prettier graphically than Mosaic.

What began as a closed network, led to an open network in order to share information. This goes to show information “wants to be free”. In order to continually develop and improve technology it must be shared and viewed by different people with different ideas.

The development of the internet and personal computers has made sharing information effortless but at what cost? It reduces social interaction, there is also greater access to false or misinformation. Is it like Carr believes that technology is breaking down the personal and public self? Sometimes I think yes, for example the amount of online bullying and “public”shamings. Sometimes I think no because it allows such great access to things in which I may not otherwise have access to.

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