Tag Archive | "Internet"

How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone

Brian McCullough, who runs Internet History Podcast, also wrote a book named How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone which did a fantastic job of capturing the ethos of the early web and telling the backstory of so many people & projects behind it’s evolution.

I think the quote which best the magic of the early web is

Jim Clark came from the world of machines and hardware, where development schedules were measured in years—even decades—and where “doing a startup” meant factories, manufacturing, inventory, shipping schedules and the like. But the Mosaic team had stumbled upon something simpler. They had discovered that you could dream up a product, code it, release it to the ether and change the world overnight. Thanks to the Internet, users could download your product, give you feedback on it, and you could release an update, all in the same day. In the web world, development schedules could be measured in weeks.

The part I bolded in the above quote from the book really captures the magic of the Internet & what pulled so many people toward the early web.

The current web – dominated by never-ending feeds & a variety of closed silos – is a big shift from the early days of web comics & other underground cool stuff people created & shared because they thought it was neat.

Many established players missed the actual direction of the web by trying to create something more akin to the web of today before the infrastructure could support it. Many of the “big things” driving web adoption relied heavily on chance luck – combined with a lot of hard work & a willingness to be responsive to feedback & data.

  • Even when Marc Andreessen moved to the valley he thought he was late and he had “missed the whole thing,” but he saw the relentless growth of the web & decided making another web browser was the play that made sense at the time.
  • Tim Berners-Lee was dismayed when Andreessen’s web browser enabled embedded image support in web documents.
  • Early Amazon review features were originally for editorial content from Amazon itself. Bezos originally wanted to launch a broad-based Amazon like it is today, but realized it would be too capital intensive & focused on books off the start so he could sell a known commodity with a long tail. Amazon was initially built off leveraging 2 book distributors ( Ingram and Baker & Taylor) & R. R. Bowker’s Books In Print catalog. They also did clever hacks to meet minimum order requirements like ordering out of stock books as part of their order, so they could only order what customers had purchased.
  • eBay began as an /aw/ subfolder on the eBay domain name which was hosted on a residential internet connection. Pierre Omidyar coded the auction service over labor day weekend in 1995. The domain had other sections focused on topics like ebola. It was switched from AuctionWeb to a stand alone site only after the ISP started charging for a business line. It had no formal Paypal integration or anything like that, rather when listings started to charge a commission, merchants would mail physical checks in to pay for the platform share of their sales. Beanie Babies also helped skyrocket platform usage.
  • The reason AOL carpet bombed the United States with CDs – at their peak half of all CDs produced were AOL CDs – was their initial response rate was around 10%, a crazy number for untargeted direct mail.
  • Priceline was lucky to have survived the bubble as their idea was to spread broadly across other categories beyond travel & they were losing about $ 30 per airline ticket sold.
  • The broader web bubble left behind valuable infrastructure like unused fiber to fuel continued growth long after the bubble popped. The dot com bubble was possible in part because there was a secular bull market in bonds stemming back to the early 1980s & falling debt service payments increased financial leverage and company valuations.
  • TED members hissed at Bill Gross when he unveiled GoTo.com, which ranked “search” results based on advertiser bids.
  • Excite turned down offering the Google founders $ 1.6 million for the PageRank technology in part because Larry Page insisted to Excite CEO George Bell ‘If we come to work for Excite, you need to rip out all the Excite technology and replace it with [our] search.’ And, ultimately, that’s—in my recollection—where the deal fell apart.”
  • Steve Jobs initially disliked the multi-touch technology that mobile would rely on, one of the early iPhone prototypes had the iPod clickwheel, and Apple was against offering an app store in any form. Steve Jobs so loathed his interactions with the record labels that he did not want to build a phone & first licensed iTunes to Motorola, where they made the horrible ROKR phone. He only ended up building a phone after Cingular / AT&T begged him to.
  • Wikipedia was originally launched as a back up feeder site that was to feed into Nupedia.
  • Even after Facebook had strong traction, Marc Zuckerberg kept working on other projects like a file sharing service. Facebook’s news feed was publicly hated based on the complaints, but it almost instantly led to a doubling of usage of the site so they never dumped it. After spreading from college to college Facebook struggled to expand ad other businesses & opening registration up to all was a hail mary move to see if it would rekindle growth instead of selling to Yahoo! for a billion dollars.

The book offers a lot of color to many important web related companies.

And many companies which were only briefly mentioned also ran into the same sort of lucky breaks the above companies did. Paypal was heavily reliant on eBay for initial distribution, but even that was something they initially tried to block until it became so obvious they stopped fighting it:

“At some point I sort of quit trying to stop the EBay users and mostly focused on figuring out how to not lose money,” Levchin recalls. … In the late 2000s, almost a decade after it first went public, PayPal was drifting toward obsolescence and consistently alienating the small businesses that paid it to handle their online checkout. Much of the company’s code was being written offshore to cut costs, and the best programmers and designers had fled the company. … PayPal’s conversion rate is lights-out: Eighty-nine percent of the time a customer gets to its checkout page, he makes the purchase. For other online credit and debit card transactions, that number sits at about 50 percent.

Here is a podcast interview of Brian McCullough by Chris Dixon.

How The Internet Happened: From Netscape to the iPhone is a great book well worth a read for anyone interested in the web.

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What Are the Security Risks of the Internet of Things?

IBM Resilient CTO and security guru Bruce Schneier takes a look at the security risks of the Internet of Things in his latest video. He brings up an interesting and rather disconcerting point, IoT devices tend to do critical things like turn on and off power or drive your car, so preventing hacking is even more critical with IoT than typical computers.

During the writing of this article, I noticed that Bruce Schneier and other cybersecurity experts at IBM are offering a free webinar today on the overall subject of cyber security that you might also be interested in:

December 6, 2018, at 12:00 PM: The Resilient End of Year Review: The Top Cyber Security Trends in 2018 and Predictions for the Year Ahead

Bruce Schneier, CTO at IBM Resilient and Special Advisor at IBM Security, provided an overview of the IoT security threat in a recent IBM video:

What Are the Security Risks of the Internet of Things?

IoT devices are just computers so all the threats that we’re used to from the computer world get transferred into any IoT device. In addition, they tend to be low cost, not well designed, built offshore, so they have more vulnerabilities. They tend to be deeply embedded in networks and organizations so they have a lot of access. They often control physical processes.

They turn on and off the power, they drive your car, they’re medical devices, which means the effects of a hack can be much more dangerous. On the one hand, they’re exactly the same as computers. On the other hand, because of how they’re made and what they can do, they’re very different than computers.

How Will IoT Security Evolve in the Coming Years?

These are low-cost consumer devices in many cases and there’s not a lot of money or even market demand for security. I think two things will happen. I think there will be more security in some of the more expensive devices.

Of the cheaper devices, there will be other things that you could purchase to go on your network that will monitor them. We don’t really have them yet but I think that’s where the future is going. We have to assume there’ll be lots of cheaply made insecure IoT devices in every network. How do we get security on top of that? 

Click Here to Kill Everybody

Schneier has a brand new book out that goes into the security risks of IoT in depth called, Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World.

Here’s how Bruce Schneier describes the IoT threat: 

Everything is a computer. Ovens are computers that make things hot; refrigerators are computers that keep things cold. These computers—from home thermostats to chemical plants—are all online. The Internet, once a virtual abstraction, can now sense and touch the physical world.

As we open our lives to this future, often called the Internet of Things, we are beginning to see its enormous potential in ideas like driverless cars, smart cities, and personal agents equipped with their own behavioral algorithms. But every knife cuts two ways.

All computers can be hacked. And Internet-connected computers are the most vulnerable. Forget data theft: cutting-edge digital attackers can now crash your car, your pacemaker, and the nation’s power grid.

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Barry Diller on the Internet Revolution: Really Young, Truly Radical, Very Troubled

Internet pioneer Barry Diller says that the Internet revolution is still really young. He also says that this truly radical revolution is right now a very troubled revolution.

Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC and Expedia, Inc., recently reflected on the relative youthfulness of the Internet and areas which are still ripe for entrepreneurs. IAC owns popular dating platforms such as Tinder and Match.

Below are Barry Diller’s comments made during an interview on Fox Business which you can watch in its entirety below:

The Internet Revolution is Still Really Young

The growth is just part of the revolution. People forget that the internet revolution is still really young, only 22 or 23 years. It took 10-15 years just to get up enough bandwidth to actually have rich media being served through it. We are really at the very earliest stage of this.

Expedia is one of the first companies to kind of colonize travel for the internet 20 years ago. That’s a world where the colonization of all these businesses is just now coming on ‘full line’ where you can do almost everything and almost everything more through digital platforms. So the growth is everywhere.

Fintech is Just Now Going Mainstream

Financial technology, Fintech, is just now really getting into very much mainstream. Big companies are being built for this. For us, it’s home services. Being able to the same thing you do when you want a car, being taken someplace rather than drive yourself, where you have an app and with Uber. Home service, which has been one of the most difficult areas to tame.

It’s the most, essentially, local of everything. It’s where your water heater breaks, your air conditioning doesn’t work, just take it on the emergency or quick service side, and you want help. Now there is an app in Angie Home Services in Home Advisor where literally you do the same thing. You say I need a plumber and it will show you plumbers hovering around, Uberish like service providers, where you will be able to do the full-service of that transaction on your mobile device because it’s there and it’s ready for you.

It’s Really a Platform

That is just now at it’s very earliest stages. It’s just one example where the growth runway is infinite. It’s really a platform. The platform takes consumers over here who have needs and service providers over here who provide services and through technology, it makes a perfect match or at least a good match.

That’s what all of those things are, they are platforms. Once you have a platform then when you say will others be created, well certainly there will be other platforms created, but there won’t be that many because the network effects have to come into play.

Tinder is Now Moving on the Same Track as Match

We’ve been involved in Match almost 20 years I think. We bought Match quite early in the cycle. We found that… you know what, that’s a very good idea. We found this little company in Texas called Match.com which we bought. The thing is when you say it’s just now becoming where people get married, we had over a million marriages ten years ago come from Match.com.

Then the technology moved forward and you have Tinder, which is actually younger in terms of people. People on Match were fairly serious, yes they wanted to date and see what happened on a little one-time date, but they also really wanted relationships. Tinder got younger and earlier stage of pre-relationship, one-time dating or one-time whatever. But now, it is moving on the same track as Match did where real relationships are coming out of Tinder. It’s an alternative to the historic pattern of going to bars or being fixed up. This actually does bring technology into the mix.

This is a Truly Radical Revolution

When you are inside of a revolution, which I was just lucky enough in timing to get into in a very early stage, you don’t realize the effects of what is happening around you. This is a truly radical revolution. Right now it is a very troubled revolution which happens at very early stages.

Part 1 of Barry Diller interview on the Internet Revolution:

Part 2 of Barry Diller interview on the Internet Revolution:

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The Internet Is Not Your ATM

Maybe you have hopes and dreams about making a living online. Maybe you’ve envisioned a beautiful future where you work four hours a week, you never trade time for money, you sail through a life of ease because you’ve learned to “work smart” and figured out “one weird trick.” The internet doesn’t care. The internet
Read More…

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Mozilla’s Firefox Quantum Aims to Dethrone Google Chrome as Fastest Internet Browser

Google Chrome, the leading U.S. browser at the moment, is about to face some serious competition up ahead. Mozilla just unveiled an improved version of its browser called the Firefox Quantum touted to be drastically faster than its predecessor and offering browsing speeds said to even surpass that of Chrome.

During the late 2000’s, Mozilla Firefox had one of the fastest user growth among Internet browsers according to Forbes. Unfortunately, the browser’s growth lost steam and is now lagging behind rivals Google Chrome and Apple Safari. Chrome is currently leading the pack in the U.S. with a market share of 44.5 percent followed by Safari at 25.4 percent. Firefox, in the meantime, only managed to secure a 7.4 percent share.

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Amazon’s Internet Disruption Was Not What You Think

As most all our readers probably know by now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) went down yesterday for nearly four hours resulting in significant disruption across the internet. Thousands of websites were affected, to various degrees, including the properties that are responsible for a lot of internet traffic such as Yahoo, Business Insider, Apple, Slack, Quora

But as Science Alert notes: “While the experience of seeing so many sites impacted or offline is similar to last October’s massive internet outage that took down Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon itself – the causes are quite different.

In October, hackers initiated a DDOS cyber attack on a major web company that affected hundreds of websites (Twitter, Reddit, and Amazon among others) that relied on the internet services of that web company. But yesterday’s internet frenzy was likely due to a software bug in AWS’ system that showed up at one of their S3 (simple storage service) sites in Northern Virginia, a region that is sort of known as the heart of the internet. Can you image your triple-shot connect speed at a coffee shop in the sleepy town of Tyson’s Corner?

Science Alert continues by pointing out that ” A Gartner study from last year found that AWS controls 31 percent of the market in global cloud infrastructure, which means that when major outages like this happen – like in 2011 and 2015– whole chunks of the internet can go down.

So whether from without (hackers) or from within (bugs), yesterday we learned just how finicky the internet can be.

Internet disruptions are no fun for anyone. But actually Disruption is a popular and positive term among the Silicon Valley startups, entrepreneurs and investors. Disruption is what drives innovation. The idea is to create a product so transformative that it doesn’t just improve but changes a way of doing something. Amazon has created some unique disruptions the last two decades starting with online retailer bookselling and continuing with Kindle, Kindle Fire, Prime, drones, and, of course, AWS. And when you creative a disruption in Silicon Valley, you get a huge leg up in the industry that you practically created…sometimes outright dominance.

Thus it should be noted that Amazon didn’t hugely suffer financially yesterday. And once things start settling over the coming days, AWS will probably be back to rolling in the critical revenue for Amazon. Many websites have too much at stake to suddenly drop AWS and seek an alternate cloud solution. But in the longer term, this potential reputation disruption could help competitors like Oracle and HP Enterprise disrupt the disruptor.

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Internet of Things to Drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industrie 4.0 — Companies Endorse New Interoperable IIoT Standard

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be the primary driver of the fourth Industrial Revolution and Cisco and other companies are at the forefront. It’s commonly referred to as Industrie 4.0.

“Industrie 4.0 is not digitization or digitalization of mechanical industry, because this is already there,” said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and CTO of Schaeffler AG. “Industrie 4.0 is getting the data real-time information structure in this supply and manufacturing chain.”

“If we use IoT data in a different way we can be more flexible so we can adapt faster and make decisions if something unforeseen happens, even in the cloud and even with cognitive systems,” says Gutzmer.

From the 2013 Siemens video below:

“In intelligent factories machines and products will communicate with each other, cooperatively driving production. Raw materials and machines are interconnected, within an internet of things. The objective, highly flexible individualized and resource friendly mass production. That is the vision for the fourth industrial revolution.”

“The excitement surrounding the fourth industrial revolution or Industrie 4.0 is largely due to the limitless possibilities that come with connecting everything, everywhere, with everyone,” said Martin Dube, Global Manufacturing Leader in the Digital Transformation Group at Cisco, in a blog post today. “The opportunities to improve processes, reduce downtime and increase efficiency through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is easy to see in manufacturing, an industry heavily reliant on automation and control, core examples of operational technology.”

Connectivity between machines is vital for the success of Industrie 4.0, but it is far from simple. “The manufacturing environment is full of connectivity and communication protocols that are not interconnected and often not interoperable,” notes Dube. “That’s why convergence and interoperability are critical if this revolution is to live up to (huge) expectations.”

Dube explains that convergence is the concept of connecting machines so that communication is possible and interoperability is the use of a standard technology enabling that communcation.

Cisco Announces Interoperable IIoT Standard

Cisco announced today that a number of key tech companies have agreed on an Interoperable IIoT Standard. The group, which includes ABB, BoschRexroth, B&R, Cisco, General Electric, National Instruments, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SEW Eurodrive and TTTech, is aiming for an open, unified, standards-based and interoperable IIoT solution for communication between industrial controllers and to the cloud, according to Cisco:

ABB, Bosch Rexroth, B&R, CISCO, General Electric, KUKA, National Instruments (NI), Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SEW-EURODRIVE and TTTech are jointly promoting OPC UA over Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) as the unified communication solution between industrial controllers and to the cloud.

Based on open standards, this solution enables industry to use devices from different vendors that are fully interoperable. The participating companies intend to support OPC UA TSN in their future generations of products.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-10-02-pm

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What I Recently Learned From My New Interviews With Top Internet Entrepreneurs

The Best Way To Learn Is To Teach… One of the aspects of creating products I enjoy the most is the lessons I learn. As they say, the best way to learn is to teach.  This is so true because it forces you to focus and prepare since people are…

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Majestic to print the Internet in 3D in outer space

Majestic helps SEOs reach for the stars, literally by aiming to 3D print the Internet in space.

The post Majestic to print the Internet in 3D in outer space appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Nick Stephenson: How This Self-Published Thriller Author Tapped Into The Power Of Internet Marketing To Make $15,000 Month Selling His Books Online

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] I bet you have a dream of one day publishing a book and having it become a bestseller, read by millions of people and possibly even turned into a television series or movie… …Or maybe that’s just…

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