Marc is Curatorial Director of CHM’s Internet History Program and developed the Web, Networking, and Mobile galleries of the Museum's permanent exhibit. He pioneered Web history as a topic starting in 1995, with crucial help from the Web's main inventor Sir Tim Berners Lee and other pioneers. He co-founded two of the first organizations in the field. He presents and consults to companies, journalists, filmmakers, patent firms, and museums on the history of the online world.
Over the shortening fall days of 1977, an unmarked silver step van filled with futuristic equipment, shaggy-haired engineers, and sometimes fully uniformed generals quietly cruised the streets of the San Francisco Peninsula. Only an oddly shaped antenna gave a hint of its purpose.Read More
Larry Roberts and his co-founders flew to New York for the IPO of their fast-growing Bay Area networking company, Telenet. They gave speeches on the stock exchange floor and in general savored the triumph of this recognition in dollars and shares for their five years of pioneering work, from raw startup to international communications carrier. There were thrilling possibilities on the horizon. Telecommunications giants like BT and Bell Canada as well as major manufacturing companies wanted to buy the innovative switches Telenet was manufacturing, based on a new international standard they had pushed through a normally glacial process in record time. Their own networking services were used by all manner of corporate customers.Read More
In the very, very, beginning, the World Wide Web was meant to be a two-way medium. You could post and edit your own pages as easily as you could browse those created by others. But the browsers that made the web popular left out editing features.Read More
This month marks 25 years since the Web’s public announcement in several online forums and the release of the WWW code library, libWWW. The library was a kind of “roll your own” tool kit that gave volunteer programmers the pieces they needed to write their own Web browsers and servers. Their efforts—over half a dozen browsers within 18 months—saved the poorly-funded Web project and kicked off the Web development community.Read More
People wear the technology of their time. The stone-working techniques that made weapons also shaped beads for the body. When weaving was new, the intertwined warp and woof that made water-tight baskets also formed clothes. Smelting produced daggers and bracelets alike. Some technologies started off wearable – Galileo’s telescopes were a spinoff from spectacle makers. The toothed gears of mills and clocks made their way first to pockets, and then to our wrists. Electronics followed as the quartz wristwatch, then the digital version. Electronic headphones and earpieces eventually joined spectacles on our heads.Read More
This past 10 May 2014 marked 40 years since Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn published a paper hammering out the rudiments of the standard that would become known as “the” Internet: TCP, or Transport Control Protocol, later expanded to TCP/IP. The two ARPAnet alums had done the main work in a frenzied two-day burst while holed up in a Palo Alto hotel room the previous September. Theirs wasn’t the first standard for the process of tying networks together, known as internetting. It didn’t even become a major contender until the late 1980s. But the TCP standard that came out of that hotel room would beat out a number of rivals to become the basic design of today’s Internet, which provides the “plumbing” for familiar applications like email, the World Wide Web, and smartphone apps. Today the Internet connects nearly half the world.Read More
When Robert Whitehead invented the self-propelled torpedo in the 1860s, the early guidance system for maintaining depth was so new and essential he called it “The Secret.” Airplanes got autopilots just a decade after the Wright brothers. These days, your breakfast cereal was probably gathered by a driverless harvester. Sailboats have auto-tillers. Semi-autonomous military drones kill from the air, and robot vacuum cleaners confuse our pets.Read More