Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reflection on “Internet: Behind the Web”

I found the documentary interesting for two reasons. First, I learned a few things I did not know before. Second, it gave me a new outlook on the rapid changes in technology I have experienced during the not-so-long period of my life.

What I did not know
I was surprised that the idea about an Internet-like network goes all the way back to the 1950s and J.C.R. Licklider, and that the U.S. government was interested in the concept because of the fear of the Soviet Union. I was aware of how powerful the Internet is, but did not realize how powerful the American telephone companies used to be. I also got a better understanding of how the Internet works.

 Ever Changing Technology
As a high school student, I had to learn to type on a typewriter. (By the way, who knows how to change a ribbon in a typewriter?) Before I graduated, the school bought several computers that ran on a DOS operating system. I first started using Windows at work, when I was about 20 years old, after the company director asked our IT to uninstall the Text602 (a Czech text editor compatible with DOS) one night from all computers, to force everybody to use MS Word.

When I was a student at Palacky University, I still used a typewriter for the first couple years, when computers were too expensive for a student to even think of buying one. Half the way through college, our department purchased about 40 computers, connected them to the Internet, and opened a computer lab for students. However, one had to sign up and wait for hours for a 30-minute session. Before I graduated, my parents bought a computer and I was able to write my 250 page thesis in MS Word.
Eleven years later, I don’t have to stand in endless lines at the university library... Moreover, I don’t even have to get up from my couch to do most of the database research for my graduate classes.

We’ve come a long way in a short period of time!

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