Blog 8 – Final Thoughts

Blog 8 Final Thoughts

Draw on all the material we have covered this summer to explain your position. Is there a way that you could see an existing project changed or improved so that it would encourage you to participate or get involved?

  • What collective effort have you seen on the Internet that fits the description of a meaningful cognitive surplus project? As far as a cognitive surplus there are many. You can almost open any social media site and find something. From the funny cat and ducks doing something to the ones where information is being supplied or needed. On a personal note I have a family member that is using social media to help find out who shot her husband (in their backyard) while he was doing yard work. This happened on August 20, 2013. Terry Punke died on August 24, 2013 of his injuries. The case is now a year old and considered a cold case. This was in a small upscale neighborhood in a small town of Kappa, IL .  A town only known for their  ONE topless bar and  nice golf course just14 miles north of Bloomington, IL where people built nice homes to raise their families in a small town environment.  There where no guns in their home and Terry was shot in the face with a hand gun at not more than 50 feet.  They have taken to social media in the form of Facebook to see if someone will come forward. You can look and even like the page called Help the Punke Family. They are not asking for money just to find out what happened and to get closure.
Help the Punke Family

Help the Punke Family



Punke family picture

Punke family picture








We have all put those funny pictures of cats, ducks, or kids etc out there because they made us smile and we wanted to share that smile or laugh.  We see it locally and globally ever time we open up the internet.  We learn about happy times  of a wedding or pending birth announcement to the tragedy like the airliner that was shot down last week.  We now get a text or a tweet if there is danger on campus.  Did they have that service available 7 years ago on Virginia Tech campus?  We are able to get personal messages back from a “hollywood star”.  As the gal did from the Hunger Games actor.  We see the new generation of  teens and their need to be liked, retweeted, or how many followers they have.  What will the next group be like?

  • How would you benefit from it? As far as how I would benefit from cognitive surplus I feel I would become more informed with things that I am not in touch with on a personal or daily basis. As we have learned throughout this semester that social medial has made the world a much small place electronically. People are communicating in ways not thought of 10 years ago. But people are becoming less face to face in contact. We see the good of seeing things and getting information out quickly but we also see the changes in younger generations in their addictions to the internet and the way business is handled both on the business level and also on the marketing level. We see how it has changed human behavior.
  • Would you ever contribute your talents to the project or effort? If I felt that I could do well then yes I would contribute my talents to a project. A maybe in a way I have with my contribution to help the Punke family. Or by my minor contributions to various charities.

Closing thoughts as I look over the last 8 weeks and think of how the changes in communications has changed our social structure. From the beginning of smoke signals to face time. We see how all of our lives are interacted by these changes.  We can wish a future King of England a happy birthday.  We can see pictures of an unknown event.  We can even save the planet just by using the internet.  Some for the better and other well I am still thinking on them. We have seen the way our lives are not private thanks to NSA and Mr. Snowden and that the internet has made those a permanent part of our lives some are free and others we will pay whatever to have the accessibility but for how long and how much are you willing to pay? We all depend on it for something in our daily lives and when a network goes down we are unsure what to do with our time. So I say go unplug at least once a week and walk outside and smell the roses again leave your cellphones connected to the wall and just TALK face to face.  I am old school yes I use the internet and like the abilities I have with it but I don’t like how it has taken over and made the world less social in a personal manner.  As I drive to work each day to campus I see all the students with their headsets on and looking down at some sort of electronic device.  Not looking at anything else around them.  Even texting their friends stand right next to them.






Blog 7 Generation “LIKE”


This week was an eye-opening experience. I am from the end of the baby boomer generation where we as kids and teenagers played outside and socialized playing board games at friends’ homes or even an old fashion game called kick the can.  We didn’t worry about technology only how dirty we got.  No cell phones, no electronics at all-controlling who we were.  You look at the tools that are out there today.   We might have worried some of how popular we were but not to the extremes of the Generation “Like”. I am not sure how I feel about this self-need to promote one’s self. But also as it is stated does this generation know how they are being used by the companies to promote their products and to make you part of their campaigns without your knowledge. The phrase “it’s a small world” is much truer than it was 5 years ago. I am not sure this will flow how I think it should. First I fell after watching the video that today’s youth are looking for the wrong things in life. Yes we all want to be liked and to have friend. And maybe even that 15 minutes of fame in some cases. But I felt depressed after watching the video and the last shot was how I believe many feel after the camera is off. But to have a “group” choose what profile picture is you and to have your self-worth be determined by the fact of how many likes, followers, etc. you have to me is sad. I was really taken back by the one 12 or 13 yr. old and his quest to be fame and the raunchy things that he did to get the likes on you tube. I am sorry but were are his parents? The all mighty quest for the dollar. An old saying is money can’t keep you warm and love you back. I am not sure of our culture has brought this on or not. Yes there are some maybe one in a million that will become that “STAR” but there are more that will not. But the idea that companies use this to self-promoter to the younger audience. I think that the Hunger Games is a good example of what our culture is like. The kids are in the arena and the adults are feeding their wants and pockets are being filled by the money being spent.   Another parody is from a 1987 movie by Mel Brooks called Space Balls where in one scene he talks about all the merchandising that is used.  I feel for many of the generation like. I have great nieces and nephews in that age but I doing thing they are part of the “like” culture. They have parents that are very involved in their lives and spend time with family and church. They are secure in their selves and show it daily in their lives.


As you look at the reading material on Culture and Fitting our tools to a small world. We have to first look at Culture. How people react to a situation. We see the reactions of the parents to the fines for being late, the reaction of the traveler to the extra charge to change their airline tix and the tix agent‘s reaction too. We see how when challenged how a group of people developed changes to society by just questioning the facts and working together.   So as stated by Dominque Foray, “Knowledge is the most combinable thing we humans have, but taking advantage of it requires special conditions.”

The first condition is Knowledge unlike information is a human characteristic; there can be information no one knows, but there can’t be knowledge on one knows.

The second condition that affects combinability is the cost of sharing knowledge.

The third condition for combinability is clarity of the knowledge shared.

But there is a fourth condition called culture.

As you also read in the text about the student that grew up on the digital age and thought it was okay to create a virtual group on Facebook where the university believed it was wrong to share information this way. But it was part of the culture the student had grown up with and felt they had done nothing wrong.


Its a small world

Its a small world

Fitting your tools to a small world

Have you ever found yourself in that situation of talking to someone and finding people in common? As stated I think we are all only six degrees of separation. Just think about it.   Even in this internet class we have a common thread. If you use Facebook or any of the other social medias available to us when you “friend” someone you see how many mutual “friends” you have in common some are rather larger and others are only 1 or 2. I have a very small number of friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, and twitter. But I don’t use it to promote a look at me environment. I use it to stay in touch, business and not sure about twitter. I guess I am a little leery of putting too much of myself out on-line. I like the so-called privacy of a small village per se. An example of this is a former co-worker was telling folks about her pending retirement plans but did not want her current boss to know her retirement plans. But she was on Facebook and had it as a public post. I sent her a private message and suggested she might consider removing the post because she did not know who other people’s Facebook friends were with and her current boss might find out anyway if she was ranting publicly about it. She removed the post. Another example is years ago I worked public relations for a major comedy club in Chicago (I believe one of the class member actually was at the club during the time I worked there and maybe our paths even cross back

Gary Sinise

Lt. Dan Band – Gary Sinise Foundation Concert

then). I worked with several up and coming comedians at that time. My cousin is an event coordinator for the Gary Sinise Foundation in LA she now works with many of the same folks some 20 years later.



Final thoughts:

To go back to the question of what does the generation like say about today’s marketing? And how does it affect those of us who are not in that generation? I do believe that technology is a good thing if we don’t let it take over our lives and that we unplug.  We need to talk to our kids and listen to what they are saying.  We have to talk face to face to people and socialize face to face. We have a generation coming up that will not know how to interact with other humans. I believe I saw an ad on TV last night of a fall series that is dealing with just that issue. A class to show how to interact with other humans. Hollywood showing reality?  But also generation “like” is basically only between the ages of  12 – 18 then there will yet another phase to grow from.  But what will be the next step? What oes it say about our future culture?  This week has made me think more about the button I push and who actually is looking at it?  How about you?



Cartoon – human internet trap


Blog 6 – Technological Determinism

As you listen to the Frontline documentary by Douglas Rushkoff and Rachel Dretzin you see how the internet has evolved and how McLuhan’s theory relates. I ask the question how the electronic media has altered the way people think, feel and act. Today’s college graduate cannot imagine life without being wired. Have the youth become addicted to being wired?  Has the internet changed how we think, feel and act?

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan

If you take a look at the Balance Points of History in McLuhan’s Media Map you see how media has altered people way of thinking, feeling and acting.

Tribal Age — As McLuhan describes it “as the time when the senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell were developed far beyond the ability to visualize. The ear was king. This was a culture of oral communication

Literate Age — Here McLuhan states that the phonetic alphabet fell into the acoustic world like a bombshell, installing sight at the head of the senses in exchange for the ear. Also for the first time instead of “tribal” interactions you have private detachment and independent thinkers.

Print Age — The introduction of Gutenberg Galaxy the printing press. The introduction to the masses in repeated print. “McLuhan called it the forerunner of the industrial revolution.”

Electronic Age — Telegraph, Telephone, Radio, Television, Copiers, Computers, VCRs, Compact disk, Cell Phones, Fax , Walkman, DVD, INTERNET, Blu Ray to name a few. The end of the printed word? But the return of the tribal age on a much larger scale.

Global Tribes

But what is meant by the global tribal age? As you look at communications today we can literal talk to anyone anywhere from next room to outer space. You see that today people tend to multitask on their various electronics. Talking on their cell phones, typing on their tablets and emailing or chatting with another person on their laptop. But as the Stanford research showed that they could do it all but not as well as some that did only one thing at a time. But people today are so much different in their mind set than that of someone even 15 years ago. We were getting use to driving and using a cellphone which is not a good combination in many cases. As far as being a hot, cool or warm medium I would have to say a cell phone is definitely a cool medium. But internet gaming has also brought people together from across the globe in a way that was impossible 10 or 15 years ago.  Take a look at Comic-Con and the massive numbers who attend.  Many meeting for the first time but have been virtually connected through the games played on line.

Cartoon of addiction

Cartoon of addiction in a group of bones


But one alarming thing that was brought to light is that of how has the internet changed people. As you saw in the documentary the youth of South Korea and their addiction to gaming to a point that there are intervention boot camps. But also you see that the South Korean government is taking action to correct this major health addition. Do you think there is a problem in the US and should the US be doing the same interventions? Are there games that teach people to learn in a new way that was not acceptable only a few years ago? But has internet gaming taught unhealthy lives to be cross. Games become more interactive and more violent in some ways so people become so connect blur the lines in virtual and reality? I am not sure I believe that games or movies or TV shows effect how a person will react in the real world but I believe there is an area of our minds that becomes blurred with virtual vs reality. I just a research study that stated 73% of the teens (between the ages of 12 – 15) surveyed spent too much time in front of a TV or computer screen. 2% did not watch TV and 9% didn’t use a computer. The research showed behaviors linked to high blood pressure and obesity. **

Working with many upper level college students mostly PhD candidates. I have to say I have seen a change in their ways of writing and I believe the use of the computer internet and all the various shortcuts in communications comes into their professional life. I have read some and they that can’t understand why they are not being understood in a paper when returned with a low remark from a faculty member. (chat lingo –

Avatar image

Avatar image

New Office Space

As you also look at the changes in the use in the internet you see the use of the virtual office. People making an image and working in a virtual office space. People working on a project together but never meeting face to face (in person) only virtually. There are multimillion dollar buildings that 15 or 20 years ago were filled with hundreds of people that are now standing almost empty. I have to admit I find it enlightening that I could work from someplace and not have to be dressed in a suit or working style clothing in a colorless walled office. I realize that again we have to make changes with the way society is moving and the idea of the 9 to 5 job is not the same as it was 10 years ago even.   You can look at telecommunication and how it has changed how some companies save money with workers having to travel to a location for a meeting but can now do from a conference room but that is even outdated with the new virtual office from even home or a coffee shop or laying on a beach someplace. But their virtual self was dressed in business attire and ready for the work day. You see that even teaching our youth today there is a need to learn new ways for them to advance in the future world.

New world – So to go back to the question on have we somewhat come back full circle to the tribal age but with a much different communication ability of not the way of old with the use of our senses but those of visual instead. You see in the global community of the gaming world and their massive conventions.

game image

game image

My Final thoughts:

My first question is how much time do you spend using all your electronics and how many electronic do you own? Do you ever become “unplugged” and for how long? I will be the first to admit I have one of the latest model smartphone (even though I don’t have it glued to my hand and ear but it is my only phone), IPad, IPod (for working out times) and the good ole Laptop ( which is now out of date due to the updated windows but mine still works and does what I need it to do) and even a TV with the bells and whistles (to which I need my nephews to come over sometime and help me program since I have no clue) in my home. I use a computer constantly at work. As you look at all the materials that we had for this week on how connected or wired society is today compared to 10 or 20 years ago. Have we become a more social or less social society? By this has the advancement of technology made us isolated or are we just more social in a virtual different way. When I went to pick up my smart phone last weekend at Verizon the sales person said that I might want to come and take one of their short classes on how to use the phone. Who would think that you would ever need to take a learning class on how to use your phone? But maybe it I used it for many of the installed social media and entertainment programs I would need it. But I think I will just listen to my radio in my car while driving and use the hand free phone system but will turn off and “unplug” the rest.


How much is too much???

cable pug

cable pug

Blog 5 –  Where did the free TV go???

No I would not pay significantly more for internet  or TV activity. I feel that it will become the albatross that cable TV has become today. I remember thinking I will NOT pay to watch TV but I do today but. I don’t have all the bells and whistles stations but I can see some upper level shows and movies. If I can get the DVD or blue ray version at the local store or library I do that instead of paying for channels that I MIGHT watch every now and then.  Cable and Satellite companies has made some become coach potatoes and we need to break those chains. But I know people who don’t have cable but use Netflix or something similar to see the shows we pay for at a much lesser monthly cost. You don’t get to see them immediately but is that really necessary in our lives? I have some faculty members that don’t even have televisions in their homes. And have raised their teenagers without television.


Free wireless service is so widely available that some don’t think they need to pay. But my concern is how secure it that free service? I don’t want to be sitting in an open café drinking coffee or something stronger and paying my bills or doing my taxes with the ability of hackers today. But  some internet cafe  locations will charge you to use their wireless connections.   I have to use a computer at work but when I leave there are times when I don’t look at my home laptop or I-Pad that evening. I am not chained to my smart phone. Yes I have a popular style but it is my only phone service. But I don’t have it constantly in my face looking at all the updates or tweeting or taking pictures of what I am doing at the one moment.


As I listening to the CNET section of the class this week I felt that both Larry Downs and Maggie Redon were unsure of the future of the FCC regulations. I do agree that if regulations and laws came to be that some of the population would be left without.   I did like the comment on the lawyers in DC being with left in the cold. I don’t want to a see a society of haves and have-nots. The US is not a third world nation and thinking that something like this could divide us is unthinkable.

I am not familiar with the law suit with Comcast or anything with Verizon and Google. Maybe because I don’t watch a lot of TV.   One thing I don’t like about cable is it does tell us what stations we can watch and what version of that station.  I use WGN out of Chicago.  I use to be able to see the morning news then that was taken away and then they removed the evening news.  So unless its national news no more WGN news for those of us outside the realm of local access in northern IL.   I do read on-line newspapers and I must admit that the local paper has ticked me off because they limit how many times you can access their on-line site before they block you unless you pay them a monthly fee. I will not pay for a newspaper that is not all they good in the first place. What is sad is they have even block your ability to read an obituary if you have gone over their limit.

Final Thoughts

So what is my limit? I am not sure I believe I am about there today with the yearly rate increases to internet services along with cable.  Do I need the fastest available NO but I still want the ability to watch or to have access to secured networks. If I am correct you don’t have any “free” tv stations today. I remember several years ago being able to listen to some local stations on a radio or carry a small TV that was battery operated but I don’t think you can today you have to be “hooked” into pay TV. I don’t want a company to tell me which I should use I believe I have to right to use BING or GOOGLE or whatever and not be blocked from using it.


Big Brother 1984

Big Brother 1984

As you listen and read this week’s materials you wonder who might be able to see what you are doing. Is this a good thing? To me that is a double-edged sword question. This has actually brought about television shows like “Person of Interest” and others or even films such as Ememy of the State (Gene Hackman and Will Smith),   The Net (Sandra Bullock),  or an even earlier movie War Games (Matthew Broaderick) to name a few.  I don’t believe there is a conspiracy theory as that of Big Brother or should I say 1984 written by George Orwell. But I do believe with the on-line access that we have today that our lives are not as private as we think. A friend of mine works for a high security corporation in Europe and after this section I now understand many of his actions and concerns.   I just thought Doug was a little too fussy about privacy. But now I understand more of his mind-set.

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

First I believe we have the right to privacy but there are those that take that privacy to commit acts of destruction.  You look at the fact of the people who said the NSA had gone too far and wanted to expose their doings but did nothing due to fear. I do not believe that internet companies should be able to give personal information to the government such as Facebook, Gmail, You Tube, Skype, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and even Verizon being asked to submit personal information to the government. This was exposed by the New York Post article in regards to the surveillance called PRISM.  After the article was released Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Apple denied they supplied personal information to the NSA.  President Obama stated in a news conference that “that the government did not spy on US citizens or those living in the US. “ Watching from Hong Kong was Edward Snowden and others with documents that stated just the opposite.  And this is when Snowden made a choice to come out from the shadows.

Would 9/11 been stopped? I have to believe our government is trying to protect those that live and work in the US. I know that most of the NSA events were put in place after 9/11. Do I think it would have stopped 9/11 I am not sure.  Maybe if NSA and other agencies had all their ducks in a row.  It might have stopped some but not all that happened that day. But if you listen to interviews and see the “deep throat” means that the US government used the NSA and other agencies to spy on the American people. I truly wish there was a magic wand that would allow us to pin point who are the evil people in the world. But it doesn’t and where we want to believe it or not there are evil people out there wanting to control the world.   Do I believe “BIG BROTHER” or as the interview called it the PROGRAM should look at our privacy I have to say yes. I don’t have anything to hide and maybe those that do can be stopped. I personally don’t want to live through another day like 9/11 and to see the memorials of the lives lost that day. But I don’t want to see another Oklahoma bombing, or the mass bombing in Spain. The thing we don’t know is how many possible acts of terrorism have been stopped because of the “PROGRAM”. Could it have stopped the Boston Marathon Bombing?  But I don’t believe the government should have open range it needs to be controlled and I believe the men and woman such as that were investigated and lost their jobs, family, retirement and in Thomas Drake’s case almost his freedom should be allowed to oversee the spying program and how the NSA is using its power to protect and not control.

Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake

Do I believe Edward Snowden was correct in his outing the NSA data? Again I can’t say for sure? Did he make the US more viable to new attacks? Did it take so-called sleeper cells to dig deeper into obscurity and to make changes necessary to complete their final end? But I question how a low-level employee with not even a high school degree was able to access the materials that he was. That is my first question HOW?

Cyber Attack – New Pandora’s Box – On the second half on the thought of creating cyber-weapons.  It can open the Pandora’s Box issue and come back on the creators. I believe that STUXNET was done for the good. In the case of exposing the so-called non-nuclear facilities in IRAN then I have to say yes. For this is a country that is out to destroy and control. But again the cyber virus was exposed and can be used against its creators. Like Pandora’s Box once opened can it be closed again?

Atomic Cloud over Nagasaki Japan

Atomic Cloud over Nagasaki Japan

I will go back to WWII when the US made the decision to bomb the cities in Japan to end the war. The thought of all the lives lost is unthinkable but also how many lives were saved.

Final Thoughts – I guess in a way both questions are what we are willing to give up for our freedom and to stop more death and destruction? It makes you wondered if the times you visit a tourist location and they take that souvenir picture is it really just a souvenir or are they doing facial checking? I don’t remember having so many souvenir pictures requested before 9/11?  Just remember to say “CHEESE” then smile and oh yes “please remove your sunglasses.”




Blog 3 – Social Media the new soapbox platform

Soap Box Speech

Soap Box Speech


As you look at this week’s lecture on the social media and how it is used. We need to reflect on our own personal uses of the massive number of social media sites that are available to us to communicate, promote and just plain be entertained. In some ways social media has become a form of the old fashion type of “SOAPBOX” speech platform. Yes I believe in the freedom of speech but social media has made the soapbox platform faceless and electronic and an ability to reach millions instead of a few onlookers.

First I will say yes I have a Facebook account in the beginning it was to communicate with family and to keep up to date with family in another state. But over the years it has introduced me to new friends and reconnect with old friends. I have set up several groups because some of the people are self-promoting and I am not interested in their rants and where they have been or will be in the future. I have one that her only thing is to share cooking and knitting tips but she is a relative so I have moved her to a special group so I don’t see 50 new tips when I go on to the opening page. But I also don’t want to stop a connection with them because I knew they are that way in person but I don’t have to see it when I open Facebook to see any updates on family or close friends. I am also very selective of who I am friends with on Facebook and don’t accept all request and my friend number is not impressive by the huge number that is not there. I have a long list of people that I have blocked due to personal reasons. Some like to see their drama in print and get upset when your remarks are different than what they want people to accept. I even had one person “unfriend” or “fire “me as her friend this past year because I did not know her dog had died. Oh well life goes on and so does Facebook with one less friend. But there is another side to Facebook and maybe other social media. It can help to find a lost child, it can help to solve or a crime because it can get posted and shared by massive numbers in a short time.


Pinterest Logo

Pinterest Logo

I do somewhat like Pinterest but have not really gotten too much into it. Love I can get ideas for cooking and decorating in one place. I have noticed some people that have several different Pinterest groups.


As far as many of the other social media that is available to use I will look at videos on You Tube but have not ever personally posted anything on the site. Same with Instagram or any of the other photo sharing media sites that are available.   There is a saying I think is very true for my generation “I am so glad my stupid days were before cell phones and video websites.”   If you look at the online news you see instant video that has gone vital in a matter of hours. What is disconcerting are the videos that are put on You Tube or other social media of bullying and violent acts of disrespect or crimes and people putting them out there don’t seem to care or don’t think of it as more than someone else entertainment.



Family time around the television

If you look at the reading of Gin, Television and Cognitive Surplus I believe society today uses the internet like a drug. They wake up and are connected, they walk, drive, work and before they go to sleep they are connected.   Maybe I am a little old fashion but I still like to get news from a newspapers or other reliable news sources. I admit I only get a paper copy on Sunday of my local paper and I read several different newspapers daily on line from the local News-Gazette, Pantagrah (Bloomington, IL), along with Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Las Vegas Review, The Scotsman (Scotland newspaper), along with the student run Daily Illini (during the academic year).  if I want more information about a national or international story I will go to websites such as CNN, or MSNBC. I might glance at some of the so called news sources but mostly for entertainment reasons and not for news such as Yahoo. People today don’t need a television to watch they have Netflix, Hulu Plus and even the cable has wireless access. Movies are on DVD before they are even out of the theaters now days. Some much is now instant. Take a look at and you will see all sorts of up to date videos and news that has gone vital.


land line telephones

Princess Land Line Telephone. Rotary and Push button styles

I do use the internet for work more than socialization. Working with a generation of researchers that have no clue what some technology was like even 15 years ago. I have learned the use of many of the constantly changing travel sites that are available today. Not just Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, but there is  Kayak, Hipmunk, Bing, airfareWatchdog, Priceline, Hotwire to name only a few of the travel sites available to vie for your travel business. Most of the people born eighteen or twenty years ago cannot imagine life without cell phones, iPod, x-boxes, laptops or even the World Wide Web.


Kennedy Nixon Debate

Kennedy Nixon Debate

One major change I have seen with the wide use of social media is how politics is using it today. I believe President Obama was the first to use social media for his campaign. Somewhat like how Kennedy used TV media to debate in his campaign.




Blog 2 –

Blog 2 –

As you read and listen to see that each level is based on the level before. You see in the reading the talk of community sharing. Flickr was one of the application someone could subscript to and have followers. In 2005 that was used first by a group of photographers both amateur and professional at a Coney Island parade. But this was not just for the novelist pictures from a Transport bombing were first uploaded to Flickr via a cellphone and was able to provide pictures before any news service have photographs. It was also a way for someone to let a friend or family member know their status by making a comment. It was used in trails, to find missing persons. If you look at both the semaphore to the internet it was a way for one group to communicate with the another group.

Before electricity

semaphore tower

Replica of a semaphore tower


We can go back further in signal communication to smoke signals and the sounds of drums in China, Egypt and Greece. It was in 1971 that two French men Claude and Ignace Chappe created the semaphore. An optical telegraph system to relay messages from hilltop to hilltop at short distances with black and white panels. This was used in several other European cities including London during the battle of Waterloo. One of the major problems was the system was not available if weather did not permit or could not be used after dark. A form of semaphore is still used today by the military in what is called flag semaphore.

flag semaphore

Navy seaman using flag semaphore today



Pony Express

Was used for a short time to deliver mail and messages from Missouri to California. Normal delivery and response was 10 days but it the weather was bad it could take up to 16.  It was a short lived delivery service of only eleven months before the introduction of the telegraph.

Pony Express

Pony Express (1860-1861)


Introduction of electricity changes came in communications.

It was the invention of the battery—a source of electricity for a telegraph—by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827) in 1800 that made semaphore obsolete. The telegraph provided a means for sending messages across wires at the speed of light. Several researchers in different countries attempted to exploit the communications aspects of this discovery. The first successful device, however, was invented by two Englishmen, William Fothergill Cooke (1806–1879) and Charles Wheatstone (1802–1875). Cooke and Wheatstone designed a telegraph system in 1837 that used five needles to point to letters of the alphabet and numbers that were arranged on a panel. Their electric telegraph was immediately put to use on the British railway system.


Samuel Morse

Samuel Morse

Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872), who devised a telegraphic method that eventually was adopted worldwide. Morse made use of ideas and suggestions provided by other scientists and inventors, including those of American physicist Joseph Henry (1797–1878) and a young mechanic named Alfred Vail (1807–1859). His first public demonstration was made at Vail’s shop in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1837.

The commercial success of Morse’s invention was assured in 1843 when the U.S. government appropriated funds to build a pole line from Baltimore, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. On May 24, 1844, Morse sent the first telegraphic message along that system: “What hath God wrought?” The system became popular very quickly at least partly because skilled operators discovered that they could “read” a message by simply listening to the sound of the telegraph’s clicking.

Morse’s telegraph consists essentially of a source of electricity (such as a battery), an electromagnet, and an electric switch known as the key. To send a message, the operator presses down on the key. As the key comes into contact with a metal plate beneath it, an electric circuit is completed. Electricity flows out of the telegraph, into external electrical wires, to waiting receivers in other parts of the world.

But because of the telegraph the telephone was introduced first only to the very wealthy. It contributed to development of city centers and it eliminated the need for some jobs. In 1877 there were only 6 telephones by 1910 there were 5,800,000 can you imagine the number today? Telephones bring the world closer and even more connected.


Introduction of the World Wide Web and Internet

Internet map

Internet map

Whitefield Diffie

Whitefield Diffie

Whitfield Diffie

This door was opened in 1975 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate Whitfield Diffie and Stanford University professor Martin Hellman. The two were searching for a way to share encrypted messages between two people who didn’t know each other, and thus couldn’t have devised their own scrambling formula beforehand. The Diffie-Hellman algorithm that resulted was the birth of contemporary public-key cryptography, the dominant cryptographic infrastructure used on the Internet.

Encryption is the scrambling of text-based messages into unrecognizable code via a complex mathematical algorithm. Only those with the correct “key” are able to encrypt or decrypt such a message in a given cryptographic system. The key is a set of specific parameters, based on the algorithmic encryption formula, that act to lock and unlock the coded information. The formula typically consists of a long string of bits, sometimes more than 200 digits long. The more digits involved and the more complicated the algorithmic equation used to generate the code, the more difficult the hacker’s job in breaking it.


Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds

The Linux kernel, or the program’s essential core, was created in the early 1990s by Linus Torvalds, a Finnish computer science student. According to writer Gerry Dorman, Torvalds developed Linux as an alternative to the Unix operating system, which he found to be expensive and incompatible with PCs. Torvalds based his creation on a Unix-like program called Minix. As it adheres to a number of UNIX standards and architectures, Linux is often seen as part of the UNIX lineage and as a particular implementation of UNIX. This was published on line and free to download. No copyrights.




Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee


Tim Berners Lee

His proposal to develop an interactive, universal interface for use on the Internet—the project that would become the World Wide Web—was twice rejected at CERN until he put the lab’s 10,000-name phone book into his programming language as a prototype to show the Web’s possibilities. His prototype, designed to function in a “brain-like way” but also to track and connect all the random associations that are often buried in the brain, was called Enquire within upon everything. In just two months, he gave the Pentagon-funded, technical-user-oriented communications program known as the Internet a human face, ready for global use. Bypassing the need for large centralized registries, he developed uniform resource locators (URLs), as well as hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) for transferring data to and from any connected computer. He also designed the lingua franca of the Web: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Thus, the World Wide Web was born in 1991, at which point he simply gave it all away for free, only promoting its wider use.


Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen  In the early 1990s he attended the University of Illinois, studying—computer science. He was not much of a student; focusing his attention instead on a burgeoning career in computers. To earn money he worked part-time as a programmer for the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), a conglomeration of undergraduates, graduate students, and professors. In the early 1990s the new buzzword at NCSA was “networking,” which was fueled by the Internet backbone being developed by the National Science Foundation. The NCSA group was working to expand the Internet by enabling computers to link together across the country and the world.

In 1989 Swiss physicist Tim Berners-Lee created a browser that allowed users to navigate through documents on the World Wide Web with by simply pointing and clicking with the| computer mouse. The only problem was that it was text based and not very user friendly. Andreessen was convinced he could improve upon Berners-Lee’s browser and convinced Eric Bina, another NCSA employee, to help him. Their new and improved browser, Mosaic, used a graphic visual interface, making it easier to use. Mosaic was introduced in March 1993 and was a huge hit. Within 18 months, it had helped the number of users on the Internet jump to 20 million.  This was offered on line and for free even today.  **Note the university trademarked Mosaic** and one of the main browers used by the university is Firefox (Mozilla) which is the off spring of Netscape.


University of Illinois NCSA Building

Later that same year, Andreessen left NCSA and was contacted by the founder of Silicon Graphics, Jim Clark, who wanted to start a new company. With four million dollars of Clark’s money, they formed Mosaic Communications in Mountain View, California. In the spring and early summer of 1994 Andreessen and a group of programmers began working on building a bigger and better Internet browser. Their goal was to make the new browser even easier to use in order to target a mass-market audience. In November 1994 Andreessen and Clark changed their company’s name to Netscape Communications.


Cited References:

Telegraph UXL Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. Rob Nagel. Vol. 10. 2nd ed. Detroit: UXL, 2002. P1863-1866. From Gale Virtual Reference Library.

History of the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. Ed. Jane A. Malonis. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2002. p369-372. From Gale Virtual Reference Library

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. Ed. Jane A. Malonis. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2002. p772-773. From Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Cryptography, Public and Private Key Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. Ed. Jane A. Malonis. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2002. p164-165. From Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Linux Gale Encyclopedia of E-Commerce. Ed. Laurie J. Fundukian. Vol. 2. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2012. p459-460. From Gale Virtual Reference Library