Archive for May, 2008

7 Defining Moments in Internet Creation

Right now, in this day and age, the internet encompasses many aspects our lives, crossing many categories that are not even related in the slightest. Research work? Not a problem. Want to buy groceries? Order online. Music? We have download sites everywhere. Planning your overseas honeymoon in a luxurious hotel? Open a browser and find a deal. Moving to another country? Look up requirements in Google, and forums on that country while you’re at it. Need to know the weather? Check out weather sites to zap that info directly on your desktop.

In this world of such convenience, sometimes we have to look back to see what started it all. So here are, for me, the most important moments of the internet, ones that changed the lives of people everywhere.

1. Invention of the Telegraph and Telephone. Samuel Morse invented the telegraph that was quickly adopted by America for practical use. Alexander Graham Bell officially invented the telephone as we know it today, successfully testing it in March 10, 1876. Why is this a defining moment? These two devices were the first ones ever to send information over a distance quickly. The phone lines and cables that resulted still form an important backbone to the internet today. Phones also convert an electronic signal to an analog one, the basis of modems.

2. Launch of Sputnik 1. This USSR craft launched on October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite. It was the dawn of global telecommunications. Satellites today transmit all kinds of data all over the world, including the internet!

3. Creation of ARPANET. Known as the predecessor of the internet, ARPANET was developed for the military to exchange information. It sent data in packets, much like what the current internet does! Four nodes in different universities formed this primitive network. If ARPANET had not worked, the internet could have been set back another decade.

4. E-mail is invented. 1971 marked an important year for the internet, with the creation of e-mail, sending letters across the internet. It is still a mainstay in internet communications, and will probably be used throughout a person’s internet life.

5. International networks. 1973 saw the first international internet connection. At around this time, Ethernet, gateway protocols, and FTP are invented. It became apparent that you can connect computers on a global scale! 1976 further cemented this, as networking spread to more and more computers.

6. Internet boom. At around 1983-1984, a large number of nodes were created because of name servers and DNS, using names instead of numbers which made it easier to remember and communicate with. Another reason for the boom was the spread of desktop computers, enabling more people to connect.

7. World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee released the WWW as we know it, which provided easy information to anywhere in the world with much simpler methods. Browsers came out. Multimedia is released a year later.

The internet took almost a century to finally morph into what we know today. It’s amazing how progress works, indeed.

May 22, 2008 at 6:46 pm 2 comments

3 Tips For Longer Life

Whoever can find a way to extend life without much effort will have the world at his feet and millions in the bank. Sadly, no instant cure for aging exists. We do have other ways, though, as certified by the centenarians of the world, with these traits being common among them.

1. A loving family. In this day and age, families are a lot farther apart, physically and emotionally. Most centenarians have close family ties! Surveys also show that people with a happy family live longer. Coincidence? I think not.

2. A purpose. These centenarians also share a common trait of being driven people, their life with a clear goal. It may be something as simple as caring for a garden, or writing a book. A purpose gives life more meaning, they say. It may be a good time to think about yours!

3. Healthy eating habits. Smoking and obesity are said to be taking ten years off the average American’s lifespan. These oldies tend to eat simply and healthily, or even eat whatever they want but not worry about it!

Personally, I wouldn’t want to stick around for more than a hundred years. What other tips do you have? Share them!

May 20, 2008 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

Crazy Flight Attendants

The airline industry is taking a turn for the worst. It’s something we probably all know by now, with the increasing oil prices and the shutting down of many an airline company. It’s not just the company that’s feeling the heat, but also the people who work for it. They’re no longer guaranteed to have a job six months from now. Maybe that’s why the flight attendants are getting a little loopy these days.

There’s a recent story about a flight attendant who, angry with his work, started a fire in the plane’s bathroom. Nobody was hurt, and the man is likely to be sentenced for 20 years. He said that he was mad at his current route, and originally planned to light up the paper towels in passenger’s faces.

Another tale I know, from a long way back, is where a poor passenger almost died. The attendant was in a bad mood and had put certain over-the-counter drugs she had snuck aboard in a rather cranky passenger’s food. The passenger reacted very badly to the drugs and went into shock. It was quick thinking from the other attendants that saved his life.

Maybe the airlines should invest in a shrink for these guys. We can’t have employees as possible threats to the passengers now, can we?

May 16, 2008 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

4 Great Surf Spots You Never Knew

I love surfing, I really do. The entire experience is truly exciting, from getting into the water to riding that big wave, giving that heart-pounding thrill. I’ve been to plenty of beaches and pools to practice my surfing skills, and I relish each and every wave I get on. However, sometimes there are just too many people in those places, and this could mess up your training. Have no fear! I’ll tell you about the little places people don’t go to most of the time, the places where you can surf in relative seclusion. Some of these places are just starting to get attention, so ride the waves there while you can! Note that I won’t list the exact spots, because then it wouldn’t be a secret.

1. Honolulu, Hawaii – Yeah, I know, Hawaii has been surfed to death. You’d be hard-pressed to find a secluded beach at any point in the day! Don’t be discouraged, though. Why would I put this here if there wasn’t a surf spot? A little ways off from downtown, you can find this beach if you look a bit. You have to trek a bit of dangerous path to get there. The waves aren’t packing all the time, but when they do pick up, it’s a great place to get some surfing done. Hardly knows about this place, so no asking the locals!

2. Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, Philippines – This spot in this island country is a well-kept secret. And for good reason! Despite a popular spot for surfing competitions, it’s hard to even get there, with the trip being five or so hours from the nearest airport. Siargao also overshadows this spot, being the country’s top surf destination. The place should be relatively empty of people. There are ten surfing grounds there, so you can change destinations if the spot you are in is too crowded for you. The locals are also very friendly and hospitable. Go there from November to January for the best waves. Just don’t expect a five-star hotel to stay in. This is a remote town after all.

3. Oahu, Hawaii – Yeah, another Hawaii place. East of Oahu is a beach with great, clean waves, and is hardly inhabited! Like the others, getting there can be challenge but should not deter the determined surfer. You are awarded with regular waves upon arrival, and should give you quite a workout. Summer is the best time to surf here because of the improved waves, and also because everyone else is going to the crowded spots!

4. Lake Michigan, Sheboygan, Wisconsin – Specifically, “The Elbow”. Only the bravest surfers dare come here. The water is freezing cold! Ice is also in the water, plus there needs to be a storm nearby to create the best waves. Dangerous, yes, but this stops normal people from surfing here. Are you a real man? Take the challenge!

Personally, I prefer to surf with a good amount of people, but if flying solo is your thing, these spots will hit the spot! What other surf places can you recommend to us?

May 14, 2008 at 5:31 pm 2 comments

3 Tech Gifts Your Mom Will Love

Ah, yes, mother’s day. The day where we show our (more than usual) love to the lovely lady who raised us. This raises a question, though. How do we? The good old fashioned present with a greeting, of course! But what do we get her? Skip the handbags and flowers, technology is the new thing! What’s best to get?

1. A digital camera. Remember the mom that always takes pictures of your birthday parties? Chances are, she still loves to do that! Why not give her a new digital camera? That way, she can take as many shots as she wants! If she already has one, maybe it’s time for an upgrade.

2. A booklight. I don’t know about you, but my mom loves to read romance novels and cheap pocketbooks. Play on her love for reading and get this! It’s cheap, too. Just don’t tell her that.

3. A satellite phone! Some moms always want to know where you are. Swallow your fear and give her something that can call you anytime, anywhere! Just remember, she nags you because she loves you!

There are my recommendations. What did you give your mom this Mothers Day? Wait, you’re asking me? Well, that’s a secret.

May 12, 2008 at 7:32 pm 1 comment

Always Here

It was the twentieth time that the man entered the park, at least a thousand miles from his home. Ignoring the lovers holding hands, the families picnicking, the children playing, he found that special bench and sat down on it.

I’m here, he says. And someone replies. I’ve been waiting for you. Thanks for coming. Some park-goers didn’t mind the man who seemed to be mumbling to himself. A few others smiled knowingly.

Slowly, he starts to talk, like meeting an old friend. He chuckles here and there, obviously amused by a joke only he knows. He relates his woes, his hopes and his dreams. The voice offers words of comfort, and shares in his joy.

It all started a few years ago. Visiting relatives was boring, so he decided to head to the park. On the same bench, he heard the voice. At first, he passed it off as a hallucination, but eventually he started to converse with the unseen female, with her talking back.

It’s lonely being here, she says. People think I’m not here. I’m not even sure I’m here.

You’re here, he replies. As long as I’m here, you definitely exist.

This story was related to me by a good friend. He says that the girl sends her regards too.

May 8, 2008 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

4 Simple Inventions That Changed the World

There are many conveniences that we take for granted these days. In fact, it’s hard to imagine life without many things that were cutting edge long ago! Computers, vehicles, gas and electric ranges, sewing machines and ballpoint pens are just some of the innovations that influence daily life.

They say the simplest inventions are the cleverest. I agree. There is a recent story about a three-year old kid who invented a double-ended broom, one for a coarse brush and one for a fine brush. It’s amazing that he’s the first to patent that. Throughout history, such simple inventions changed the lives of people everywhere. What are these all-important devices?

1. The Wheel – one of the early inventions that changed the way humans lived. We see it everywhere; on cars, trucks, planes, ships, inside machines, toys, and much much more. Life wouldn’t be the same without the wheel. It was said to be invented by the Mesopotamians in 4th century BC, eventually helping usher about the Bronze Age. Starting from wooden carts and wagons, the simple yet so very useful device evolved over time. With so many uses and applications, it is forever part of the human race, and one of the first steps to civilization. Can you imagine being unable to take a taxi to your hotel, instead footing several miles with tons of bags? Or spending an hour walking to get to the mall?

2. Tools – Yet another thing that set us on the path of civilization. Humans have opposable thumbs, which led to the creation of tools. Simple tools like sharp rocks used to cut turned into knives and spears. Large rock used as a hammer became actual hammers. We built our own houses, caught animals, made our own fields and improved our way of life with tools. Interestingly, some mammals and birds use tools too.

3. Sewers – Sanitation is important to civilized people. A system where waste is gathered and disposed of in once place rather than everywhere is indeed helpful. Ancient people saw this, and were among the first to invent the system. Today, we rarely think of the network of pipes running under our feet, making sure that our waste stays out of our sight, and out of our noses! I’m happy knowing that we’re not defecating on the ground. Well, most of the time.

4. Roads – Along with the first wheeled inventions, roads came about. Dirt paths worn by hunters were common before vehicles, but it was only after the wheeled inventions were invented that there became a real need for better roads. Dirt-worn paths became wood, stone and brick roads. Because of the ease of transport roads offered, the world became prosperous. Today, they are the backbone of economy and society. Imagine life without roads now. We would be living in houses in a haphazard manner. Goods are transported slower. There would be more accidents.

There you have it! These are, for me, the ones that truly shaped the world. Well, I guess money did, too. What inventions do you think changed the world?

May 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm 2 comments

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