Happy 30th TCP/IP and are you going to see Tim?

The enabling technology for the Internet turns 30 (here), and the man who devised “the simple link” is coming to town!


Have you seen the ‘Butterfly Effect’ movies? The idea is that there are moments in your life, when your decisions set the future course. Maybe a bit out there, but there are times in my career where I think this has happened.  For example when I left university I was lucky to be employed by one of the most innovative companies of the time, who designed test and measurement technologies, a company called Hewlett Packard.

Being an electronics engineer and having a keen interested in computers, I began supporting HP’s computerised data acquisition set of products and in particular an inter-connect called HP-IB, (or IEEE 488 for the die-hards). Long story short HP started moving into a new standard protocol and in the mid 1980’s I was sent off to be trained up on this new-fangled protocol called TCP/IP.

This week TCP/IP turns 30! (A stark contrast to SNA, Token Ring, etc.) How many technologies have lasted this long? Before you scream at me that Ethernet today is a little different to the 10base2 I originally learnt about and that the protocol has evolved, I understand that, but how many people use floppy disks? (Even the CD and DVD as data storage media are pretty much dead!)

Well Happy Birthday to TCP/IP, however, probably a more important innovation, was the way to simply link a client to a server, the hypertext transfer, which took the fun out of dial-up bulletin boards!!  Sir Tim Berners-Lee is credited with this innovation and the creation of the www in 1989. Since then he has not rested on his laurels and has been a major driver of the ‘open data’ initiative, and he is coming to town, (Here – only Canberra has space). He is visiting Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney at the end of the month, so if you are lucky enough to catch Sir Tim Berners-Lee, PLEASE let us know what he had to say!!


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