Internet at 40

I’ve just spent the afternoon with the wonderful celebration piece A people’s history of the internet: from Arpanet in 1969 to today that was published last Friday on the Guardian Technology website. What’s amazing to me is how recent it all really is! I started at Swansea University in 1985 and electronic communications was a difficult issue then. I remember the protocol wars of 1986 when JANET wanted to use X25 when the US was about to standardise on TCP/IP (I recall the our LIS wanted to toe the party line, but that Computer Science wanted to go the Internet route); I remember trawling Gopher for software to download using FTP and putting together tar files from shell archives of multiple USENET messages. I vaguely remember the public announcement of the World-Wide Web (1991), the emergence of the Mosaic browser on X-windows and the Mac, the arrival of the World-Wide Information Service at Swansea (created by our Own David Gill) and the first web site that I created for the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University (sadly not now to be found on the Way back machine). I also remember the University subcommittee that tried to standardize the University’s web sites and my complex, template driven system for creating my Department’s web pages (circa 1999) according to University Guidelines before there was a Content Management System.

But what’s really amazing, when you look at the time-line, is that the stuff that’s really important now, YouTube, twitter, Facebook, podcasting, RSS feeds, are all less than 10 years old. Even Blogger (1997) and Wikipedia (2001) are recent events. It makes me wonder what’s to come, and how will I continue to keep pace with it all!

It reminds me of the punchline to the Monty Python [four Yorkshiremen sketch]( “And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.”
Aye, tha’s reet aboot that lad!

Interactive JavaScript Demos in Firebug

Giving lectures on code is pretty tedious for both students and staff and it occured to me that more interactivity is required. So I wondered if I could liven up my JavaScript lectures by using Firebug’s JavaScript console. As you can see from this quick “proof of concept” video that I [made with Screenr](, it might just work (and will require little extra effort on my part). I’ll blog again about how it went!

eLearning Technology, Cakes and coffee

Today I attended a pleasant hour at e-learning and cakes. Saw a demo of QR codes and Paper Show two technologies that have real potential (although I will have to think more about how to use the former than the latter). If nothing else, QR-codes may convince me to actually try the mobile internet!

(A nice side affect of using the mobile internet is that I might be able to use TwitPic to get my photos off my phone!)

H&S And Project Planning

I have just uploaded an updated version of my Health and Safety and Project Planning presentation to SlideShare. The soundtrack is a bit School-of-Engineering-at-Swansea specific, but if you can make use of the slides, please be my guest.

[H&S And Project Planning]( “H&S And Project Planning”)

View more [presentations]( from [Chris Jobling](

What to do at home in Swansea when your intranet’s unreachable

While working at home I wondered why I couldn’t connect to the new Plagiarism Awareness site recently announced by RSC Wales. Later I decided I’d do some work on Blackboard and found that I couldn’t connect. Odd, I thought!

So I did a ping/traceroute and discovered that the domain is cut-off from the Internet (see Twitpic image below).

Looks like Swansea is cut off from the Internet at the moment! Twitpic

My only choice is to walk in to work!

A couple of minutes later
The blockage spontaneously removed itself and comparing traceroute traces, it looks like one of Virgin Media’s local routers failed rather than anything on campus.
And we're back. Comparing traces, it looks like it might have... on Twitpic

Still, I should go to work anyway!