Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Putting the 'Space' in Cyberspace.
(Ed. note - This post is technically not about flying, but it is about space, which sorta kinda is in the same realm - dan)

Way back in the late sixties, a group of communications technicians began playing with a really “out there” concept, a new way of communication over telephone lines that they thought would rock our world big time.

Looking at the Hobbes' Internet Timeline v8.2 published here by Robert H'obbes' Zakon, we see the following as what looks to many to be the birth of the Internets:
1965 - ARPA sponsors study on "cooperative network of time-sharing computers" and TX-2 at MIT and AN/FSQ-32 at System Development Corporation in California are directly linked via a dedicated 1,200bps phone line; Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computer at ARPA later added to form "The Experimental Network".
From those baby steps, the Internets have grown up substantially, so much so that is was estimated that in February, 2007, over 90 billion spam emails each DAY were transferred over that 'Experimental Network' that morphed into the world wide web. I doubt that was the founder's intention, but spammers are like cockroaches now, you kill one and five more appear from under the sink.

While we all live (and die) on the web these days, one frustrating thing that has always been part of the experience was connectivity. First, we had to suffer through the molasses-like speeds of dial-up, and today, we think DSL is not fast enough. And with the invention of wireless laptop technology, you can sit damned near anywhere and “surf” that experimental network, so long as you are in range of your home or office wireless router or sipping really spendy java at a coffee house equipped with a hot spot.

But now that I own a new wireless Macbook Pro, I am still finding connectivity to be a bitch. Sure, I can pay $75/month to get a wireless PC card that delivers almost useless dial-up speeds on the road, but each time I travel, I find myself asking this question: Is there a better way for all of us to log on and pound away on the web from anywhere on the crust of this rock we live on?

Turns out, the answer may be yes:
From TechNewsWorld - The Department of Defense is partnering with Cisco and satellite provider Intelsat General to launch an Internet router into space (IRIS). The result will be a "computer processor in the sky," Intelsat officials said, merging communications received on various frequency bands and transmitting them to multiple users based on data instructions embedded in the uplink. "IRIS extends the Internet into space for warfighters, first responders and others who need seamless and instant communications," said Bill Shernit, president and CEO of Intelsat General. "IRIS will enable U.S. and allied military forces with diverse satellite equipment to seamlessly communicate over the Internet from the most remote regions of the world."
I know, I know, it looks like this might be only for government use...now. But that was the original intent of the www in the first place, and eventually it went public, for better or worse. So I say let's launch a whole fleet of IRIS satellite routers into orbit, which will prompt a new evolution of computing technology allowing the masses to use these space routers anywhere, anytime for anything. Except spam. In that “perfect world”, there would be no more “hot spots”...because the whole PLANET would be one.

Now that, my friends, is serious wireless. All that stands in the way of this becoming reality is for Big Telecomm to figure out a way to make a buck off of IRIS.