Some have called me an Internet pioneer. Over the past 40+ years I have been involved in Internet and satellite development as well as project management. I try to maintain competence at the nuts-and-bolts hardware and software levels in order to earn and maintain the respect of those I lead, and to make informed and practical judgments. Since this is an “About Me”, I humbly beg the reader to forgive this self-aggrandizing.
Some Key Internet Accomplishments
Built the first TCP/IP network in Minnesota (fuzzballs), 1981
- Introduced and established the first network of Sun Workstations in Minnesota, 1982
- Co-founded the Minnesota Supercomputer Center and Directed its Networking Group, 1984-89
- Deployed the first fiber optic backbone at the UofM (MSINet), 1985
- Founded the NSF regional network MRNet in 1987, elected Chairman to oversee transition to a corporation, 1990
- Promoted light weight client-server architectures which resulted in the first Internet browser, Gopher, 1989-91
- Co-founded and designed a major Internet Service Provider (Internet Way, later UUNET France), 1994-97
- Designed satellite based multicast service adopted by Orion (WorldCast), 1996
- Principal architect and author of Loral Orion’s first global DVB IP satellite system (ODBS), 1997-2000
- Developed DVB performance and multicast enhancements while a member of SkyStream Technical Advisory Board, 1999-2002
Video is becoming an extension of the web, and from 2010 until recently I have been exploring next generation architectures for a tier 1 telco, at their advanced development lab near the Bay Area. Since 2005 I had been extolling the virtues of OTT and ISO Base Media File Format (as opposed to transport stream) and since 2010 have pressed for the use of Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) protocols, starting with HLS and Smooth Streaming, ending up at DASH and HTML5 w/HEVC. In the course of this work we collaborated with many major industry players, such as Ericsson, Alcatel, Moto/ARRIS, not to mention discussions with Google, Amazon, Netflix, etc. In conjunction with building in-house demonstrations of these next generation streaming technologies, I worked with certain industry leaders to develop the enabling low cost video transcoding technologies. We also catalyzed development of a new generation of app based player devices, usually based on Android and its ecosystem. At the end of my tenure, we were demonstrating the use of HTML5 media extensions, advanced web based content security, and next generation transcoding STB silicon.
A Note on Social Media
As I head into retirement, I have undertaken a few related projects, and am excited to see many of the technologies we worked on and demonstrated coming to fruition. However, in recent times I have become quite unhappy with big social media, as I believe it should be a distributed architecture like the web itself, thus preventing any single entity from imposing its will or invented truth, and feel the IETF has fallen down on the job in this respect.
Those of us who “pioneered” the Internet dreamt of a global, distributed, level, free marketplace of ideas and information that could interoperate across a mix of profit and non-profit players, where the best enlightened scientific truth would naturally rise to the fore from the crucible of collaboration and debate. The shareholder driven centralized power and profit that a few large monopolies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon have pursued in the name of good (“don’t be evil”, “bring the world closer together”) is hypocritical and antithetical to this original, perhaps naive, idealism.
There is NO technical reason why social media can not be distributed and open like Domain Name System (DNS) and the World Wide Web.
Innovator and Early Adopter
As a consultant, I often serve as a change agent, scouting out new technologies, methods and relationships. Sometimes as a disruptive early adopter, and at other times as the police, raising the alarm when projects have gone too far off-the-rails. Some examples are listed, here.
Other Interests and Formative Experience
A little background about early work at Kennedy Space Center, establishing UofM networking, ARPANet connection, NSF and state networking, various business efforts, here.
Goals & Aspirations
Having assembled and led many project teams, I know it can be useful to know an individuals views and motivation. I include a few brief thoughts, here.
You can learn a bit more about my hobbies and family, here.