I am at the Internet Engineering Task Force meeting this week. The IETF is the primary organization that creates and publishes internet standards, such as HTTP for accessing web documents and for sending email. The IETF is an interesting group — as it doesn't have real membership, no voting, and all standards work is done voluntarily. All the published documents are freely available for individuals, companies, software developers, and hardware manufacturers to create solutions that will work with others. Computer scientists throughout the world have travelled to Dallas this week to improve the internet's security and efficiency.
I am or will be joining sessions about Scalable DNS Service Discovery, DNS PRIVate Exchange, Home Networking, Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Domain Name System Operations, DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE), Sunsetting IPv4, Dynamic Host Configuration, and maybe more.
The volunteer process of the entire effort that results in a better internet amazes me. While governments and companies may mandate some technologies, it is interesting that these core technologies are voluntarily created and voluntarily used. Another book idea?
I read a few interesting quotes in the print January edition of the Texas Monthly magazine while I waited for a tire change. In "It Takes a Thief", Spike Lee was an executive producer for a new filmmakers project:
The whole time we were shooting, Spike would call me at least once a week to see how it was going. And then, for the next seven years, he hunted me down and challenged me to finish the film. He just couldn't understand what was taking me so long. "Hey, this is not something you can just throw away," he'd say. "You should really finish it and get it out into the world."
That reminded me of some books I need to finish (especially the BSD History and NetBSD books that people ask me about).
Another article was about a writer writing about an internment camp in Texas. The author of "The Road From Crystal City" was urged to write about the story years earlier, but ``didn't give his suggestion much thought''. When he did show up a few years later, the contact was dead. But the son had his father's small file which contained a list of the names of the incarcerated children. ``The children were now old men and women, who lived all over the world. The next day, I started calling them.''
Again this reminded me of my history book, since some of my characters are already deceased. (One died after I did brief email interview.) This got me wondering again ... what other technologies or even other important stories need to be researched before the participants or the details are gone?
The third good article was about "The Greatest Lawyer Who Ever Lived" (only partially online). Joe Jamail's $10.5 billion verdict in Pennzoil v. Texaco case in 1985 is still the largest jury award in history. He who grew up as a tough kid in Texas, dropped out college twice, joined the military by lying about age, and then tried to run away from military so was put into the brig. After his successful service, came back and met a girl whose dad didn't like him. After a couple years, they got married. She encouraged him to go to law school. ``Everything I've ever accomplished was done to impress her,'' he said. She wanted to donate money and she suggested 100's of millions of dollars, which they did.
I am still working on my BSD History book. Seven cover ideas were submitted to me. http://reedmedia.net/books/bsd-history/tmp-cover-designs/20150319/ (title unknown to the designer). They aren't really what I wanted. I am thinking of having the cover mostly show a LS ADM-3A or HP 2645 terminal with a retro font like Glass TTY VT220. Any thought on the above cover ideas? What do you suggest for cover? If you want to share a better cover design, let me know. While I have you here... title suggestions? (The book covers the history of the Berkeley Software Distributions with numerous side histories of the Unix operating system, popular Unix-related software, retro hardware, open source licensing and the law, and the beginnings of the Internet.)