The 1990s browser wars Microsoft IE versus Netscape Navigator

The Browsers Wars featured Marc Andreessen of Netscape versus Bill Gates of MicrosoftAs we now look at the development of the web browser, it is important to note the distinction between the World Wide Web and the Internet. Simply put, the internet is the highway system, the World Wide Web is the vehicle used on the highway.

The internet is an intelligent highway system. It sets up the rules and methods that traffic uses on the highway system. These rules are called protocols, such as TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/ internet protocol), the main set of rules for the highway.

Once you agree on the highway system, the next step is to standardize on the different things that can travel on the highway. The WWW (World Wide Web) is a vehicle used to travel the highway. HTML (hypertext markup language) is used to build Web Pages (HTML pages) the core of the vehicle. The main purpose of the internet is to have a standard highway system.

A very quick lesson on network technology, you have a relationship with large centrally located computers called servers, and the local desktop computers which are the clients. The server, which as the name applies, is a device which serves something up that is requested. The client is the computer that makes the request for something from the server. You will sometimes hear the phrase client application to describe a piece of software that is installed on your local computer. The client application in the case of the World Wide Web is the web browser.

Tim Berners Lee is credited with developing the technology of web servers, hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), and developing the document format that is used to build the web pages, hypertext markup language (HTML). When Tim Berners-Lee developed HTML he made the first website, and the first web browser, on a NeXT Cube running the now obsolete NeXTSTEP Operating System.

NCSA Mosaic

Reginald Fessenden Canadian inventor of radio and wireless telephone

Reginald Fessenden father of radioWhen asked who invented radio, many names will get tossed out. Starting my career in communications, a name most often mentioned as the inventor of radio was Marconi.  Searching on the internet a name often mentioned in the invention of radio is Nikola Tesla. Many of the wild claims gave me the drive to dig deeper and to seek the truth. After doing quite a bit of research It was obvious that without a doubt, Reginald Fessenden did more to develop radio that either Marconi or Tesla.

Ironically, the early career of Fessenden sounded similar to Tesla. Reginald Fessenden started his career with Thomas Edison, but later teamed up with George Westinghouse to defeat Edison in the famous "War of Currents. 

Born on October 6, 1866 in East Bolton, Quebec, Canada, Reginald Fessenden was an accomplished student of mathematics While he was only a teenager, Fessenden was teaching mathematics to the young children at his school.

After working for two years as the principal, and sole teacher, at the Whitney Institute in Bermuda, Fessenden moved to New York City with the dream of working for Thomas Edison.

Fessenden works for Edison

Initially Fessenden asked Edison for a job as a junior technician, but Edison was looking for a chemist.  Edison asked Fessenden "Do you know anything about chemistry?" Fessenden honestly answered "But I am not a chemist..." , Edison told Fessenden to learn the job because he needed a good chemist.  Fessenden worked as a chemist developing insulation for electrical wires at Thomas Edison's laboratory, East Orange, New Jersey, from 1887-1890. Fessenden eventually held the title of head chemist for Edison.

In 1890, Edison encountered financial difficulties, and Fessenden was laid off.  Although some sources state that Fessenden was lured away from Edison, most state that Fessenden was laid off from Edison's lab. The biography of Fessenden by his widow confirms that in 1890, "owing to financial difficulties and the reorganization of the Edison Companies, substantially the whole laboratory was shut down."

Crossing paths with George Westinghouse

Pittsburgh at the forefront of technology inventions and innovation

Pittsburgh at the forefront of technology inventions and innovationWhen asked what is Pittsburgh known for, the popular answers mention steel mills and sports teams. When the question what is Pittsburgh known for is asked in the context of famous inventors and innovative technology, it is interesting to see how Pittsburgh rose to the forefront of technology innovation during the industrial revolution.

As someone who grew up in Western Pennsylvania who studies Geek History, I am proud to share the amazing history of the area as it relates to technology. There are many famous inventors who were involved the development of radio and television that passed through Pittsburgh by way of George Westinghouse and the University of Pittsburgh.

George Westinghouse planted the seed of innovation in Pittsburgh

One of the most famous inventors to call Pittsburgh home was George Westinghouse. A life long geek who loved to tinker in technology, as a young man Westinghouse worked in his father's factory in upstate New York. Westinghouse came to Pittsburgh at the age of 23 in 1868, in search of steel for his patented railcar replacer and railway frog. As an inventor, Westinghouse was deeply interested in making railroads safer. He went on to patent his renowned Westinghouse Airbrake, which led to the creation of The Westinghouse Airbrake Manufacturing Company in 1869.

Westinghouse lived most of his adult life in Pittsburgh. In 1910, George Westinghouse retired and moved back to New York. In 1914, George Westinghouse passed away. He died in a wheelchair. Forever the inventor, Westinghouse was working on an electric wheelchair at the time of his death. Westinghouse had 314 patents of his own inventions, and was in control of over 15,000 patents.


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