Thursday 24 September 2015

Social Media

All over the world social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, are becoming more popular everyday. Whether it's people tweeting about their day at work or businesses trying to promote themselves everyone seems to have an online presence. Most use social media to stay in touch with friends and family while also sharing photos, opinions and what they are doing with their lives.
With each site having different features one is common to many; the ability to include and share your location in a post. You can add your location to tweets, vines, status updates, basically whatever you want! Geolocation is when anything connected to the internet, for example a phone or laptop, has its physical location identified. This can be done by GPS (which is on pretty much all smartphones) or by the place that you are at, which could be a festival or restaurant for example.
Geosocial networking, is slightly different as it isn't just about sharing your location, but also allowing you to interact with other users relative to their location. This is what Facebook uses when they suggest friends as they compare not just mutual friends but also everyone's locations, another example of an app using location is Tinder.
In May this year new software was designed called the 'Marauders Map' which allows people who were messaging each other on the Facebook messenger app to pinpoint the exact location (with the time too) of the other people in conversations. Since messenger automatically tracks location it allowed people to track their friends which is a huge issue with privacy, the biggest problem with geolocation as people can find out exactly where you are in the world.

Monday 21 September 2015

How the Internet Works

The internet is made up of physical components, such as routers and modems, and software that allows computers to be connected to each other. Most people have a modem in their house, which connects to an ISP (Internet service provider). The ISP is owned by the company that you have written your contract with (UPC, Sky, etc.) and then connects to larger networks still, making the internet a large group of interconnected networks.  The ISP allows your computer to connect with millions more across the planet. When you search for something online your internet server firstly finds the page you want and sends it to you in small individual pieces of about 1500 bytes long. This is known as a packet-switching network as the information is sent separately along different paths to reach the user.

internet architecture
Another method of connecting to the internet is by LAN (Local area network) which is more commonly used in workplaces. The difference with an LAN server is that every computer in the network is able to view requests before deciding if the info is for themselves. However an LAN server’s performance will experience lagging and slower performance if it receives too many requests during a short space of time.

For servers to be able to send the correct info to the right computer they need to know the computers address. The computer’s personal address is called an IP address and in 1983 the University of Wisconsin developed technology to automatically map text names to IP addresses. The server sends the information as HTML code (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) which a browser changes into info that is displayed on your screen.

Routers are physical machines that forward info to different computers, ensuring they go to the correct places. They come in different sizes with the largest routers dealing with data at the busiest points of the internet where they forward millions of data packets every second.  If a router receives too many requests in a short period of time it can cause the system to run slower or even crash!

Friday 11 September 2015

History of the Internet

Unlike other inventions there is no one 'creator' of the internet, but instead a group of people who helped to develop the internet to what it is today. The start of the internet's history began with  the launch of the Soviet satellite 'Sputnik' in 1957 as it resulted in the USA setting up agencies, such as NASA and ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) to create better space-age technology and eventually, the internet.
In 1962 a 'Galactic network' of computers was proposed and after research into packet switching, a way to send info in 'packets' or sections, work on the ARPANET began in the late 1960's. The first message was sent from UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) to a computer at Stanford University in 1969. The system crashed after sending two letters of the message (just the word LOGIN).
By early 70's more and more computers had been added to ARPANET but new technology was needed to create a single worldwide 'internet' with many independent networks. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn, both computer scientists solved this problem by developing a way for all computers to communicate with each other. TCP/IP became known as the 'protocol' for online communication and transformed the internet into a much larger global community.

Ibm Pc
IMB PC from 1981
The internet remained a small platform in the 80's for mostly scientists to work on as the programming was not user friendly at all. This changed in 1991, which saw massive changes in how the internet was used. Firstly, the first user friendly interface was designed by the University of Minnesota called a 'gopher' after the school's mascot. The World Wide Web, developed by Tim Berners-Lee who was a CERN scientist at the time, changed the internet from a place just to send files to a 'web of information'. This new technology was based on hypertext, which are links to other sites in text. The first user friendly web browser was called Mosaic (Later called Netscape) and was designed in the University of Minnesota in 1992. It was the most popular internet browser until Microsoft's Internet Explorer was developed and during this year the American Congress allowed the World Wide Web to be used for commercial purposes too.
Social media sites such as Myspace, Facebook, etc. were set up in the early 2000s and most have remained popular to today.

The internet is only a recent invention and what's amazing about is that it continues to change and develop all the time.

Friday 4 September 2015

I'm Katy and this is my blog about the geography of the internet.