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Evolution Behind The IPAD

The following is a message from Philip L. Becker, the creator of TBBS and the IPAD.

Interviewer: What was it like, Phil, to move from TBBS to the IPAD and then turning it over and moving on? What got you curious about TCP/IP? How did it evolve?

Phil: It was like everything I've ever done in computing since I started in the late 1960s. There is a life cycle to technology, and I'm happiest (and best, I think) on the front end of it. TBBS (The Bread Board System) was a blast because it was blazing new ground for nearly 10 years. That's a VERY long run for any type of technology.

The IPAD was another blast, because it also was demonstrating that things could be done different ways than they were being done, but also because it let so many people actually get into the ISP business. I think the IPAD is actually more gratifying to me for the number of people it allowed to cross over from the outside to the inside of the Internet than for its technology alone. I'm thrilled that the IPAD Owners Association, Inc. has been able to make this technology its own, and that they (sniff!) want to.

I got interested in TCP/IP primarily from email. I was sort of dragged into networking itself, as I didn't initially understand the tremendous difference between networking and direct (dial-up) connections. It all seemed like just communications to me. As I went along to get the email stuff to work, I began to see how fundamentally different networks were from dial-up, and that's what pushed me over the edge in 1993 to do the IPAD. I saw that the Internet was significantly more than just low cost long distance dial-up.

I suppose that my efforts with building Digital Identity World today are an extension of that understanding. I see that we are only a few baby steps into what networking can provide, and that to take the next steps computing has to be re-architected around identity constructs. That, plus networking, creates a big move in the direction of Star Trek type computing stuff that is nearly mind-blowing to me. We've built the network but it's totally out of control. Networking drives towards connecting everything to everything else, and new identity-centric constructs are required to ever regain control of it. In case you didn't notice, we HAVE totally lost control of it. It's sort of like living in a big city with a small town set of skills and understanding right now.

My overall drive through it all has been communications, and trying to make them better for a larger group of people. If you had asked me 30 years ago how far I would be able to see it go in my lifetime, I would never have guessed half as far as it's already gone. But I now expect to see a lot more (being only 56 and thinking I have some time left :-) We are on the verge of some things that no one would have imagined even ten years ago. I mean Intel's next processor round will use the first nanotechnology (which I note that my spell checker doesn't know), and that's just unbelievable to me. But within a couple of years, that will look clunky.

So I feel I've been very privileged to live in the times I have, where the leading edge was always there to play on, but not too far from something that was useful to a large number of people. I sure hope I never have to grow up and get a real job, that's what I said in high school, and it still applies. :-)

- Phil Becker (Creator of the IPAD-OS).