Well, when I first started on the Internet in 1972, I joined Doug Engelbart’s group, Augmentation Research Center, and I didn’t know exactly what a network information center was but I thought we were going to be handling information in a very different way, and it was very addictive. Good as sex. [laughs]
For those of you that weren’t familiar with the Network Information Center, or the NIC as we called it, it was sort of the prehistoric Google of its day. We handed out information to people on the Internet. It started out mostly as a people thing and then became more networked as we went along.
And I want to thank the Internet Society for suggesting me for this honor. It’s quite wonderful. But the NIC was not a person. The NIC was a very dedicated group of people over a number of years. So I can only accept this honor in their behalf, and also on behalf of the many people all over the network that provided information to the NIC. There was a network technical liaison, the host administrators, the network operations center, all the working groups on the network. It just went on and on.
I worked very closely with Jon Postel, and we had this sort of odd split of naming and addressing. He was at SRI and he started doing the assigned numbers, and I was doing the host table. He went off to ISI, and so this whole thing was a little little strange, because one agency was funding one thing, and one agency was funding the other, but we always managed to stay in sync.
And I really want to thank that group of people that provided all the information and accept the honor in behalf of all the NIC staff and all that Internet staff who tried to provide information in an orderly manner in the very early days.
And I’d also like to recognize three mentors that I had, out of many—many of them in this room. But Douglas Engelbart, Donald Nielson, and Jon Postel. They were special in my life. And also the organizations that supported me, which was SRI International, DARPA, NASA, and the Defense Communications Agency.
Now, many of the members of my family were not privileged to go to college. I happened to be the first one. And even though they were never quite sure what I was doing or what the impact of it was, they were always behind me 1,000%, and of course I love them dearly. And I would also like to acknowledge my close friends that are always are trying to keep me on the straight and narrow, laughing at my foibles and always keeping my back. And one of them is here, Joan Thompson, who was a pioneer of the NASA Science Internet.
So, there’s that old saying “more fun than a barrel of monkeys.” Well, I have to say the Internet was a barrel of monkeys, and having fallen in at an early stage I had more fun than I ever thought I would ever have. So thanks for the opportunities, and thanks for the memories, and I thank the Internet Society for this great honor.