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 1000%, 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.


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