Declaration of Independence Day

by bauer on July 4, 2019


Just as Charles Krauthammer did, I like reading the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July. I usually just hit the ambles, pre and post, to get a little reminder of the beginning (plus it’s always printed in that commie rag, the New York Times). For some reason, this year I decided to read of the original “injuries and usurpations” committed by the King of Great Britain that kicked this whole thing off.

In the Declaration (exquisite punctuation by the way), there are a number of “Facts” that start off with “- He” and refer to the aforementioned Prince while itemizing various injuries and/or usurpations. One of my favorites is:

He has dissolved Representative Hours repeatedly for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. (The Founding Fathers hadn’t seen the USWNT yet).

I counted a total of 18 He’s (and 9 Fors - He 13 is a bit involved). About halfway through I got confused as I wasn’t sure whether the Founding Fathers were talking about King George III (the first King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the poster child for bipolar disorder) or Donald Trump. My rough count is that 11 of the 18 accusations (61.1111%) apply to both the 45th President of the United States and the Third of the House of Hanover (56th Monarch if you nclude Aethelred the Unready). Here they are.

Facts to be submitted to a candid world:

  • He has refused to Assent to Laws
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will
  • He has affected to render the Military … superior to the Civil
  • He has combined with others For
    • Cutting off our Trade
    • Imposing Taxes on us
  • He has
    • Plundered our seas
    • Ravaged our Coasts
    • Burnt our Towns

OK, the last one is a stretch to get to ignoring Climate Change but couldn’t resist. The absolute best one though is:

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States … obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of foreigners … refusing to … encourage migrations hither.

I find it hysterical that the Founders were furious with the King for his keeping migrants out of the country. Sure, I’ve taken some liberties with my interpretation but it’s Independence Day and I declare.

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My First Internet Millennium

by bauer on April 3, 2018

I’ve been an Internet professional for 25 years now, starting out in 1993 trying to build an integrated email, telnet, ftp, and gopher client for the Entrepreneurship program getting my MBA at Carnegie Mellon University*.
In the computer lab one day, somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said “Have you seen this Mosaic thing? I took one look at my first web page - a couple of pictures and some text in some horrible font - dumped what I was doing, and reached out to Marc Andreessen for the code. $50,000 for the source. Couldn’t get funding for a business plan to make the first commercial browser.

I was fortunate to connect up with Tim O’Reilly that spring and ended up at the first World Wide Web conference in July (“You CAN get there from here!”). Marc showed up, I registered Internet.Org over shots of Strega, and we all agreed with Tim Berners-Lee not to patent the next thing the web really needed - Tim called them cookies, I think.

Tim gave me my first gig with O’Reilly as the business manager for GNN, the Global Network Navigator, the first professionally published directory on the Web. Tim and I ended up selling the first advertisements on the Web - he his lawyer, me NordicTrack. Tim gave me the freedom to strike out on my own and I started connecting companies to the Internet, registering their domains, and building their web sites.

It wasn’t just like being a kid in the candy store; it was like being a kid in a shopping mall full of candy stores. I thought about automating domain registration but couldn’t figure out how to get paid. I thought about patenting the system we designed to connect ordering products over the Internet for a company called Black Box but calling up their fax-line seemed a bit dumb. I thought about being an end-to-end provider of hardware and software but settled on just putting big companies - ConEd, Fisher Scientific, Ameritech, PPG, PNC Bank, Legent - on the Web.

I had one of the first couple of booths selling web services at the second Internet World conference where I started making presentations about doing business on the Web. In the next year or so my seniority at the show let me have a booth right in the middle of the Javits Center, in between Microsoft and Novell. After one of my talks some guy came up to me and asked me to help him build a new web site. It was pornography. “Oh, no”, I said, “I couldn’t do that.” I’m Pennsylvania Dutch, doncha know.

At conference after-parties, I got along really well with the guy who ran Novell. Not so much the guy who ran Netscape. Jerry Wang offered me a job but my company was bigger than his so that made no sense. Tim Berners-Lee convinced me building an HTML editor was the way to go.

I opted to start with a knowledge-based content management platform, called ManageIT! Changed the name of my company from The Internet Group to Imperative! Put MapQuest on the Web. Sucked down all the bandwidth in Pennsylvania in 6 months. Guess using Perl as a Web Server wasn’t the best performance solution. When you started out with only about 300,000 domains registered in the world, don’t exactly think about performance like you do today.

Picked up an investor - or rather he picked me up. Great to have someone with union ties on your board. Having the shop steward have your booth setup first among the acres in Javits was great. On the other hand, taking money from someone with union ties is inadvisable.

“What do you mean you missed the deadline for delivering the first of its kind HTML GUI editor written in X?” Had to be be stealing. Get an ex-Naval intelligence officer to follow him. Get one of the Big Three accounting firms to audit him. Don’t find anything? Get another one of the Big Three to audit him. Still nothing? Oh well, may as bring the third one in too - make it a trifecta.

…to be continued.

*Technically it was a Master of Science in Industrial Administration because it’s, well, CMU.

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