eBay is looking for network heavies...

Stephen Satchell list at satchell.net
Sat Jun 6 13:14:34 UTC 2015

On 06/06/2015 03:32 AM, jim deleskie wrote:
> I remember you asking me who Jon was:)   I have since added to my list of
> interview questions... sad but the number of people with clue is declining
> not increasing.

It's not a question of clue, but of history.  How many CS grads are 
exposed to the details of the development of the Internet and 
Information Technology?

Many of us know of Jon Postel because we experienced and appreciated his 
work for the Internet when he was alive.  Ditto Richard Stevens.  Now I 
ask you:  how many students would delve into history that deeply?  How 
many universities/colleges/trade schools would include that information 
in their curriculum?

Moving on...Larry Wall -- I'm finding that the new generation of people 
don't use Perl any more, instead favoring Python for some reason. 
Indeed, my current job's management insists I learn Python, even though 
Perl has much more support for Cisco equipment as part of CPAN.  So, 
given that bias, it wouldn't be surprising that the up-and-coming 
wouldn't know who invented a tool they don't use.  Guido van Rossum, 
they know, maybe.

People exposed only to Windows may or may not know about Paul Vixie's 
contributions to our world -- again, it's history that would be arcane 
for those who never dabbled in Unix or Unix-like systems, or didn't 
follow Internet politics.  (Yes, BIND is implemented on Windows systems 
-- I consult to an ISP who suffers through the pain caused by the 
decision to do so -- but using a piece of software and knowing the 
history of that software are two different things, particularly when a 
person isn't doing DNS admin full-time.)

If your goal is to play "Gotcha!", you need to go farther afield.

What is "ARPAnet", and what role did it play in the development of the 
Internet?  What is "XNS"?  What is "ThickNet"?  "ThinNet"?  Expand and 
explain CTS, RTS, CD/DCD, MR, TR, RC, TC.  What is V.35?  HSSI?  ITU? 
T1 and E1, and what is the difference?  And so on through ISO level 1.

Who was Thomas Watson?  Who was Hollerith...and how did his invention 
trace its origins to silk tapestry?  What problem was Hollerith trying 
to solve?  Who is (were) Ken Olson and Harlan Anderson?  Throw in Ada 
Lovelace and Grace Hopper.  What is the significance of a 30 centimeter 
piece of twisted-pair wire, which Admiral Hopper would hand out at 
lectures?  What is COBOL?  (And I'm not referring to the planet Kobol 
that is part of the Battlestar Galactia universe.)  Who were Ken 
Thompson, Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie, and Phillip Plauger?   Bill 
Joy?  And so on, and so on, second star to the right and straight on 
'till morning...

Here's the topper:  who was (is) Al Gore, and what part did he play in 
the birth of the Internet as we know it today?  Try not to howl as some 
of the answers you will get.

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