West: Cell phones hopping

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Sometimes you've got to wonder what life would be like without smartphones and the Internet?

I've forgotten what its like to find a comfortable chair and read a good book for hours. That's a rare treat anymore. Don't know the last time I did that.

Yes, it is possible to miss the peace and quiet, however, I prefer being in touch with friends, family and the world in general.

Sometimes it is difficult to remember when those devices didn't exist, but until recently I still had a rotary dial phone in my kitchen. And it was certainly a conversation piece with youngsters and oldsters loving to touch it and listen to the dial tone. Nobody, except me, wanted to actually dial.

Actually, the first commercial mobile phone, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, didn't appear until 1983. This phone offered 30 minutes of talk-time, six hours standby and could store an "amazing" 30 phone numbers. It also cost $4,000.

Only the mega-rich could afford this original cell phone.

Now days, most folks have a cell phone. In fact, across the world, more people have cell phones than they do toilets.

By the start of the 1990s, two more companies, Nokia and NEC, joined Motorola in the cell phone battle. By 1995 cell phones were getting lighter and much more portable. In 1999, the first Blackberry appeared with a keyboard and a tiny display.

By the early 2000s, Samsung offered its first flip phone with Motorola soon following. Do you remember the Razr?

Then in 2008, Apple introduced the iPhone 3C, the phone that revolutionized the business. Since then, the business has been nuts. Smartphones, like the iPhone, are extremely complex and often rely on up to 250,000 patents.

The use of smart-phones has also greatly increase Internet use. For example, so many Facebook photos and videos are uploaded via smartphones that they comprise up to 27 percent of the upstream web traffic.

Speaking of the world wide web, the Internet, has undergone tremendous changes since its "invention" by Al Gore. Oops, it is a well-known fact that Al didn't invent the Internet like he once "sort of" claimed much to the joy of George W. Bush.

But Al, when he was a senator from Tennessee, did author a bill that greatly expanded the Internet.

Actually, Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the

Internet and to promote and support its development. He earned a spot on the Internet Hall of Fame for his efforts.

The Internet was developed over decades by scientists from across the world. Many individuals played import roles in taking the Net from a series of connected network systems, starting with the ARPANET, developed for the Department of Defense. By 1982, ARPANET was expanded by the development of a standard internet protocol (TCP/IP) that made it possible for other users to communicate by computer.

In those early days, computers connected to the Internet with a noisy, little device called a modem.

Access to the ARPANET was expanded in 1981 when the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the Computer Science Network (CSNET). In 1982, the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was introduced as the standard networking protocol on the ARPANET

Eventually renamed the Internet, this new way of communicating went global in the 1980s. It has changed so many businesses, including newspapers. And wow!

Now, the 35-year-old Internet is constantly changing, upgrading with faster speeds and almost unlimited possibilities. You have got to wonder what's next!

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Mike West
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