Hear the epic true tales of how developers, programmers, hackers, geeks, and open source rebels are revolutionizing the technology landscape. Command Line Heroes is an award-winning podcast hosted by Saron Yitbarek and produced by Red Hat. Get root access to show notes, transcripts, and other associated content at https://redhat.com/commandlineheroes
After the Bubble
The Y2K bug generated a lot of fear, but all that hype fizzled when the new millennium didn’t start with a digital apocalypse. It turns out that fear was just aimed at the wrong catastrophe. While plenty were riding high on the rise of the internet beyond the Y2K scare, another disaster had been brewing since 1995—and would bring them back down. But the dot-com bubble wasn’t the end. The internet was here to stay.
Not long after the turn of the millennium, the dot-com economy collapsed. Peter Relan points to the flawed business plans that fueled the dot-com bubble, and how many entrepreneurs and investors underestimated the complexity of building a business on the internet. Ernie Smith tells the story of Pets.com, and how a similar idea a decade later had a much better chance of succeeding. Gennaro Coufano reveals the element of luck that saved Amazon from going under —and how it evolved in the aftermath. Julia Furlan reflects on the changes the dot-com bubble brought, and what’s left to consider. And Brian McCullough describes how the dot-com bubble paved the way for a more resilient digital economy.
The World of the World Wide Web
1995 laid the groundwork for a truly global World Wide Web. But not every country took the same path to connecting to the internet. Some resisted, wanting to create their own version. Others had to fight for access, not wanting to be left behind. And while we made huge strides in connecting the world in those early years, we still have a long way to go.
Julien Mailland recounts the rollout of France’s Minitel service—how it was years ahead of the internet, but eventually lost its lead. Steve Goldstein explains what was involved in building the infrastructure to expand the NSFNET beyond the United States. Gianluigi Negro shares how China pushed for its connection, and how different it would be compared to the typical U.S. connection. And Christian O'Flaherty covers how costs weighed heavily on Argentina’s attempts to join the growing international network.
Looking for Search
The web was growing quickly in the ‘90s. But all that growth wasn’t going to lead to much if people couldn’t actually find any web sites. In 1995, an innovative new tool started crawling the web. And the search engine it fed opened the doors to the World Wide Web.
Elizabeth Van Couvering describes trying to find websites before search engines, and how difficult it was becoming in the early ’90s to keep track of them all. Louis Monier talks about having to convince others how important search engines would become—and he showed them what a web crawler could do. Paul Cormier recounts taking the search engine from a research project to a commercial one. And Richard Seltzer wrote the book on search engines, helping the rest of the world see what a profoundly vital tool they would become.
Shopping for the Web
We put a lot of trust into online shopping: sharing our names, addresses, and handing over money. In return, we have faith that the purchased item appears at our doorstep in a few days or weeks. That trust didn’t come easily. In 1995, we took our first steps out of the brick and mortar store to load our digital shopping cart.
Robert Spector reveals how Amazon.com’s business foundations are in data—and being early to the internet. Sandeep Krishnamurthy recounts the rise of eBay. Angela Robinson describes the technology that makes secure transactions and trustworthy e-commerce possible. Kartik Shastri shares how difficult it was to store and process consumer data. And Katie Wilson explains how some big tech companies are different from previous monopolies, but are following many of the same paths.
Web UX Begins
Looking at the internet in 1995 is like looking back at awkward grade school yearbooks—all the weirdness and flaws stand out in stark contrast to what it’s grown into since. And web design took awhile to become a career—but it got a big boost in 1995. When the Batman Forever website launched to promote the movie, it showed people what was possible on the web. And it forever changed what we’d expect from a website.
Jay Hoffmann describes the quirky designs of the early web. Richard Vijgen explains how we went from a lack of conventions to a homogenized web. Jeffrey Zeldman recounts building the Batman Forever movie’s website—and sowing the seeds of professional web design. Jessica Helfand outlines the process and joys of designing a web page. And Kyle Drake shares how he founded Neocities in an attempt to recreate some of that magic of the early web.
A Language for the Web
The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) gave everyone a foundation for building and viewing the World Wide Web. In 1995, its standardization led to dominance. Its simplicity helped it spread. And its solid common foundation helped shape the internet.
Dr. Belinda Barnet explains what kind of framework was initially needed to build and navigate the Web. Jeff Veen describes the three ingredients Tim Berners-Lee combined to create HTML: the ideal language for the Web. Gavin Nicol recounts the need to standardize the quickly-growing language. And Gretchen McCulloch points out how HTML instills an inherent bias for English speakers to develop for the web.
Went through all the episodes! Love it!
I accidentally bumped into this podcast. Since then it is one of my favourite ones. Interesting stories not only foe geeks. Top quality!
As you would expect from redhat it’s impeccably presented. Great topics.
Really well made podcast, be nice if they were all made so professionally.