For my Final Project, I wanted to flesh out one of the stories of UMW. How did the campus get connected to the internet and what was the first email? I had several conversations with Dr. Ackermann of the Computer Science department, Deborah Boutchyard of Network and Communications Services, and Sean O’Brien of the CIO Office for information pertaining to my project. To create the documentary, I used film gathered in an interview with Dr. Ackermann, and I used the information gathered in other discussions to provide further comparison and analysis to the story. Dr. Ackermann received the first ever email message at UMW (At the time, the school was MWC…) I learned some interesting facts about the early days of the schools internet.
At first, the connection was a 56K transmission rate. At my home in King George, VA, I have a 56K internet connection through dial-up. I can recognize the speed difference immediately, but how would I express that to students of the modern era or future viewers of the documentary? To accomplish this, I did a little math, failed miserably, and then I found a wonderful resource to accomplish the task much easier. I first calculated the file size of John Mayer’s last album, then I put that number into this webpage (http://bandwidth.com/tools/calc.html). I found out that at the original UMW internet speed, it would have taken over 3 hours to download the album. Now, the album takes less than 10 minutes to download.
Interesting facts like this will hopefully allow any viewers of the documentary to understand the changes of the information age, and how the connection of the campus to the internet exhibits these changes.