Internet devices use various forms of timers and timestamps to determine everything from when a given e-mail message arrives to the number of seconds since a particular device was rebooted. Most systems use the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to obtain the current time from a large network of Internet time servers. NTP will be the subject of a future article in this journal. This time we will focus our attention on the Leap Second, which is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the Mean Solar Time. Geoff Huston explains the mechanism and describes what happened to some Internet systems on July 1, 2012, as a result of a leap second addition.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a phrase used to describe networks where not only computers, smartphones, and tablets are Internet-aware, but also autonomous sensors, control systems, light switches, and thousands of other embedded devices. In our second article, David Lake, Ammar Rayes, and Monique Morrow give an overview of this emerging field which already has its own conferences and journals.
The World Wide Web became a reality in the early 1990s, thanks mostly to the efforts of Tim Berners Lee and Robert Cailliau. The web has been a wonderful breeding ground for new protocols and technologies associated with access to and presentation of all kinds of media. The phrase Web 2.0, coined in 1999, has, per Wikipedia, "...been used to describe web sites that use technology beyond the static pages of earlier web sites." David Strom argues that the term is no longer appropriate and that we have moved on to a new phase of the web, dominated by mobile devices and Social Networking.
The last few years have seen great advances in Internet-based collaboration tools. Sometimes referred to as Telepresence, these systems allow not only high-quality audio and videoconferencing, but also the use of shared whiteboards and other presentation material. In our final article, Pat Jensen describes one important component of such systems, namely the Binary Floor Control Protocol (BFCP), which the IETF's XCON Centralized Conferencing working group has developed.
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