24 Hours in Cyberspace

"24 Hours in Cyberspace began by dispatching over 150 of the world's best photojournalists around the world on February 8, 1996 to document the human stories behind the digital revolution. They were also joined by thousands of students and amateurs who submitted their own stories.

On the front-end of the technology process was Eastman Kodak, whose digital cameras and professional film captured the majority of the project's images. Professional photographers with digital cameras downloaded their images directly into an NEC Versa notebook computer, where they used Adobe Photoshop, the leading digital image editing software, to prepare their photos for transmission. They also used a unique Photoshop "plug-in" from The Software Construction Company to enter captioning information. Once they were ready, their NEC notebooks dialed directly into 24 Hours in Cyberspace, using the state-of-the-art TeleFinder BBS product from Spider Island Software, where their calls were answered automatically by US Robotics modems attached to a Power Computing BBS server.

Professional photographers using film scanned their images, in some cases using sites equipped with a Kodak Digital Science Photo CD Imaging Workstation and in others using a Polaroid SprintScan scanner. Once the images were digitized, they used Adobe Photoshop software and the plug-in from The Software Construction Company to prepare the photos and enter captions. Technicians at these locations then either dialed directly into Mission Control or used the Internet to transfer the files.

Meanwhile, groups of students participating in a parallel "Student Underground" version of the project crafted their own stories about Cyberspace. Early registrants used Kodak Digital Science DC40 cameras to shoot their photos, and then used a complete set of Adobe Internet publishing tools, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe PageMill, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Illustrator software, to create their own Web pages. When they were done, they sent their pages over the Internet into Mission Control for judging.

Complementing these images were audio clips based on extensive telephone de-briefings of the professional photographers, as well as interviews of celebrity visitors to Mission Control. This material was edited, mixed, and restored using Sonic Solution's leading-edge digital audio workstations networked with Sonic's MediaNet network and running on high-end MacOS workstations from Power Computing. The clips were encoded using Real Audio technology from Progressive Networks.

These images, stories and audio clips were transmitted to Mission Control, a specially constructed 6,000-square-foot facility in San Francisco's South of Market area. There, a team of more than 80 editors, programmers, and designers built the Web site on the same day.

They worked on the largest, most powerful one-day Internet network ever, integrated and managed by Sun Microsystems. Editors worked on more than 60 Sun SPARC and UltraSPARC Workstations, 25 NEC PowerMate Series systems with NEC MultiSync monitors and several Power Computing Systems. All of these systems were connected to a 100 Base-T network, which ran ten times faster than a normal office LAN. The network also included a huge database server which ran on two Sun SPARC 1000 servers with Sun RAID disk arrays, as well as separate Sun Netra servers for email, ftp and Web publishing. Collectively these machines had more than 11,000 MB of RAM storage and almost 300 Gigabytes of disk storage. Meanwhile Sun's Firewall-1 security software was running silently in the background, on patrol for hackers. Best Power's uninterrupted power supply products protected against brownouts and blackouts. "


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