Happy Birthday, dear Net. Congratulations on reaching 45 years of age!
It was on the 29th of October in 1969 that two computers in northern California made a connection. A computer at UCLA connected to one at Stanford University and began to send an electronic message.
It didn’t go that well. The first two letters of the first word of the message were sent via an “interface message processor”. Then the connection crashed. (The two letters were reportedly L, then O. Wonder what they were spelling? Log on? “Hello” in an early version of netslang? It couldn’t have been LOL back then – LOL!)
The Neanderthal Internet was called ARPANET. As one of its developers has pointed out, the early predecessor to the World Wide Web was not born of entrepreneurial spirit, but rather from basic research.
The development of the ARPANET, which had no commercial application at the time, underscores the power of coordinated basic research and the importance of that research to our society. In the 1960s, computers were not interconnected and most were not even interactive. A few research groups were looking at the potential of networked computing and how distributed systems might be used as information repositories and collaboration tools, but they were hampered by a huge obstacle: they lacked a network to weave their projects together.
From those noble origins in pure research the internet of today is driven by commerce, porn, celebrity worship and socialising. Enjoy #InternetDay!