September 18, 2001 Volume 1 Issue 17
The Real Internet History
Al Gore invented it.
Well, we all know what he meant. He did "discover" it for his administration. And was a driving force to make the Internet an active part of government business during the '90s.
Yet, what is the real story of the Internet ... and all that goes with it?
Let's begin with computers. Which have been around a while. Here are a few quotes from fairly early-on;
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
And then, just before the Personal Computer explosion, this interesting
thought, from 1977 and Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment;
Well, so much for predictions.
Just a month ago there was chatter about the invention of the Personal Computer. IBM gets all sort of credit for making the PC "come alive" in business. And that they did just about 20 years ago.
Yet, it is also "fact" they were truly late into the game. Their entry came August 13, 1981 only after much pushing and pulling by others ... and rather reluctantly IBM joined in. Hey, their business was a gravy train in another arena. Cut it off? - not what they had in mind.
Let's go waaaay back. Let's go back in history, and see what we find about how and when this wonderful era we're in today really began.
In my opinion Benjamin Franklin started it. When he "discovered" electricity. Jump to the 1840s when the railroads and the telegraph machine came together. This was very significant ... as it allowed almost "instant messaging". You see, that concept is not new to Generation "X" and "Y".
The telephone was invented in 1876. Bell and friends sent voice over a wire, and the world has not been the same since. Still, it took about 2 generations for the phone to really be a force. Yes, National Cash Register Company found the phone a great way to set appointments and sell supplies. In the 1890s. Still, President Calvin Coolidge would not allow a phone on his White House desk ... there was a telephone booth in the hall! And that was the 1920s. Even today only about half the world population has ever made a phone call.
Radio came about in the 1890s - the first radio station in the USA went on the air in 1919. KDKA in Pittsburgh. The impact was fairly quick ... once a few stations came on line. USA President FDR used the radio as a major "marketing" tool during the depression years of the 1930's.
Television was invented in 1929 - yet, it wasn't until after WWII that it became anything. The good times of the 1950s and '60s put a TV set in every American home. It wasn't long before television was a base for entertainment and communication. Today there are about as many TV sets as telephones.
Roots for the facsimile go back to the telegraph. A fax machine as we understand a fax machine was introduced at the World's Fair by AT&T in 1939. It was the late 1970s before anyone really cared - because Telex worked so well in-between.
And then there is the computer. My webmaster Bill Blinn shares a few early dates;
... 1966 Steven Gray founds the American Computer Society
The Internet as we know it today, was truly founded by Professor Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA. Prof Kleinrock is recognized as the "Father of the Internet". His team launched the first link on September 2, 1969. That is the date a computer talked to a ... get this ... a switch. Called a router, about the size of a refrigerator. It worked.
October 20 of that same year a computer actually talked to another computer ... one at UCLA in southern California to Stanford in the north. It crashed in the middle of sending the initial message. Still, it worked.
The name from the beginning was ARPA Net- Advance Research Projects Agency. The system linked 4 mainframe computers to create a communication network. It was a "defense" tool, in the time of the cold war. And as a way to coordinate research efforts between universities.
The first E-mail came before the Internet ... in 1967. That's when Ray Tomlinson of MIT truly began the revolution we're living today; he sent the first E-mail. Oh, and he was the guy to introduce @ as part of the address, too. E-mail as a tool within ARPA Net began in earnest in 1972.
Friends at L-Soft, the software company host of this E-zine, tell a wonderful E-mail story. About their President creating a program that may have saved the entire E-mail process. The short version is the universities using ARPA had so much E-mail going back and forth, with no way to manage addresses, they almost pulled the plug. So, this 19 year old college student invented a sort and storage system ... the rest is truly history.
And, as a side bar, you might find it interesting to know the United States Post Office tried to launch an E-mail service in 1976. They were prevented from doing so by the US Federal Communications Commission - something about competition in the marketplace. Just think what might have been at the USPS been allowed to do what they wanted a good 15 years ahead of when most of even began to think about it.
A few more dates from Bill Blinn;
... 1971 - the National Radio Institute offers a computer kit for about
1974 is the year the first business went on line ... Telnet was used to allow people to use remote computers as if they were local. In 1979 the first USENET newsgroup appears. A pair of graduate students created this format ... which today has taken the world by storm. Today's chat rooms and bulletin boards trace their roots to the old IRC (Internet relay chat). Theses are places where almost anyone can talk to almost anyone else, about almost anything, at anytime - WOW!
From 1977 through 1981 Radio Shack, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Commodore, Atari and a slew of others developed computers or technologies that proved to be the groundwork for what came later.
In 1982 the name Internet was adopted. I have been unable to find the "why" to the name change. Except ARPA is too long - something you'd expect from the government. Maybe you know the real reason. If so, please send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com and let me know.
1984 the idea of creating domain names, to help differentiate computer hosts, happened. gov for government and edu for education are introduced.
Pay for view television was first tried in the 1960s ... without success. It took a couple more decades before you and I were willing to pay for special programming. The first subscription based commercial services for the net happened in 1987 - very early as a comparison. Prodigy was online the last half of the 1980s ... I know, I was doing work with them. In 1989 and again in 1990 I ordered all my Christmas presents through Prodigy.
That opened the doors to someone with more time than brains. In 1988 a virus called the Internet worm strikes - 10% of the hosts crash.
Good news happened in 1990 with the first search engine. Already there was enough content to see the need for finding and retrieving specific files ... and doing it quickly. In 1991 Mark MaCahill from the University of Minnesota invents "gopher" ... a system offering point and click navigation of the Internet. Another need seen early-on. This was the precursor to the World Wide Web.
The Web came from the Swiss institute that concentrates on particle physics (CERN) in 1991. The web is a piece of the total Internet - the part most of us use every day. The Web combined text and graphics and sound into pages - very much like we have today. When I was holiday shopping with Prodigy it was a total text system. Much more of a challenge, and not near as interesting. It was about 1993 before anyone really noticed - or cared - that the web existed.
In 1992 WebCasting - radio and television - was introduced. You know I'm into web radio - with programs on INB every week. Still, it has a long way to go before everyone "gets it".
A couple of opinions about WebCasting; the name 'radio' is wrong. We all think of something else when we hear the word 'radio'. And point two; it is going to make it big time.
Why do I say this? Because at another time FM radio was "invented". It too was a hard sell - not accepted. We had AM, it worked ... why did we need FM? Then the transistor came along - and you could take a hand-held radio with you anywhere at anytime. The transistor put FM radio on the map. It allowed it to succeed.
Well, a similar series of events is happening with Internet radio. A hand-held device is in prototype today. It will allow you to listen no matter where you are. Internet radio will become a standard with us - soon - certainly in this decade.
Back to history. A most significant happening was in 1994, when Pizza Hut accepted their first online order. As I recall, this event was big news in Silicon Valley, California.
Oh, one more date; it was early in 1999 when Al Gore "invented" the Internet for the rest of us.
Well, The Real Internet History is an interesting collection of dates and happenings. And - as the computer guru who keeps my systems working is fond of saying - "just think what we're going to miss".
Every E-zine The Works of Marketing with Ray, from here forward, will include a quote from the world's most famous philosopher ... Anonymous.
To begin, here's a "tough" one!
"If you want to leave your footprints on the sands
If you like quotes visit my quotation archives. And, there's a new batch up "live" every 4 weeks.
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