Little Bits of History

Internet Born

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 7, 2013
The Internet

The Internet

April 7, 1969: RFC-1 is published. Request for Comments documents are memos about new research, innovations, or methods that apply to the Internet. This date, with the first such memo, is the symbolic birthday of the Internet. The forerunner of today’s ubiquitous World Wide Web was the ARPAnet that was developed by the US Department of Defense. The idea, described in August 1962, took until the end of the decade to get up and running with all four of the original points of presence working.

The first ARPAnet message was sent at 10:30 PM on October 29, 1969. Both computers were at UCLA and the original message was “login.” In an ironic premonition of things to come, the system crashed and only the first two letters were sent. An hour later they got it to work properly. One problem was how to get information from Computer A to Computer B. A method for moving information was developed and improved and today we use TCP/IP or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

Nam June Paik, a South Korean-American, claims to have coined the term “Information Superhighway” in a study he wrote for the Rockefeller Foundation in 1974. The phrase first appeared in Newsweek in the January 3, 1983 issue. The Internet is a constellation of connected computers – a “network of networks” – or the Superhighway. There are domestic, academic, business, and government networks – the Information.

The “digital divide,” a debated theory, states there is a distinct disadvantage to those without onramps to the Superhighway. In September 2007, it was estimated that 1.244 billion people accessed the Internet, but only 2% of the world’s population regularly cruised the super highways. That would be about 13,000,000 people. The digital divide can be used locally, to show the differences in technological advances within an area or country. Or it can be used in a global sense, pointing out the disparities across the globe with countries that have less technology available to them and their citizens.

“The Internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor.” – John Allen Paulos

“National borders aren’t even speed bumps on the information superhighway.” – Tim May

“The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.” – Andrew Brown

“The Internet is a telephone system that’s gotten uppity.” – Clifford Stoll

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Between 2006 and 2011 (last year for figures) there was an increase of 500,000 people to the world’s population. The number of people connected to the Internet rose from 18% to 35%. Africa went from a 3% usage to a 13% usage while the Americas went from 39% to 56%. The Arab states went from 11% to 29% while Asia and the Pacific went from 11% to 27%. The Commonwealth of Independent States went from 13% to 48% and Europe increased from 50% to 74%. Despite these growing numbers, the digital divide remains both inside countries and between them. Whether or not someone has access depends a great deal on their financial status as well as their geographical location and their government’s policies.

Also on this day: Light My Fire – In 1827 John Walker develops a new match.
 WHO’s Your Caregiver? – In 1948, the World Health Organization was founded.
Canadian Assassination – In 1868, Thomas D’Arcy McGee was killed.

3 Responses

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on April 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    When I was in the United States Navy on active service 1966-1968 I used the internet with ,com and .net and .mil and .gov and more. The start of ARPAnet is another example of the new guy outright lying about no similiar events. plays favorites to make more money-so their history accuracy is near zero%.

    • patriciahysell said, on April 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      the first dot-com domain was registered with the sale of on March 15, 1985

    • Anonymous said, on April 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      No – you didn’t, Bobby.

      I joined the USMC in the early ’80s. I was chosen for SigInt work and granted a DOD TS – Code Word access and clearance. At my Navy SigInt school and then for a short time once I was in the fleet, the entire military was still ANALOG in ref to classified communications. Heck, I even had to learn how to read 5-level tape – AKA “ticker tape!” Within months, however, things began to transition to digital – but those were (and continue to be) secure military networks, built for and used exclusively by the military. They are NOT part of the World Wide Web or “Internet” – where domain names such as .org, .com, .edu, or even .GOV, etc. are used. Classified communications consist of entirely different formats & connections.

      So . . . come back to reality, Bobby, and stop insulting the intelligence of those of us who know better.

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