Thursday, October 29, 2009
October 29th, 2009
From: by Stan Schroeder
From: by Stan Schroeder
I remember when I first saw it. My dad called me over to his office, where he had a x86 PC with a 1200 bit/s modem, which I’d mostly used for games (I was 15 at the time) and connecting to various BBS‘. He said: there’s this new thing, they call it the Internet. I think it’ll be really important.
What can you do with it, I asked? You can see what’s on other computers, far away, he said. You can do it via Gopher, or FTP, or Cello (the predecessor of today’s WWW browsers). There wasn’t a lot to see there, so I quickly moved onto other things, but soon after that day, a new way to browse the Internet came out: Netscape.
And suddenly, the Internet became great. I could find out about games and bands I’d never heard of before. I could see what the weather is like in South Dakota. I could create a personal page (that’s what people did on the Internet before blogs came to be) with my biography and picture for everyone to see. I jumped on the train and never looked back.
The real beginning was a couple of decades earlier, although no one can really set the exact date for Internet’s birth. But on October 29, 1969, the first two nodes of ARPANET were interconnected between UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. It took 12 years for 213 computers to get linked in the network.
Somewhere after that, things started changing, fast. Netscape – the archetypal browser – was overrun by Internet Explorer (). It took about 10 years for Netscape’s market share to fall from over 90% to less than 1%. Then Firefox started eating away at Internet Explorer’s market share. Who knows what we’ll be browsing on in 10 years?
Fast forward to today, and the Internet has over 1.5 billion users, and most of them can’t imagine the world without it. Most of you don’t need an explanation of what it is and how it works; it’s one of the fundamental things you encounter, like rain or electricity. It’s in our blood. It brought us the ability to communicate fast, to connect with our friends, to create stuff together; it brought us social media, Twitter () and Facebook ().
But unlike rain or electricity, it changes, faster and faster, each day. Its first 40 years were just the beginning, and I’m really, really interested in what it will look like in another 40 years. Whatever it is, it’ll probably be unimaginable from today’s standpoint.
Do you remember how you learned about the Internet? What was your first experience with it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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