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Happy Birthday, Internet | #media #technology #internet

By Chris Gomez - Posted on 26 October 2009

Many people think the Internet is technology's most recent innovation, but it actually began almost 40 years ago. US scientist Leonard Kleinrock had the idea of using an "interface message processor"(IMP) to access a computer from another location back in 1969, and while the first test was rather dismal, it was obviously the beginning of something new.

Back in October 29, 1969, Kleinrock hooked up a computer to the IMP and began to type the word "LOGIN," to be sent to a colleague in Stanford. But after typing the first two letters, the system crashed. So accidentally and aptly, the first word sent over the Internet was "LO" -- and behold!

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Image credit: Found on xkcd.com


The Internet has come a long way since that first word was sent over the first connection. Most people think the Internet only started out in the 80's, because that's when its more primitive forms first became commercially available. What do YOU remember about the Internet's early years?

I remember how e-mail changed the way people communicated. Telegrams were all of a sudden obsolete, and people now had an inexpensive way of communicating with their loved ones and colleagues out of town.

Sometime years later came the browser wars, Google, Wikipedia, and the row over music copyrights (and later general file sharing). Whether we liked it or not, the Internet was here to stay.

I think the biggest impact the Internet has made so far comes in the form of -- okay, I'll say it just this once -- social media. All of a sudden, it opened the doors for a tech-savvy underdog US Senator to reach unprecedented numbers of people and raise unprecedented amounts of money, wresting power from an otherwise immovable opposing party.

But for the rest of us, the Internet simply makes life a lot more interesting. Work is almost always more efficient with the Internet, and productivity levels haven't increased this much since the advent of air conditioning.

Many people say that, at 40 years, the Internet is still a teenager. If life truly does begin at 40, let's see what the next 40 has in store for us.

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