Do you just love collecting gadgets or figuring out how things work Or perhaps you’re a gamer, and you’re still using an emulator to play your favorite old computer games No matter what kinds of tech you use or for what purpose, all of that tech that you love so much had a pretty rocky start But without these modest beginnings, none of the gadgets and systems that we all love would even be possible?
When we look into the history of all our modern computer tech, much attention is paid to the 1980s, the decade when all of this seemed to have started. However, you might be surprised to learn that many of these advancements began as early as the 1960s. Without diving too deep into tech history, here, we’ll explore a few interesting facts that made one of our most beloved technical inventions possible the Internet.
Leave it to the United States Military to develop the technology that would start it all. Or, did it Much debate has swirled around who invented the Internet. And though the popular answer is that there was no true, stand-alone inventor of the Internet, many would claim that Nikola Tesla was the first to conceive of a global wireless network.
Regardless, the first working model of the Internet came about with the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET. The first test of this system attempted to deliver the single message, “Log in,” a node-to-node communication between two computers, both of which were the size of small houses. But the program test failed miserably and crashed both systems, with only the first two letters of the communication were ever received. This all occurred in 1969. And it wasn’t until an entire decade later that the true groundwork for the Internet would be built.
Usenet was conceived by two Duke University grad students named Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis in 1979, and the system went fully online in 1980, a full three years before the first official birthday of the Internet in 1983.
Usenet used the first dial-up connection but was loosely based on the early yet clunky ARPANET model. But Usenet was successful. And it was here where the first online forums and computer chatrooms began.
Usenet is composed of newsgroups. And within each group, you can find information on just about every topic within a specific category. Users can download this information from Usenet, post information, and chat with newsgroup members.
But perhaps the most exciting thing about Usenet is that it has grown significantly since its inception, functioning today as a separate entity from the Internet. You can access Usenet using a browser called a newsreader, or the Usenet’s version of an internet service provider.
The World Wide Web
Though Usenet is largely its entity, the developments it brought forward allowed ARPANET to integrate new ways of communicating between computers. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) were then introduced, and ARPANET went online on January 1st, 1983.
But it wasn’t until about 1990 that the Internet as we know it today would begin to take shape. In 1990, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee introduced us to the World Wide Web. This is simply the way that we access the Internet securely through hyperlinks which allow us to navigate from website to website, though the World Wide Web (being a distinct network) is often confused as synonymous with the Internet itself.
But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s after AOL offered Usenet chat groups as a free service for signing up, that the Internet became popularized beyond academics and computer enthusiasts of the world.
Our Internet history is as rich as it is complex, and depending on who you ask, you’re bound to get a variety of different answers as to how it all began. But the truth is that the Internet is the result of many brilliant minds of eras long since passed. And where we go from here is anyone’s guess.
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