From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 03 Jun 03 - Internet History
What do high-energy physics and atom smashers have to do with the genesis of the Web? Quite a bit, actually! It was in September 1991 that Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist working at the CERN lab in Geneva, created the Web and the first browser. All well and good, except there wasn't anything *on* the Web...
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Enter particle physicist Paul Kunz, who happened to be visiting CERN from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Upon receiving a demo of the Web application, Kunz realized it would enable him to build a friendly interface to a database at SLAC. After returning home, he installed Berners-Lee's web server software at SLAC, and created a web page that would allow physicists all over the world to query a database of high-energy physics papers via the Internet.
Almost twelve years ago, Kunz created the first website in the United States. But more importantly, it was the first useful application of the Web. At a conference in France in January 1992, Berners-Lee did a demonstration for 200 physicists from around the world, who were stunned when they saw how easy it was to access the SLAC database 6000 miles away.
>From that point on, the number of web users and websites began to grow
exponentially. Click below to read a CNET interview with Paul Kunz and learn more about the history of the early Web.
Speaking of the early Web, have you ever looked for a website and found that it no longer exists? Or thought "I just KNOW that such and such was on this web page, and now I can't find it?" The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine may be able to help.
The Internet Archive has been taking snapshots of Internet sites since
1996 and stashing them away for posterity. To date, more than 10
billion pages have been stored in the Internet Archive's database. Using the Wayback Machine is a wonderful walk down memory lane if you've been online for a few years.
If you'd like to know what AltaVista (one of the first search engines) looked like seven years ago, or see how Yahoo has changed over the years, try these links:
The history of computing and the story of how the Internet came to be are fascinating subjects to me. But it's too big a story to tell here, so I've pulled together some excellent links that you can use to explore it at your leisure.
HOBBES' INTERNET TIMELINE gives a brief history of Internet milestones from 1957 to present.
INTERNET HISTORIES FROM ISOC is a page put together by the Internet Society listing about twenty different "History of the Internet" stories. Many of these articles are written by the people who actually invented the hardware, software and technology concepts that became the foundation of the Internet.
"WHERE WIZARDS STAY UP LATE: THE ORIGINS OF THE INTERNET" is a book that tells the story of the origins of the Internet, based on interviews with the people who made it happen. Perhaps you've never heard of Bob Taylor, Vint Cerf or J.R. Licklider but after reading this book you'll want to thank them. Search for the book here:
WEAVING THE WEB BY TIM BERNERS-LEE, is the story of the genesis of the World-Wide Web, as told by the guy who invented it.
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That's all for now, I'll see you next time! --Bob Rankin