The Internet at 40

From an article on from AP: “Key milestones in the development of Internet” .. some highlights (commentary in italics):

  • 1969: On Sept. 2, two computers at University of California, Los Angeles, exchange meaningless data in first test of ARPANet, an experimental military network. One could argue that this exchange is now performed billions of times daily on sites like Facebook, MySpace, and others .. the meaningless part, at least.
  • 1972: Ray Tomlinson brings e-mail to the network, choosing "at" symbol as way to specify e-mail addresses belonging to other systems. And to suggest that I only respect the “@” symbol as a means to represent the letter “A” when concocting a strong password. Or as a pair of surprised eyes: @@ .. who knew it could be so useful?
  • 1983: Domain name system is proposed. Creation of suffixes such as ".com," ".gov" and ".edu" comes a year later. While a noble effort, .com (for companies) rapidly fell to porn sites .. promise me you’ll NEVER visit ‘’ on one of my systems. While on the subject, we need the “.xxx” TLD for ‘that’ stuff.
  • 1989: Quantum Computer Services, now AOL, introduces America Online service .. introducing 22 million users to a walled garden .. but a reasonable place to find dial-up in a pinch.
  • 1995: Inc. opens its virtual doors. And promptly starts sucking cash from everyone’s wallet for stuff we simply cannot live without.
  • 1999: World Internet population surpasses 250 million. If I had a dollar for every Internet user in 1999 ..
  • 2002: World Internet population surpasses 500 million. If I had a dollar for every Internet user in 2002 ..
  • 2006: World Internet population surpasses 1 billion. If I had a fifty cents for every Internet user in 2006 ..

Sadly, the article doesn’t include milestones for HTML versions, Flash, CSS, SSL or a variety of supporting technologies that make the Web what it is today. I think there’s a timeline project in there for me.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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