July 20 1969 – Man walks on the moon. October 29, 1969 – The first inter-network data transmission took place when one man sent another man the letters L O.
The 50th anniversary of the moon walk was heralded around the world, complete with critical theories of whether it really happened, and yet the 50th anniversary of the first data transmission that was the precursor to the www, has barely rated a mention.
This seems a gross disservice to a hallmark of human progress that arguably rates right up there with the ability to create fire on demand, the invention of the wheel and human engineered flight.
While I certainly haven’t walked on the moon, I have absolutely been a beneficiary of that fateful message that night between Charley Kline in the inauspicious Room 3420 of UCLA’s Boelter Hall and Bill Duvall at the Stanford Research Institute (now known as SRI International) on the other side of California.
As you might know, the letters L O were successfully transmitted before the system crashed, a few minutes of tweaks later and the system was back up and functioning as intended. This was the birth of ARPANET, a small network of academic computers sharing their capacity and what was to become what we now know as the Internet.
Though both men have lived to experience the IOE era, I wonder if they had any idea what they were creating when they sought to solve the problem of inefficient data capacity across university computer assets?
For an interesting insight into some of the ways in which the Internet has effected our lives I recommenced you check out the Werner Hertzog documentary LO and Behold: Reveries of a Connected World (2016)