Watching the Internet Grow Up

A Note from Darryl in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, suggests, “I know you have been around since the beginning of the internet as one of the longest (and also I would say one of the best) running e-newletters. I ran across this story in Time magazine and thought it would be an interesting article to add into your weekly post.”

I looked, and didn’t find anything “weird” about Time’s list of “The 15 Most Influential Websites of All Time”, so clearly Darryl meant I might just be interested in telling you about it. Indeed I am. Time notes “The web, or ‘world wide web’ as we used to say, turns 27 years old on December 20.” Wrong, Time! We didn’t call it the “world wide web” but rather the “World Wide Web” — initial caps, thank you!

Here’s Their List — I’ve added a brief description and when they went online: 15) (online dating: 1995). 14) Reddit (curation/forum: 2005). 13) Pandora (streaming music: 2000). 12) Wikileaks (“open government” proponent: 2006). 11) The Pirate Bay (software/media theft: 2003). 10) (web inventor Tim Berners-Lee’s home of the first web site: 1989). 9) eBay (online auctions/storefront: 1995). 8) Drudge Report (right-wing news aggregator: 1995). 7) Yahoo (Web directory: January 1994). 6) Craigslist (classified ads: as email list in 1995, web site in 1996). 5) Youtube (streaming videos: 2005). 4) Facebook (social media: 2004). 3) Wikipedia (knowledge base: 2001). 2) Amazon (e-commerce/cloud computing: July 1994). 1) Google (search and much more: 1998).

My biggest surprise? Youtube: it only launched in 2005?! Seems like it’s been there longer. Perhaps because in this space, on July 3, 2000, I called online video a new trend by saying “The day is here” that “anyone with talent” could become a “real” filmmaker due to advances in computer power, and they “wouldn’t even need financing” from a TV or movie studio. And sure enough, Youtube was founded by three former Paypal employees in February 2005; Google bought it in November 2006 — just 21 months later — for $1.65 billion.

It was in 1994 that I realized there was enough computer power and networking — the Internet itself — for “anyone” to become a periodical publisher without financing: that’s when I came up with what would become True in June of that year, funding it out of pocket.

Something had happened that sparked my realization about the new online video trend: the (first-ever?) online release of an independent (yet brilliant) short film, 405 the Movie; my author’s note about it is archived in my blog under the title, Online Video: Simply Cool.

The movie’s web site noted that the computers used to create it only had 256-512MB of RAM. With those Pentium-class systems, it took them 3-1/2 months to pull this off. The software used was LightWave 3D, Digital Fusion, and Adobe Premiere.

So did Bruce Branit and Jeremy Hunt do it without “financing”? You bet: their total budget was just $300. (Plus, of course, a lot of unpaid time!) The most amusing part of their budget: $140 to pay for the citations from the California Highway Patrol gave them for walking on the shoulder of the 405 freeway during filming; CHP Officer Dana Anderson is listed in the “Special Thanks” section of the credits! I assume the rest of the budget went for software; they apparently already had the consumer grade camcorder, a Canon Optura, and the computers.

Both of the film’s creators had a head start: they worked together on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, so they at least had a professional level of understanding of visual effects before they started the project. Still, I consider it absolutely true that “computer power allow[ed] anyone with talent to become a ‘real’ filmmaker,” as I said in 2000. And now look at Youtube! It serves 5 billion video downloads per day, and 300 more hours of video are uploaded to the site …per minute. It’s the second-most-visited web site on the Internet, after Google itself (then Facebook, Baidu, Wikipedia, and Yahoo [source]). Google paid $1.6 billion for it 21 months after launch? Imagine what it’s worth today.

The Other Thing I Noticed about Time’s list of web sites? Born in June 1994, This is True is older than just about all of them. Yeah, Tim Berners-Lee’s first web site ever is a gimme. Of the rest, only Yahoo is older, and only by a few months.

True has been “influential” in its own way: my “best practices” as an email publisher set the standard that was later built in to the offerings of “Email Service Providers” who mail to lists for publishers like me: things that weren’t there when I started. I wanted confirmation loops (“double” or “verified” opt-in) so others couldn’t subscribe you to a list without your active involvement. I needed automatic processing of bounced messages, and easy unsubscribe links (not the “send this complex command to this special address” garbage that was common back then). Dole out the messages more slowly to sites that had a lot of subscribers to not overwhelm them (“throttling”). I worked closely with the founders at Lyris to do all of that and more …but they couldn’t take True on right away: they had to upgrade their hardware because my list was so big. That company has since become much less relevant (I was surprised to find just now that Lyris doesn’t even have a Wikipeida page), and that’s why I moved to a more innovative ESP, but together, we set the standards, and I’m proud of that.

As for online video, in late 2000, film critic Roger Ebert referred to 405 as “the most famous short film in the history of the Internet.” Well, sure, at the time! But I think back in 2000 there was a larger picture to see: the true birth of the online video medium, leading to a massive change in how we consume entertainment. I didn’t know how to make a billion dollars from my insight back then, but it has been fun watching the Internet grow up around me.

Time’s article: The 15 Most Influential Websites Of All Time.

30 October Follow-up

“Pops” in Washington, in response to the above, writes:

Regarding World Wide Web, I will comment with only one word, describing my introduction to it: GOPHER.

A little bit apples and oranges, though Gopher is often “considered” the predecessor of the web. The WWW was invented in Switzerland in 1989, though the first web browser didn’t get out to the general public until late 1991. (It was called WorldWideWeb, but was renamed to “Nexus” because people confused the browser and the Web itself.) The Gopher protocol was created by the University of Minnesota to distribute documents — and search for them. It was actually released after the invention of the WWW: in mid-1991. But certainly, because of the late release of Berners-Lee’s first browser, many used Gopher first, through simple telnet (plain ASCII character transmission) protocols.

My own first use of the Internet (besides as a backbone to carry email, usually through convoluted gateway addressing, like X.400 or X.500 protocols) was similar, with Archie and Veronica. Archie was created in 1990 after three years of work at McGill University in Montreal, and is considered the first Internet search engine — it was made to index FTP (File Transfer Protocol) archives, and I would use that to search for, and download, research materials from my desk at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The first server I ever connected to was in Australia (the farthest away I saw on a list of such servers — printed in a book!), though I no longer have any memory of what that server was.

Veronica was also a search engine, for (yes!) Gopher, created at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1992. The web protocol (HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol) won out over Gopher, but there are still a few Gopher servers around. I played with all the protocols briefly until web browsers started popping up at JPL, starting (for me, at least) with Mosaic, and I taught myself how to build web pages by trial and error — which is how I started losing my hair. 🙂

But Don’t let Anyone Tell You the Internet was invented in the 1990s! Packet switching, the base technology of the ’net, was invented by two men, working independently of each other. Paul Baran, a Polish-born Jewish American engineer working at the RAND Corporation, was assigned to design a communications system that could “survive” nuclear war. His work was first published in 1960. Meanwhile, Welshman Donald Davies, working at the U.K.’s National Physical Laboratory, came up with a similar system in 1965, and it was actually his work that inspired ARPAnet, the predecessor to the Internet. Computer Science Prof. Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA developed queueing theory, which gave packet switching a mathematical background; his doctoral thesis (at MIT) was published in 1962, which (if I understand correctly) made packet switching practical.

Lawrence Roberts’ (of MIT) baseline plan, “Towards a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers”, was published in 1966, and his “Plan for the ARPAnet” was published in 1967. UCLA hooked a computer to ARPAnet on September 2, 1969 (thanks to 50 kbps lines provided by AT&T). That day, Kleinrock had one of his students, Charley Kline, send the first message over the new network: “login” — from UCLA’s SDS Sigma 7 computer to Stanford’s SDS 940 host computer. But the system crashed after just the first two letters, leaving the first-ever “online message” to be “lo”!

The ARPAnet’s Host-to-Host protocol was published in 1970, the same year the ’net went cross-country. Ray Tomlinson’s (of BBN, the link goes to his Honorary Unsubscribe) new program — email — appeared in 1971 (a 1972 update to the program introduced the “@” sign standard). The File Transfer Protocol was invented in 1973, the first non-continental-U.S. links (by satellite to Hawaii and the U.K.) went online in 1975. Commercial ISPs emerged in the late 1980s, well before the web. Restrictions against commercial use started easing when MCI Mail and Compuserve connected to the Internet in mid-1989, and the Internet was considered fully commercialized in 1995, when the last of the National Science Foundation restrictions were removed (which was …ahem… after True was well established!)

In December 1969, there were 4 hosts online. The Internet broke 1,000 hosts in 1984, 10,000 hosts in 1987, 100,000 hosts in 1989, a million hosts in 1992, 10 million hosts in 1995, and 50 million hosts in 1999. In 2011, a report in the journal Science estimated that in 1993 the Internet carried only 1 percent of the information flowing through two-way telecommunication, and by 2007 more than 97 percent of all telecommunicated information was carried over the Internet. The International Telecommunications Union estimated that in 2016, 47 percent of the human population (7.3 billion people) were Internet users. Yep, it’s been fun watching it all grow up.

- - -

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26 Responses to Watching the Internet Grow Up

  1. Darryl October 23, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

    Hey Randy, Darryl here. Not from Texas but from Paradise. Yes, that’s correct, Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador. I work in Northern Manitoba for a US company. Might be why it seemed like I was from Texas. Every time I tell my computer to use location services if finds me in Texas.

    And that’s why! Thanks for the correction (I’ll amend the text), and for the interesting link. -rc

  2. Mike, Calif. October 24, 2017 at 2:27 am #

    I will always remember 405, because I’ve flown the tail number DC10 that was featured in that film. I remember specifically that I saw the film on line before a ratty copy of it was shown during an intermission of a recurrent training session I had at work a year or so later. It still shows up every now and again down there. There have been a few submissions since then that are as good (look for Living The Dream), but 405 will always be the first.

    Wild coincidence! May you never need to land on the 405. -rc

  3. Gary Kephart October 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    While not as nearly as influential as the other sites that have been mentioned, I’m pretty proud of a website I created that has also been around since about 1994: (and still it looks like it was created back then! I gotta find some time to upgrade it). It’s a reference site for the “Wheel of Time” series of books, with pages for each chapter, character, and significant item. I originally created it for myself to keep track of what was happening in the books. I’ve had a lot of help since then keeping it updated. I’m proud to say that the site has been enjoyed by a multitude of people. After the original author, Robert Jordan, passed away, the next author who picked up where he left off, Brandon Sanderson, used my site to help keep track of things while he was finishing up the books. He even signed one of the new books for me with something akin to “this work would not have been possible without your work.”

    Neat! Yeah, looks pretty dated, but hopefully people look beyond that to get the information. Most such sites I’ve seen lately to record such data for a book series (or TV series) is in one of the wiki software packages. -rc

  4. Jeff, Calif. October 24, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    I remember the first internet video I ever saw, it was the famous exploding whale video. I remember because it was so hard to get – it took a long time to download all 10 MB of it over dialup, and it took multiple tries because the line would drop partway through. This had to be early 90s.

    I remember that one too — and a reader who worked at that TV station was kind enough to give several of us a tour, and she personally made me a copy of the video (onto a videocassette — back in the day!) I was quite honored that she went to the trouble. That happened in November 1970, btw, and was quite the online viral for awhile, with everyone assuming it had “just happened”. Nope! But that happened because Dave Barry saw the video and wrote about it in his column — in May 1990. -rc

  5. Jay, Florida October 24, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    The 405 remains, to this day, one of my favorite pieces of internet video, and how cool is it that the guy who flew that jet showed up in your comments?

    Pretty freaking awesome. And for the record, I did check and confirmed that the email address used with his comment matched the email address on his original letter. 🙂 -rc

  6. Dave, Dartmouth MA October 25, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Interesting! The web site appears to be down but the movie has an article on Wikipedia. According to them most of the video is CGI combined with shots of the jeep while it was standing still and some shots of the highway, though I get the impression that even some of that was modeled. Pretty awesome for the time!

  7. Richard - Mobile October 27, 2017 at 11:03 am #

    I’ve read “This Is True” for far longer than I can remember (the ’90’s?), and as far as I am concerned, its author is one of the pioneers of the field. I have been “Online” for well over 35 years, and yours is one of the few things I always read when I see it; either the premium version or the free version – I enjoy and think over both. Live long and Prosper, friend.

  8. Mechelle, Mississippi October 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    Your listserv may be from 1994, but isn’t your info older than that? Didn’t you have News of the Weird that was a syndicated column for newsrags? I remember reading it from a free local happenings paper when I lived in Memphis from 1988-1991 when I lived in Memphis TN. They sporadically when I visited Memphis after getting married and moving to Jackson MS. I think it was you.

    No, that was Chuck Shepherd. He started News of the Weird in 1988, and retired this summer. He concentrated on newspaper syndication with a minor online component, while I concentrated on online with a minor syndication component. I thought the Internet would disrupt the newspaper business, so I turned down offers from two syndicates who offered contracts for TRUE. -rc

    • Mechelle, Mississippi October 30, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

      I thank you for all that you do. I first started following you online back when you started in 1994 or 1995. In 1994, we moved to Atlanta GA, and got our internet from a little company called MindSpring. We met the gentleman who started MindSpring when we went to an Internet user’s group meeting. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers before then on their computers, so I had been using the Internet since there was Archie and Veronica, and before the WWW. Good times! Oh Lord, now I realize how old I am. Have a great week! And thank you, again!

      You’re most welcome. I assume you’re thinking of Charles Brewer. I was using Netcom in 1994; MindSpring bought them out in 1999 — for $245 million! That was a decent chunk of change in 1999. 🙂 In addition to Netcom, they bought up a whole bunch of early ISPs, like PSInet, Pipeline, InterRamp, and SpryNet, among others As you probably know, MindSpring later merged with EarthLink …which was based where I was: Pasadena! I should have started with them in the first place! -rc

  9. Bob, Ariz. October 30, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    Congratulations for giving my old friend Charley Kline credit for being the first person to use the Internet!

    One overlooked thing is that the Sigma 7 was an obsolete computer that has been put in a room with other obsolete computers, an IBM 1401 and an IBM 7080. UCLA at the time owned the fastest IBM mainframe, a 360/75, but didn’t want to risk hooking it up to an untried network. We in the UCLA Computer Club had a key to the room with the obsolete equipment and could power on the Sigma 7 to “play” with it. I had a compiler for a language called SNOBOL which I learned there.

    *shrug* — I try to give credit where due. But it’s pretty darned cool that a reader knows him! And thanks for the interesting details on the Sigma. -rc

  10. Ed Tiley, Yeah Florida whatsit to ya? October 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    Y’all youngsters ain’t lived until you used TAPCIS on Compuserve with an Anderson Jacobson acoustic coupler on an IBM PC using DOS 1.3!


    I don’t recall having used TAPCIS (The Access Program for the Compuserve Information Service), was used from 1981 until 2004 to be quicker to download stuff because the service charged by the minute. I used different strategies to do my work there, rather than pay the $79 fee for the program. And funny: the first modem I used was …an Anderson Jocobson acoustic coupler! But the one I used was hooked up to a Model 33 Teletype machine (as a computer terminal) to access a minicomputer, not some newfangled microcomputer, fer gawd sake! -rc

    • Ed Tiley, Yeah Florida whatsit to ya? October 31, 2017 at 8:40 am #

      In the early 70’s we used to do maintenance on those teletypes. Most were built for the Army by Western Electric in the 40’s.

      Wanna buy a copy of Quick Brown Fox?

      If only I had a VIC-20! I have often thought it would be fun to have a Model 33, just to hear it run. I don’t think my wife would like having it gathering dust, though…. -rc

  11. Diane in Kentucky October 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm #

    Boy does all this bring back a lot of memories.

    My odGay! I really was “online” before the internet or most of ARPAnet, circa 1970. They brought a terminal into school in my Jr Hi for six weeks that connected to a mainframe in Chicago (we were in Cleveland). Something like a 100 baud coupler, teletype output and punched paper tape for programming.

    My first PC in ’85 (a Zenith clone) came with both DOS 2.1 and 1.0, a 14″ amber monitor and two 360K floppies. It ran at a blazing 6MHz instead of the piddling 4.77MHz that you could get from IBM. I put in a 20Mb hard drive (wasn’t ever going to fill that thing up) and filled the memory out to the full 640K (I must have known Bill Gates was wrong even then).

    MindSpring, EarthLink, Compuserve … Did all of them. Was a node for the Wildcat BBS network. Didn’t put up my own www. website until 2002 or so though.

    Those were the days.

    Yep, that terminal was probably a Model 33 Teletype; it ran at 110 baud on that coupler. I still have some of that paper tape around here …somewhere! -rc

    • Rusty in Maryland November 6, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

      I believe the Zenith computer you are thinking of had a turbo button on the front where you could set it back to 4.77MHz for the benefit of games and such that expected the computer to run at a specific speed. That was my upgrade from a Zenith Z-90 that ran HDos and CP/M (or was it C/PM) before the advent of the IBM-PC from the Big Blue Menace of Boca Raton and its clones.

  12. Craig in MN October 31, 2017 at 4:54 am #

    I was an IL State Police dispatcher in 1968. We had IBM 1050 terminals connected to the mainframe in Springfield. That was interconnected with LEADS (Law Enforcement Agencies Data System) to most police agencies in the U.S.

    I could use it to look up info for my troopers via mainframe database, but it also featured a form of email (message switching) that could communicate directly between agency terminals. State and federal-level agencies could also “broadcast” messages to select groups or all connected terminals.

    My terminal came to life early one morning with a lengthy APB (All Points Bulletin) to be on the lookout for an escapee, Tom. I don’t recall the exact text, but it went on to describe “Tom” last seen dashing West with an eye on the Mexican border. I wondered why this involved us in suburban Chicago until I finally recalled that it was the day before Thanksgiving.

    The internet and its predecessors have always featured, ahem, tomfoolery.

    And may it ever be the case. -rc

  13. Nicolas, France October 31, 2017 at 5:16 am #

    I have no doubt you contributed to the improvement of mailing list software but I seem to remember L-Soft’s LISTSERV already had some of the features you mention when I created my first mailing list in July 1994 (still active). It definitely had double opt-in (the “OK” mechanism) and optimized delivery to sites with multiple subscribers (the “distribute” algorithm). Not sure about automatic bounce processing, this may have been added later.

    The first package I was using was Majordomo, and it definitely didn’t have any sort of verification process. Unfortunately, I can’t remember when it was added to Lyris; my memory is that I asked for it because I saw my subscribe form being abused on a regular basis (e.g., someone would put a victim’s address in the form dozens of times, presumably so they would get dozens of responses from the server.)

    I don’t claim to have invented the idea of verified (or “double”) opt-in, just that I insisted that ESPs offer it, since many did not, and I had realized that if such abuse was a problem in the early days, it would just get worse. You are correct that LISTSERV (the mail package by that name, not the generic term “listserve” that spun from that trademark) was apparently first to get the feature — in 1993. -rc

  14. Dana, Kentucky October 31, 2017 at 9:15 am #

    I remember using the punched cards for programming homework in FORTRAN and COBOL at college in the ’70s (not networked) and waiting a day or two to get back the printout of the run (with all the errors!), and having to correct things and submit again. And again. And again!

    At home, my sister’s fiance had this neat new thing called a TRS-80 (I think this was like 1981 or ’82?) that you used a portable cassette recorder to load programs onto the “computer”. And later, you could connect to something called a “chat room” — my first experience with why you need to THINK before pressing send. My (totally serious) comment to the chat room was taken as meaning something so totally different than I had intended (and totally trashed — also my first experience with trolls), that it was months before I approached a chat room again.

    And Bulletin Boards — the original way to carry on a threaded conversation with like-minded people across the country.

    Amazingly, Radio Shack released the TRS-80 Model 1 on August 3, 1977! A retired friend bought one of the first ones, and actually loaned the whole thing to me to play with for a week. Pretty cool friend for a teen to have! BBSs were still a thing when TRUE started, with an estimated 17 million users in 1994. I actually had a licensing procedure in place for sysops (BBS “system operators”) to carry TRUE on their systems. I still have the data base of those permissions: Rick of the “Sunset BBS” was first, on September 27, 1994; Rick is still a subscriber today. The last BBS license was issued almost exactly four years later; by then, most folks were switched over to the Internet, rather than going through a BBS. -rc

  15. Eileen, Las Vegas, NV November 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

    In the early days, we used to laugh when reading about people who said, “It must be true, we saw it on the computer.” … It’s not funny anymore.

    This is …True! -rc

  16. Mi Tasoll, Australia November 4, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    For messaging I started on Fidonet about 1986. Another of the forgotten systems but it certainly made me a computer addict.

    Best thing was everyone used taglines on their messages. My favorites were “Hes not a complete idiot, he is missing too many brain cells” and “the electric chair is period furniture, it ends a sentence” used by two of the people I corresponded with.

    Those are usually part of email “signatures” — a block automatically attached to messages, often containing someone’s name and contact info (and, later, URL). Fun quotes were common, and sometimes inserted a “random” quote from an extensive file. Fun times! -rc

  17. John, United Kingdom November 4, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Overcoming hurdles on the way to broadband.

    Around the mid-eighties I was on a training course working towards something called CLAIT, (Computer Literacy and Information Technology profile). We were using the then brand new Amstrad PCW8256 word processors, each with a stunning 256K of volatile Ram, a single disc drive with 360K floppies, and CPM operating system. Amazing bits of kit for someone coming from a manual typewriter.

    One of the modules for the certificate optimistically asked us to ‘show you can wirelessly transfer data from one machine to another’. As our machines were incapable of this it was an optional unit. But, where there’s a will….

    I saved some data onto a floppy and then, in full view of the bemused trainer, threw it the length of the room to Ken who loaded the disk and transferred the contents to his machine. Instant Guru status. 😉

    Lo-tech wireless transfer! It didn’t turn up on our certificates, but it felt good.

    I later used a much modified PCW 9256, with 3 drives, and expanded RAM (up to a mind-boggling 4Meg), plus a ‘black box’ which let me go online using text-only Lynx via CompuServe and a dial-up modem which howled piteously when I made it work faster than intended. Someone called Ian Macdonald was responsible for that bit of acceleration software. A long way from the cable broadband I use now.

    I still don’t understand much about what happens inside the case, but even then it was fairly easy to use if you just let it get on with its ‘black arts’. Thanks to clever nerdy types who made it accessible to we typewriter barbarians.

    Superb story about wireless transfer! Even faster than SneakerNet! (And it’s hilarious how extensive and serious the Wikipedia article on that is.)

    We kids tried to get my mother to get a computer in her mid-70s, and suggested she buy a Mac, but she bought one of those early Amstrad machines instead. Made her correspondence much easier, but she soon realized that it wasn’t enough. Why? Because she wanted to be able to email her older sister! She got the Mac, and we got her a modem for Christmas …but even that didn’t last long: she wanted broadband. She still requires broadband as a life necessity, and she’s in her mid-90s now. It runs in the family’s blood! -rc

  18. Dave, Calif. November 4, 2017 at 10:47 am #

    Nice walk down Memory Lane, Randy! My first “personal computer” was an ASR-33 with 300B acoustic coupler sitting in our living room. I had an ARPANet account circa 1972 to access data from NASA-Ames. Probably 20+ years later, I had occasion to try to log back in there, and fumbled my way into a login attempt. The system still worked, and responded with a query as to whether I was the Dave Bell with an existing account!

    Keep up the great work; I love it all!

    Your memory is too optimistic: the Model 33 teletype couldn’t run at 300 baud; it was only 110! For those who don’t know how to fathom baud rate, a baudet (the actual term) is 1 bit per second. An ASCII-encoded character is typically 8 bits (7 information bits + 1 check digit), so 110 baud would enable approximately 10 characters per second, which is much slower than the average person can read. (Graphics? Forget it!) The first modems were acoustic couplers (attached to a landline phone handset), and typically 110 baud.

    Direct connect modems for PCs started at 300 baud, then the general progression was 1200 baud, then 2400, 4800, 9600, 14.4K, 28K, 56K …and finally broadband. Even the definition of “broadband” has changed over time. As of 2015, the U.S. FCC defines broadband as having a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps, and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps. -rc

  19. Heidi in Seattle November 4, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    Coming in a bit late on this (was in the hospital without my laptop) but another old ‘Nethead here. I have one tiny claim to fame in the annals, I met my ex-husband on Quantumlink (the online service for Commodore users) in 1988. We married shortly after meeting in person, since there was an international border involved.

    My good friend who acted as best man went to his admin job at the university the next day and found Usenet was completely abuzz about this “online” wedding. It’s probably still out there in the archives somewhere.

    Very cool! -rc

  20. Phil, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico November 5, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    You are bringing back hidden memories! I think though, that the UK PSS using the X.25 was really part of the early internet in the 1980’s which I believe I used to connect to Compuserve in the early-to-mid 80’s first at 1200 baud, then was flying along at 2400. I was certainly connecting to a US bulletin board at that time. Magical!

    Interestingly PSS was charged on a per packet basic, and when typing, each letter was sent and considered a packet. The amazing thing — for then — was that the cost was the same whether sending that packet down the street or across to the US. We have come a long way!

  21. Richard - Mobile November 5, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Man, that was a ride through my past. I’ve still got a address, which I use with some little bit of pride; I’ve had businesses refuse the addy because “it can’t still exist.” My first computer was a TRS-80 Model III, with 64K of memory and a tape drive. (I’ve still got it.) I lived on BBS’s for years, and got an MS in Information Technology using a Commodore 64, logging into my machine at the school at a blazing 24k. There is so much, and so much of it is being lost as the people who participated pass on, and the documents are lost (HP?). Actually, I miss those days. {sigh}

    Bizarre that anyone would think Mindspring wasn’t valid anymore; I have many subscribing with Mindspring addresses. Hell, even WebTV addresses still work; they’re being served at None of those left on TRUE’s distribution anymore, though. -rc

  22. Chris from Edmonton Canada November 9, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    My one niggling correction is to say that Leonard Kleinrock’s work was on queueing theory in the context of computing network. Queueuing theory in general predated him by about 40 years, continuing from the work of Markov and Erlang in the early part of the 20th century.

    Fun fact: “queueing” is one of the only words in the English language (maybe the only?) to have 5 consecutive vowels!

  23. Geri in Albion, California November 18, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    My early recollection of internet was getting involved with newsgroups in 1984 and bang addresses for email (for only a short time — they were mostly gone by then but I came across a few).

    Back when, we used to talk about proper netiquette and people would get bounced out of some newsgroups for starting flame wars.

    Then the first websites — there were so few of them, it was really easy to find things or to stand out if you made your own. I wasn’t too late to the game — my first website was in May 1998.

    I remember those days with great fondness. 🙂 It was cool being part of a relatively small community.

    I didn’t have to use bang addressing — X.400 was bad enough! But yeah, having to be a bit geeky to do anything online made it more fun! -rc

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