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The Way we Were
November 16, 2009 8:10 AM   Subscribe

The History of the Internet in a Nutshell

Discovered indirectly via fellow MeFite john.c.herman
posted by Miko (59 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
"2004: Social Media and Digg." Close. That item's only off by seven years. Also, "Digg revolutionized traditional means of generating and finding web content, democratically promoting news and web links that are reviewed and voted on by a community." Mmm hmm. I know a couple sites that would beg to differ on that "revolutionized."
posted by rusty at 8:23 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ahahahahahahaha nothing like a reasonably good article turning out just to be a way to broadcast the existence of RON PAUL
posted by Damn That Television at 8:25 AM on November 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


LOLCats was denied.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:26 AM on November 16, 2009


No mention of pr0n, the thing that made it all happen?
posted by jonmc at 8:28 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another glaring omission: tl;dr
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on November 16, 2009


Wow, Project Gutenberg is 38 years old!

Also, it mentions AOL but not CompuServe?
posted by exogenous at 8:35 AM on November 16, 2009


This is a somewhat cold, technocratic view of the important breakthroughts on the internet. No mention of:

- Craigslist

- Flickr (except in passing)

- online dating

- nontraditional news sites (HuffPo, TPM)

- any single blog (just the coining of "weblog," but why not give a shout-out to early ones like Kausfiles or Kottke?)

- a particular 2008 presidential candidate whose masterful use of the web turned out to be a tad more consequential than Ron Paul's
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:37 AM on November 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


The World actually started a year earlier than this history says. By 1990 there were 3 commercial ISPs. I started one of them.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:39 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, was Google the first search engine or something? It had zero impact when it first came out - everyone was still using Altavista.

No mention of the earlier webcrawlers or of Yahoo's Directory which, arguably, was the first major opening up of the rapidly growing Web.
posted by vacapinta at 8:42 AM on November 16, 2009


No mention of free/open source software? What do they think runs the majority of all those servers out there?
posted by Rhomboid at 8:43 AM on November 16, 2009


I think this article is an excellent starting point, obviously in need of revision and tinkering. I was impressed.
posted by jscott at 8:43 AM on November 16, 2009


That article made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's funny how we (or maybe just I) tend to think of the internet as one invention, but it couldn't have been possible without a long series of prior little revolutions. It's rather serendipitous that so many strangers around the world unwittingly teamed up to build the web we know and love today. If any link in that chain hadn't been forget, things would look quite a bit different, I think.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:44 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Forget?" I'm using my 10-minute edit window to say, I meant to type "if any link in that chain hadn't be forged."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:46 AM on November 16, 2009


Screw it. Read my intent, not my words. Maybe the next link in the chain will be an invention to help me type more gooder (and remember to preview before I hit "post.")
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:47 AM on November 16, 2009


Oh, this is real? Hm.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2009


No mention of something that wasn't mentioned? That thing should have been mentioned.
posted by brain_drain at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


No mention of something that wasn't mentioned? That thing should have been mentioned.

With variations:

Mention of thing but off slightly? Ha ha you are shit

Mention of thing? Other thing is more like thing! Ha ha you are shit

Mention of thing calling it other thing? It is thing! THING! Ha ha you are shit
posted by jscott at 8:56 AM on November 16, 2009 [13 favorites]


She's wrong on the provision of TV shows online, too. Hulu didn't launch until way into 2008, and even then only with a selection of content from the channels involved. BBC iPlayer launched on Christmas Day 2007 with more-or-less the entire broadcast output of the network online for the preceeding week.
posted by metaxa at 8:56 AM on November 16, 2009


I had a Proustian trip-down-the-memory-hole experience seeing that screenshot of Mosaic. My, the web seemed so vast and endless back then, but it was but a fraction of what exists today. Search engines were non-existent back then (or at least I didn't know about them) so you just had to wander around the internet in search of interesting things, following hyperlinks and seeing what was on the other side. Heh, come to think of it that's still how I use the web, half the time.
posted by Kattullus at 8:57 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


In fact, hell, Channel 4's '4oD' (4 on Demand) launched in 2006!
posted by metaxa at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2009


Everyone knows the Internet was created in order to painstakingly detail the various lubes, lotions, and musks that Mulder rubbed over Krycek's stump, to record their first, awkward interactions, and to serve as an immortal testament to their love.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


I had a Proustian trip-down-the-memory-hole experience seeing that screenshot of Mosaic.

"The advance of civilisation enables people to display unsuspected qualities or fresh defects which make them dearer or more insupportable to their friends. Thus Louis Pouzin's invention had enabled Françoise to acquire an additional defect, which was that of refusing, however important, however urgent the occasion might be, to make use of e-mail. She would manage to disappear whenever anybody was going to teach her how to use it, as people disappear when it is time for them to be vaccinated."

Yeah he still holds up.
posted by geoff. at 9:04 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, it mentions AOL but not CompuServe?

or prodigy :P the enya boards were fantastic!
posted by kliuless at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2009


no mention that yahoo was established in 1994

that's a serious omission there - there was a time when it was pretty much what almost everyone used
posted by pyramid termite at 9:19 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ahahahahahahaha nothing like a reasonably good article turning out just to be a way to broadcast the existence of RON PAUL

I thought you were joking about this, but a bit of cursory googling seems to support this idea.
posted by googly at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2009


Yahoo was my first contact with the internet in '95 viewing it in Lynx running over Kermit at a blazing 14.4 bps.
posted by octothorpe at 9:26 AM on November 16, 2009


No Jennicam
posted by qvantamon at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


The History of the Internet in a Nutshell

Very short. Nutshells don't (yet?) have TCP/IP connectivity.
posted by Malor at 9:30 AM on November 16, 2009


They also forgot to mention the date of the first mindless snark.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2009


They fit the whole Internet into a nutshell? Whoa.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought you were joking about this, but a bit of cursory googling seems to support this idea.
posted by googly at 12:22 PM on November 16


Ha ha ha, that's fucking great and not the least bit surprising. If your 56-item list of "the most important things in the history of the internet" includes Ron Paul (and a giant picture of him, at that) then changes are good that the whole thing was written with some nefarious, secret secondary reason in mind

And with Googly's discovery, I flag the post and urge everyone else do to the same
posted by Damn That Television at 9:38 AM on November 16, 2009


No Mahir?
posted by snofoam at 9:39 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very short. Nutshells don't (yet?) have TCP/IP connectivity.

Strangely, I just bought a bag of Diamond walnuts, and each one of them has a Fidonet address of 1:220/4.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:43 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, this is the internet in a nutshell: "Help! I'm the internet! I'm in a nutshell!"
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:50 AM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am the last person in the world wishing to promote Ron Paul, seriously the last, and chagrined at the discovery that the photo and mention might not be due to just happenstance or a poor choice of example. Had I interpreted the whole thing that way, I wouldn't have posted it. I thought, like jscott, that looked like a good starting point for an overview of developments in internet history. Not perfect but interesting to consider the building blocks.
posted by Miko at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2009


Oh fer chrissake, it's a picture and a mention that he raised more money in a day than any Presidential candidate ever has. It's notable and worth mentioning. It's not about Ron Paul, it's about the Internet. Geeze.

Flagging the post because you hate Ron Paul that much is ridiculous. It's not like the guy has freaking cooties.
posted by Malor at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2009


The photo *is* a bit big, and it is placed in such an unfortunate way that it seems like the punchline of the article.

However, I find his inclusion as a notable "internet candidate" completely justified, but, as has been mentioned upthread *only if* Obama were also mentioned. Just Paul as an example is crazy, not to mention poor writing.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:05 AM on November 16, 2009


Ha ha you are shit

I don't see a lot of "ha ha you are shit" in the corrections being added.
posted by mediareport at 10:11 AM on November 16, 2009


I love you so much, Domain Name System, you unsung hero.
posted by chrismear at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2009


Where's the period when it was a series of tubes?
posted by bearwife at 10:15 AM on November 16, 2009


So the ultimate purpose of forty years old internet development was to allow us to Google Ron Paul?
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh fer chrissake, it's a picture and a mention that he raised more money in a day than any Presidential candidate ever has. It's notable and worth mentioning.

I'm pretty sure he raised that much because he decided to artificially concentrate a lot of his fundraising on specific days for the sake of media attention, and it went on to have no tangible effect on the overall presidential race. Good for Ron Paul for coming up with the stunt and breaking those records, but is this "worth mentioning" in an extremely concise 40-year history of the internet? I don't think so. Remember, Ron Paul failed abysmally in the 2008 race. The only way to think of him as not having failed is if you interpret his candidacy not as a serious bid to win the presidency but as a vanity project to promote his views. That may be a perfectly noble endeavor, but it's hardly a historic achievement. I think I remember him beating Giuliani in a primary or two, and this was considered to be an embarrassing indicator of how hopeless Giuliani's campaign had become. The candidate who got actual results from using the web to its fullest potential wasn't named Ron Paul.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:30 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was expecting a woodcut of, say, a coatimundi, or maybe a binturong.
posted by darksasami at 10:41 AM on November 16, 2009


No fishcam?

No quonsar?
posted by Danf at 10:48 AM on November 16, 2009


No Serdar Argic? Where do they think people learned how to be assholes online?
posted by el_lupino at 10:54 AM on November 16, 2009


Jaltcoh: They also forgot to mention the date of the first mindless snark.

1969 Oct 29 10:30 PM: ARPANET IS LIVE

1969 Oct 29 10:31 PM: Sure, if you call this 'live'.
posted by hangashore at 10:54 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


No Serdar Argic?

Hey, anyone want some Thanksgiving turkey?

Argic's postings soon numbered in the tens of thousands, and averaged over 100 posts per day, the highest post count of any single Usenet entity at the time. He posted to several newsgroups, especially soc.history, soc.culture.turkish, and misc.headlines....most observers concluded that it was the output of a program, or "bot", which scanned for any new appearances of the keywords "Turkey" or "Armenia" ... and replied with saved pages of political text. The bot would automatically post a reply even if the original message had simply mentioned a Thanksgiving turkey but was cross-posted to a soc.* group....
posted by zippy at 11:10 AM on November 16, 2009


1969 Oct 29 10:30 PM: ARPANET IS LIVE

1969 Oct 29 12:00 PM HOW DO I SET THE TIME ON THIS THING?
posted by zippy at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


el_lupino: No Serdar Argic? Where do they think people learned how to be assholes online?

Probably from Canter and Siegel.
posted by hangashore at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


No goatse? No rickroll? These guys seriously suck at trolling.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2009


09/01/93 NEVAR FORGET
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


They also forgot to mention the date of the first mindless snark.

I'd seriously like to know this. Who was the first guy to be a dick on the internet? And to whom? It probably took place within 24 hours of the invention of Usenet.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:18 PM on November 16, 2009


I, too, am curious about why the article mentions the loser candidate instead of the winner. It seems to be a strange way to describe historical events.
posted by _paegan_ at 5:38 PM on November 16, 2009


I so miss times new roman on a #ccc background
posted by mattoxic at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2009


Weird coincidence? I just discovered one of my house-mates left for a Ron Paul group meeting.

Also, should I be scared?
posted by _paegan_ at 6:34 PM on November 16, 2009


Where do they think people learned how to be assholes online?

alt.flame
posted by pyramid termite at 9:20 PM on November 16, 2009


Bah at that screenshot saying no-one uses IRC anymore! netsplit.de cites 800k users and that's just on those IRC networks that care enough to sign up for it.
posted by stelas at 3:48 AM on November 17, 2009


If you're going to mention a presidential candidate who first took advantage of the internet as a fundraising machine, you don't mention Ron Paul or Barack Obama. You mention Howard Dean.

HD 0WNZ0RZ j00
posted by grubi at 8:21 AM on November 17, 2009


Nutshells don't (yet?) have TCP/IP connectivity.
*cough*
posted by whir at 2:50 AM on November 18, 2009


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