19 posts tagged with internethistory.
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Let's play Global Thermonuclear War: lasting impacts of WarGames

If, after the media dubbed Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (YT video, Wikipedia) as "Star Wars" (transcript) in 1983, you might quesiton his concerns triggered from another movie mere months later. But after watching WarGames, he was informed that "the problem is much worse than you think." WarGames was that accurate thanks in part to input in the script from an engineer named Willis Ware, who had concerns about network security (PDF) for decades before the movie. Reagan's fears lead to the first cybersecurity directive from any U.S. President and the first concerns about the NSA's potential role in "data base oversight" (Google books preview), as well as an attempt to regulate teenagers and teenaged technology (Gbp) that impacts US internet use to this day. And then there was the USSR computer program that nearly triggered WWIII. What a year. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 13, 2016 - 20 comments

We haven't won this one yet, aliens could still invade and endorse Dole.

Two decades ago, the world wide web was relatively young and quiet. Now it's not a bad idea to buy up domains to prevent others from mis-using them, but back then that sort of online prank was unknown. Brooks Talley and Mark Pace were among the first to register such joke domains, setting up buchanan96.org (now cyber-squatted and blocked from displaying by robots.txt) clinton96.org and dole96.org, not to be confused with dolekemp96.org (previously). 4president.us has more screenshots of the official '96 pages, if you want to peak back at how presidential candidates presented themselves online twenty years ago.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 2, 2016 - 14 comments

An internet of firsts, some of them still online

The Webpage FX blog compiled a list of 13 internet "firsts," from the first email sent (1971) and the first spam, sent out to 400 people (1978), to the first photo posted online (1992) and much later, the first Instagram photo, (2010).
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 28, 2014 - 20 comments

An illustrated guide to the worst computer viruses in history

Computer Virus Catalog (NSFW) shows artists' renditions of famous computer viruses.
posted by codacorolla on Jul 22, 2014 - 8 comments

Blogging through Hypercard

"Today I would probably describe Archipelago as a group blog. It was a computer-based system that allowed about a dozen members to regularly post short essays and whimsical observations. Each member had his or her own icon which appeared next to timestamped postings which contained pictures, sounds, and hyperlinks. All pretty standard except for one thing: the year was 1988." The archives of Archipelago show a glimmer of what the social web was to become over the next two decades. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Sep 16, 2013 - 13 comments

Word Magazine, Back from the Dead

"Sadly, because much of Word was built with old timey web applications that no longer exist, the content here only covers the years 1995-1998. The archive from 1998-2000 is in pretty bad shape, with various broken links and missing images and sounds. Happily, we’re in the process of slowly restoring it." [more inside]
posted by jcterminal on Sep 11, 2013 - 27 comments

The Far Side of the World Wide Web

Is Doctor Fun the oldest comic on the Internet?
No. That would be "Where the Buffalo Roam" by Hans Bjordahl. "Where the Buffalo Roam" started in 1991, and had its own Usenet group long before Doctor Fun came along, and is still running on the web.

Was Doctor Fun the first cartoon on the World Wide Web?
There you go! You've got it - Doctor Fun was the first cartoon on the World Wide Web.

posted by not_on_display on Jun 23, 2013 - 31 comments

Star Wars Kid breaks 10-year silence

The '00s were a the decade for people to laugh at overweight teenage boys. We all remember Numa Numa kid and Star Wars Kid. Well guess what - Star Wars Kid is now Star Wars Man, and he's speaking out. [more inside]
posted by amitai on May 9, 2013 - 95 comments

Oh my god! There's an axe in my head!

Back in the far distant past of the internet (round about 1993, it seems), back when Usenet was actually a bunch of popular discussion groups, the newsgroup alt.gothic had a simple post made by one Yohaun, a short list of translations of the phrase "Oh my god! There's an axe in my head!". Responses contributed translations in more languages. Now, nearly 20 years later, this list continues to exist and grow. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jul 17, 2012 - 54 comments


For sale: one online community, vintage. The Well, one of the oldest online communities, is up for sale again, according to a filing by it's current owner, the much beleagured Salon. A retrospective of the site from a user also says that some users are currently in discussion to buy it back. [more inside]
posted by zabuni on Jul 6, 2012 - 46 comments

The Rise and Fall of the first dot.com.

An entertaining history of ClariNet, which its founder Brad Templeton describes as the first dot.com. Lots of good reading linked on that first page.
posted by Joe in Australia on Jun 9, 2009 - 2 comments


Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing (Google video) A fascinating 30 minute documentary about ARPAnet - the precursor to today's Internet. (Can you spot the real ubernerd mover and shaker at BBN? Hint: He wears no tie!) (via: all over the place)
posted by loquacious on Mar 19, 2006 - 30 comments

Jennicam shuts down for good

It's the end of an era. On Dec. 31, the Jennicam shuts down for good.
posted by PrinceValium on Dec 7, 2003 - 45 comments

First mention of AIDS on Usenet

The first mention of AIDS on Usenet was in the net.singles group back on December 20, 1982. In it, seven people grasp for information about the disease -- how it's transmitted, how long it takes to start to show symptoms, and what those symptoms could be. It's a window both into the early days of AIDS knowledge and the early days of the Internet, and a fine example of people using 'net-based community groups to acquire information and ask questions.
posted by delfuego on Dec 1, 2002 - 6 comments

17th Floor:

17th Floor: Does anyone remember when Patrick shut down his picture archive? Does anyone remember the picture archive? Oh, the topless porn. ....but Iuma is still around from that era. Lets reminisce.
posted by tomplus2 on Dec 15, 2001 - 7 comments

Cringely's insight deepens

Cringely's insight deepens with this new article on Excite@Home's troubles. Is broadband here to stay? If so, is it going to go anywhere? Three years from now, what will the options be and what kind of performance can be expected?
posted by bloggboy on Aug 31, 2001 - 6 comments

The Opera Browser

The Opera Browser is now ad-supported freeware. What does this mean for Internet Explorer and Netscape?
posted by milnak on Dec 10, 2000 - 23 comments

Blast from the past

Blast from the past
Oh, those halcyon days of text-based real-time chat, before there was a Web. (I'm catching up on my link quotient....)
posted by rschram on Dec 10, 2000 - 11 comments

Yes, Virginia, there was life before the Internet...

Yes, Virginia, there was life before the Internet...
...but nobody's bothered to archive it yet. Thanks to those wacky .edu's, there's a fair amount of historical data out there, but if you're hoping the newspapers who charge for archive "reprints" will have material from the '40s, the '60s or even the '80s, you're still better off going to the library and flipping through microfiche (bet that's the first time THAT word's been used on MetaFilter). I hesitated blogging this story here until I saw how the Internet History Timeline caught some people by surprise... Yes, even we MetaFilterers are sitting on the shoulders of Giants (and a few of us are old enough to remember "They Might Be Giants" as a movie starring George C. Scott).
posted by wendell on Jul 24, 2000 - 8 comments

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