Friday, June 20, 2008

The Internet is how old?

Bill Gates recently visited South Korea, where he declared that the Internet was ten years old. Richi Jennings commented:

Tell that to the National Science Foundation, who switched on the Internet as we know it today in 1983, migrating from the old ARPANET, which had been going since 1969.

He can’t possibly mean the Web, as that’s been going for over 15 years. He can’t even mean Internet Explorer — the first version of which was released in 1994.

Bill Gates was famously slow to notice the Internet. It barely got a mention in the first edition of his book The Road Ahead, although history was extensively revised in the second edition. But surely even Gates remembers Windows 95?

1 comment:

Metro said...


I used to play a text-based "Star Trek" game on a modified IBM Selectric-with-clunky-modem that my dad used to lug home from work. It was hooked up to Arpanet or the Canuckistani equivalent.

This would have been considerably more than ten years back.

Ditto the day my friend showed me an eight-inch green-tinged screen showing a chess game in progress.

"It's called the Internet," he said, "And it's going to revolutionize the world. Right now I'm playing chess with a guy in Russia."

"Yeeeeah, okay." was my reponse. I recall being amused by his geekdom. He's now one of the heavier hitters in mathematical systems design or some similar pursuit I'd have to study ten years to be in a state of blank incomprehension about.

That was no later than 1989.