Historic first electronic messages sent on 29 October 1969

Before the Internet was created, there was the ARPANET (you can be glad they did not stick with that). Its innovation was to use a different way to connect machines. The telephone network involved connecting one machine via a continuous circuit to another which limited the number of machines that could be connected and quickly filled all the available connections.

This new system used a system of sending "packets" of information which would allow multiple messages to be sent via multiple routes. It is the basis on which the current internet works with billions of packets of information flying around the globe and in space via satellites.

Back to that night in 1969 when young programmer Charlie Kline was preparing to access the computer at Stanford University from his computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). To access the other machine he needed to enter "login" and so it became the first electronic message or would have been if the system did not crash after sending the letters "l" and "o".

Undeterred, they restarted the machines and tried again, this time the full message was sent and he was able to get access.

That technology allowed the development of TCP/IP and HTML which gave rise to the World Wide Web in 1991 (that 1st webpage is still online) which many view as the Internet we know today. From those two connected machines 45 years ago, the estimates now range from 8 to 10 billion machines are connected which allow access to upwards of 644 million websites and are responsible for handling about 100 billion emails every day.

The number of machines making up the Internet (Credit and full animated image)

Incidentally, it is also the National Day for Cats in the USA which, given the number of cat images on the internet (3.8 million per day in the UK alone) might be the perfect day to celebrate it.

Google Search volumes since 2004 for the word "Cat"

You probably won't be surprised then that YouTube says it has 27 million results for cat videos with some like the one below having over 70 million views.


This article first appeared on 702 : Historic first electronic messages sent on 29 October 1969


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