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The Internet Turns 40, For a Second Time 152

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-were-conceived-9-months-earlier dept.
sean_nestor writes with this excerpt from The Register: "Some date the dawn of the net to September 12, 1969, when a team of engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) connected the first two machines on the first node of ARPAnet, the US Department of Defense-funded network that eventually morphed into the modern interwebs. But others — including Professor Leonard Kleinrock, who led that engineering team — peg the birthday to October 29, when the first message was sent between the remote nodes. 'That's the day,' Kleinrock tells The Reg, 'the internet uttered its first words.' ...A 50kbps AT&T pipe connected the UCLA and SRI nodes, and the first message sent was the word 'log' — or at least that was the idea. UCLA would send the 'log' and SRI would respond with 'in.' But after UCLA typed the 'l' and the 'o,' the 'g' caused a memory overflow on the SRI IMP. ... 'So the first message was "Lo," as in "Lo and Behold,"' Kleinrock says. 'We couldn't have asked for a better message — and we didn't plan it.'"
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The Internet Turns 40, For a Second Time

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  • Lo, as in "Hello, here I am". I wonder if the internet is developing some kind of AI, after all it's a complex network just like the human brain is.
    • What? Did this guy escape from the Jewish Flintstones? :-)

      What happened to Bolt, Baranek and Newmann's team? What about Cerf?

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I wonder if the internet is developing some kind of AI, after all it's a complex network just like the human brain is.

      No, it's a complex network completely unlike the human brain is. The world's weather systems are complex networks of air currents, temperature and humidity differentiuals, etc. It, too, is completely unlike a human brain.

      A dog's brain is a complex network that is far more like a human brain than anything digital. But I don't see dogs plotting to take over the world, nor do I see the interne

  • Ping Time? (Score:4, Funny)

    by xmas2003 (739875) * on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:18PM (#29917523) Homepage
    So what was the ping time of the first message?

    I.e. my guess is with a memory overflow after two characters, the network stack wasn't exactly the fastest thing around.

    • Re:Ping Time? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Burdell (228580) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:39PM (#29917803)
      Well, actually it was the fastest thing around, because it was the only thing around!
      • Not the only thing. What about the 110 and 300 bit/sec modems that Bell Telephone provided for data transfers over regular phonelines? They date back to the 1950s.

        It's interesting that the first ARPAnet line was no faster than a modern dialup modem (53-56 kbit/s).

    • It wasn't caused by two characters, it was caused by the automatic command recognition on the receiving host - typing "LO" listed all the commands that started with those letters, and that caused the overflow.
    • Re:Ping Time? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kevmeister (979231) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:43PM (#29917839)
      Ping time?

      I'm sorry, but the original Arpanet did not have ICMP or pings. This was years before the invention of IP.

      I am not sure if it even used 8-bit ASCII. Many, many systems of that day were 6-bit ASCII (no lower-case letters) or EBCDIC. A "word" could have been 12, 16, 18, 24, 36, or 60 bits. (There were MANY other lengths including 1 and 29, but these were oddities.) Note that most of those were multiples of 6, so 6-bit ASCII was the more common unless it was an IBM Computer. I suspect that this initial use lacked anything that could be called a "protocol stack", but I was still in high school and thought the Arpanet was there so I could play Zork on the ITS systems at MIT, so I am far from sure.

      Now, 40 years later, I'm pretty sure I was right about the reason for the Arpanet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        >>>thought the Arpanet was there so I could play Zork

        ZORK online: Unfortunately this doesn't "fee" right; it should be light blue text on a dark blue background the way I remember. Or pale green on a dark green CRT. (shrug). http://thcnet.net/zork/ [thcnet.net]

        You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.

        > open mailbox

        Opening the mailbox reveals:
        A leaflet.

        > read leaflet

        Welcome to Zork! Zork is a game of adventure, danger, and low cu

      • thought the Arpanet was there so I could play Zork

        Ah, the Original Adventure. XYZZY. I think it took me weeks of trying to map out the damn maze of twisty little paths to get by that part. There was that and black box, and the star trek game too ("hunt the klingons" maybe was it's name? or at least that was what everyone called it). So I guess I could say I have been computer gaming for about 30 some odd years, even before home computers. At the time I didn't care why it existed, only that it let me play games. But it was all over when I got my first 300

      • I am not sure if it even used 8-bit ASCII

        Probably not, given that there is no such thing. There is also no such thing as 6-bit ASCII. ASCII is a 7-bit encoding. There were a few 6-bit encodings. The IBM 1620, for example, used 6-bit bytes (and variable length words) as did a number of IBMs other machines. Later, when 8-bit bytes were common, people used the missing bit to add another 128 characters for things that the Americans didn't think were important.

        Also, I'd be quite surprised if you were playing Zork on an ITS. It's more likely tha

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "...the network stack wasn't exactly the fastest thing around."

      you want to think that through again?

  • Oh great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:18PM (#29917541)

    Great, I can just imagine all the corny jokes Slashdotters are goin[NO CARRIER]

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:38PM (#29917781)

      Great, I can just imagine all the corny jokes Slashdotters are goin[NO CARRIER]

      lo[NO CARRIER]

      Ha! Now you'll never know if I was laughing out loud or just correcting you!

      • Re:Oh great... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @07:23PM (#29918227) Journal

        ATDT5601750

        (dialtone)..... dee-doo-bee-boop-da-ba-dee-bee.... skeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee skrooooooo....

        CONNECT 1200
        .
        .
        .
        Welcome to Slash Dot BBS!
        login: commodor
        pass: $$$$

        command (H for help): E

        Welcome to Email. Command (H for help): N

        TO: Mobile
        SUBJ: Huh?
        BODY: Hello. Your last message did not come through. All I received was "lo". Was that LOL? Or "lo here come the sheep"? hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. L8r. /end

        command (H for help): S

        Message sent. Command (H for help): +++

        ATH
        .
        .
        .
        *#$!@^(!%!$(&

        NO CARRIER

        • Oh man I miss... uhh imagined the modem noise in my head. I seriously wish modems sounded like scatman john larkin [youtube.com].
          • Oh man I miss... uhh imagined the modem noise in my head. I seriously wish modems sounded like scatman john larkin [youtube.com].

            The scatman's ok--but in my book nothing beats the sound of an old USR Sportster connecting at 56k [darkpixel.com]....err..52k...or whatever the heck the feds limited it to.

            I'll send a bottle of Guiness to the first person to figure out the phone number my modem dialed...

            • I was like, this is -really- getting fast now!

            • 867-5309?
            • by TheLink (130905)
              4271200 :)
              • 4271200 :)

                Nice...where do I send the Guiness?

                But the question remains, were you elite enough to simply listen to the tones, or did you hold it up to a VoIP phone and look at the Asterisk console output?

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by TheLink (130905)

                  > Nice...where do I send the Guiness?

                  It'll probably get stolen on its way to Malaysia... ;)

                  > But the question remains, were you elite enough to simply listen to the tones, or did you hold it up to a VoIP phone and look at the Asterisk console output?

                  Neither :).

                  I uploaded the relevant bit to: http://www.dialabc.com/sound/detect/ [dialabc.com]

                  There's also this: http://www.zeebar.com/tkddt/ [zeebar.com] (but didn't work so well on the sample).

                  I could probably learn it, but I'm just too lazy to sit down and practice deciphering DTM

            • Back in the early 90s, we used to run an update process at night to send data from our site to various customer sites. It used modems to dial up and send the stuff.

              At some point, we switched from the cheap 2400 baud modems we had been using, to Telebit Trailblazers. The tones were very different. I came in the next day and found a note from the night manager, who talked about how she liked the new way the "modems sing to one another" :-).
               

  • So from the start, the internet caused computers to crash... seems like a bad omen to me...
  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:19PM (#29917547) Homepage
    ...that the very first even to occur on the Internet was a **buffer overflow**? Talk about a zero-day exploit.
    • ...that the very first even to occur on the Internet was a **buffer overflow**? Talk about a zero-day exploit.

      This sounds more like a memory leak than a buffer overflow.

  • The first 3 bytes transmitted over what was to become the intarwebs were "log", and already it was porn - scatophilia in that case. Was that a sign or what...

    • by caluml (551744)
      Isn't it coprophilia? I am, however, DNAEITF. (definitely not an expert in this field).
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:25PM (#29917649) Homepage Journal
    Where you draw the line when really started the internet as we know it? Probably in the next days or years several dates will be claimed as the 40th anniversary of a basic and fundamental moment that we could say as the birth of internet, 1st ping, 1st mail, 1st web, 1st spam, 1st botnet, etc there are a lot of things on which we can draw a line and say that what was before wasnt properly "internet"
    • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:39PM (#29917801) Journal
      Well, I don't get to change my age based on when I uttered my first words, why should the internet?
      • by gmuslera (3436)
        We have traditional definition on humans age, the line is drawn when you leave the body of your mother, not when you got conceived, or been 3 months since that, when you spoke your 1st word or did your 1st abstract thinking, but that don't exclude that could be valid criteria to consider all those other times your "starting" moment.
        • "or did your 1st abstract thinking,"

          Wouldn't THAT be a mess! We still have neanderthals who live to 80, and never think of ANYTHING except food, sex, booze and sleep. It's a step up for some of them to think about mind altering drugs - the first taste of abstract that they ever experience!!

        • I kid, I kid. Actually, I love this article. My own recent 40th birthday is close to the middle of those two "internet birthdays". Like it's my brotha from anotha mutha.
      • by octal666 (668007)

        Maybe because you aren't a network of computers. Internet is nothing more than computers connected sending messages.

    • Funny.

      I thought the internet was not born until January 1, 1981 - the day when the ARPAnet was replaced with today's modern IP addressing. That would make the internet only 18 years old.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kagaku (774787)

        Only 18 years old? It must be 1999! Forget about buffer overflows, the world is going to end in two months!!

        • Damn 8-bit machine! (slaps C=64). Can't you even count higher than 18? That's it. I'm upgrading to an Apple IIgs. It's 16 bit - that means it has twice as much power.

          • by cecille (583022)
            I think the guy at the store tricked you...'round here 8 bits can count way past 18 - get up to 255 unsigned. Looks like you have about a 4 1/2 bit machine. I'd take it back, and never shop at best buy again.
    • I say the Internet isn't really born until it has self-awareness, sentience, has tricked us into believing a false reality, and is breeding us as an energy source.

      Or, has it already happened... which pill was I supposed to take again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:27PM (#29917675)

    My god, that's more apropos than they could possibly have realized. Things haven't changed since then either.

  • 7 Weeks Gestation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:28PM (#29917677) Homepage Journal

    Some date the dawn of the net to September 12, 1969, when a team of engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) connected the first two machines on the first node of ARPAnet... others peg the birthday to October 29, when the first message was sent between the remote nodes.

    That's not such a difficult metaphor to construct. The net was *conceived* when the two nodes came together, just as you and I were *conceived* when two nodes, um, er, yeah. And just like then, nobody knew what the result of coupling of the first Internet nodes would be, if anything.

    It was *born* when someone slapped it on the bottom and it did something seen by the people gathered around. You probably went "WAAAA!". The Internet went "LO". Of course "G" caused a fault, because the next letter was supposed to be "L".

    So I think it would be fair to say that the world would want to celebrate the "birthday" of the Internet today, October 29, just as the world (or your corner of it) celebrate your birthday on the day you made your emergence into the world.

    Celebrating the day the Internet was *conceived*... well, that seems a bit weird.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bondiblueos9 (1599575)
      A child isn't born when it first makes noise or speaks, its born when it comes out! You could say the internet first learned to talk on Oct 29, was born on Sep 12, and was conceived, well, whenever they first thought of making it.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        In Thailand, you're considered to be a year old when you're born. But then again, the internet wasn't invented in Thailand (however, the bong was).

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Of course "G" caused a fault, because the next letter was supposed to be "L".

      Either that or the first two letters were supposed to be "OM".

      • Either that or the first two letters were supposed to be "OM".

        Or the last two letters...

        (favorite in game advertising was that pirate with the huge pin that said Ask me about Loom...)

    • by shaitand (626655)

      "Celebrating the day the Internet was *conceived*... well, that seems a bit weird."

      Not if you are looking at it from dad's perspective. From the dad's perspective it is all down hill from the moment of conception.

  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:29PM (#29917685)

    ha

  • A 50kbps AT&T pipe

    Haha, had to laugh at that phrasing. Although I was around for the era where 50kbps would have qualified as a pipe, by today's standards it is more of a drinking straw... and a really thin one at that!

    • by mikael (484)

      Back in the mid 1990's, the USENET feed for some universities (and the companies who were downstream from them) was still provided by ISDN, which would often fail. Consequently, it was referred to as a "two plastic cups tied together by a wet piece of string".

    • by Kenshin (43036)

      Drinking straw? Nah, more like one of those plastic coffee stirring things.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's more like a series of tubes.

  • What, nothing about penis size or how to make money at home? Things really were different back then.

  • Midlife crisis (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Dice (109560)

    I wonder what sort of sporty two seater the Internet is going to buy for itself. A Miata? Z3? Or is the Internet going to go whole-hog and get a Ferrari?

  • But after UCLA typed the 'l' and the 'o,' the 'g' caused a memory overflow on the SRI IMP. ... 'So the first message was "Lo," as in "Lo and Behold,

    At the time they couldn't fathom anyone needing more than 2 bytes of memory.
  • second message (Score:1, Redundant)

    by cheebie (459397)

    And the second message was "Buy cheep c1al!5 now!".

    • In the beginning, I wonder if they ever thought that 90% of the bandwidth would be consumed by fake viagra ads and Nigerian scams?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It was 1969.

      "Buy healthy c1gerett5!"
        Followed buy how pirates were causing a decrease in Beatles record sales.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Er, there was no such thing as c1al!5. They hadn't even invented V1a6ra!

      I know, you woosh I wouldn't have pointed that out.

  • Someone get Al Gore on the phone, please. He can clear this all up and tell us the very SECOND the intertubes was born.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      he can tell you when the internet was created, since he signed it into being.
      He never said he built the Arpanet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        As a congressman, his ultimate act was to vote "yes" on the appropriations bill which resulted in it eventually being signed into being.

        I suppose you could say he "push-button'd" it into being. If they were using push-button vote tallying at the time...

    • by thethibs (882667)
      Probably a very long time before anyone who uses "intertubes" was born.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      He wasn't even born yet! The inner tube was patented in 1846 [wikipedia.org] (well, pneumatic tires were, and the inner tube was an integral part of a tire back then) and produced commercially in 1888. But what does it have to do with Al Gore or the information highway?

  • First Packet? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @06:51PM (#29917929) Homepage
    When was the first IP packet sent? Shouldn't that be the birthday of the Internet?
    • Eventually IPv4 will go away just as but I won't consider that the death of the Internet. Plus, the IMPs were the implementation of RFC 1.

      September 12 was the day the Internet was hatched. October 29 was the day it took flight.

  • But after UCLA typed the 'l' and the 'o,' the 'g' caused a memory overflow on the SRI IMP

    ok, here goes:

    1. Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.
    2. Does it run Windows 7?
    3. Does it run Linux?
    4. ???
    5. Profit

    • by shaitand (626655)

      You listed windows 7 before linux you sick fsck. Get the fsck back in your hole and don't come back.

      We don't tolerate your ki...

      lo, I for one welcome ou...

  • 1>First
    2>First1
    2> damn
    1> N00b

  • We couldn't have asked for a better message and we didn't plan it

    That's funny, since one of the guys who was working on it was just on NPR talking about how all these other historical firsts had meaningful or interesting messages, while this one was boring.

    • by cheros (223479)

      Well, given the amount of crap that lands in my spam filter, little improvement has been made It's only delivered faster. /sarcasm

      I do like the idea of starting a revolution with "ah.. bummer, that didn't quite work" - it fits right in with my personal theory of evolution (it was an unfortunate accident).. :-)

  • So it's 80 years old now?

  • Conception AND Birth

  • Isn't 50kbps really, really fast for 1969? I was expecting something more like 1200 baud at most. I remember how big a deal it was in the late 1980s that my 2400 baud modem supported MNP level 5 (compression and error correction), and then lusting after the 14.4 modems in 1990. I remember an engineer at Loral (defense aerospace contractor) in Akron in 1989 telling me that 56k modems were impossible, and that they couldn't even reliably sustain 56k on the LAN across campus. So I was rather surprised to se

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      In (iirc) 1983 I was on Compuserve with a 300 (count 'em three hundred!) baud modem. I didn't get 56k until the late nineties.

  • But after UCLA typed the 'l' and the 'o,' the 'g' caused a memory overflow on the SRI IMP.

    So the Internets wasn't even 3 characters old and it was already being hacked and DOS'd. So, so lame.

  • And thus it was said "Lo -- It is a feature, not a bug," and all were pleased.

  • commenced, when the ARPAnet was born, and someone immediately started a query for music by Kenny Loggins

  • by spitzak (4019)

    Since the next message was them trying a second time, the first three letters sent were "LOL"

  • I would train at the JKA Dojo in Santa Monica [jkasm.com] maybe 20 years ago. Leonard was one of the students. I recall when he was promoted from brown belt to black belt. Shotokan Karate is a very intense discipline.

    Nothing like having the crap beat out of me by one of the founders of the Internet...

  • Of course, in this historic event, after the buffer overflow at the SRI end, another Internet first occurred: the Sys Admin's pager went off at 3 AM, awakening him with a demand he rush over and fix things. This was the beginning of a glorious future for Sys Admins everywhere.

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