Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Happy 40th Birthday to the Internet?

I don't think it was a late April Fool story, but I'm sure having a hard time tracking down any back-up.

I caught the beginning of 'Q' this morning on CBC. Jian Ghomeshi was doing one of his 'serious' intros (one of the thoughtful-sounding ones with the Moby music in the background). He explained that today is the 40th birthday of the Internet, the first day a typed message was composed for what was then still a brand-new dream.

I have to take my hat off to his researchers at the CBC. All the stories I found speak only of October 29, 1969 as the day the first message ('lo') was sent. Still, I did find a lot of cool stuff about the history of the Internet.

The story I liked best of all told about Len Kleinrock, a guy who grew up loving comic books (didn't we all?) and built a crystal radio set. From a crystal radio to the Internet, a pretty impressive leap. Once upon a time, I think I had one of these. I'm pretty sure it was marketed as a 'rocket radio' -- for its shape, vaguely vibratorish. There were no batteries or dials. It just plucked radio from the air and sent it into an earpiece for personal tunes. Great for lying in bed and listening to rock and roll when I was supposed to be asleep.

And if the Internet really doesn't qualify as turning 40 today, I found a football player who does. Happy 40th, Ricky Watters!

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