A Celebration of History is in Order

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    Bill Howard
    Manager of IT Services

    Tuesday, March 12, 2019 marked the 30th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web. That’s right, the WWW has turned 30 this week and a celebration is in order. CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) celebrated with the creator, Tim Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee, previously an employee at CERN, is credited with sharing his vision with his colleagues – a single piece of paper with a flow chart on it. It took another two years for that memo to be brought to their attention again, and his vision became what we know today as an internet web browser.

    Wait a minute you may say…the internet has existed for more than 30 years. Not to cause any confusion, the invention of the internet is credited to Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or otherwise known as ARPANET. The funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, and the project was started sometime in the 1960’s. They created what we know today as TCP/IP – the pipeline or plumbing that the internet rides on.

    While this week marks 30 years since the invention, it was not until 1991 that Berners-Lee had a viable web server and web browser that he could share with his colleagues. It would be 1993 before the general-public would start seeing what all the excitement was about. This was the first time most of us got our eyes on Berners-Lee’s creation, the first web browser simply known as “WorldWideWeb”. The name was later changed to Nexus, and since then “WorldWideWeb” has become synonymous with “the internet”. Many new browsers have come and gone. The most popular browsers in use today are Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. These are the tools that we commonly use to follow the first motto of WorldWideWeb, “Let’s share what we know”. That was Berners-Lee’s intention for this great creation. What started as a single server and browser, has grown to over two billion servers to which half of the world has access.

    Since we are talking about age and internet, here are a few interesting dates: Google has been around since 1998, and some of you may remember Ask Jeeves since 1996. They are still around and can be found at Ask.com. Facebook was launched in February 2004, halting the tracks of Myspace which started in 2003. Myspace is still around today, and you can even join using your Facebook account. Netflix started in 1997 as an online DVD rental service and has since caused Blockbuster video to close all but one store. Blockbuster had started in 1985 as a single store and grew to 1000 stores nationwide by 1994. AOL has been around since 1985, competing with Prodigy who started in 1984. CompuServe started in 1969 and was one of the first places I personally dialed a BBS and started chatting with who-knows- who around 1986. We were able to send email in 1971, but it was 1987 before we were sending high resolution graphics images in the form of .gif.

    CERN celebrated Tuesday by getting a little nostalgic themselves. They fired up that first browser and tested connecting to several of today’s web servers. They found that the core functions from 30 years ago still work today. Launch your favorite web browsers to visit your favorite WWW, and please visit our new website, www.mybuckingham.com. I am sure it is going to make everyone’s favorites list.