delanceyplace.com 1/22/10 - lo

In today's excerpt - the first internet message sent in 1969 was 'lo.' The meaning and efficacy of messages sent via the internet has been declining ever since:

"On October 29, 1969, [the] message ['lo'] became the first ever to travel between two computers connected via the ARPANET, the computer network that would become the Internet. The truncated transmission traveled about 400 miles (643 kilometers) between the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Stanford Research Institute. The electronic dispatch was supposed to be the word 'login,' but only the first two letters were successfully sent before the system crashed. ...

"Created by the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, the original ARPANET was a network of just four computer terminals installed at universities and research institutions in California and Utah. With its truncated missive 40 years ago, today ARPANET became the world's first operational packet-switching network.

" 'Packet-switching was the original transmission mechanism [for our network] in 1969 and is still the underlying technology of the Internet today,' said Leonard Kleinrock, a UCLA computer engineer who was involved in ARPANET's creation. In a packet- switched connection, a message from one computer is broken down into chunks, or packets, of data and sent through multiple routes to another computer. Once all the packets arrive at their destination, they are pasted back together into the original message.

" 'It's as if a long letter were written on a series of small postcards, and each postcard was mailed separately,' Kleinrock said. Packet-switching replaced a less efficient and less flexible transmission technology used by early telephone companies called circuit-switching, which relied on dedicated connections between two parties. 'When you and I talk over a circuit-switched connection that connection is totally dedicated to our conversation,' Kleinrock explained. 'Even if we pause to take a coffee break, the connection is still ours and sits by idly while we are silent.'

"By contrast, data packets in a packet-switched transmission have multiple routes open to them and will hop on to the one with the least amount of traffic. In this way, no route is idle for long. In the years following, ARPANET's deployment, other packet- switching networks were created, but they were internal networks that had only limited access to one other. It wasn't until the mid-1970s that engineers developed a way to merge networks to create the Internet. In 1984 the domain system that includes .com, .gov, and .edu was established. A decade after that, the first commercial web browser, Netscape, became available."


author:

Ker Than

title:

The Internet Turns Forty: First Message Crashed System

publisher:

National Geographic News

date:

October 29, 2009

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