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Desigining and maintaining your web site

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History of the ARPANET and Internet.
Tools & hints for webmasters

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History of ARPANET, predecessor to the Internet:

J. C. R. Licklider, a computer scientist at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), promoted what he called an "Intergalactic Computer Network" which would link different computers at various locations around the U.S. -- and eventually perhaps the world -- into a single network. He became head of the Behavioral Sciences and Command and Control programs at the U.S. Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Bob Taylor of ARPA described the existing computer systems in his office that enabled him to communicate with three ARPA-funded computers across the U.S. before a network was established. He said:

"For each of these three terminals, I had three different sets of user commands. So, if I was talking online with someone at S.D.C. [System Development Corporation], and I wanted to talk to someone I knew at Berkeley, or M.I.T., about this, I had to get up from the S.D.C. terminal, go over and log into the other terminal and get in touch with them. I said, 'Oh Man!', it's obvious what to do: If you have these three terminals, there ought to be one terminal that goes anywhere you want to go. That idea is the ARPANET." 1

It started out with a line speed of 2.4 Kbit/s and was later upgraded to 50 kbit/s. In comparision, this essay was written using a Cogeco Internet service in Canada that has plans as fast as 1 Gbps (billions of bits per second) download speed!

By 1974, ARPA had linked together computers at about 50 locations across the U.S. at University College London in the UK and NORSAR [Norwegian Seismic Array] in Norway:

2

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History of the Internet:

The world's very first web site went online during 1990-DEC-20. It was created by Tim Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBC, (1955-), a British engineer and physicist. The world's first WWW server as a NeXT computer at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.

Some quotes by Berners-Lee:

  • "The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past."

  • "You affect the world by what you browse."

  • "Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch."

By mid-1994, there were 2,738 web sites online. By mid-1995, 23,500. unique hostnames registered. This reached 1 billion unique hostnames in mid-2014. However, about 75% of them have no active web sites attached to them; they are just registered domain names, for future use or sale to others.

The Internet reached its 25'th anniversary on 2015-DEC-20.

ReligiousTolerance.org was one of the earliest websites to go online in 1995-APR. It was probably about the first 15 thousand (0.0015% compared to today's WWW) to go online. along with Altavista -- a search engine now owned by Yahoo! -- and Amazon -- which needs no introduction.

We have learned quite a few things by trial and error. The essays linked to this menu contain many hints about establishing and maintaining your own web site.

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As a webmaster, you might find the following essays helpful:

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Books about the origins of the Internet:

book cover Tim Berners-Lee, "Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web," HarperBusiness; (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

Partial review by Publishers Weekly:

"This lucid but impersonal memoir conveys some vital history and intriguing philosophy concerning the Internet, written by the man who invented such ubiquitous terms as URL, HTML and World Wide Web. British-born physicist Berners-Lee is now the director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which is based at MIT and sets software standards for the Web. In the late 1980s, he wrote the first programs that set up the Web, thus revolutionizing the Internet by allowing users to hyperlink among the world's computers. It was a quantum conceptual leap, and not everyone instantly understood it (some researchers had to be convinced that posting information was better than writing custom programs to transfer it). ..."

book cover Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet," Simon & Schuster (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

Review by Amazon.com:

"Considering that the history of the Internet is perhaps better documented internally than any other technological construct, it is remarkable how shadowy its origins have been to most people, including die-hard Net-denizens!

At last, Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators who delve into many interesting details such as the controversy surrounding the adoption of our now beloved "@" sign as the separator of usernames and machine addresses. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past -- and the future -- of the Net specifically, and telecommunications generally."

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "ARPANET," Wikipedia, as of 2017-OCT-25, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. Image by Yngvar, based on his notes and recollections from 1974, Public Domain, at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
  3. "Internet Live Stats." at: http://www.internetlivestats.com/

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Copyright © 1995 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2015-JUL-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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