October 29 is International Internet Day. For better or worse, the creation of the Internet has changed everything. It created new ways to communicate, provided an open platform for free speech and the free exchange of ideas. It created a new and level playing field where tiny Davids could successfully complete with old Goliaths, not just in commerce, but in every field of endeavor.
How did the Internet begin? As told on the Internet Day website:
“Let’s go back to where it all started. The Internet, defined as a remote connection between two computers, was first achieved on October 29, 1969 (just a few months after Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon). In the glow of a green monochrome screen deep in the bowels of the computer science department at UCLA, a young graduate student picked up his phone and called the computer lab at Stanford. He is preparing to send the first message over an Internet connection. The men on either end of the phone are Charley Kline and Bill Duvall.
While not as famous as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren, Leonard Kleinrock, Charley Kline and Bill Duvall were the key players in the first Internet connection. Working on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), a network funded by the US Defense Department that connected four independent terminals installed at ULCA, Stanford, the University of California-Santa Barbara and the University of Utah, Charley Kline attempted to send login information from UCLA to Bill Duvall at Stanford.
It almost worked, too. Kleinrock attempted to send the word “login”, and he managed to send “L” and “O” before the connection between the terminals crashed.
“So I’m on the phone to SRI and I type the L and say, “OK I typed in L, you got that?” Bill Duvall, the guy at SRI, is watching his monitor and he has the L. I type the O. Got the O. Typed the G. “Wait a minute”, Bill says, “my system crashed. I’ll call you back”.
– Charley Kline,
interview with AOL Mail Bag
Still, the characters “L” and “O” were the first bits of data ever sent over the first long distance computer network. Under the supervision of UCLA computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock, Kline was able to send the complete “Login” message about an hour later.”