First spam or bulk email
Spam also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is a subset of electronic spam involving nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. The first unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail was sent by a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative to every ARPANET address to about 600 people on the west coast of the United States. The sender Gary Thuerk, a marketer for the Digital Equipment Corporation was reprimanded for this. The term shares its name with the Spam luncheon meat, which was popularised in the British sketch comedy show, 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'.
The first email or electronic message is believed to be sent by American computer programmer Ray Tomlinson in 1971. Tomlinson was asked to change a program called SNDMSG, which sent messages to other users of a time-sharing computer, to run on TENEX, an operating system, which he helped develop. He added code he took from CPYNET, a file transfer program to SNDMSG so messages could be sent to users on other computers on the on the ARPANET network. To achieve this, he used the @ sign to separate the user from their machine, which has been used in email addresses ever since. Ray Tomlinson test e-mail has not been preserved as he didn't feel it was significant at the time.
The first web browser
English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee (the man considered as the father of the World Wide Web) released the WorldWideWeb browser on December 25, 1990. It is widely believed to be the first-ever internet web browser and editor and was later renamed Nexus so as to avoid confusion between the software and the World Wide Web. When it was written, WorldWideWeb was the only way to view the Web. Some of the source code, which was released into the public domain in 1991 still resides on Tim Berners-Lee's NeXT Computer in the CERN museum and has not been recovered due to its status as a historical artefact. To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the research centre giving the web to the world, a project has begun in 2013 at CERN to preserve this original hardware and software associated with the birth of the web.
The first website
The credit for the first website also goes to World Wide Web (WWW) founder Tim Berners-Lee. It was built at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) within the border of France, and was first put online on 6 August 1991. The first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, which centred on information regarding the WWW project. Visitors could learn more about hypertext, technical details for creating their own webpage, and even an explanation on how to search the Web for information.
The first computer virus
Generally accepted as the first computer virus, the Creepers system was an experimental self-replicating program written in 1971 by Bob Thomas at BBN Technologies. Thomas wanted to test mathematician John von Neumann's 1949 "Theory of self-reproducing automata", which was a design for a self-reproducing computer program causing many to consider him the theoretical father of computer virology. Creeper infected DEC PDP-10 computers running the TENEX operating system by gaining access via the ARPANET and copying itself to the remote system where the message, "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can!" was displayed. Bob Thomas designed Creeper to demonstrate a mobile application. The Reaper program was later created to delete Creeper.
The first online chat system
Talkomatic, created by Doug Brown and David R. Woolley in 1973 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois is said to be the first foray into the world of online web chatting. It offered several channels, each of which could accommodate up to five people, with messages appearing on all users' screens character-by-character as they were typed. The first dedicated online chat service that was widely available to the public was the CompuServe CB Simulator in 1980 created by Alexander "Sandy" Trevor.
First online chat system
Snipes, a text-mode networked computer game created in 1983 was the first of its kind to feature networked game play. Created by American firm SuperSet Software, the objective was to control your creature by moving it around a maze to destroy snipes and their hives, and/or destroy other networked players. It was played between multiple people on multiple IBM personal computer systems and was done to test and demonstrate the capabilities of the new IBM machine and the system. Though crude, Snipes was the beginning of the online gaming we experience today.
First web server
Another contribution of World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee was the world's first web server, later known as CERN httpd (an abbrevation for CERN Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon). It was housed inside an NeXT Computer workstation with Ethernet. It was part of a two-point proposal of Berners-Lee to his employer CERN in 1989, with the goal of easing the exchange of information between scientists by using a hypertext system. Between 1991 and 1994, the simplicity and effectiveness of early technologies used to surf and exchange data through the World Wide Web helped to port them to many different operating systems and spread their use among scientific organizations and universities. In 1994 Tim Berners-Lee decided to constitute the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to regulate the further development of the many technologies involved (HTTP, HTML, etc.) through a standardization process.
The first computer network to define the internet
The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet switching network and the first network to implement the protocol suite called TCP/IP because of its most important protocols, the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP). Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. It was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)) of the United States Department of Defense. Packet switching was based on concepts and designs by Americans Leonard Kleinrock and Paul Baran, British scientist Donald Davies and Lawrence Roberts of the Lincoln Laboratory. The TCP/IP communication protocols were developed for ARPANET by computer scientists Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf, and incorporated concepts by Louis Pouzin for the French CYCLADES project.
The first YouTube video
Tim-Berners-Lee, opened the World Wide Web (WWW) to the public in 1991. Since then the internet has improved by leaps and bounds with innovations time and again. We look at other such firsts in the history of the internet... (All pictures used are for representational purposes)
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