Depending on how you count, Internet has been around operationally since at least January 1983 and for Bob Kahn since early 1973 and for me a bit later when he asked me to help figure out what open networking might look like.
September is a significant month for the Internet. The first paper on the idea was presented in September 1973 at the University of Sussex and a more refined version published in May 1974. Thanks to the invention of the WWW, the net has become a major nexus for about 20% of the world’s population.
Susan Crawford asked for anecdotes. Here’s mine.
Last year, my wife and I went on a brief vacation that included houseboating on Lake Powell near Page, Arizona. As we approached Page, we and our friends began to discuss what meals we should plan while on the lake. Since there are no grocery stores on the lake, we needed to purchase all the food we would need before departing from the marina. Someone asked if we could make paella. I love paella but I thought “Gee, that needs saffron. Where are we going to find saffron in Page, Arizona?” So I hauled out my trusty BlackBerry and found I had a good GPRS signal so went to the Google home page and typed in “saffron, page arizona, grocery store.”
Several choices came up so I picked one and called the telephone number. A voice answered and I asked “May I speak to the spice department please?” This was probably the owner on the line, “This is the spice department,” he said. ”Do you have any saffron?” I asked. “I dunno but I’ll check” he replied and soon came back to confirm that he had the spice on the shelf. We followed the map on the web page to the store and I dashed in to purchase $12.99 worth of saffron (.06 ounces).
What struck me later was that this was a perfect example of the value of geographically indexed information. In real time, my browser on my mobile was my window into knowledge about the local area. I got information when I needed it about what I needed. It reinforced my appreciation for being able to get useful information as required. Someone had taken the trouble to share this information and I took advantage of it. So it goes as the world shares its knowledge and the search companies help us all to find it.
Vint Cerf is known as the Father of the Internet and I wrote to him to write a story for One Web Day, a story to be featured on Sep 22, on the day of One Web Day. He quietly sent his entry which went in as a comment in another story!! That is a story within a story on what interesting things happen on the Web… Thank you, Dr Cerf