The internet before the Web, hyperlinks, search engine or email

by shiva

What is more important than when the Internet came into existence is when someone started using it enough to use it effectively.

I would like to talk about perceptions … to me, the Internet is a changing & evolving reality within a much larger computing reality which is also evolving, in which a great part of that evolution is more in our minds & skills than the timing of change in the computing universe. For example, learning how to use advanced search, learning how to use different kinds of search engines for different types of searches.

The demarcation between computing other than Internet, and specifically Internet, is very blurred. While I first got into this universe of computing and internet in the 1960’s, at a time when it had not developed to the sophisticated reality of today, and the hardware for connecting was frightfully expensive compared to today, so that gave me a bad taste in my mouth regarding its capabilities, potential popularity etc. and I did not try it again until 20 30 years later.

I know that elements of it existed long before anyone now alive was born.

Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace

Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace

The first programmer was a woman over 100 years ago, who figured out how to do a loop with punched cards.

The term “computer bug” started out as a real insect messing up electrical wiring of boards used in tabulating equipment & other fore-runners to electronic computing.

George Boole, the inventor of the Boolean Algebra

George Boole, the inventor of the Boolean Algebra

Lots of things are named after people, where we take for granted today what they contributed. BOOLEAN ALGEBRA … Once upon a time there was a guy by name of BOOLE. Today we take for granted formulas inside parentheses, math symbols GE LE NE, lists, string searches, finging similarities in text, spell checking, grammar checking. All that stuff rests on the contributions by MR BOOLE. Someone else might have, could have, invented it if MR BOOLE was not around to do it first.

I use HYPERLINKS every day (those urls with blue underline that you click on to take you some place else in Internet, or in some help text data base) … I remember when they were invented, long after the Internet had been around for a long time. This is an illustration of how computing and the internet is not s fixed reality that got invented, but it really is a growing evolving getting better concept.

The NeXTcube used by Tim Berners-Lee, the first web server

The NeXTcube used by Tim Berners-Lee, the first web server

The world wide web (urls with www) was invented maybe 10 years ago. Today people equate that with the Internet, but the Internet existed long before www was part of it.

So depending on where the Internet was in its development when a person first learned how to use it, they might not have had www or hyperlinks or search engines or spell checkers or e-mail, but it was still called the Internet.

This is stuff I did not know when I first got into using computing and internet.

I just learned to use what was available to me.

Story by Al Macintyre Computer Professional in IBM Midrange from Evansville, Indiana Area

One Response to “The internet before the Web, hyperlinks, search engine or email”

  1. Vannevar Bush’s article from “The Atlantic Monthly” from 1945 presages the hyperlinked web:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/194507/bush

    Also, note that according to Bill Gates, the Internet is only ten years old:
    http://clearnightsky.com/node/427

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