My first computer was a 1982 Apple IIe. It was a gift from my parents that kept my brother and I entertained through many sleepless nights playing Olymipic Decathlon and Flight Simulator. But it was a Pascal compiler that occupied most of my time and has influenced my every day, ever since. Being able to code on a home computer was a real treat as I had all of the computing power I could possibly need in a small dyed plastic beige casing on my desk.
Despite the computing power and convenience, it still felt as something was missing.
It wasn’t until four years later during the summer of 1986 that I first discovered (but didn’t invent) the Internet. I was about to start my computer science graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and it was love at first sight. While I credit AUP (and specifically Dr. David Masters) for helping me discover the art and science of computer programming, it is at UPenn that I first logged into a UNIX workstation, fingered people online, sent my first email, and transferred my first file over the Internet.
Coincidentally, the Internet start taking shape in 1986 with nearly all computer science departments and many private research sites in the U.S. connecting to CSNET. In turn, CSNET connected to other networks such as BITNET, UUCP, Usenet and NASA’s SPAN. All these networks communicated with TCP/IP and came to be collectively called the Internet, with about 5,000 hosts at the time.
Earlier this year, I decided to go on an online fishing expedition to see if I could find any evidence of my first encounter with the Internet. Today, there are approximately one billion hosts on the Internet, and traces of my first email and file transfer are nowhere to be found. However, to my great astonishment, I was able to find my first Usenet post thanks to Google, which integrated the past 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups and offers access to more than 800 million messages dating back to 1981.
So here it is, my first post dated March 28, 1987:
From: tocatlia@GRASP.CIS.UPENN.EDU.UUCP Newsgroups: mod.computers.vax Subject: (none) Message-ID: <8703281809.AA14970@grasp.cis.upenn.edu> Date: Sat, 28-Mar-87 13:09:58 EST Article-I.D.: grasp.8703281809.AA14970 Posted: Sat Mar 28 13:09:58 1987 Date-Received: Sun, 29-Mar-87 12:41:57 EST Sender: daemon@ucbvax.BERKELEY.EDU Distribution: world Organization: The ARPA Internet Lines: 17 Approved: email@example.com I would strongly appreciate if anyone could provide me with information concerning the problem of trying to: EMULATE A TOKEN RING ON AN ETHERNET LOCAL AREA NETWORK. Any information concerning papers related to this subject or actual implementations would be of great help, and can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org A summary of the responses will be posted. Thanks, Paul Tocatlian
It is worth noting that to this day my question has gone unanswered. So do not bother looking for a summary of the responses. You’re better off taking a tour of Silicon Valley, Geekman Style. Keep in mind that whatever you post on the Internet may live on for a very long time.
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