My local newspaper regularly runs an article on the history of the Internet. The most recent article places the origin with some engineers who used a radio signal in 1976 to send text to a terminal that was on ARPAnet and ended up in a Boston computer.
What? That is ridiculous. Not even an engineering feat of interest.
I’ve been with the computer since 1962 and have been a user of every element of it from that date. I’ve seen many of the visionaries projections such as the Dynabook at Xerox Parc in 1972 that foretold a small briefcase sized device that could connect to a computer and have access to an entire Encyclopedia.
When I started the marketing research department at the Bank of America in 1962 I used the IBM 7090 to analyze survey data from punch cards and BankAmericard applications from which I developed the modern credit rating system. I loved the IBM 360 when it came along and used it in 1972 to invert a large matrix for multidimensional analysis.
By then I was using the 360 at Stanford called SPIRES which was connected via ARPAnet to half a dozen other university computers including New Jersey Institute of Technology where I had an account. I used line editors on the terminals from then until about 1980 when a simple screen editor became available and was made useful.
In 1973 I put my first book, which was typeset from punch cards online at SPIRES and invited comments. I got none. My second book was written on a portable computer, with small floppy disks. We lost many pages before they were saved. The technology was not too great.
In 1976 I took my Texas Instruments portable teletype with phone modem to Japan. I was able to communicate with my office via the NJIT account and a dumb terminal in the San Francisco office with telephone dial-up modem. I didn’t do anything of importance with the system that I couldn’t do better by phone call.
The simple screen editor that I started using in 1980 was developed by my fascinating friend John (Capt’n Crunch) Draper and modified by another good friend and client Andrew Fluegelman. It was EasyWriter that became the industry standard under another name.
When Stewart Brand opened one of the first two IPs at the Well, in 1985, I signed on with my early name email@example.com. I still have that account.
In 1987 I tried to create a network of interested thinkers and writers in my circle of friends. I even offered to post their writings to my network. I got no support because less than half a dozen had terminals and network access.
I started using the Mosaic browser in late 1993 when it was made available.
I created my own blog on the Well in 1999 using a spreadsheet for format. I moved to Typepad in 2003.
I’d say I have a gut feel for the history of the Internet. I was there most of the time.