January 17, 1998
Matt Drudge breaks the story of the Bill Clinton–Monica Lewinsky affair on his website The Drudge Report. This incident brought to the limelight the emerging Internet news industry. Almost overnight it seems, traditional news media, especially newspapers, begin to lose ground to Internet news sources.
The National Science Foundation opens the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois. In 1992 – 1993, Marc Andreesen would invent his Mosaic web browser while a student there, which he later transformed into Netscape. I remember opening the Mosaic program on a Mac in my dorm’s computer lab in 1993. Not knowing what it was, and because the homepage was set to the University of Illinois, I clicked around a few hyperlinks but quickly got bored. Little did I know what I had stumbled upon until several months later.
This day is the first meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force. According to the IETF’s web site, “The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet.” I’m sure this sounds boring to you, but if it wasn’t for them you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now!
Through a posting to The Cryptography Mailing List, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto releases the first version of the Bitcoin software and launches the network of the decentralized peer-to-peer cryptocurrency. Six days earlier, Nakamoto had generated the first block of 50 bitcoins, now known as the Genesis Block.
Bitcoin has slowly but steadily gained momentum as its users appreciate the fact that no one entity can control, manipulate, or deactivate the digital currency, along with it being an extremely private form of payment. Bitcoin has the potential to become “the currency of the future,” which means it could completely change the way our society functions in regards to money, government, and the economy – which basically means it could change almost everything about the way the world works. Not bad for some open source code.
January 3, 2009
The pseudonymous Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto mines the first 50 bitcoins, now known as the Genesis Block, six days before the initial release of the bitcoin software and launch of the cryptocurrency network. Bitcoin has become the de-facto digital currency, popular for its decentralized approach because no single entity can control, manipulate, or deactivate the currency and transactions can be highly private yet still remain secure.
The Internet’s Domain Name System is created. If only I had the foresight back then to start registering .com names!
NORDU.NET was the first domain created on this day, for purposes of hosting the first domain root server, nic.nordu.net. However, the first domain to actually be registered was symbolics.com a couple of months later on March 15th, 1985.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is named Person of the Year by Time Magazine.
Seven years after introducing the GIF format, during which it became a defacto standard because of its efficient compression algorithm, Compuserve reaches a licensing agreement with Unisys over the use of the patented LZW method in the GIF specification. CompuServe was not aware of the patent when it used the LZW technique in 1987 and Unisys was not aware that LZW was used in the GIF format until 1993. By the time the settlement was reached, the use of the GIF format had become widespread on the early world wide web. During the announcement of the licensing agreement with Compuserve, Unisys made it known that they expected all commercial services or software that used the GIF format or the LZW method to pay licensing fees. While the arrangement would likely not have affected anyone who used GIF graphics on their web sites, the announcement was generally met with outrage. Many people and organizations criticized Unisys for attempting to collect licensing fees on a format that was commonly considered to be freely available. The most famous condemnation was the “Burn All GIFs” campaign by the League for Programming Freedom. The uproar over the GIF licensing arrangement led to the development of the patent-free PNG format. The LZW patent expired worldwide during 2003 and 2004 so the GIF file format is now completely free to use.