November 12, 1990
Tim Berners-Lee submits a proposal for a hypertext project he calls “WorldWideWeb”. In this proposal he lays out his vision for what will, of course, become the modern web. In about three months, he will have a web browser ready. And in only another three months, the first web server will go online, marking the launch of the world wide web.
November 9, 2004
The Mozilla Foundation releases version 1.0 of the Firefox web browser. Firefox is significant in Internet history because it represented the first serious alternative to the dominance of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in several years. By many estimations, Internet Explorer had risen to over 90% of browser marketshare since the downfall of Netscape many years earlier.
It is interesting to note, however, that it was Netscape itself that started the Mozilla project when it released the source code to their Netscape Communicator software in 1998. It was upon this codebase that the foundations of Firefox were laid. Firefox’s original name was Phoenix, seemingly in tribute to the fact that out of the ashes of the fallen Netscape came a new browser.
After only 2 years in business, Pets.com shuts down operations. Cited as one of the biggest failures of the dot-com bubble, Pets.com was able to gain significant brand recognition through its extensive marketing campaign and sock puppet mascot, but lost money due to an unsustainable business plan. Ironically, the company’s best selling product was its sock puppet. And yes, I own one.
Robert Morris of Cornell University launches a self-replicating worm as part of a research project designed to determine the size of the early Internet. It was intended to count the number of computers that initiated connections when the worm was loaded onto them. However, due to a programming error, the “Morris Worm” began repeatedly infecting machines, clogging network traffic and causing machines to crash. Eventually the worm spread to 6,000 machines, which was roughly 10 percent of the Internet at the time, causing significant downtime for government and university systems for two days. Morris was dismissed from Cornell, sentenced to three years probation and a $10,000 fine.
October 29, 1969
UCLA student Charley Kline attempts to transmit the text “login” to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute over the first link on the ARPANET, which was the precursor to the modern Internet. After the letters “l” and “o” are sent the system crashed, making the first message ever sent on the Internet “lo”. About an hour later, after recovering from the crash, the full text of “login” is successfully sent.
October 27, 1980
The ARPANET, the precursor to the modern Internet, stops functioning for about four hours after the network’s routing tables are corrupted by a malfunctioning Interface Message Processor (IMP).
Colin Needham, an English movie fan, launches the “rec.arts.movies movie database”, which would later be known as the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb. An engineer working for HP at the time, by 1996 Needham quit his job to work on IMDb full-time. The IMDb is one of the most visited sites on the Internet and was acquired by Amazon in 1998. Needham is still the General Manager of the IMDb to this day.
September 27th, 1998
For some peculiar reason, Google has at times chosen the date of September 27th as their birthday, even though it is more officially September 4th or 7th. Google has no explanation for celebrating their birthday on different days over the years other than to say:
September 19, 1982
In a posting made to a Carnegie Mellon bulletin board, Professor Scott Fahlman proposes the first known use of emoticons (also known as smilicons or smileys). While the use of emoticons became widespread during the 80’s and 90’s, their origin remained unknown until September 10, 2002, when the original message was retrieved from backup tape, which is displayed below.
19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-) From: Scott E Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c> I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use :-(
September 10, 1990
The first Internet search engine, Archie, is launched. It was used to index FTP archives to make finding files easier. However, as the technology for the World Wide Web was not invented until later in the year, it was not the first web search engine.