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How it (the 'Net) All Got Started
Or, "Can you see that letter I typed ???"
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A guy name Ted Nelson had a dream. He called it "Xanadu". He envisioned that some day in the distant future, in a galaxy far, far away, there would be a world wide (galaxy wide ?) grid connecting all the computers of the world together, and all of them would be able to talk to each other and exchange data using a common language and common protocol.

Ted had this dream in 1974, about a year before the rest of us read about a "new" microcomputer in Les Solomon's 1975 January edition of the "Popular Electronics" magazine (I still have my copy ... somewhere). Ted felt so strongly about "his dream" that he wrote and illustrated a classic "big book" called the "Dream Machines". Turn it upside down and around and it contains the second classic he wrote called "Computer Lib" or 'Power to the people'! I still have that publication in my library. In fact it sits on a bookshelf directly to the left of "old 97" - my ITL3 server re-built).

To me, the books are priceless!

What Ted dreamed about (and still dreams about today because he feels the commercialism of this "grid" is a corruption of his ideas)  began (somewhat) with the following piece excerpted from the "Internet Valley" web, and dated to have taken place in 1969. THE ARPANET !! What Ted's dream ended with (but he continues to have new dreams), is what we have today, a technology so advanced, and advancing so fast, that no one literally knows how it's infrastructure really works - but NO ONE!

It's called The Internet! You know, that "thingee" you are using right now.

Thanks to people like Ted Nelson, Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Andreeson, and hundreds, if not thousands of such people ... all dreamers, we now can play and work in a virtual world where just about all of the mankind's knowledge is at our fingertips.

Our little ALP web site in contrast to the big picture, couldn't be found in the microcosms of space existing between electrons and the nucleus of their respective atom, with the most powerful microscope known to man, compared to the 'Net and all it's related services, content   and technologies. !!! Couple that with the technologies of micro-hardware and real-time dataprocessing and transactions, and you have something larger than a virtual universe.

Be thankful for those folks! As communicators, we Autodiners can only begin to appreciate what they have handed us. One of the biggest, 'bestest' (sic) tools (and toys) that has ever come down the technology "pike". No one using and trying to understand the inter-workings of The Internet should ever have to look elsewhere for the ultimate work space or playground. I know I have found it, my small niche in a tiny corner of that vast virtual universe.

Back to My dream world ...

So here is how it REALLY started in 1969 - even though some say it started as far back as 1957 when the Soviet Union launched their Sputnik "tin can" into orbit. President Eisenhower decided it was time to get the ball rolling on a super project agency which turned into a super communications system project that continues unto this day.

I was working at my job as an X-Ray Analyst, analayizing motor block castings for miliitary transport trucks when the Sputnik announcement came in October of 1957 ...  where were you??

I had already given two weeks notice to my company (Aluminum Industries)at the time. I had completed an  interview with Western Union (thanks to Bruce Suttle) and had taken the entry test for a technician's job at Western Union, in Cincinnati. Ohio. I had passed the test. Western Union hired me to start work in the Cincinnati reperator swirching center on October 7, 1957 ...

Later in years, I was working at Western Union's New York headquarters when the singular event described below took place ... where were you ??

Don Holtzclaw - webmaster ALP
BTW - I didn't know the event below had taken place in 1969 until 1995!

1969: The first LOGs: UCLA -- Stanford
According to
Vinton Cerf:
...the UCLA people proposed to DARPA to organize and run a Network Measurement Center for the ARPANET project...

Around Labor Day in 1969, BBN* delivered an Interface Message Processor (IMP) to UCLA that was based on a Honeywell DDP 516, and when they turned it on, it just started running. It was hooked by 50 Kbps circuits to two other sites (SRI and UCSB) in the four-node network: UCLA, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

fournode-2.gif (17482 bytes)

The plan was unprecedented: Kleinrock, a pioneering computer science professor at UCLA, and his small group of graduate students hoped to log onto the Stanford computer and try to send it some data.They would start by typing "login," and seeing if the letters appeared on the far-off monitor.

"We set up a telephone connection between us and the guys at SRI...," Kleinrock ... said in an interview: "We typed the L and we asked on the phone,

"Do you see the L?"
"Yes, we see the L," came the response.
"We typed the O, and we asked, "Do you see the O."
"Yes, we see the O."
"Then we typed the G, and the system
crashed"...

Yet a revolution had begun"...

Source: Sacramento Bee, May 1, 1996, p.D1

Major events continued to take place in rapid succession from 1969 onward ...

Then came Tim Berners-Lee and his "invention" ... the World Wide Web and hypertext during   the period of 1989 to 1991.

Followed by that "kid", Mark Andreeson, at the University of Illinois - and his Mosaic browser GUI interface that all web browsers are based on today (only two popular ones now - Internet Explorer and Netscape - Andreeson joined Netscape)

... then, all this,   followed by a virtual explosion !!!     And BOOM! Here we are ...

Well, NOT quite - all of the above just gave us the platform to "perform" on, 'dance' through hyperspace as it were. Western Union gave us AUTODIN in 1962, and what Western Union 'gaveth', the government 'taketh' away (or is taking away), but most of all, Western Union, and ALL of the follow-on prime contractors - ASC, Contel-ASC, GTE, Philco-Ford, SAIC, DynaCorp, subcontractors, vendors, the U.S.government   - DCA, DISA, and the military, gave birth to a crowd of people we now call "Autodiners". It took forty years to "grow" this great crowd, and the crowd is still growing in the new era of DMS!

And if not for all of you, the Autodiners that spanned those forty years - those that came and went, those of us who are retired, those no longer with us, and those still "connected", there would be no ALP web site today! That's how ALP got here ... and it is SOMETHING to think about.

And as for me - ALP has simply become a "labor of love".
ALP webmaster

If you like and enjoy The Internet, and ALP (I hope), then you are going to love surfing the site below.

Now read the stories behind The Internet story, as told by those who invented it, and lived it, in the ...

"Internet Valley"



* - Bolt, Beranek and Newman

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