Saturday, January 12, 2002

I just checked out Jeneane Sessum's other blog called Gonzo--Engaged, which is, in Jeneane's words, "A Conversational Read of Christopher Locke's Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices." Two things:
  1. Jeneane's engaging insights and responses to the book's assertions, propositions and key points bring life and interactivity into what was heretofore a static medium (paper-based books).
  2. Her blog and its theme show one more innovative use of blogs - something I only discovered on 1 January. It's amazing how blogs have so quickly become an integral part of my daily life.
On the topic of something that has become integrated into our collective daily lives, I stumbled onto a bit of Internet history by accident last night.

Allow me to digress - I've been using the Internet for over 20 years; it was called ARPAnet and MILnet back when I was first using it. My view was a command-line on UNIX, and mail addressing was the old ! format (pronounced bang) wherein you had to know the path to whomever you were sending a message.

Back then if you could get to ihnp4, run by AT&T in Illinois, you could get to just about anyone. I remember one commercial system I was using called crash that was operated by Bill Blue in Santee, CA talked to a system called, of all things, bang, which talked to nosc, which knew about ihnp4. The path you gave the mailer was separated by the ! character, and since it was UNIX and "!" meant to invoke a shell command, you had to escape the ! with the UNIX metacharacter that told the system to take the next character as literal - the escape character was a \. Therefore, if I wanted to send a message to someone named fburton at cnsl I would do the following:

mail bang\!nosc\!ihnp4\!cnsl\!fburton
By now you're probably asking yourself if there is a point to this. Indeed there is. I didn't know until last night that the @ addressing that we use today was first conceived in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, who is the inventor of e-mail. While I knew that ARPAnet was invented in 1969 and BBN was a key contributor (contrary to Bill Clinton's claim that former VP Gore invented the Internet), I didn't know the historical details. If you're a longtime Internet veteran and feel like a stroll down memory lane, or relatively new and want to get a sense of the history of the Internet, here are some interesting facts: how it all started, the first router (yes, there were routers before cicso), the first e-mail system and the first use of the @ sign.

Before going outside and enjoying a beautiful, sunny Southern California day I'll give a more up-to-date resource that net researchers will find useful: e-volve magazine, which is a quarterly publication that covers the full spectrum of networked economy issues. Finding it last night was another serendipity.

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