Announcing a series of articles titled, ‘Revisiting the Birth of the Internet’. Targeted towards the generation that was born in the internet age and missed out on gems like BBS, Usenet, IRC, LAN parties etc.
The Internet is not new by any standard. WWW itself is thirty plus years old and the packet switching that laid the foundation of the current internet is almost sixty. I am not young by any standard too but I experienced the internet really late. When I opened my first website in 2001 a lot had already happened in the world of the internet. After 2000 the internet kind of exploded and everyone knew what it was, even the dot-com bubble was over. For the first few years I just got a glimpse of the internet and it finally came to my home in 2005 when major shifts to the internet were already taking place. In short I was very very late to the party.
Looking at the history of the internet, I feel like I missed a lot. The early hype, excitement and many iterations of tech and services that I am using now. My first search engine was google, my first email was on yahoo and the first social media platform I used was orkut. If I look at the internet today it didn’t change much from that. Just the scale of everything has changed and everything is available across many devices and form factors. When people blame today’s giants for ruining the internet and remember the good old days I feel left out.
I want to miss those days too, experience it for myself and see what got ruined. I want to see if there is anything still active as the old part of the internet and what can I do to revive it.
Thankfully the technologies that gave birth to the internet are not completely lost. A lot of today’s internet is still what it was in the early days and many early adopters are still sharing their opinions. Which means I can still experience what I missed. See first hand what it was like, how the current ecosystem takes inspiration from it and who is still using those old systems.
The tech that I’ll be reviewing and exploring are:
- Bulletin board systems
- Multiplayer Gaming/ LAN parties/ DC++/ IP messenger
- ARPANET, TCP/IP, Email etc.
Beyond that I want to understand the visions of internet pioneers and see whether we are on track. What kind of technological advancements are happening right now which will make the internet what it was.