Poor Al Gore has been teased mercilessly for supposedly claiming he invented the Internet.
But that’s not the only portion of cyber-history that’s in dispute.
Media outlets are celebrating Sept. 2 as the 40th anniversary of the day the Internet was invented. Security company Symantec even chose to ring the day in by creating a top-10 list of the most notorious online threats, with No. 1 as 2000’s “I Love You” worm, which infected an estimated 5 million computers.
UCLA’s engineer school, on the other hand, is recognizing Oct. 29 as the 40th anniversary. That’s where computer-science professor Leonard Kleinrock and his team were credited with sending the first computer-to-computer messages.
Well, which is it?
On Mr. Kleinrock’s Web site, he confirms that it was on Oct. 29, 1969, when his team transmitted a message from their computer to another one located at Douglas Engelbart’s Stanford Research lab in Menlo Park, Calif.
Mr. Kleinrock wanted to use his mathematical theory of packet networks, which he created as an MIT grad student, and apply it to Arpanet, an experimental military network. On Sept. 2, 1969, his team exchanged meaningless data over Arpanet, but on Oct. 29, they sent a message.
They were trying to log in to one computer from the other, but “we succeeded in transmitting the ‘l’ and the ‘o’ and then the system crashed! Hence, the first message on the Internet was ‘lo’!” he wrote. “We were able to do the full login about an hour later.”
These were “the first murmurings of what later exploded into the Internet,” he wrote, not to be confused with Tim Berners-Lee, who in 1989 proposed a global hypertext project that became the World Wide Web.