Fifty years ago Tuesday, on 29 October 1969, the internet was born.
Today you probably know ARPA better by the name DARPA, the government agency that’s working on bleeding edge tech like warfighting robots and brain implants.
And in a notebook entry for "29 Oct 69" we can see a particularly important notation at 22:30 (10:30 pm): “Talked to SRI, Host to Host.”
That sheet of paper, which currently sits at the archives of UCLA, is more or less the internet’s birth certificate – a written record of that moment when the two host computers at UCLA and SRI started communicating.
I chatted over the text with Bradley Fidler, a historian of computing at the Stevens Institute in the US state of New Jersey, where he works on contemporary issues relating to the technical management of the internet.
I should probably note that I only realised halfway through our text conversation that Dr Fidler was on a plane to Los Angeles, a city that was experiencing a terrifying fire near UCLA’s campus in Westwood.