by Roby LaPorte
It’s 1957; the Soviet Union has just put ‘Sputnik’, the world’s very first satellite, into space… a major concern for the U.S. Military and President Dwight Eisenhower. Something had to be done as this was seen as a major threat to our National Security. This is what first triggered the need for a new type of back-up communication. Ike wanted a wide area, invisible communication infrastructure that would put us back in the technological lead of the Space Race. And so it was, the freshly planted seeds of a country-wide communications network, the Internet. It was called APRANET at this early stage, due to the fact that it was created by the government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). It was used primarily by the military to find safeguards against a space-based missile attack against the U.S and was deployed in early October, 1969. The first networking protocol used on the ARPANET was the ‘Network Control Program’. In 1983, the NCP was replaced with TCP/IP, Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol, which quickly became the most widely used network protocol in the world and is what the internet uses to this day.
Fueled by the popularity of the web, the use of the Internet drastically gained huge momentum in the 1990s, causing the U.S. Government to transfer management of the web to independent organizations by 1995. So, here we are, everywhere! From National to International and free for public use. Thanks, Ike, what a vision!
There is good reason they call it the World Wide Web, as we are now so internationally connected. We are able to chat with anyone in the world who has a computer and an internet connection and view websites residing on servers anywhere on the planet. And beyond that, with a web cam and a microphone hooked up to your machine, we see and hear each other in real time from opposite sides of the world. You’ve got to love the possibilities this creates for us all. Instantaneous information at your fingertips and close communication with people you would have otherwise never met. It happens, and it happens a lot. Life is good and getting better all the time.
A nice example of this is my own website. As a professional musician, I offer my visitors the opportunity to listen to my music with a simple click of the mouse. Amazingly enough, I get emails from people all over the world expressing their appreciation for my songs. I recently received one such email from a very nice gentleman who happens to live in Frankfurt, Germany. His message was, of course, written in German. Speaking no German myself, and really wanting to know what his message said, off I went to the web to see if I could find a website that offered language translations. Yes, indeed, and there were many to choose from, and they are FREE. With an easy copy/paste of his German text into the translation website, another click and, voila, I can now converse with someone who speaks no English. Of course I would like to send a reply, thanking him in his own language, so I type up my reply into an email, copy/paste my English back to the translation website and convert it from English to German, and copy the results back into my email and send it off; all the way back to Germany, in a split second. As a result, I now have new friends to chat with all over the globe, sharing ideas, thoughts, music, pictures and points of view on every subject imaginable. This could and should happen to you, make it so.
Yes, here we are, anywhere we want to be in the international community, thanks to that first tiny light we tried to spot moving in the night sky back in the late ‘50s, good old Sputnik. What a vision we could never quite see.