back to article How a bread truck invented the internet

On November 22, 1977, as it motored down the street somewhere south of San Francisco, a souped-up delivery van sent some information to a computer lab at the University of Southern California, 400 miles away. No one can quite remember what the information was, but that really doesn't matter. What matters is the way it travelled …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge
Alert

Al Gore?

So where was Al Gore? Was he driving the Truck? You just cant leave us without imparting that little bit of information!!!

0
0
Coat

So where was...

...Al Gore? Didn't he invent the thing and get a prize?

*grabbing my coat*

0
0
Joke

ouch!!

"So when the crinkling paper noise stopped, I would kick the technicians under the table and he would re-power the equipment"

Is this where we get the term rebooting from?

I`ll get my coat......

0
0
Paris Hilton

it's amazing to think ....

it's amazing to think that one little truck ... would someday deliver so much porn to the world ...

0
0
Go

Never underestimate...

... the bandwidth of a bread truck filled with 9-track tapes traveling at 60mph down the freeway.

0
0

Networks and HIstory

TCP/IP has been an invention with a lot of impact.

There were interesting things done with non-packet networks that we tend to forget. In the mid 1970s, Minnesota had 2000 schools wired up to a giant Control Data timesharing systems. And the CDC Plato network was international.

AT&T was offered control of the internet (arpanet) at one point, but declined. They thought their photonic networks and city-sized token rings were much more sophisticated. And they were right, but they were wrong.

The great OSI boondoggle attempted to replace TCP/IP. After years of deliberation by international committees, they came up with TP4, a protocol so inefficient that TCP declares a timeout and closes a connection in about the time it took TP4 to exchange a data packet. The opportunity cost of OSI must have been staggering, since it delayed Europe and Japan from entering the internet for a few years.

0
0
Happy

I know it is meant to be funny...

Okay, just to show that I have a sense of humor, Hahaha. There, now, if we can avoid being pawns of politically generated rhetoric can we pretend to think for ourselves?

It amazes me, and deeply saddens me too, that the American people can be dazzled by the shiny toy of inane hair cut costs, tips paid or not paid or whether Al Gore really said that HE invented the internet. It is shameful that my 6 month old kitten is smarter than to be so distracted.

When in the military I used to maintain a communications switching van where you could actually watch the flip-flops light up with neon lamps. It was like sitting inside of a computer. My VIC 20 had more capability. This would have been about the same time that this was all being done. Well, at least we have advanced in technology if not in political sophistication. Sigh

0
0
Joke

The second piece of email sent....

...read something like this:

Hello Friend!

My good name is Hung Nguyen Pho and I am the brother-in-law of the south vietnamese finance minister, god willing. I have $150,000 in us dollar praise bhudda in trust account registered... etc. etc. etc.

0
0

Al Gore v Tim Berners Lee

I thought the Al Gore thang was widely debunked as republican spin, lies, smoke and mirrors? anyway Tim Berners Lee invented it and I invented him so I thank you all very mulch for attending I AM IPV6!!!

0
0

Presumeably

the bread was to dunk in the soup.

Steve

0
0
Mars

van sale

If the van comes up for sale can I have first refusal, only i've got this bread to get to Swaffham !

0
0
stu
Bronze badge

Darren7160: wtf !

what colour is the sky on your world ?

0
0

TCP is NOT the protocol of the internet...

TCP-IP is !!

TCP was one of the founding blocks, and an important one at that, but not the only one. It ought to stand as such as one of Vint Cerf contributions.

Another error that ought to be corrected: the packet transfer technology that went in the IP (internet protocol) (the IP half of TCP-IP) was actually developped a few years earlier (1974-75) by Louis Pouzin.

Leonardo da Vinci sketched the helicopter yet no one seriously will credit him of inventing the helicopter. He did contributed to such an idea and that's one of the reason we consider him a genius.

Same with the internet. A very small number of people contributed the early founding blocks of the internet. None contributed them all.

As for the date the internet went live the routers switched to the new TCP-IP protocol at a very precise moment, and it had to be done worldwide for obvious reasons.

That moment happens to have been 0h00 on January 1st, 1983.

Cheers!

0
0
Stop

Gah!

Read this and shut up about bloody Gore, eh?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore#Internet_and_technology

If Cerf and Kahn are cool with it, can we be as well?

0
0

Al et al

Al Gore was the guy in charge at which ever department of the US gov that wrote the cheques to fund the Arpanet. So he had to make the decision as to put up the money, so he could have killed it if he didn't like what he saw.

When the tech "re-powered the system" was that switch it off and back on again?

0
0
Stop

re : Al Gore

Al Gore said "During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

He meant that he actively promoted the creation of the internet, not that he invented the concept or technology.

This was acknowledged by Vint Cerf and Bob Khan :

"As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship. Though easily forgotten, now, at the time this was an unproven and controversial concept."

Oh, and Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, not the internet.

0
0
Sam

crinkling paper noise

Was he arrested for rustling?

Alright, I'm going..

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Imagine....

..if the patent trolls had been around in those days.

"Hey, we've got a patent for sending information through wires, or air, either shut down or give us fifty billion dollars". And thats putting it mildly.

You have to wonder how much innovation like this is being stifled and destroyed by the american patent system these days.

0
0
Happy

@Del Merritt

Should that not be a Station Wagon ?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Big Truck?

Wait the internet is a bread truck? I thought it was tubes!?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/17/business/media/17stevens.html?ex=1310788800&en=d2229c1e3048a580&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

0
0
Silver badge
Coat

@ @ Al Gore by Anonymous Coward

Your copy of humor.exe seems to be corrupt. Perhaps you should search Piratebay for a good copy.

0
0
Black Helicopters

Important details

Can you see the bias here?: "an earth station in Goonhilly Downs, England, before coming down in the little town of Etam, West Virginia, halfway up the US east coast"

No mention of the fact that goonhilly is in Cornwall (kernow for those in the know; the south-west pointy bit for those (americans) that aren't), or the fact that it has (probably) the worlds fastest internet cafe?? These are important details!

And no mention of the pair of stealth bombers in an underground hangar on that site? "no you can't go over there, the microwaves will fry you" is a feeble way of preventing people from stumbling across the entrance! Either that or a brilliant security system... now how can I get one for my house?

0
0
Stop

How long?

"On November 22, 1977...

...

The thirtieth anniversary of this little-known event was celebrated last week..."

I know I'm not the most accurate of timekeepers, but I'm fairly sure that the thirtieth anniversary of 22nd Nov, 1977 would be on the 22nd November 2007.

Now according to my (synchronised with the interweb) clock, it's currently the 13th November. Even allowing for wacky timezones, that's still over a week early. So they celebrated this vaunted thirtieth anniversary 2 whole weeks early.

That's more than a little careless... ;-)

0
0

Small Town

I had to laugh at "little town of Etam, West Virginia, halfway up the US east coast."

Etam is by no means a little town... it's more of a cow pasture. In 1977, the only evidence of a "town" was a shell of a building, with a sign out front that read "Sattelite Inn" [sic]. Oh, and it's nowhere near the coast... it's about 150 miles west of Washington, DC.

0
0
Bronze badge
Black Helicopters

Nice to know...

Nice to know that I am slightly older than the Internet by (apparently) 3 weeks. Go me.

0
0
Stop

Inventors of Hypertext?

SIGH - once again articles are written without the necessary research - Ted Nelson coined the phrase Hypertext in the early 1960's (Project Xanadu) and has an ACM publication in 1965: http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/800197.806036

Doug's NLS is one of the earliest examples of a hypertext system, although Vannevar Bush's Memex is probably the most recognisable first proposed system (in 1945).

I don't think SRI anywhere even claim to have invented Hypertext!

0
0
Joke

Al gore

Was hunting manbearpig, where are you nutters getting your ideas from?

0
0
Black Helicopters

Cerf ///// Gore

I had the pleasure to sit in on a lecture by Cerf around 1997 - the 'net was just getting really spun up then. Nice guy - unassuming - and very insightful. While he was wearing a suit + tie - he said he just had a batch of tee shirts printed up saying "IP on Everything" :-) As this was also the time that the notion of "every device" needed to be designed network ready was starting to emerge.

Also a cool coincidence the a guy named Cerf (pronounced "surf") helped create the net we all Surf on.

As to Gore - he at least was a man of vision and persistence in getting the Arpanet technology into the hands of public companies to enable what is now the internet. Those on the bitter political right have so few things to cling to (that are real) that they must keep their "folk tales" alive by spouting them whenever possible. Sparkly things and the Fox Noise Channel is all they really have left.

0
0
Thumb Down

Feeble

"No mention of the fact that goonhilly is in Cornwall (kernow for those in the know; the south-west pointy bit for those (americans) that aren't), or the fact that it has (probably) the worlds fastest internet cafe?? These are important details!"

1. Cornwall is part of England.

2. Just about every university in the top 100 has as fast or faster net connections that BT's idiotic Goonhilly "café".

0
0
Happy

@ Chad and @ Frank "Thumbs Up" Bough

Personally Chad, I'm using the UK distro of Life -The Operating System, which ships with humour.exe, rather than the inferior, irony-free version called humor.exe. The UK version only works with well-formed jokes, however.

And Frank, you're wrong. Cornwall is not really part of England, it's far too fine a place for that to be true. You may fantasise that it is, and your propaganda maps and atlases might show it as such, but we all know it's just that you're jealous.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums