February 05, 2011

What is the internet?

Watch this clip from NBC's Today show where Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, and an unidentified person are puzzled about this new thing called the internet.

Apparently NBC has fired the person who unearthed this old clip and uploaded it to YouTube. Why? If it is because they think it is embarrassing to have their news anchors not know what the internet is, that's absurd. They have nothing to be ashamed of because this took place in early 1994 and their views were typical for that time, which was the early days of the internet, whose origins were around 1989.

Since I worked in universities and national research labs, we used email a long time before the rest of the community although at that time there was a patchwork of communication methods. I remember using Bitnet for email and Telenet for remote access to computers.

The internet really took off with the arrival in 1993 of the first web browser called Mosaic. I remember how in 1993 I had to teach a group of people what the internet was and how it worked and I barely understood it myself. We were all struggling to understand and use it.

We forget how recently this world came into being, so the cluelessness of the NBC team is perfectly understandable.


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I agree with you, that we forget how recently this world came into being. I still remember that times when people use Telenet for remote access to computers. :-)

Posted by Andrey on February 6, 2011 01:07 PM

I also agree, it was difficult to keep up with the changes then. Most of the cutting edge technology we used in the 80's and 90's is completely obsolete now. I remember being really excited when I got my first high speed dial-up modem, di it have a 56bps transfer rate? It seemed incredibly fast then...

Posted by Reid Adams on February 8, 2011 12:42 PM