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Thursday, October 29, 2009

LO, forty years ago

Forty years ago this day, the first message was sent from one computer to a computer located at a remote site. In those days, different operating systems could not talk to each other, so the first network connections were made by connecting the campus mainframe to a smaller computer known as the Interface Message Processor (IMP). The IMPs from each campus could then talk to each other, and each institution only had to get their machine to communicate with the IMP.

On October 29, 1969, at 10:30 PM, Charley Kline at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) attempted to log in to the computer at UCLA. His machine successfully sent the "L" and the "O" as he typed the word "LOGIN", but when he typed the "G", the SRI computer recognized the command and tried to auto-complete it. The sudden burst of three characters overwhelmed the connection, and it crashed. but the "LO" got through, and is recognized as the first Internet message.

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