29 October 1969. The First Internet Message Is Sent.

And Cool Gus wonders what if it wasn’t?

On 29 October, 1969, a student at UCLA, Charley Kline, tried to transmit a message to a computer at Stanford over ARPANET, the precursor to the modern Internet. He managed to get the letters I and o sent before it crashed, thus foreshadowing all our future experiences on the Internet.

They rebooted, and about an hour later (pretty much still takes that long), he managed to send the entire massive message:

1st internet messagelogin

And thus the Internet was born.

What’s key about this was that computers and systems were at a crossroads in 1969. Many were advocating focusing on bigger machines in central positions that people would have to go to in order to access. The concept of linking machines wasn’t in favor with companies such as IBM.

LCM_-_Xerox_Sigma_9_(right)_and_related_equipment_-_01The 32-BIT Sigma 7 computer, with a 128 Max kwords memory, was used to send this message. Suffice it to say your current “smartphone” far outpowers this device. But everything has to start somewhere.

Off to the right is a Sigma 9. Yeah. Put that on your desk. And have the guy standing over your shoulder, because you need him too.

I remember taking ‘computing’ at West Point. Back in the days when men were men, and we ate rocks for breakfast, chased goats for fun, and learned how to program using symbols on paper and some other stuff (I specced and dumped all that– fellow Long Gray Line people will get the term) and then we brought that to guys like the one in the picture, in white lab coats, who did punch cards and then would tell us to come back for the results in an eon or so. I’m still waiting on a program. I think most of the programs were designed to find new rocks. Or goats.

29 October 1969. The day the Internet was born.

And what if someone tried to keep it from happening, is examined in Black Tuesday.



  1. I loved this post 🙂 Excellent glimpse “inside”, giving us a peek at what it must have been like (without posting all the blood, sweat and tears:) The humorous side made me laugh. Thanks for an interesting morning read 🙂 “Rock on”, Bob 🙂

  2. Joyce M. Coomer

    July 13, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I like the part about shutting off wifi . . . think that needs done occasionally to remind people there is more than one way to do something . . .

    Bought Black Tuesday last week — enjoyed the book — some things in there (20th century, I’m not that old) I knew about, some I didn’t — now to get the others ordered and read.

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