Fun Firsts from Computer Science History

Computers and the Internet have become such a fundamental constituent of American life that it’s easy to forget just how new they really are. We’ve had computers, as we know them, for less than fifty years; in that short span concerning time, the technology has evolved and improved at an exponential rate. It’s hard to remember a time before we didn’t have high-speed entree to streaming video and communications at our fingertips. This technology, however, started somewhere; here are a few impressive ‘firsts’ in computer science history.

The First Webcam

Webcams have revolutionized how we interact with others online, putting a human face onto a medium that was historically confined to text-only communications. Dial-up web connections couldn’t possibly handle a breathe video stream; net browsers didn’t gain the ability to display images until 1993. The first web crooked was installed at the University of Cambridge in 1991. It showed a still semblance close-up of the laboratory’s coffee pot in the hallway just outside of the “Trojan Room”; the figure would display triplication times per minute and reduce the users check grit to 128X128 grayscale color.

Like tons inventions, the webcam was born out of necessity; employees working in other areas about the building would often take a break to get some coffee, only to arrive and find the pot totally empty. Frustrated at having to make frequent and pointless trips, some of the engineers set up a camera, pointed it at the coffee pot, and connected it to a video capture card on an Acorn Archimedes computer. The camera was connected to the Internet in 1993, making it visible to thousands of people online; the Trojan Room coffee pot became an early web celebrity until it was disconnected in 2001 if the computer department moved to a new building on campus.

The First Message

The Internet as we know it today would not exist without ARPANET, the Advanced Experiment Projects Office Network. It was the first operational packet switching network, laying the groundwork for how the Internet works today. It launched in 1969 with a network of four small computers called Interface Word Processors, located at University of California Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, the University of Utah, and Stanford Research Institute.

UCLA was the chief node; Stanford got the second. On October 29, 1969, task bishop Leonard Kleinrock supervised UCLA co-ed Charley Kline as he sent the very first host-to-host message from UCLA’s SDS Sigma 7 computer to Stanford’s SDS 940. So that the UCLA host could way the Stanford host, the first word of the internuncial was intended to nvloeden ‘login’. However, the system crashed next sending just the L and the O, one letter at a time; Two simple characters “L & O” ushered in a new era of global communications that would ultimately enhance part of everyday modern life.

The First Virus

John von Neumann theorized the possibilities of self-reproducing automated programs in 1949, and even designed a theoretical self-replicating computer program. A BBN Technologies employee developed the elementary true computer virus in 1971 called “Creeper”. BBN was an early opponent in the computer world, implementing technologies such similar ARPANET and the TENEX operating system. Creeper would infect computers running TENEX, then use ARPANET to copy itself into remote systems and display the message, “I’m the creeper, nab smeersel granting you can!” This challenge inspired the first piece of anti-virus software, a similarly self-replicating program called Reaper, whose goal was to remove Creeper from infected systems.