“I heard about this thing called the Internet.
I thought, That sounds kind of interesting.
The first thing I did is I actually picked up the phone and dialed 411, and I said,
I’d like the number for the Internet, please.
And the operator is like, What?”

~ Sky Dayton (Sky Dayton later founded EarthLink, an Internet-service provider, in 1994)

There is a great article in the July 2008 issue of Vanity Fair, An Oral History of the Internet : How the Web Was Won, by Keenan Mayo and Peter Newcomb.

Fifty years ago, in response to the surprise Soviet launch of Sputnik, the U.S. military set up the Advanced Research Projects Agency. It would become the cradle of connectivity, spawning the era of Google and YouTube, of Amazon and Facebook, of the Drudge Report and the Obama campaign. Each breakthrough—network protocols, hypertext, the World Wide Web, the browser—inspired another as narrow-tied engineers, long-haired hackers, and other visionaries built the foundations for a world-changing technology. Keenan Mayo and Peter Newcomb let the people who made it happen tell the story…..

The article is fascinating and well-done – give yourself about 45 minutes to read it, or, a few minutes to surf it. I hadn’t really thought about how the internet got started – hasn’t it always been here? Of course I had heard that Al Gore “made it”, which never made any sense and that is completely explained in the article, but the real history and a who’s who? Did not have a clue.

Click here to go the the article on the Vanity Fair site and read about it. From the three “Founding Fathers”, the browser “war”, to AOL, YouTube and Google. This article is over 10 years old but still fascinating to find out how this whole internety-thingie got started.