Wednesday, October 29, 2014

45th Anniversary of the Internet

Today is the 45th anniversary of the beginning the Internet. It's a little less than 4 hours from the time on October 29, 1969 that my husband successfully accessed a computer at Stanford Research Institute from a computer at UCLA.

The first time that I recall an acknowledgment of this day in 1969 was in 1999. I began to receive calls at my office looking for my husband because it would be the 30th anniversary of the day on which he was able to connect his computer to another computer in Menlo Park, California.

I had just graduated in September 1969 from UCLA and my husband-to-be was a graduate student at UCLA. I joined the UCLA Alumni Association as a life member within a year of my graduation. My husband who earned three degrees from UCLA never did. It was my membership of the UCLA Alumni Association the precipitated these calls.

Through the influence of my father, I often found myself as the only female in a male dominated area of study, job, etc. I was the only female in my high school physics class. I was a mathematics major at UC Berkeley where I learned ALGOL and FORTRAN 2.

At UCLA, I joined the Computer Club in which I was one of two or three females during the time in which I was a member. It was at Computer Club that I met Charley. We had dated off and on for almost 3 years. In September 1969, we were at a wedding of an engineering student friend when we decided to become engaged to marry.

By 1969, it was clear to me that I was probably going to marry this guy. I was cooking dinner for him four week nights a week. I was including his laundry with mine when I did mine. I was a bit miffed when his clothes were soiled by crawling in the space below the raised floor in that computer room of October 29, 1969.

Ira Flatow asked Charley last Friday if he had any idea of what that night meant in 2014. He said that he had no clue. Charley's response it right on. The only thing that I remember of that time was wondering why the ARPA contract couldn't afford to buy Charley coveralls so he didn't harm his clothing while crawling under the floor.

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