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Computer and Internet Timeline

The Internet is the worldwide, publicly accessible network of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard Internet Protocol (IP). It is a "network of networks" that consists of millions of smaller domestic, academic, business, and government networks, which together carry various information and services, such as electronic mail, online chat, file transfer, and the interlinked Web pages and other documents of the World Wide Web.

The Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world like nothing before. The invention of the telegraph, telephone, radio, and computer set the stage for this unprecedented integration of capabilities. The Internet is at once a world-wide broadcasting capability, a mechanism for information dissemination, and a medium for collaboration and interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic location.

Computer and Internet Timeline


Hewlett-Packard is Founded. David Packard and Bill Hewlett found Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage. Their first product was the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, which rapidly becomes a popular piece of test equipment for engineers. Walt Disney Pictures ordered eight of the 200B model to use as sound effects generators for the 1940 movie “Fantasia.”


The Complex Number Calculator (CNC)

The Complex Number Calculator (CNC) is completed. In 1939, Bell Telephone Laboratories completed this calculator, designed by researcher George Stibitz. In 1940, Stibitz demonstrated the CNC at an American Mathematical Society conference held at Dartmouth College. Stibitz stunned the group by performing calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) using a Teletype connected via special telephone lines. This is considered to be the first demonstration of remote access computing.


Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer. The Z3 was an early computer built by German engineer Konrad Zuse working in complete isolation from developments elsewhere. Using 2,300 relays, the Z3 used floating point binary arithmetic and had a 22-bit word length. The original Z3 was destroyed in a bombing raid of Berlin in late 1943. However, Zuse later supervised a reconstruction of the Z3 in the 1960s which is currently on display at the Deutsches Museum in Berlin.


Harvard Mark-1 is completed. Conceived by Harvard professor Howard Aiken, and designed and built by IBM, the Harvard Mark-1 was a room-sized, relay-based calculator. The machine had a fifty-foot long camshaft that synchronized the machine’s thousands of component parts. The Mark-1 was used to produce mathematical tables but was soon superseded by stored program computers.


Transistor inventors William Shockley (seated), John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain

Transistor inventors William Shockley (seated), John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain

John Bardeen, William Shockley, and Walter Brattain invent the transistor while at Bell Labs. They received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 for their work.


Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis built the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer; the company´s first customer was the U.S. Navy. It held 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, the earliest magnetic storage devices. Drums registered information as magnetic pulses in tracks around a metal cylinder. Read/write heads both recorded and recovered the data. Drums eventually stored as many as 4,000 words and retrieved any one of them in as little as five-thousandths of a second.


Ferranti Mark 1 Tom Kilburn standing sitting  is Keith Lonsdale (right) and B.W. (Brian) Pollard

 Ferranti Mark 1 Tom Kilburn standing sitting  is Keith Lonsdale (right) and B.W. (Brian) Pollard

The Ferranti Mark 1 is delivered to Thomas Kilburn and Frederic Williams at Manchester University in England. Nine more are sold between 1951 and 1957.


IBM shipped its first electronic computer, the 701. During three years of production, IBM sold 19 machines to research laboratories, aircraft companies, and the federal government.


The IBM 650 magnetic drum calculator established itself as the first mass-produced computer, with the company selling 450 in one year. Spinning at 12,500 rpm, the 650´s magnetic data-storage drum allowed much faster access to stored material than drum memory machines.


AT&T Bell Laboratories announced the first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC. It contained nearly 800 transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Transistors — completely cold, highly efficient amplifying devices invented at Bell Labs — enabled the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts, or one-twentieth the power required by comparable vacuum tube computers.


MIT researchers built the TX-0

MIT researchers built the TX-0, the first general-purpose, programmable computer built with transistors. For easy replacement, designers placed each transistor circuit inside a "bottle," similar to a vacuum tube. Constructed at MIT´s Lincoln Laboratory, the TX-0 moved to the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, where it hosted some early imaginative tests of programming, including a Western movie shown on TV, 3-D tic-tac-toe, and a maze in which mouse found martinis and became increasingly inebriated.


October 16th
The first high-level computer language (FORTRAN) is released by an IBM team lead by John W. Backus.
October 29th


The first hard disk drive is created at IBM by a team lead by Reynold B. Johnson. The '305 RAMAC' (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) held 5MB of data on fifty 24 inch disks at a cost of about $10,000 per MB.


A group of engineers led by Ken Olsen left MIT´s Lincoln Laboratory founded a company based on the new transistor technology. In August, they formally created Digital Equipment Corp. It initially set up shop in a largely vacant woolen mill in Maynard, Mass., where all aspects of product development — from management to manufacturing — took place.

A new language, FORTRAN (short for FORmula TRANslator), enabled a computer to perform a repetitive task from a single set of instructions by using loops. The first commercial FORTRAN program ran at Westinghouse, producing a missing comma diagnostic. A successful attempt followed.

In Minneapolis, the original Engineering Research Associates group led by Bill Norris left Sperry Rand to form a new company, Control Data Corp., which soon released its model 1604 computer.

October 4th

USSR launches Sputnik, first artificial earth satellite.


Bell System announces it's Data-Phone service which permits transmission of data over regular telephone circuits.
February 7th
In response to the launch of Sputnik the US Department of Defense issues directive 5105.15 establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The directive tasks the agency with 'direction or performance of such advanced projects in the field of research and development...'.
September 12th

First integrated circuit, 1958

First integrated circuit, 1958 Texas Instruments, Inc

Jack Kilby demonstrates the first integrated circuit to fellow researchers and executives at Texas Instruments.
December 15th
Arthur L. Schawlow and Charles H. Townes publish Infrared and Optical Masers describing what would later be known as the laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) while at Bell Labs. Earlier in the year they also apply for a patent which is granted in 1960, the same year Theodore Maiman builds the first working model while at the Hughes Aircraft Company .


SAGE — Semi-Automatic Ground Environment — linked hundreds of radar stations in the United States and Canada in the first large-scale computer communications network. An operator directed actions by touching a light gun to the screen. The air defense system operated on the AN/FSQ-7 computer (known as Whirlwind II during its development at MIT) as its central computer. Each computer used a full megawatt of power to drive its 55,000 vacuum tubes, 175,000 diodes and 13,000 transistors.


Japan´s NEC built the country´s first electronic computer, the NEAC 1101.


IBM´s 7000 series mainframes were the company´s first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers — all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines — sat the 7030, also known as the "Stretch." Nine of the computers, which featured a 64-bit word and other innovations, were sold to national laboratories and other scientific users.

The first computer hackers emerge at MIT. They borrow their name from a term to describe members of a model train group at the school who "hack" the electric trains, tracks, and switches to make them perform faster and differently. A few of the members transfer their curiosity and rigging skills to the new mainframe computing systems being studied and developed on campus.


The first communication satellite, Echo

The first communication satellite, Echo, was launched.
Joseph Licklider publishes Man-Computer Symbiosis.

he precursor to the minicomputer, DEC´s PDP-1

The precursor to the minicomputer, DEC´s PDP-1 sold for $120,000. One of 50 built, the average PDP-1 included with a cathode ray tube graphic display, needed no air conditioning and required only one operator. 


AT&T designed its Dataphone, the first commercial modem, specifically for converting digital computer data to analog signals for transmission across its long distance network. Outside manufacturers incorporated Bell Laboratories´ digital data sets into commercial products. The development of equalization techniques and bandwidth-conserving modulation systems improved transmission efficiency in national and global systems.


May 31
While at MIT Leonard Kleinrock publishes the first paper on packet switching networks Information Flow in Large Communication Nets.

According to Datamation magazine, IBM had an 81.2-percent share of the computer market in 1961, the year in which it introduced the 1400 Series. The 1401 mainframe, the first in the series, replaced the vacuum tube with smaller, more reliable transistors and used a magnetic core memory.



The LINC (Laboratory Instrumentation Computer) offered the first real time laboratory data processing. Designed by Wesley Clark at Lincoln Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corp. later commercialized it as the LINC-8.

MIT students Slug Russell, Shag Graetz, and Alan Kotok wrote SpaceWar!, considered the first interactive computer game. First played at MIT on DEC´s PDP-1, the large-scope display featured interactive, shoot´em-up graphics that inspired future video games. Dueling players fired at each other´s spaceships and used early versions of joysticks to manipulate away from the central gravitational force of a sun as well as from the enemy ship.

Steve Russell finishes the first computer game Spacewar! while at MIT, inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels. Later that year he and Alan Kotok would create the first joysticks. Other people involved were Peter Samson, Wayne Wiitanen, Dan Edwards, Martin Graetz, Steve Piner, and Robert A Saunders.
July 23
The first live trans-Atlantic television broadcast is hosted by Walter Cronkite and made via ATT's Telstar 1 satellite, launched 13 days earlier on July 10.

Joseph Licklider and Wesley Clark publish 'On-Line Man-Computer Communication' discussing their 'Galactic Network' concept that would allow people to access data from any site connected through a vast network.
Joseph Licklider becomes the first head of the computer research program at ARPA.


ASCII — American Standard Code for Information Interchange — permitted machines from different manufacturers to exchange data. ASCII consists of 128 unique strings of ones and zeros. Each sequence represents a letter of the English alphabet, an Arabic numeral, an assortment of punctuation marks and symbols, or a function such as a carriage return.

Doug Engelbart invents the 'X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System', known today as the mouse.

Doug Engelbart invents the 'X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System', known today as the mouse.

The first mouse was a simple hollowed-out wooden block, with a single push button on top

The first mouse was a simple hollowed-out wooden block, with a single push button on top


RAND's Paul Baran publishes On Distributed Communications: Introduction to Distributed Communications Network which outlines packet-switching networks. This paper did discuss nuclear war, and is probably the source of the false rumor that the Internet was built with the goal of withstanding a nuclear attack.

IBM announced the System/360, a family of six mutually compatible computers and 40 peripherals that could work together. The initial investment of $5 billion was quickly returned as orders for the system climbed to 1,000 per month within two years. At the time IBM released the System/360, the company was making a transition from discrete transistors to integrated circuits, and its major source of revenue moved from punched-card equipment to electronic computer systems.

CDC´s 6600 supercomputer, designed by Seymour Cray, performed up to 3 million instructions per second — a processing speed three times faster than that of its closest competitor, the IBM Stretch. The 6600 retained the distinction of being the fastest computer in the world until surpassed by its successor, the CDC 7600, in 1968. Part of the speed came from the computer´s design, which had 10 small computers, known as peripheral processors, funneling data to a large central processing unit.

Online transaction processing made its debut in IBM´s SABRE reservation system, set up for American Airlines. Using telephone lines, SABRE linked 2,000 terminals in 65 cities to a pair of IBM 7090 computers, delivering data on any flight in less than three seconds.

Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny created BASIC, an easy-to-learn programming language, for their students at Dartmouth College.


Digital Equipment Corporation releases its PDP-8 computer, the first mass-produced minicomputer. The PDP-8 sold for $18,000, one-fifth the price of a small IBM 360 mainframe. The speed, small size, and reasonable cost enabled the PDP-8 to go into thousands of manufacturing plants, small businesses, and scientific laboratories.

Digital Equipment Corporation releases its PDP-8 computer, the first mass-produced minicomputer.

Ted Nelson coins the word 'hypertext'.
Tom Van Vleck and Noel Morris create a Mail command for the Compatible Time-Sharing System at MIT.
April 19
Gordon Moore declares that computing power will double every 18 months, a prophecy that holds true today and is known as Moore's Law. Moore and Robert Noyce would later leave Fairchild semiconductor to start Intel in the summer of 1968.
Thomas Marill and Lawrence Roberts set up the first WAN (Wide Area Network) between MIT's Lincoln Lab TX-2 and System Development Corporation's Q-32 in California. Later they would write Toward a Cooperative Network of Time-Shared Computers describing it.

Commodore Business Machines (CBM) is founded. Its founder Jack Tramiel emigrated to the US after WWII where he began repairing typewriters. In 1965, he moved to Toronto and established Commodore International which also began making mechanical and electronic calculators.


Hewlett-Packard entered the general purpose computer business with its HP-2115 for computation, offering a computational power formerly found only in much larger computers. It supported a wide variety of languages, among them BASIC, ALGOL, and FORTRAN.

Acoustically coupled modem

John van Geen of the Stanford Research Institute vastly improved the acoustically coupled modem. His receiver reliably detected bits of data despite background noise heard over long-distance phone lines. Inventors developed the acoustically coupled modem to connect computers to the telephone network by means of the standard telephone handset of the day.

Donald Davies coins the term 'packets' and 'packet switching'.
ARPA's Bob Taylor receives funding for a networking experiment that would tie together a number of Universities the agency was funding. With no formal requests and in under an hour Charles Herzfeld agrees to fund what three years later would become the ARPANET.


Wesley Clark comes up with the idea of using dedicated hardware to perform network functions while at a meeting of ARPA principal investigators. The devices would eventually be called Interface Message Processors (IMP's), and today are generally referred to as routers.
The final standard for ASCII is published. (An earlier version that included only upper-case letters was proposed by Bob Bemer in May 1961.)
Lawrence Roberts publishes the first design paper on ARPANET entitled Multiple Computer Networks and Intercomputer Communication at ACM's Gatlinburg conference.


The Apollo Guidance Computer made its debut orbiting the Earth on Apollo 7. A year later, it steered Apollo 11 to the lunar surface. Astronauts communicated with the computer by punching two-digit codes and the appropriate syntactic category into the display and keyboard unit.

The Apollo Guidance Computer

The first WAN to use packet switching is tested at the National Research Laboratory (NRL) in Great Britain.
Joseph Licklider and Robert Taylor publish The Computer as a Communications Device.
Larry Roberts of ARPA releases a Request for Quotation (RFQ) looking for bids to constructing a network of 4 IMPs, with possible growth to 19. Many large companies like ATT and IBM do not submit bits, saying that such a network was not possible.
A small consulting company called Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) located in Cambridge wins the ARPA IMP contract. The group, headed by Frank Heart, would have $1 million and less than a year to turn theory into a working system.


ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) goes online in December, connecting four major U.S. universities. Designed for research, education, and government organizations, it provides a communications network linking the country in the event that a military attack destroys conventional communications systems.

Sept. 1, 1969 . First ARPANet node installed at UCLA Network Measurement Center. Kleinrock hooked up the Interface Message Processor to a Sigma 7 Computer.
Oct. 1, 1969 . Second node installed at Stanford Research Institute; connected to a SDS 940 computer. The first ARPANet message sent: "lo." Trying to spell log-in, but the system crashed!
Nov. 1, 1969 . Third node installed at University of California, Santa Barbara. Connected to an IBM 360/75.
Dec. 1, 1969 . Fourth node installed at University of Utah. Connected to a DEC PDP-10.


Xerox opens Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In 1970, Xerox Corporation hired Dr. George Pake to lead a new research center in Palo Alto, California. PARC attracted some of the United States’ top computer scientists, and produced many groundbreaking inventions that transformed computing—most notably the personal computer graphical user interface, Ethernet, the laser printer, and object-oriented programming.


Citizens and Southern National Bank in Valdosta, Ga., installed the country´s first automatic teller machine(ATM).


March 1970 . Fifth node installed at BBN, across the country in Cambridge, Mass.
July 1970 . Alohanet, first packet radio network, operational at University of Hawaii.


Phone Phreaking-John T. Draper (later nicknamed Captain Crunch, Crunch, or Crunchman)

Phone Phreaking-John T. Draper (later nicknamed Captain Crunch, Crunch, or Crunchman) discovered that a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of Cap'n Crunch Cereal could be easily modified to emit a tone at precisely 2600 hertz, the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call. 

Cap'n Crunch Bosun Whistle

This would effectively disconnect one end of the trunk, allowing the still-connected side to enter an operator mode. Experimenting with this whistle inspired Draper to build blue boxes, electronic devices capable of reproducing other tones used by the phone company. He was sentenced in October 1971 to five years' probation for toll fraud.

Shortly thereafter, Esquire magazine publishes "Secrets of the Little Blue Box" with instructions for making a blue box, and wire fraud in the United States escalates. Among the perpetrators: college kids Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, future founders of Apple Computer, who launch a home industry making and selling blue boxes.

Electronic mail is introduced by Ray Tomlinson, a Cambridge, Mass., computer scientist. He uses the @ to distinguish between the sender's name and network name in the email address.


Pong is released. In 1966, Ralph Baer designed a ping-pong game for his Odyssey gaming console. Nolan Bushnell played this game at a Magnavox product show in Burlingame, California. Bushnell hired young engineer Al Alcorn to design a car driving game, but when it became apparent that this was too ambitious for the time, he had Alcorn to design a version of ping-pong instead. The game was tested in bars in Grass Valley and Sunnyvale, California where it proved very popular. Pong would revolutionize the arcade industry and launch the modern video game era.


Intel´s 8008 microprocessor made its debut. A vast improvement over its predecessor, the 4004, its eight-bit word afforded 256 unique arrangements of ones and zeros. For the first time, a microprocessor could handle both uppercase and lowercase letters, all 10 numerals, punctuation marks, and a host of other symbols.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is designed and in 1983 it becomes the standard for communicating between computers over the Internet. One of these protocols, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), allows users to log onto a remote computer, list the files on that computer, and download files from that computer.

March 1973 . First ARPANET international connections to University College of London (England) and NORSAR (Norway).


 Researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center designed the Alto — the first work station with a built-in mouse for input. The Alto stored several files simultaneously in windows, offered menus and icons, and could link to a local area network. Although Xerox never sold the Alto commercially, it gave a number of them to universities. Engineers later incorporated its features into work stations and personal computers.

Xerox Palo Alto Research Center designed the Alto


Intel releases the 8080 processor 

 Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish "A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection," which details the design of TCP.


Telenet, the first commercial packet-switching network and civilian equivalent of ARPANET, was born. The brainchild of Larry Roberts, Telenet linked customers in seven cities. Telenet represented the first value-added network, or VAN — so named because of the extras it offered beyond the basic service of linking computers.


The January edition of Popular Electronics featured the Altair 8800 computer kit, based on Intel´s 8080 microprocessor, on its cover. Within weeks of the computer´s debut, customers inundated the manufacturing company, MITS, with orders. Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed BASIC as the software language for the Altair. Ed Roberts invented the 8800 — which sold for $297, or $395 with a case — and coined the term "personal computer." The machine came with 256 bytes of memory (expandable to 64K) and an open 100-line bus structure that evolved into the S-100 standard. In 1977, MITS sold out to Pertec, which continued producing Altairs through 1978.

Altair 8800 computer kit


The visual display module (VDM) prototype, designed in 1975 by Lee Felsenstein, marked the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. Introduced at the Altair Convention in Albuquerque in March 1976, the visual display module allowed use of personal computers for interactive games.


Microsoft is founded

Microsoft is founded


Shown top row, from left, are: Steve Wood, Bob Wallace and Jim Lane; second row, Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, March McDonald and Gordon Letwin; and front row, Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood and Paul Allen.


The 5100 was IBM's first production personal computer . The 5100 has an integral CRT display, keyboard, and tape drive. It was available with APL, BASIC, or both, and with 16, 32, 48, or 64 Kbytes of RAM.
IBM Portable PC
Model: 5100
Introduced: September, 1975
Price: US $19,975 w/ 64K RAM
Weight: 55 pounds
CPU: IBM proprietary, 1.9MHz
RAM: 16K, 64K max
Display: 5" monochrome monitor
  64 X 16 text
Storage: Internal 200K tape (DC300)
Ports: tape/printer I/O port
OS: APL and/or BASIC

pple Computer founded by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced the Apple II

Apple Computer founded by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs introduced the Apple II. Based on a board of their design, the Apple II, complete with keyboard and color graphics capability.


Apple II

Released: April 1977
Price: US $1298 with 4K RAM
  US $2638 with 48K RAM
CPU: MOS 6502, 1.0 MHz
RAM: 4K min, 48K max
Display: 280 X 192, 40 X 24 text
  6 colors maximum
Ports: composite video output
  cassette interface
  8 internal expansion slots
Storage: generic cassette drive
  external 143K floppy (1978)
OS: Woz Integer BASIC in ROM

Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and running mate Walter Mondale use email to plan campaign events.

Queen Elizabeth sends her first email. Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, sends out an e-mail on March 26 from the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment (RSRE) in Malvern as a part of a demonstration of networking technology.


The Cray I made its name as the first commercially successful vector processor. The fastest machine of its day, its speed came partly from its shape, a C, which reduced the length of wires and thus the time signals needed to travel across them.


The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) came fully assembled and was straightforward to operate, with either 4 or 8 kilobytes of memory, two built-in cassette drives, and a membrane "chiclet" keyboard.

Tandy Radio Shack´s first desktop computer — the TRS-80

Tandy Radio Shack´s first desktop computer — the TRS-80 — sold 10,000 units, well more than the company´s projected sales of 3,000 units for one year. Priced at $599.95, the machine included a Z80 based microprocessor, a video display, 4 kilobytes of memory, BASIC, cassette storage, and easy-to-understand manuals that assumed no prior knowledge on the part of the consumer.

Atari launches the Video Computer System game console

Atari launches the Video Computer System game console. Atari released the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) later renamed the Atari 2600.


TCP split into TCP and IP


Texas Instruments Inc. introduced Speak & Spell, a talking learning aid for ages 7 and up. Its debut marked the first electronic duplication of the human vocal tract on a single chip of silicon. Speak & Spell utilized linear predictive coding to formulate a mathematical model of the human vocal tract and predict a speech sample based on previous input. It transformed digital information processed through a filter into synthetic speech and could store more than 100 seconds of linguistic sounds.


Atari introduces the Model 400 and 800 Computer. Shortly after delivery of the Atari VCS game console, Atari designed two microcomputers with game capabilities: the Model 400 and Model 800. The two machines were built with the idea that the 400 would serve primarily as a game console while the 800 would be more of a home computer. Both sold well, though they had technical and marketing problems, and faced strong competition from the Apple II, Commodore PET, and TRS-80 computers.


USENET established. USENET was invented as a means for providing mail and file transfers using a communications standard known as UUCP. It was developed as a joint project by Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by graduate students Tom Truscott, Jim Ellis, and Steve Bellovin. USENET enabled its users to post messages and files that could be accessed and archived. It would go on to become one of the main areas for large-scale interaction for interest groups through the 1990s.


John Shoch and Jon Hupp at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center discover the computer "worm," a short program that searches a network for idle processors. Initially designed to provide more efficient use of computers and for testing, the worm had the unintended effect of invading networked computers, creating a security threat.


 Bob Metcalfe and others found 3Com (Computer Communication Compatibility)


Seagate Technology created the first hard disk drive for microcomputers. The disk held 5 megabytes of data, five times as much as a standard floppy disk, and fit in the space of a floppy disk drive. The hard disk drive itself is a rigid metallic platter coated on both sides with a thin layer of magnetic material that stores digital data. Along with the benefit of increased storage, hard disks have one major drawback: Permanent installation into the computer decreases their portability.


Tim Berners-Lee writes program called "Enquire Within," predecessor to the World Wide Web.


Adam Osborne completed the first portable computer, the Osborne I, which weighed 24 pounds and cost $1,795. The price made the machine especially attractive, as it included software worth about $1,500. The machine featured a 5-inch display, 64 kilobytes of memory, a modem, and two 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drives.

IBM decided to enter the personal computer market in response to the success of the Apple II
It was IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981.

IBM Personal Computer (PC)

Model: 5150
Released: September 1981
Price: US $3000
CPU: Intel 8088, 4.77MHz
RAM: 16K, 640K max
Display: 80 X 24 text
Storage: optional 160KB 5.25-inch disk drives
Ports: cassette & keyboard only
  internal expansion slots
OS: IBM PC-DOS Version 1.0
The word “Internet” is used for the first time.

Commodore introduces the Commodore 64. The C64, as it was better known, sold for $595, came with 64KB of RAM and featured impressive graphics. Thousands of software titles were released over the lifespan of the C64. By the time the C64 was discontinued in 1993, it had sold more than 22 million units and is recognized by the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest selling single computer model of all time.


The use of computer-generated graphics in movies took a step forward with Disney´s release of "Tron." One of the first movies to use such graphics, the plot of "Tron" also featured computers - it followed the adventures of a hacker split into molecules and transported inside a computer. Computer animation, done by III, Abel, MAGI, and Digital Effects, accounted for about 30 minutes of the film.


Mitch Kapor developed Lotus 1-2-3, writing the software directly into the video system of the IBM PC. By bypassing DOS, it ran much faster than its competitors. Along with the immense popularity of the IBM´s computer, Lotus owed much of its success to its working combination of spreadsheet capabilities with graphics and data retrieval capabilities.

The ARPANET splits into the ARPANET and MILNET. Due to the success of the ARPANET as a way for researchers in universities and the military to collaborate, it was split into military (MILNET) and civilian (ARPANET) segments. This was made possible by the adoption of TCP/IP, a networking standard. The ARPANET was renamed the “Internet” in 1995.
Cisco Systems founded


The movie "War Games" introduces the public to hacking, and the legend of hackers as cyberheroes (and anti-heroes) is born. The film's main character, played by Matthew Broderick, attempts to crack into a video game manufacturer's computer to play a game, but instead breaks into the military's nuclear combat simulator computer. 


The computer (codenamed WOPR, a pun on the military's real system called BURGR) misinterprets the hacker's request to play Global Thermonuclear War as an enemy missile launch. The break-in throws the military into high alert, or DefCon 1 (Defense Condition 1). 
The same year, authorities arrest six teenagers known as the 414 gang (after the area code to which they are traced). During a nine-day spree, the gang breaks into some 60 computers, among them computers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which helps develop nuclear weapons.


The U.S. House of Representatives begins hearings on computer security hacking
Compaq Computer Corp. introduced first PC clone that used the same software as the IBM PC. With the success of the clone, Compaq recorded first-year sales of $111 million, the most ever by an American business in a single year.




In his novel "Neuromancer," William Gibson coined the term "cyberspace."


Sony introduced and shipped the first 3 1/2" floppy drives and diskettes in 1981. The first signficant company to adopt the 3 1/2" floppy for general use was Hewlett-Packard in 1982, an event which was critical in establishing momentum for the 3 1/2" format and which helped it prevail over the other contenders for the microfloppy standard, including 3 1/4", 3", and 3.9" formats.


Domain Name System (DNS) is established -designed by Jon Postel, Paul Mockapetris, and Craig Partridge, with network addresses identified by extensions such as .com, .org, and .edu.

Writer William Gibson coins the term “cyberspace.”

Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh on January 24th

Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh on January 24th

Apple Macintosh

Model: M0001
Introduced: January 1984
Price: US$2495
CPU: Motorola 68000, 7.83 Mhz
RAM: 128K, later 512K
Display: 9-inch monochrome screen
  512x342 pixels
Ports: Two DB9 serial ports
  Printer port
  External floppy port
Storage: Internal 400K SSDD floppy
  optional external floppy ($495)
OS: Macintosh GUI
  (graphical user interface

Except for the very expensive and unpopular Apple Lisa which came out in 1983, the Macintosh is considered to be the first commercially successful computer to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface), as seen above.
Before the Macintosh, all computers were 'text-based' - you operated them by typing words onto the keyboard. The Macintosh is run by activating pictures (icons) on the screen with a small hand-operated device called a "mouse". Most modern-day computers now operate on this principle, including modern Apple computers and most others which run the Microsoft Windows operating system.
IBM Introduces  a portable computer

IBM Portable PC 5155
Model: model 68
Introduced: February 1984
Price: US $4225.
Weight: 30 pounds
CPU: Intel 8088 @ 4.77MHz
RAM: 256K, 640K max
Display: 9-inch amber display
  CGA graphics, 80 X 25 text
Storage: Two 360KB 5.25-inch disk drives
Ports: 1 parallel, 1 serial, CGA video
OS: IBM PC-DOS Version 2.10 (disk)

Quantum Computer Services, which later changes its name to America Online, debuts. It offers email, electronic bulletin boards, news, and other information.

Symbolic.com becomes the first registered domain


Able to hold 550 megabytes of prerecorded data, the new CD-ROMs grew out of regular CDs on which music is recorded. Their capacity is great enough that they rarely fill up, even with information that would take up thousands of pages of paper. The first general-interest CD-ROM product released after Philips and Sony announced the CD-ROM in 1984 was "Grolier´s Electronic Encyclopedia," which came out in 1985. The 9 million words in the encyclopedia only took up 12 percent of the available space. The same year, computer and electronics companies worked together to set a standard for the disks so any computer would be able to access the information.


The Amiga 1000 is released. Commodore’s Amiga 1000 sold for $1,295 dollars (without monitor) and had audio and video capabilities beyond those found in most other personal computers. It developed a very loyal following and add-on components allowed it to be upgraded easily.


The modern Internet gained support when the National Science foundation formed the NSFNET, linking five supercomputer centers at Princeton University, Pittsburgh, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Cornell University. Soon, several regional networks developed; eventually, the government reassigned pieces of the ARPANET to the NSFNET. The NSF allowed commercial use of the Internet for the first time in 1991, and in 1995, it decommissioned the backbone, leaving the Internet a self-supporting industry. The NSFNET initially transferred data at 56 kilobits per second, an improvement on the overloaded ARPANET. Traffic continued to increase, though, and in 1987, ARPA awarded Merit Network Inc., IBM, and MCI a contract to expand the Internet by providing access points around the country to a network with a bandwidth of 1.5 megabits per second. In 1992, the network upgraded to T-3 lines, which transmit information at about 45 megabits per second.


 5000 hosts on ARPAnet/Internet


After more and more break-ins to government and corporate computers, Congress passes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it a crime to break into computer systems.


IBM introduced its PS/2 machines, which made the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk drive and video graphics array standard for IBM computers. The first IBMs to include Intel´s 80386 chip, the company had shipped more than 1 million units by the end of the year. IBM released a new operating system, OS/2, at the same time, allowing the use of a mouse with IBMs for the first time.
10,000 hosts on the Internet
First Cisco router shipped  
25 million PCs sold in US


Robert Morris´ worm flooded the ARPANET. Then-23-year-old Morris, the son of a computer security expert for the National Security Agency, sent a nondestructive worm through the Internet, causing problems for about 6,000 of the 60,000 hosts linked to the network. A researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California discovered the worm. Morris was sentenced to three years of probation, 400 hours of community service, and a fine of $10,050. Morris, who said he was motivated by boredom, programmed the worm to reproduce itself and computer files and to filter through all the networked computers. The size of the reproduced files eventually became large enough to fill the computers´ memories, disabling them.


Intel released the 80486 microprocessor and the i860 RISC/coprocessor chip, each of which contained more than 1 million transistors. The RISC microprocessor had a 32-bit integer arithmetic and logic unit (the part of the CPU that performs operations such as addition and subtraction), a 64-bit floating-point unit, and a clock rate of 33 MHz. The 486 chips remained similar in structure to their predecessors, the 386 chips. What set the 486 apart was its optimized instruction set, with an on-chip unified instruction and data cache and an optional on-chip floating-point unit. Combined with an enhanced bus interface unit, the microprocessor doubled the performance of the 386 without increasing the clock rate.


The World (world.std.com) debuts as the first provider of dial-up Internet access for consumers.Tim Berners-Lee of CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) develops a new technique for distributing information on the Internet. He calls it the World Wide Web. The Web is based on hypertext, which permits the user to connect from one document to another at different sites on the Internet via hyperlinks (specially programmed words, phrases, buttons, or graphics). Unlike other Internet protocols, such as FTP and email, the Web is accessible through a graphical user interface. 


100,000 hosts on Internet

 McAfee Associates founded; anti-virus software available for free

 Quantum becomes America Online


The first effort to index the Internet is created by Peter Deutsch at McGill University in Montreal, who devises Archie, an archive of FTP sites.


The World Wide Web was born when Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, the high-energy physics laboratory in Geneva, developed HyperText Markup Language. HTML, as it is commonly known, allowed the Internet to expand into the World Wide Web, using specifications he developed such as URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). A browser, such as Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer, follows links and sends a query to a server, allowing a user to view a site. Berners-Lee based the World Wide Web on Enquire, a hypertext system he had developed for himself, with the aim of allowing people to work together by combining their knowledge in a global web of hypertext documents. With this idea in mind, Berners-Lee designed the first World Wide Web server and browser — available to the general public in 1991. Berners-Lee founded the W3 Consortium, which coordinates World Wide Web development.


Microsoft shipped Windows 3.0 on May 22. Compatible with DOS programs, the first successful version of Windows finally offered good enough performance to satisfy PC users. For the new version, Microsoft revamped the interface and created a design that allowed PCs to support large graphical applications for the first time. It also allowed multiple programs to run simultaneously on its Intel 80386 microprocessor.


Gopher, which provides point-and-click navigation, is created at the University of Minnesota and named after the school mascot. Gopher becomes the most popular interface for several years.

Another indexing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server), is developed by Brewster Kahle of Thinking Machines Corp


The Linux operating system is introduced. Designed by Finnish university student Linus Torvalds, Linux was released to several Usenet newsgroups on September 17th, 1991.


"Surfing the Internet" is coined by Jean Armour Polly


The Pentium microprocessor is released. The Pentium was the fifth generation of the ‘x86’ line of microprocessors from Intel, the basis for the IBM PC and its clones. The Pentium introduced several advances that made programs run faster such as the ability to execute several instructions at the same time and support for graphics and music.



Mosaic is developed by Marc Andreeson at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). It becomes the dominant navigating system for the World Wide Web, which at this time accounts for merely 1% of all Internet traffic.

InterNIC created


 Web grows by 341,000 percent in a year


The White House launches its website, www.whitehouse.gov.

Initial commerce sites are established and mass marketing campaigns are launched via email, introducing the term “spamming” to the Internet vocabulary.


Netscape Communications Corporation is founded. Netscape was originally founded as Mosaic Communications Corporation in April of 1994 by Marc Andreessen, Jim Clark and others. Its name was soon changed to Netscape and it delivered its first browser in October of 1994.


Jeff Bezos writes the business plan for Amazon.com

Java's first public demonstration.

Microsoft licenses technology from Spyglass to create Web browser for Windows 95.


Yahoo is founded. Founded by Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo started out as "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" before being renamed. Yahoo originally resided on two machines, Akebono and Konishiki, both named after famous Sumo wrestlers. Yahoo would quickly expand to become one of the Internet’s most popular search engines.


CompuServe, America Online, and Prodigy start providing dial-up Internet access.

Sun Microsystems releases the Internet programming language called Java.

The Vatican launches its own website, www.vatican.va.

Microsoft Windows 95 released

Microsoft Internet Explorer 1.0 launched

The movies The Net and Hackers are released. 

United States Department of Defense computers sustain 250,000 attacks by hackers. 

Hackers deface federal web sites.

There are 18,000 Web sites as of August 1995


Approximately 45 million people are using the Internet, with roughly 30 million of those in North America (United States and Canada), 9 million in Europe, and 6 million in Asia/Pacific (Australia, Japan, etc.). 43.2 million (44%) U.S. households own a personal computer, and 14 million of them are online.

Domain name tv.com sold to CNET for $15,000. Browser wars begin. 

Netscape and Microsoft two biggest players.

Hackers alter Web sites of the United States Department of Justice (August), the CIA (October), and the U.S. Air Force (December).


On July 8, 1997, Internet traffic records are broken as the NASA website broadcasts images taken by Pathfinder on Mars. The broadcast generates 46 million hits in one day.

The term “weblog” is coined. It’s later shortened to “blog.”

business.com sold for $150,000

Social networking site  Six Degrees launches


Google opens its first office, in California.

Microsoft reaches a partial settlement with the Justice Department that allows personal computer makers to remove or hide its Internet software on new versions of Windows 95. 

 Netscape announces plans to give its browser away for free.

US Depart of Commerce outlines proposal to privatize DNS. 

ICANN created by Jon Postel to oversee privatization. Jon Postel dies.


College student Shawn Fanning invents Napster, a computer application that allows users to swap music over the Internet.

The number of Internet users worldwide reaches 150 million by the beginning of 1999. More than 50% are from the United States.
“E-commerce” becomes the new buzzword as Internet shopping rapidly spreads.

MySpace.com is launched.

AOL buys Netscape; Andreesen steps down as full-time employee. 

 Browsers wars declared over; Netscape and Microsoft share almost 100% of browser market.  Microsoft declared a monopoly by US District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.


Suddenly the low price of reaching millions worldwide, and the possibility of selling to or hearing from those people at the same moment when they were reached, promised to overturn established business dogma in advertising, mail-order sales, customer relationship management, and many more areas. The web was a new killer app—it could bring together unrelated buyers and sellers in seamless and low-cost ways. Visionaries around the world developed new business models, and ran to their nearest venture capitalist. While some of the new entrepreneurs had experience in business in economics, the majority were simply people with ideas, and didn't manage the capital influx prudently. Additionally, many dot-com business plans were predicated on the assumption that by using the Internet, they would bypass the distribution channels of existing businesses and therefore not have to compete with them; when the established businesses with strong existing brands developed their own Internet presence, these hopes were shattered, and the newcomers were left attempting to break into markets dominated by larger, more established businesses. Many did not have the ability to do so.

The dot-com bubble burst on March 10, 2000, when the technology heavy NASDAQ Composite index peaked at 5048.62 (intra-day peak 5132.52), more than double its value just a year before. By 2001, the bubble's deflation was running full speed. A majority of the dot-coms had ceased trading, after having burnt through their venture capital and IPO capital, often without ever making a profit.

To the chagrin of the Internet population, deviant computer programmers begin designing and circulating viruses with greater frequency. “Love Bug” and “Stages” are two examples of self-replicating viruses that send themselves to people listed in a computer user's email address book. The heavy volume of email messages being sent and received forces many infected companies to temporarily shut down their clogged networks.
The Internet bubble bursts, as the fountain of investment capital dries up and the Nasdaq stock index plunges, causing the initial public offering (IPO) window to slam shut and many dotcoms to close their doors.

America Online buys Time Warner for $16 billion. It’s the biggest merger of all time.

Fixed wireless, high-speed Internet technology is now seen as a viable alternative to copper and fiber optic lines placed in the ground

September 2000 There are 20,000,000 websites on the Internet, numbers doubling since February 2000.

In one of the biggest denial-of-service attacks to date, hackers launch attacks against eBay, Yahoo!, CNN.com., Amazon and others. 

Hackers break into Microsoft's corporate network and access source code for the latest versions of Windows and Office.


Napster is dealt a potentially fatal blow when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules that the company is violating copyright laws and orders it to stop distributing copyrighted music. The file-swapping company says it is developing a subscription-based service.
About 9.8 billion electronic messages are sent daily.

Wikipedia is created.

The European Council adopts the first treaty addressing criminal offenses committed over the Internet. 

 First uncompressed real-time gigabit HDTV transmission across a wide-area IP network takes place on Internet2.


As of January, 58.5% of the U.S. population (164.14 million people) uses the Internet. Worldwide there are 544.2 million users.
The death knell tolls for Napster after a bankruptcy judge ruled in September that German media giant Bertelsmann cannot buy the assets of troubled Napster Inc. The ruling prompts Konrad Hilbers, Napster CEO, to resign and lay off his staff.

The Code Red worm and Sircam virus infiltrate thousands of web servers and email accounts, respectively, causing a spike in Internet bandwidth usage and security breaches


It's estimated that Internet users illegally download about 2.6 billion music files each month.
Spam, unsolicited email, becomes a server-clogging menace. It accounts for about half of all emails. In December, President Bush signs the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act), which is intended to help individuals and businesses control the amount of unsolicited email they receive.
Apple Computer introduces Apple iTunes Music Store, which allows people to download songs for 99 cents each.

Spam, unsolicited email, becomes a server-clogging menace. It accounts for about half of all emails.

The SQL Slammer worm causes one of the largest and fastest spreading DDoS attacks ever, taking only 10 minutes to spread worldwide


Internet Worm, called MyDoom or Novarg, spreads through Internet servers. About 1 in 12 email messages are infected.

Online spending reaches a record high—$117 billion in 2004, a 26% increase over 2003.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook social network service and website launched in February 2004


YouTube.com is launched Google acquires Android, a Linux-based mobile phone operating system.


There are more than 92 million websites online

Apple introduces the MacBook Pro, its first Intel-based, dual-core mobile computer, as well as an Intel-based iMac. Nintendo's Wii game console hits the market..

AOL announces that they will give for free virtually every service for which it charged a monthly fee, with income coming instead from advertising.

Google Inc. acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction

Microsoft launches its various consumer versions of Microsoft Vista

Twitter launches. The company's founder, Jack Dorsey, sends out the very first tweet: "just setting up my twttr."


Legal online music downloads triple to 6.7 million downloads per week.

The iPhone brings many computer functions to the smartphone.  

The online game, World of Warcraft, hits a milestone when it surpasses 9 million subscribers worldwide in July.

Apple surpasses one billion iTunes downloads

1.1 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats

Search engine giant Google surpasses Microsoft as "the most valuable global brand," and also is the most visited Web site

NASA successfully tests the first deep space communications network modeled on the Internet, using the Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) software to transmit images to/fron a science spacecraft ~20 million miles above Earth

Google's crawler reaches 1 trillion pages, although only a fraction are indexed by the search engine. For comparison, Google's original index had 26 million pages in 1998, and reached 1 billion in 2000

The Middle East, India, and other parts of Africa and Asia see a major degradation in Internet service, including outages, after several undersea cables carrying Internet traffic to the region are cut within 1 week (Jan-Feb)

IPv6 addresses are added for the first time to 6 of the root zone servers (4 Feb)

YouTube becomes unreacheable for a couple of hours after Pakistan Telecom starts an unauthorized announcement of YouTube's subnet prefix (24 Feb)

US$1M+ Domain Sales: Fund.com (9.9M), Clothes.com (4.9M), Shopping.de (2.8M), Kredit.de (1.17M), Cruises.co.uk (1.09M), Invest.com (1.01M)

DNSSEC becomes operational on .gov (28 Feb), .org (2 Jun), .us (15 Dec)

.tel registrations begin

US Department of Commerce relaxes control over ICANN, in favor of a multi-national oversight group

Domain tasting gets severely curtailed after ICANN raises the 2008-introduced fee for erroneously registered domains from $0.20 to $6.95; domain kiting however conitnues

Twitter is asked by the US Government to delay planned maintenance of its service on 15 June as a result of heavy use by Iranian users during unrest in that country

.se domains become unreachable for an hour on 12 Oct after an incorrectly configured software update modifies all registrations

ICANN opens up applications for internationalized domain names (16 Nov)

Emerging Technologies: Location awareness

US$1M+ Domain Sales: Insure.com (16M in Oct), Toys.com (5.1M in Feb), Candy.com (3M), Fly.com (1.76M)

The Internet marks its 40th anniversary.

Microsoft launches Windows 7, which offers the ability to pin applications to the taskbar and advances in touch and handwriting recognition, among other features.


 Facebook reaches 400 million active users.

The social media sites Pinterest and Instagram are launched.

Apple unveils the iPad, changing the way consumers view media and jumpstarting the dormant tablet computer segment.


 Twitter and Facebook play a large role in the Middle East revolts. 

Google releases the Chromebook, a laptop that runs the Google Chrome OS.


 President Barack Obama's administration announces its opposition to major parts of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which would have enacted broad new rules requiring internet service providers to police copyrighted content. The successful push to stop the bill, involving technology companies such as Google and nonprofit organizations including Wikipedia and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is considered a victory for sites such as YouTube that depend on user-generated content, as well as "fair use" on the Internet.

Facebook gains 1 billion users on October 4.



Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, reveals that the NSA had in place a monitoring program capable of tapping the communications of thousands of people, including U.S. citizens.

 Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults report that they bank online, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.


 Instagram, the photo-sharing site, reaches 400 million users, outpacing Twitter, which would go on to reach 316 million users by the middle of the same year.

Apple releases the Apple Watch.

Microsoft releases Windows 10


 Google unveils Google Assistant, a voice-activated personal assistant program, marking the entry of the Internet giant into the "smart" computerized assistant marketplace. Google joins Amazon's Alexa, Siri from Apple, and Cortana from Microsoft. 

The first reprogrammable quantum computer was created. "Until now, there hasn't been any quantum-computing platform that had the capability to program new algorithms into their system. They're usually each tailored to attack a particular algorithm," said study lead author Shantanu Debnath, a quantum physicist and optical engineer at the University of Maryland, College Park.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a new "Molecular Informatics" program that uses molecules as computers. "Chemistry offers a rich set of properties that we may be able to harness for rapid, scalable information storage and processing," Anne Fischer, program manager in DARPA's Defense Sciences Office, said in a statement. "Millions of molecules exist, and each molecule has a unique three-dimensional atomic structure as well as variables such as shape, size, or even color. This richness provides a vast design space for exploring novel and multi-value ways to encode and process data beyond the 0s and 1s of current logic-based, digital architectures."


Social Media
Social media is content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. It's a set of technologies, tools and platforms facilitating the discovery, participation and sharing of content. It is transforming monologues (one to many) into dialogues (many to many) and the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal and business. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).


Credit: U.S.  Department Of Commerce , Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, International Data Corporation, the W3C Consortium, Nielsen/NetRatings, and the Internet Society, Computer History Museum,Hobbes' Internet Timeline