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Essay/Term paper: The history of the internet

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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The internet has come a very long way in the past 50 years. New inovations such as integrated software and hardware has changed the way that poeple view and obtain information today. The internet is a global computer network connecting millions and millions of users throughout the world. "It is a network connecting many computer networks and is based on a common addressing system and communications protocol."It has become one of the fastest growing forms of communication today(Encyclodpedia Britannica 1999).

The Internet got started by the Defense Department as a Cold War experiment in the 1950"s. The government needed a way to relay information between tanks and headquarters so the ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) sought a way to let signals from the battlefield reach a headquarters computer using satellites and radio signals. At this time our command posts were hidden underground in fear of a nuclear attack. "Paul Baran, working for the U.S. Air Force, developed a network that could reroute itself around damage caused by the impact of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by using 'redundancy of connectivity'". This meant that if there was a break in the network, the server would re-route the information on an alternate path through a new technique called 'packet switching'. "Packet Switching is a means of breaking up the message being sent into small packets which carry enough information to seek out its destination and sending them out separately towards the destination server. The message after being broken up would take separate routes to the destination and then be re-assembled by the computer at the server where the message was being sent." This was good because with more than one route for information to travel on, the enemy did not have one central point to target their attack to break the lines of communication and if there ever was a break in the line, the information could still travel through.(http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net~history.shtml)

This all interested the ARPA enough to fund the research and development of an experimental computer network with hopes of demonstrating the feasibility of remote computer operation from the battlefield. "Vinton Cerf also called "The Father of the Internet", a graduate student working at UCLA began to take interest in the 4 node ARPAnet, and in 1973 developed the first TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) software." TCP/IP software converts messages into streams, transmits them across different nodes or networks, and reassembles them at the destination point(http://www.mediamente.rai.it/english/bibliote/biografi/c/cerf.htm).

When it first started ARPAnet was limited mainly to military business by the ARPA but soon scientists began to use it to work on research through e-mail. Not long after the first mailing list appeared called SF-LOVERS. The ARPA repeatedly shut the growing number of mailing lists down but gave up after a while calling it a way to "test the networks mail capacity." The ARPAnet as it was now called began to grow and by the "80"s it began to link to other college and government networks. "NSFnet (national science foundation network) and the newly founded usenet were among the first to be connected. These links began the "ARPAinternet" later called just the internet." The internet grew rapidly over time and began to ease out of government ownership and into privately owned routes. In 1990 ARPAnet was shut down but by this time the internet had become completely public and no longer relied on the original ARPAnet. It however still used the TCP/IP technology developed by Cerf(Buick, Joanna and Jevtic, Zoran).

"Usenet was a network similar to ARPAnet created by graduate students and faculty members of the University of North Caroline and Duke University, who had seen ARPAnet but were unable to access the government created and controlled network." The structure of usenet mimicked the mailing lists of ARPAnet but was designed like a bulletin board to store messages onto one accessible computer rather than send them to each individual mailbox like the ARPAnet mailing lists. "Another difference was that in usenet the nodes were not directly connected like ARPAnet but used phone lines to transfer information. Messages on the early usenet would take up to a week to reach all of the nodes due to slow modems (300 bit per second) and poor phone lines and in some cases would take even longer (messages were airmailed weekly to Australia on magnetic tape). By 1987 usenet had grown considerable and linked to 5,000 sites and carried an average of 1,000 messages per day." Later that year usenet was connected to ARPAnet, however usenet users were looked down by the scientists and government officials on ARPAnet. The number of newsgroups on usenet began to expand and so did the variety of newsgroup content. "In 1987 the operators of the usenet backbone computers had to create a different hierarchy to house the controversial newsgroups. Some systems had refused to carry the controversial newsgroups like net.rec.drugs so the ".alt" (alternative) hierarchy was created"(http://www.isoc.org/guest/zakon/Internet/History/USENET/USENET_History).

After the development and merger of ARPAnet and usenet the internet began to grow extremely rapidly. The internet evolved from a small government project to the fastest growing form of communication it is today.

"In 1993, Tim Lee created an interface to the World Wide Web he called Mosaic. The NSF actually funded further development of a Macintosh and Microsoft Windows version of Mosaic through a grant to the University." The Mosaic Web Browser put a pretty face on the Internet. You could navigate the World Wide Web by clicking on links with the mouse. More importantly, it allowed users to add "players" for sound, video clips, or anything else they wanted to add. Today, advanced Mosaic browsers such as Netscape have added other functions quite beyond World Wide Web, including electronic mail(http://www.vzinet.com/train/history/sld01.html).

"Electronic mail, or E-mail as it is commonly called, was invented by Ray Tomlinson in 1971 as a way of sending messages of the Internet to other users on-line. His program for sending E-mail was called SNDMSG, which stands for send message." Now E-mail has grown so much that next year people will send an estimated 6 trillion messages(http://www2.uta.edu/geology/compulit/mailhist.html).

Although the Internet is a good tool for business and is very educational, it has a negative side to it. The Internet is very simple to learn how to use. It provides up-to-date news and information that can be easily accessed. Nonetheless, the Internet is also full of adult material that children can access easily. Also, privacy is unheard of and crimes can be committed easily and almost always completed successfully. These drawbacks rise the question of whether the Internet is a great tool or just a lot of trouble? The Internet provides easy access to up-to-date news, sound waves, and current events. Most news stations have webpages that are updated daily. Some record companies have webpages too. They provide a list of new releases and a lot of samples for you to listen to easily. The Internet was made for everyone no matter what a person is interested in. It is possible for someone to buy clothing without leaving their home. Designers like Calvin Klein have webpages in which clothing can be purchased by just supplying a credit card number.

The Internet can help with a lot of problems. If something were to go wrong with your computer, they're are chat rooms available that have many people in them to help fix the computer, as long as it is something within reason. Internet in the classroom is an excellent thing. The Internet is very colorful so it keeps students attention. It is very simple to use, so no special training is needed. Teachers can even hook their computers up to the television so the whole class can follow along by watching the television. If students were able to use the Internet in the classroom, it would make it easier to do homework. They would be able to look up information quickly and get plenty of sources for reports, easily. Laptops with wireless modems, that are connected with the Internet have helped the business world incredibly. By using a laptop with a wireless modem, making business plans with other people via e-mail or ordering plane tickets can be done anywhere at any time, easily. Being able to connect to the internet so simply is very essential for business people. Pocket size computers that are Internet accessible are very popular with business consumers now. It makes it a lot easier to set up appointments.

Although the internet is a good tool, a lot of bad things come with it. One thing is that most websites are in English only and very few are in any other foreign languages. What is the purpose of it being "World Wide" if most other countries cannot understand it? Another bad thing is that it can be time consuming to get a computer fixed. If a business owner relies on the Internet for making appointments or deals, computers breaking down can be very costly. Computers are also not cheap. Most families cannot even afford them much less the Internet. Most schools provide computers that are internet accessible but they have time limits on them. Although the Internet does have a lot of good information, it also has a lot of unreliable information. Either the person was misinformed or just being ignorant. Unreliable information can cause major problems when someone is trying to collect data. Chat rooms have been causing a lot of problems lately on the Internet. It is very easy to lie about someone"s age, sex, looks, etc. People can appear to be someone totally different than they are. Some people have chatted with people on the internet for quite awhile but when they meet them they find out they are someone totally different. A lot of pedophiles like the idea of this. A major problem with the Internet is hackers. A first and last name is all that is necessary to get an address, phone number, and e-mail address from the Internet. They could then go on to get other personal information. It is also possible to transfer money from one person"s bank account to another person"s account easily. This type of transaction can go on quite awhile before someone catches on then still it is still very hard to tell who is actually doing it. Another major problem with the Internet is that a lot of webpages have adult material, such as pornography, that can be easily viewed by children. Cybersitters can be a help but most are costly. Pedophiles and pornographers have filled the Internet with "smut" that can be downloaded at anytime by anyone. It is also very hard to catch them because they do not have to tell who they are. Users of the Internet are able to use the Internet for whatever they want but some websites requires that identification be given. A third party almost always monitors these websites, they know exactly what is going on and who put in the identification information. Some say that censoring the Internet is almost impossible because no matter what is done someone is always able to get around it. Some software and computer companies have agreed upon a ranking system. The scale runs from "subtle innuendo" to "explicitly for adults." Parents can help by programming their Cybersitters on this scale. Tighter laws have also been made to protect children from seeing pornography on the Internet. Most porno sites require a credit card number to enter. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has set up a cybertipline for people to call toll-free to report incidences of sexual exploitation online, which includes online pornography, child prostitution, and seduction of children for sexual acts. When reported they will be fined.

A lot of companies and organizations have been trying to do things to make the Internet safer. In mid-July of 1998, Clinton administration plans on having a V-chip included with the Internet. This V-chip will rank material how parents want it. Microsoft has set up an educational campaign aimed at helping parents find family-friendly sites, teach safe online behavior, and how to use screening and blocking devices. Disney Online provides parents with information about "children safe" sites. Blocking options are available for parents to use for their children. Some blocking devices have three different levels, Children Only, Teen, and 18-plus. To get into 18-plus a password would have to be given. Some computers have an American On-Line notify button. At any given time while on the Internet and adult material is easily viewed, by clicking a button, American On-Line will be notified. By using this, inappropriate material will stop appearing on the Internet. Parents should play a huge role in making sure their children are safely using the Internet. Parents should be educated first, then set guidelines for children about what is allowed and what is not. These guidelines should include how long the child can be on and what they can view. So, even though the Internet is a great tool, it can be a very trouble-causing thing. Using blocking or screening systems can solve a lot of problems. By teaching children and parents, the Internet can be a good tool all the way around, what it was intended for in the beginning.

Works Cited

Buick, Joanna and Jevtic, Zoran. Introducing Cyberspace. New York, NY: Totem Books, 1995.

Crick, Prof. Rex E. E-Mail History. [Online] Available

http://www2.uta.edu/geology/compulit/mailhist.html, December 20, 1999.

Hafner, Katie and Lyon, Mathew. Where Wizards Stay up Late. New York, NY: Simon&Schuster

Inc., 1996.

"Internet." Enclyclopedia Britannica, 1999 ed.

Kristula, Dave. The History of the Internet. [Online] Available

http://www.davesite.com/webstation/net-history.shtml, November 19, 1999.

Network Solutions, Inc. What is the History of the Internet. [Online] Available

http://www.vzinet.com/train/history/sld01.html, November 19, 1999.

Torgiano. Vinton Cerf. [Online] Available

http://www.mediamente.rai.it/english/bibliote/biografi/c/cerf.htm, December 20, 1999

Webmaster@ISOC.ORG. History of the Internet. [Online] Available

http://www.isoc.org/guest/zakon/Internet/History/USENET/USENET_History, December 21,



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