Expand Your Mind: Usenet History Lesson

Expand Your Mind: Usenet History Lesson

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

Have you ever wondered what people will make of the first Twitter messages in 30 years? Will there be another wave of technological change that makes that world radically different from today?

Long before Twitter and social media there was Usenet; a communal meeting place for scientists, developers, hackers and other early adopters.

Along with the more mundane Usenet was the place of firsts, including some of the most amazing technological announcements of the last 30 years.

Usenet offers thousands of “first mentions,” including Microsoft MS-DOS, MTV, fax machines, Lisa, Macintosh and Apple’s original Super Bowl commercial and a review of the first IBM pc

For $ 1,565 you get a keyboard and logic unit with 16K RAM and a Basic interpreter in 40K ROM.  A cassette interface is built in, I think; but no diskette or monitor at this price — you use your TV set. … A “business configuration” with 64K, dual diskettes, printer, and “color graphics” goes for about $ 4,500.

Among the many ‘firsts’ are some that boggle the mind.

In 1991 there were two that forever changed our world.

Tim Berners-Lee posted an executive summary for a new idea and invited people to “mail me with any queries.”

WorldWideWeb – Executive Summary: The WWW project merges the techniques of information retrieval and hypertext to make an easy but powerful global information system.

Linus Torvalds announcement provided jet fuel for the open source movement.

“I’m working on a free version of a minix-lookalike for AT-386 computers.  It has finally reached the stage where it’s even usable (though may not be depending on what you want), and I am willing to put out the sources for wider distribution.”

Read the ‘firsts’ timeline at Google Groups.

Hat tip to TNW Insider for introducing me to the Usenet Firsts.

Flickr image credit: pedroelcarvalho

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