This Weird Household Machine Was the Future of Voting in 1945

Some day a President of the United States may be elected "electronically." This sentence wouldn't look out of place in any news story from 2014, despite quotes around the word "electronically." But believe it or not, that prediction comes from a magazine article in 1945. » 6/10/14 3:42pm 6/10/14 3:42pm

These Poor Naive Canadians Thought The Internet Would Be Polite

Every new communications technology has that honeymoon period where a select group of people embraces it as the key to utopia. And then come the trolls. Even early radio had miscreants who would send out false distress signals. The people least prepared for their trollish ways? Canadians. » 3/12/14 5:28pm 3/12/14 5:28pm

People Didn't Trust the Internet Before There Even Was One

Thanks to recent confirmation that your every online move is being monitored, trust in the internet seems like it's at an all-time low. In fact, as we can see from an article published in 1973, we were acutely aware that the future of our interconnected world depended on confidence in the privacy and security of the… » 12/10/13 2:20pm 12/10/13 2:20pm

Did Al Gore Invent the Internet?

Anytime someone online writes about internet history, the comments inevitably fill up with jokes about Al Gore. There's a popular myth that Gore once claimed to have invented the internet, which means many people think that "Al Gore" works as both a set-up and a punchline. What these jokesters might be surprised to… » 10/18/13 2:09pm 10/18/13 2:09pm

This IBM Scientist Predicted Netflix Before The Internet Even Existed

If you predicted the decline of deadtree books or the rise of services like Netflix streaming, say, 25 years ago, you'd be considered a damn good prognosticator. But what if you predicted those things back in 1964—before the internet even existed? Amazingly, a scientist from IBM did just that, long before any of these… » 10/02/13 3:38pm 10/02/13 3:38pm

The Rise And Fall of the ARPANET (1969-1989) in One GIF

The ARPANET made its first host-to-host connection in October of 1969 and from there slowly grew into a behemoth, laying the groundwork for our modern internet. The good folks over at Smithsonian magazine recently GIF'd the growth of the ARPANET from 1969 to 1977. But why stop there? Inspired by their wonderful… » 9/05/13 5:44pm 9/05/13 5:44pm

The Internet's Save-the-Date: A Tiny Item in a UCLA Student Newspaper

There are surprisingly few documents from 1969 that mark the birth of the internet. We have some notes scribbled on a pad of paper, and a few newspaper articles after the fact. But there weren't any reporters parked outside of 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA on October 29, 1969 to witness that historic moment when the… » 7/30/13 2:28pm 7/30/13 2:28pm

Internet Pioneers Discuss the Future of Money, Books, and Paper in 1972

Imagine a world where nearly every book ever published could be delivered to you electronically in the blink of an eye. Imagine a world where all of your banking is done without having to visit a bank teller. Imagine a world where paper doesn't need to be shuttled around to exchange ideas. I know, I know, I'm… » 7/23/13 1:55pm 7/23/13 1:55pm

Two Early Visionaries Among 2013 Internet Hall of Fame Inductees

Yesterday, the Internet Society announced this year's inductees to the Internet Hall of Fame. You'll notice popular names like Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia; Richard Stallman, the activist who launched the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation; and Aaron Swartz, the programmer and activist who… » 6/27/13 11:05am 6/27/13 11:05am

Your Old Pictures on the Internet Are Going to Be Deleted

If you've spent any time on the Internet back in the early 2000's, you definitely ran into Webshots. It was the photo sharing service everyone used before Photobucket, before Flickr or Picasa, and before Facebook and Instagram. Hell, you still might have pictures on Webshots! Well, you better go get them because… » 10/03/12 8:00pm 10/03/12 8:00pm