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Where were you when the internet went live?

Where were you when the internet went live?

Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute was there, one of just 25 active servers

I received a mass email from the person who founded and runs Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, celebrating the birth of the world wide web 20 years ago and the fact that Cornell’s LII was there when the lights went on, along with 24 other active servers:

Earlier this week, the World Wide Web celebrated its 20th anniversary — the date in 1993 when CERN, where the Web originally took shape as a research project, announced that it was making the technology freely available to the world.  In recognition of that event, CERN republished its original Web page, arguably the first Web page in the world, as it appeared in 1993.  You can browse it at .

If you do, you’ll see a link to “What’s out there”

(  Under “Law”, you’ll see one entry — a link to Title 17 of the US Code at the LII.

There is also a link to “W3 Servers” ( ), not a comprehensive list of all the servers running at the time, but a list of all of the ones running reliably.  There are 25, and again you’ll find a link to the LII, the 21st to be added to a list whose first member was the original CERN server put up by Tim Berners-Lee.

We’re kind of proud of that.

The CERN announcement is at

Here’s the list:

NCSA National Center for Supercomputing Applictions, Urbana Champain, IL, USA. Experimental.
IN2P3 Lyon, France.
KVIKernfysisch Versneller Instituut (nuclear physics accelerator institute), Groningen, Netherlands. VMS server.
CWI Center of  Mathematics and Computer Science, Amsterdam. FTP server for hypertext, including Gnu TeXInfo stuff as hypertext.
Cornell Legal information: US Intellectual Property Statustes on line.
ZEUS ZEUS experiment at DESY, Hamburg, Germany. [.At least 2 servers]
KEK KEK, Tsukuba, Japan. Experimental only. [FTP hypertext, http server later)
DESY unix server Experimental only as yet.
Denmark’s Technical Library The DTB information service includes the library system.
VOICE magazine The first global online hypertext magazine? Ed. Tom Boutell
SLAC Stanford Linear Accelerator, California. HEP preprints database and LOTS more… also a unix server .
Technical University of Graz Information service. Gateway to Hyper-G data.
CCIT Arizona University of Arizona information
Fermilab Documentation from online and offline groups. Also at FNAL, very experimental servers in Theory , D0 , HEPnet management , ACCESS user consultancy .
ASIS Software Repository A server for public domain and CERN software for distribution to CERN members only. The documentation is public.
CERN news Various groups, some more active than others – see the full list
CERN computing documents A keyword index.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Information service – both in hebrew and English, asssumes a VT terminal with hebrew characters. See also their TeX database (July 1992).
Helsinki Technical University HUT Information tree.
HEPNET Experimental server (might move!) run by US HEPNet at FNAL.
ICTP Italian physics institute (experimental server)
FUNET  informationFinnish Univerity Research Network. 
NIKHEF The Dutch High-Energy Physics center. 
Software Technology Information from STING organised by Mike Sendall.
VXCRNA  help The VMS help tree on node .
WorldWideWeb support information about W3 itself,  CERN entry point, and web overviews.

Restricted or difficult access

SunSite The sunsite repository being set up bu UNC Chapel Hill. (Experimental)
Xerox PARC Private: Access from only. System33 document server.
CIS Informationsdienst The information service from the Centrum fuer Informations und Sprachverarbeitung von Muenchen (don’t panic: they also have it in English !) Experimental, very slow line :-(. Times out.
OMT group – Private web.


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Today’s Slope Day on the Hill. Hope the weather’s nice. Prof. Jacobson, I understand Slope Day isn’t what it used to be, but you should witness it if you get a chance, probably from afar. There is something reassuring about thousands of hard working young students taking a break at the end of the semester to celebrate together with no social/political/religious/racial/age/academic distinctions. All of the self-identification categories disappear on Slope Day. Everyone parties together. At least when I was there it was kind of magical.

I hear now the authorities have hindered celebration quite a bit.

iirc this was the week and year the VA did my first knee operation. was also the year my inactive reserve status ended and there were issues with local naval base (closest military base) trying to get me to re-up even though as a disabled vet I was not allowed to.
tons of letters.

Juba Doobai! | May 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

I was in grad school and working part time to help pay for it. I used to log in via vt terminal to the school’s library. Not much there, but it was intriguing. Then, one day a young Jamaican guy said ‘let me show you this’ and he opened a web browser and pulled up a site. Life has never been the same since.

Just getting straight from a hangover, with my sales staff at this fine establishment. Opened two new condo projects and sales were terrific.

They even named a brand new cocktail after me and NO, I don’t not recall the ingredients.

What’s the “Internet”?

…Working with the DOS command line on a Radio Shack Tandy slow-as-molasses Computer with telephone modem to pull up the National Weather Service ports onto my huge CRT.

Non-newbies would complain back then about these folks who “ate up bandwidth using something called Mosasic”.

On my sailboat in the Sea of Cortez. In 1993 my wife and I (we were 47 years old) quit our jobs, sold everything and bought a 51′ ketch and left Seattle for someplace warmer. We followed the “two foot” theory of navigation for several years, where you look at your two feet and if you are wearing socks, you steer south (northern hemisphere).

I had learned to program on a Texas Instruments TI/994A using TI Basic and TI Extended Basic. I then went on to designing software for VAX mainframes.

When we returned to the states in 1998 the whole internet thingy was fascinating.

Where was I… not sure, but I might have been logged into a local library bulletin board or on Prodigy!

Anyone remember OPUS by Wynn Wagner? I set one up capable of handling a massive data flow of 600 bps via phone modem.

Emil Blatz | May 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I was a student at the U. of Wisconsin Law School, and I regularly used the internet in its character based/command line form in the library or using a very awkward Westlaw student edition dialing-up from home. This was the time when going from a 14.4 to 33.3 modem was a big deal (those are kilo-baud rates – for youngsters in the audience, think of something excruciatingly slow, then cut its speed in half, then repeat.)

One day I noticed a bunch of the law library staff gathered around a single computer, and that was the first time I saw the World Wide Web. It was a profound moment.

Buffalobob | May 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Back then I was a member of a PC club affiliated with my employer, a major computer co. My cutting edge pc was a IBM PC Junior. I recall one meeting were we discussed the net. One of our members was connecting to a college library in Prague. I asked if there was anyway that our PCs could be compromised and accessed by the net connections. Everyone let out a resounding no, absolutely not. You know the rest of the story.

I thoroughly checked out that first web page, and its “people” section, and its “history” section, and did not see even one mention of Al Gore!

There must be a conspiracy or something, maybe a “vast right wing conspiracy”.

BannedbytheGuardian | May 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I was on the net when it was just a Guvmint thing – aviation – before it went public.

I loaded up all the small airport data from tapes onto discs & onto file. Since then I have always been a bit nervous of remote airfield crashes in case I put in the wrong measurements. In 20 plus years – . So far so good.

PatriotGal2257 | May 3, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I was working in the Advertising Art department of a small daily newspaper. We almost always kept a frenetic pace, but during the rare and infrequent downtime we had, we used to fool around with the flatbed scanners and Photoshop and make goofy and amateurish photo collages. At the beginning, the paper’s management was very slow to roll out even email access — I remember only a few select computers even had *that* at first, and the people who had it (I wasn’t one of them) guarded access to it jealously. We all eventually got the whole package — email, Internet, FTPs — and I have difficulty remembering how we used to work without it now.

KM from Detroit | May 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

…I was a month away from 9 years old 🙂