Internet's 40th "Birthday" Marked

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August 31, 2009—In fall 1969, computers sending data between two California universities set the stage for the Internet, which became a household word in the 1990s.

© 2009 National Geographic (AP)

Unedited Transcript

What would the 21st century be without computers?

The machines that rule our modern lives have been around for less than a century.

Early computers helped the allied forces during the Second World War.

SOUNDUP: (Announcer) The analyzer worked for three years on important war projects, including reigns tables for our Navy's mighty guns."

By the late 1960s computers were being used by NASA and other government agencies.

Then on September 2nd 1969, in a lab at the University of California, Los Angeles, two computers passed test data through a 15-foot gray cable.

Stanford Research Institute joined the fledging ARPANET network a month later; UC Santa Barbara and the University of Utah joined by year's end, and the internet was born.

VOICEOVER (English) no name given: "In the 70s, the silicon chip became the basis of a new generation of computerized devices .

Following the silicon chip, came games and e-mail, creating a social and industrial revolution.

The Museum of Computing in Swindon, England boasts dozens of exhibits featuring computers through the decades.

One of the prize exhibits is a black cube, the model of a computer used by Tim Berners-Lee.

SOUNDBITE (English) Simon Webb, Curator, Museum of Computing: "It's a pretty rare beast, we're very lucky to have one of these, especially in such a good condition. It's a fairly significant machine, in that on one of these machines Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web."

The Internet didn't become a household word until the 90s, though, when Lee, a British physicist invented the Web and service providers like America Online connected millions of people for the first time.

The Museum has a large collection of computer games, including the first TV tennis games console.

SOUNDUP: (Announcer) There were toys for adults, too

The Founder of the Museum of Computing says that today's children have no concept of a life before computers.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Holt, Founder, Museum of Computing: "The interest is that a lot of the youngsters nowadays have no real idea how primitive things were a few years ago. They've been brought up with the Internet, they can't imagine an age which doesn't have the Internet in there, and the idea is to show some of the early computer games and just how basic they were."

A Vice President of Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa reminisces about one exhibit he found on display in the museum.

SOUNDBITE (English) Gordon Graylish, Vice President, Intel Europe, Middle East and Africa: "This is the first one I could say was my computer; it's an Osborne, and you actually bring it home. You would have to plug it in because there was no battery, and you would work forever to get very little out of it, but it was the first example of a mobile computer.

With the great evolvement of the World Wide Web and computers, everyone is waiting to see what the next generation of communication and gaming devices will look like.

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