10 Fascinating Facts About the Internet and the Guy Who Invented It

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, gestures as he introduced to the audience during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London. (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Timothy John Berners-Lee was born during the summer of June 8th, 1995 in London, England. He is one of four children born to Conway Berners-Lee and Mary Lee Woods. He attended secondary school at Emanuel School from 1969 to 1973. He then attended college at The Queen’s College, Oxford from 1973 to 1976. He pursued a B.A degree in physics and earned first-class honors.

Upon graduating, Tim Berners-Lee worked as an engineer for two years at Plessey Telecommunications Ltd, a telecommunications company in Dorset, England. Afterward, in 1978, he joined D.G Nash Ltd writing type-setting programs to be used in intelligent printers and multi-tasking operating systems. In 1980, he became an independent software engineer consultant for CERN: information sharing turned out to be a significant part of his responsibility. Motivated to find a more straightforward, more convenient way to accomplish this task, he wrote a program to store information called Enquire. Moreover, so, what started as a workaround to a problem became the bedrock of online information sharing, which later on attributed to the inception of the World Wide Web.

1. There is a Difference Between World Wide Web and Internet

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You may be tempted to think they are the same thing because honestly, sometimes we use these words synonymously, which is not true, but they are however akin to one another. Firstly, the Internet is a superset of networks. Put simply; it is a vast network made up of other networks. However, though there was an interconnection of computers, accessing information was a different matter. Hence, the World Wide Web, which made it easier to access and retrieve information on the network. Tim Berners-Lee developed a standard for encoding documents (HTML, Hypertext Markup Language), connecting them (HTTP, Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and addressing them (URL, Uniform Resource Locator). Through this, standard information was shared and best of all, it was and still is free.

2. Tim Berners-Lee was Selected to Appear in the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Cover

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Remember The Beatles? Well, Peter Blake, best known for co-creating the album cover for the record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 2012 selected, among other British cultural icons, Sir Tim Berners-Lee to appear in a new version of his most distinguished works to mark his 80th birthday. To learn about all the people in the picture, click here.

This had been earlier done in 1967 by the Beatles.

3. First Website Ever Created Still Exists to Date

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The first website, with the URL info.cern.ch, is still online and Berners-Lee’s NeXT computer was its server. The website itself is quite simple; it explains how to access other people’s files and how to set up a server. The machine used to host the website is still at CERN. In 2013 CERN restored the first website to its original as a project to restore the first website.

4. Garfield Once Offered its Own E-Mailing Service

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Before the birth of the Google e-mailing service, Gmail, there was already an e-mailing service that dawned that name (gmail.garfield.com). This led you to the site where you would then input your username and password; although the domain, gmail.com did not belong to the studio that brought you Garfield, the plump, blatantly lazy cat.

5. Humans Make Up for Less Than Half of the Internet’s Traffic

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The Internet is mostly the flow of data across the Internet. Since the Internet is so vast, there is no single point to measure all internet traffic. So that you visualize the vastness of the Internet, the figures and percentages used are exclusive of service provider’s network and private networks. Humans make up only 49 percent of the internet traffic. 51 percent is made up of scrapers (automated processes implemented by bots or web crawlers) and spam mechanisms.

6. Tim Berners-Lee Was Honored by Queen Elizabeth II

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On 16 July 2004, Tim Berners-Lee has bestowed the honor of Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire by her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in London. The rank is the second most senior rank of the Order of the British Empire. The British citizen was knighted in appreciation for his “service to the global development of the Internet” through his invention of the World Wide Web, an information sharing platform across the Internet.

7. There Are Layers to the Internet

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You may have heard of terms such as deep web and dark web being used in your favorite TV shows, now let’s shed some light on what they mean and their scope. The surface web is made up of web pages that search engines like Bing can find and index; and although this is big, it accounts for only 4 percent. Indexing is the arrangement of data in a specified way. The deep web is made up of content that search engines cannot get to, but you could; mostly, when you attempt to gain access as you would public web pages, you’d come up short. An example is accessing your bank account online; your authorization is required. Hence search engines are not privy to it.

8. Tim Berners-Lee was Fond of Trains When He was Young

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For Tim, this was a classic case of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” With mathematicians for parents, who also played a part in the making of the Ferranti Mark, his love for all things science was bound to happen. Tim turned out to be a fanatical trains-potter as a child.

9. The Internet is the Fastest Penetrating Technology

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When the Internet was made, its intended purpose was very different from what it’s used for today. Not then known as the Internet, the U.S Defense Department’s ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) funded research that developed many of the protocols used for Internet communication up to date.

10. Amazon is Not an Online Retailer

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Contrary to popular belief Amazon is not only a retailer company; it is a technology company. Encouraged by their success in creating technologies, they expanded their bank of services to include Amazon Web Services and IT infrastructure. Today, almost one in four technological companies run on Amazon Web Services, and Amazon is one of the leading online retail stores.