Tuesday, March 16, 2010

25 years of dotcom


Yesterday (15th March) was the 25th anniversary of the day the first dotcom name was registered - symbolics.com. In 2009, Symbolics.com was sold to its current owner, Missouri based XF.com Investment Company, and is used as the personal blog of Aron Meystedt, owner of XF.com and Symbolics.com. Nearly 200,000,000 registrations later, the Internet thrives as the world’s network for entertainment and business. See Wired.com report on this anniversary.

On 15th March 1985 (when I was exactly half the age I am now), very few people would have known what a dotcom was. I was a postgraduate student at Trinity during March 1985 and had still not yet even used a computer. In fact I don't think I had even seen one in action (apart from on Star Trek). By 1986 I was using the DEC-20 mainframe computer to start analyzing my research data. Though at the time I thought it was brilliant, I had to wait 24 hours for printouts to see my results (none could be shown on-screen). It's hard now to imagine a time when office desks had typewriters on them instead of PCs, no Google/FaceBook/YouTube, no USBs, no WWW, or many of the things we are used to today. I wonder what people in 1985 were predicting what the world would be like in 2010?

To the right is an image from the Irish Times Archive website of the front page of that newspaper on 15th March, 1985. The first dotcom doesn't get a mention. You can just about see that the headline is about a Cardinal - somethings never change (see today's front page of the Irish Times!). Also on the front page is a report about Britain being "29% cheaper than Ireland" - plus ├ža change aussi!

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