History lesson: The origins of wiki, blog and other high-tech lingo

Technology we take for granted today was new not so long ago, and somebody had to name it.

SOCKET: The earliest use of the word socket for networking is found in IETF RFC 33, dated Feb. 12, 1970, by Stephen Carr, Steve Crocker and Vint Cerf. According to the Computer History Museum, Crocker wrote: "The elements of the name space are called sockets. A socket forms one end of a connection, and a connection is fully specified by a pair of sockets."

SOFTWARE: Instructions executed by a computer as opposed to the physical device on which they run, hardware. Term coined in 1958 by John Wilder Tukey, statistician, Princeton University professor and AT&T Bell Laboratories researcher, who also coined the word bit (an abbreviation of binary digit) 12 years earlier. (See biography of John Wilder Tukey.)

WIKI: Ward Cunningham said the inspiration for the name WikiWikiWeb for the software he developed in 1995 came after a trip to Hawaii where he learned of the word wiki, which means quick in Hawaiian, while riding on a shuttle bus called the Wiki Wiki Bus. WikiWikiWeb was shortened to Wiki, and today wiki refers to a collaborative Web site that lets multiple authors contribute and edit content, with the most famous being Wikipedia.

WORLD WIDE WEB: Tim Berners-Lee describes his early work with the Web in notes on the World Wide Web Consortium site: "The first Web browser — a browser-editor — was called 'WorldWideWeb,' as after all, when it was written in 1990, it was the only way to see the Web. Much later it was named 'Neus' in order to save confusion between the program and the abstract information space, which is now spelled 'World Wide Web' with spaces."

Special thanks to Alex Bochannek, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.; IBM; the World Wide Web Consortium; and pioneers such as router designer Noel Chiappa, who helped the Internet get going.

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Ellen Messmer

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