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.

Technology we take for granted today was new not so long ago, and somebody had to name it. Though sometimes it's hard to pin down exactly who deserves the credit — or blame — here's a shot a some of the more familiar terms.

BLOG: Short for weblog, the word is traced to Jorn Barger's "Robot Wisdom" Web site in 1997, in which he began "logging the Web" by collecting information he came across. Peter Merholz is credited with contributing to use of the term in 1999 in his weblog by stating, "I've decided to pronounce the word 'weblog' as 'wee-blog. Or 'blog' for short."

BYTE: A measurement of information storage coined in 1956 by Werner Buchholz during the design phase of the IBM Stretch computer to describe how much data a computing machine might bite, with the spelling changed so as not to be confused with bit. (See computer history of IBM Stretch.)

BROWSER: Tim Berners-Lee, often called the "father of the Web," in 1989 invented software he called WorldWideWeb. But Berners-Lee says the term browser predates the Web, as there were hypermedia browsers. (See below, WORLD WIDE WEB and HYPERTEXT.)

CELL PHONE: AT&T Bell Labs engineer William Rae Young is credited with suggesting the hexagonal cell concept for a cellular mobile phone. Young's technical work was referenced in an internal document written by co-worker Douglas H. Ring in 1947 on how to build a wide-area cellular service. The first mobile telephone call was made from a car in St. Louis on June 17, 1946, but it was far from what we think of as a portable handset today. The equipment weighed 80 lb., and the AT&T service — basically a massive party line — cost $30 per month plus 30 to 40 cents per local call. But Bell Labs was beaten to the punch for the first cellular phone call. That was made by Martin Cooper, then general manager of Motorola's Communications Systems Division, as he carried a hefty cell phone through New York City and placed a call to his rival, Joel Engels at Bell Labs, on April 3, 1973.

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER: According to the Computer History Museum, the C-level position for IT is believed to have started in military and government before being adopted by industry. William Synnott and William Gruber get credit for coining the term in 1981.

COMPUTER VIRUS: A phrase widely used today to describe self-replicating and invasive software, the term's invention is credited to Leonard Max Adelman, who suggested it to researcher Fred Cohen for his 1984 study "Experiments With Computer Viruses." Adelman is also co-inventor of the RSA (which stands for Rivest-Shamir-Adelman) cryptosystem.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?