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October 18, 2005
I'm still a sucker for a good list.
This time, how about the 100 oldest .com domains? Sherman, set the wayback machine for 1985.
  1. On March 15, Symbolics became the very first .com domain. I was a bit surprised to discover that they're still around; I recall them as being the folks who put out computers especially to run programs written in LISP, a language that was significantly more important than it ever was popular.
  2. Five weeks later, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (now BBN Technologies) became #2. I'm actually rather surprised they weren't #1, because they developed a lot of the original software that powered the Internet.
  3. The same day, Thinking Machines Corp became #3. Their domain, think.com, now seems to be owned by Oracle. Like Symbolics, Thinking Machines was heavily into the LISP and AI world.
  4. July 11. MCC.COM becomes domain #4. It belongs to Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation of Austin, TX, about which I know nothing else. If you know, chime in in the comments, please.
  5. September 30. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Now a small part of their once-bitter rival HP, Digital Equipment Corporation registered DEC.COM to become domain #5. My favorite DEC joke: Q: What does "DEC" stand for? A: Didn't Expect Compaq. Second favorite DEC joke: There used to be Compaq and Digital, but now there's just Comical. I can tell those, because I can read octal and know how to toggle in the bootstrap loader on a PDP-8.
  6. November 7. Defense contractor and aerospace firm Northrop Technologies (now Northrop Grumman) registers NORTHROP.COM.
  7. January 9, 1986. Xerox (XEROX.COM) once wanted to be a serious computer company. It's pretty weird to think that the whole Ethernet thing was originally started by DEC, Xerox, and Intel.
  8. January 17. SRI (originally Stanford Research Institute) registers SRI.COM. Somehow, they don't think this was important enough to list it with their other innovations. Go figure.
  9. March 3. Hewlett-Packard (HP.COM) joins the party.
  10. March 5. Bell Labs (BELLCORE.COM) dives in. It's really strange to remember that people were at one point really worried that AT&T/Bell Labs were going to dominate the world of computing the way they did the world of telephony. My, how things do change.
  11. March 19. A twofer. Sun Microsystems (SUN.COM) and International Business Machines (IBM.COM) hit on the same day. Kind of appropriate, since they seem to be the two main Unix vendors beating on each other at this point.
  12. March 25. Another interesting pairing. Intel (INTEL.COM) and Texas Instruments (TI.COM).
Lots of fun stuff in there for geek history geeks. I remember when Ungermann-Bass (#18, UB.COM) was a really big deal in networking. Interactive Systems Corp (#20, ISC.COM) once owned Unix. Apple didn't get in until #64, in February 1987. But they beat Cisco, #73.
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BellCore was not Bell Labs! It was the part of Bell Labs that got ripped away from AT&T and given to the baby bells as part of the settlment of the anti-trust case. AT&T kept the Bell Labs name and most of the researchers. BellCore got the engineers who specialized in technical issues faced by the local phone companies (such as how to assign phone numbers.)

At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compaq (now HP) ate a lot of DEC, but not all. Intel got the rest.

Heh. My former employer is one of those tied for #42. Now, I generally liked working there, but never, ever thought it was the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Item #5. It depends 7300 0040 for LAP6Dial or 7710 7747 for OS/8. :)

Then again you could always just boot FOCAL at 0077 0010.

'Nuff Said