Tech Talk: Where’d it Come From, Anyway?
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 credit — or blame — here’s a shot a some of the more familiar ones.
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 not to be confused with “bit.” (See computer history of IBM Stretch.)
BROWSER: Often called the “Father of the Web,” Tim Berners-Lee 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 had been 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 lbs, 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.
(See all the Definitions HERE)