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The Prince of Pain
The Prize

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Fall 1997
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"I got ‘one-one-four,'" the Stanford Research Institute operator replied, reading data encoded in octal, a computer language that used numbers expressed in base eight.

Kline did the conversion and saw that it was indeed an "L" that had been transmitted. Then he typed an "O." "Did you get the ‘O'?" he asked.

"I got ‘one-one-seven,'" came the reply.

It was an "O." Kline typed a "G."

"The computer just crashed," said the person on the other end of the line.

Later in the day, Kline tried again. L-O-G. This time the network worked flawlessly. Kline used the UCLA computer to communicate with the machine in Palo Alto. The Stanford Research Institute computer responded as if the Sigma-7 in Los Angeles were a true blue-and-gold friend.

And so in UCLA's Boelter Hall, on that historic day, was born the ARPANET, which would in just two decades' time begat the marvelous digital matrix known as the Internet.

Matthew Lyon is coauthor (with Katie Hafner) of the national best-seller, Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet (Simon & Schuster).


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