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The Internet (portmanteau of interconnected network) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries a vast range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents and applications of the World Wide Web (WWW), electronic mail, telephony, and file sharing.

The origins of the Internet date back to the development of packet switching and research commissioned by the United States Department of Defense in the 1960s to enable time-sharing of mainframe computers. The primary precursor network, the ARPANET, initially served as a backbone for interconnection of regional academic and military networks in the 1970s. The funding of the National Science Foundation Network as a new backbone in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial extensions, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The linking of commercial networks and enterprises by the early 1990s marked the beginning of the transition to the modern Internet, and generated a sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional, personal, and mobile computers were connected to the network. Although the Internet was widely used by academia in the 1980s, commercialization incorporated its services and technologies into virtually every aspect of modern life.

Most traditional communication media, including telephony, radio, television, paper mail and newspapers are reshaped, redefined, or even bypassed by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as email, Internet telephony, Internet television, online music, digital newspapers, and video streaming websites. Newspaper, book, and other print publishing are adapting to website technology, or are reshaped into blogging, web feeds and online news aggregators. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of personal interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has grown exponentially both for major retailers and small businesses and entrepreneurs, as it enables firms to extend their "brick and mortar" presence to serve a larger market or even sell goods and services entirely online. Business-to-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.

The Internet has no single centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies. The overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address (IP address) space and the Domain Name System (DNS), are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise. In November 2006, the Internet was included on USA Today's list of New Seven Wonders.

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Cyberpunk is often set in urbanized, artificial landscapes
Cyberpunk is a genre of science fiction that focuses on computers or information technology, usually coupled with some degree of breakdown in social order. The plot of cyberpunk writing often centers on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and mega corporations, tending to be set within a near-future dystopian Earth, rather than the "outer space" locales prevalent at the time of cyberpunk's inception. Much of the genre's "atmosphere" echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction. While this gritty, hard-hitting style was hailed as revolutionary during cyberpunk's early days, later observers concluded that in terms of literature, most cyberpunk narrative techniques were less innovative than those of the New Wave, twenty years earlier. Primary exponents of the cyberpunk field include William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, John Shirley and Rudy Rucker. The term became widespread in the 1980s and remains current today.

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Computer notebook connected to wireless access point
Credit: Clawed

A wireless LAN or WLAN is a wireless local area network, which is the linking of two or more computers without using wires. WLAN utilizes spread-spectrum or OFDM modulation technology based on radio waves to enable communication between devices in a limited area, also known as the basic service set. This gives users the mobility to move around within a broad coverage area and still be connected to the network.

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Main project: WikiProject Internet

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Related WikiProjects: Blogging • Websites • Early Web History • Internet culture

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Douglas C. Engelbart
Douglas C. Engelbart (born January 30, 1925 in Oregon) is an American inventor of Swedish and Norwegian descent. As a World War II naval radio technician based in the Philippines, Engelbart was inspired by Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think". Engelbart received a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1948, a B.Eng. from UC Berkeley in 1952, and a Ph.D. in EECS from UC Berkeley in 1955. At Stanford Research Institute , Engelbart was the primary force behind the design and development of the On-Line System, or NLS. He and his team at the Augmentation Research Center developed computer-interface elements such as bit-mapped screens, groupware, hypertext and precursors to the graphical user interface. In 1967, Engelbart applied for and later received a patent for the wooden shell with two metal wheels (computer mouse). Engelbart later revealed that it was nicknamed the "mouse" because the tail came out the end. He would also work on the ARPANET, the precursor of the Internet. In later years he moved to the private firm Tymshare after SRI was transferred to the company. McDonnell Douglas took over the copany in 1982, and in 1986 he left the company. As of 2007, he is the director of his own company, the Bootstrap Institute, which founded in 1988 and located in Fremont, California.

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Brewster Kahle
By 1996, there was enough material on the Internet to show that this thing was the cornerstone for how people are going to be publishing. It is the people's library.
Brewster Kahle, 2004

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