On October 29, 1969, at about 9 PM, the very first data was sent over the internet. Today we celebrate that historic moment, without which Plank wouldn't exist!

Researchers had set up the basic internet (at the time called the Arpanet), which linked computers at UCLA and Stanford. The goal of the Arpanet was to have people around the country (and eventually the world) being able to use each other's computers. So sitting in UCLA, researchers wanted to log on to the computer at Stanford. Sending one letter at a time, the "L" went through, the "O" went through, but when the "G" was sent, the whole thing crashed. So stop your complaining about Internet Explorer 6.

Alas, they got it up and running again, and there has been nary a glitch on the internet since. From those humble beginnings of logging on to a remote computer, to the rich and varied multimedia content we have today, you've got to admit the internet is pretty darn cool.

So light some birthday candles, pop some champagne, and celebrate forty years of data zipping around the world.

BBC news on the 40th birthday

History of the internet on Wikipedia