10 Years on the Web – 1999

The doomsday scenarios were rampant: Computer systems everywhere would fail to recognize 2000 because the vast majority of programs recognized only the last two digits of a given year. But it all turned out to be much ado about relatively little–prompting skeptics to wonder whether the barrage of “millennium bug” warnings were convenient excuses for poor earnings or sales pitches for so-called corrective software that no one really needed.

In March, Netscape introduces RSS, a tool for customizing homepages, unwittingly kicking off the blogging revolution.

Virus after virus attack computers. Melissa – named for an exotic dancer – infects more than 1 million computers in one night causing $80 million worth of damages, becoming the first virus to create problems worldwide.

Jeff BezosThe madness is on the rise as Pixelon.com (say who???) throws a $10 million bash in Las Vegas to celebrate $23 million round of venture funding. Headline acts include Kiss and The Who. Meanwhile the Bay Area commuters spend 52.000 hours in traffic daily, four times as much as they did in 1995.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is named Times magazine’s Person of the Year.

The US Department of Commerce begins seggregating e-commerce statistics. In 1999’s fourth quarter, $5,3 billion was spent online.

In other news:

  • 13.6 million miles of fiberoptic cable are deployed in North America only this year
  • 10 million web servers throughout the world
  • free downloading of music via the Internet increases sharply. Millions do it.
  • more than 800 million web pages
  • Jon Johansen, 15, of Norway, manages to break movie DVD copy protection

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