Hello world! no, strike that and make it “hello, world”

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

In 1972, Brian Kernighan wrote a small program.  When executed the program writes “hello, world” to the screen. This program was published in Tutorial Introduction to the Language B, and with it, Keringhan started a long tradition of  “hello world” programs written to demonstrate the grammar of each new computer language. WordPress, too,  followed this tradition using these words for each default post in every new blog that is installed.  With over 400 programs, and in more than 60 human languages the hello world collection continues to grow.

hello world - Tutorial Introduction to the Language B, 1972

Seeing this default post on my new wordpress blog made me wonder about first words.  Consider other first and opening messages.  God, it is said, spoke the word “BE” and it was, though less is know about Adam and Eve, what exactly did they say when they found themselves and later each other? What language did they speak? The author of the Inferno and Divine Comedy spent most of his life trying to answer this question.

What hath God wrought?” queried Samuel Morse from the Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 24, 1844, using the worlds first telegraph.

Then there was Thomas Augustus Watson summoned with the words: “Mr. Watson – Come here – I want you,” by Alexander Graham Bell, the first words spoken on the newly invented telephone in 1876.

Are you ready?” asked Guglielmo Marconi on May 13, 1897, initiating the first wireless communication over open sea.

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden,  radio’s first voice was more pragmatic. “One, two, three, four. Is it snowing where you are, Mr. Thiessen? If it is, telegraph back and let me know.” where the first words transmitted by radio on Dec. 23, 1900 — ( Mr. Thiessen dutyfully telegraphed back an affirmation).

QWERTYUIOP” or something similar is said to have been the first email message sent by computer engineer Ray Tomlinson is sometime in 1971.

Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real, handheld, portable cellphone.” Taunted Martin Cooper, speaking the first words over a mobile phone while calling Joel Engel, his rival at AT&T, on April 3, 1973.

Jump forward a few decades to 3 December 1992, when Neil Papworth punched out a “Merry Christmas” on his personal computer.  The first ever text message sent to Richard Jarvis on his Vodafone Orbitel 901 handset.

Alright, so here we are in front of the elephants.“, said YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at San Diego Zoo, in April 2005, while Jack Dorsey tweeted “just setting up my twttr” at 12:50 PM on 21 Mar 06.

Profound and self conscious like Morse or mundane as Dorsey, “hello, world” continues to this day.  With each new computer language tutorial, programmers pay homage to it’s beginning. “hello, world“, mundane for sure, yet at the same time humble. An address to all who will listen.Who exactly is speaking to whom here anyways? The program to the programmer? An affirmation of the creative act? The created to the creator? Or is the programmer greeting his student who faithfully copied the gospel?

Perhaps “hello, world”  are the words of that first human, before things had been given names. Then again, lacking language, maybe the first human’s greeting was closer to QWERTYUIOP.

And to you reader, “hello, and thanks for stopping by.

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