Perhaps the real start of asco-o art is with the  beginning of the
Internet.  The  Internet  began  in  the  1960's  as  a  means  to
communicate if nuclear war broke out. Military authorities created
a  network  called   ARPANET  which  connected  37  computers  and
several  defense  departments. No  war  came  (thankfully) and the
computer  system  expanded  to  include   universities  and  other
educational institutions. For many  years the Internet belonged to
the military and to the schools. 

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In the early 1990's,  the  World  Wide  Web  was  developed in the
Switzerland.  It  was  there  that  Hyper-Text   Mark-Up  Language
(HTML) was  first  used.  HTML  is what  allows  documents to have
'hyperlinks' -- those  links which cause a surfer to jump from web
page to web page. 

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Many  people use the Internet for e-mail. Initially,  the Internet
was  pure text - no  graphics and  certainly no animations. E-mail
was the  same. asco-o art was used to create  diagrams and charts.
It was also  used for "fun" and to  enhance and liven up the plain
text messages.