It was in 1995, in a Newsweek article: The Internet? Bah!.
Logged onto the World Wide Web, I hunt for the date of the Battle of Trafalgar. Hundreds of files show up, and it takes 15 minutes to unravel them -- one's a biography written by an eighth grader, the second is a computer game that doesn't work and the third is an image of a London monument. None answers my question, and my search is periodically interrupted by messages like, "Too many connections, try again later."
hmm, now you just have to go to wikipedia for the answer, it's one or two seconds away.
But OK, some of this old, old, old article is still very true. For example: No interactive multimedia display comes close to the excitement of a live concert ;-)
Thanks to Stephanie Booth