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Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet [VHS] (1998)

Robert X. Cringely , Steve Ballmer , Stephen Segaller  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert X. Cringely, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Scott McNealy
  • Directors: Stephen Segaller
  • Producers: Gino del Guercio
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 3
  • Studio: PBS Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: October 13, 1998
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305128235
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,263 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Triumph of the Nerds won legions of computer-skeptical and computer-naive viewers with its mix of minutiae and hip techniques. Going one step further into the digital maze, Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet operates as a sequel of sorts to the surprise docu-hit. Just as its precursor chronicled the rise of empires built on computer software, Nerds 2.0.1 collects interviews from key players in the development of the Internet. Fashionably hip in its visual feel, the film begins by amassing data on the net's crowning, collaborative irony: conceived in the Pentagon during the counterculture's smokiest high point by members--dare it be said--of the military industrial complex, the Net developed on the axis of university research networks and Deadhead (as in the Grateful Dead) electronic bulletin boards. Much of the rest has become history, but Internet and computer industry pundit Robert X. Cringley makes the narrative a jumping, attractive embrace of being a nerd. Interviews with Bill Gates, Mark Andreesen, and Steve Case make these three hours (three tapes slipcased in a nice box) fly by. --Andrew Bartlett

Product Description

Join Robert X Cringely in this much-anticipated sequel to Triumph of the Nerds, as he turns his well-informed and irreverent eye on the intriguing history of the Internet. Go deep into the bowels of the Pentagon to witness the birth of the Internet and follow its rapid rise to the cutting edge of the World Wide Web. On his journey, Cringely interviews the unknown nerds who laid the Internet's foundations, visits the Silicon Valley of India and grills the founders of the networking companies who have made millions from this fascinating new technology.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Internet August 1, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Parts of these tapes already look like the old Volkswagen in the Woody Allen movie "Sleeper." For instance, the students who started Excite are all caught in their gloriously self-centered success, which didn't last long, it turns out, but did stoke them each with millions.
Cringely is eloquent, in words and in deeds. The shot of him driving in a convertible along a freeway, while holding forth about the internet as a big pipeline, is a great way to cast an image. His patient tracing of how the internet emerged from simple attempts to hook one computer to another, and get them to communicate meaningful information is also very well done, and penetrates to the level of the PhD thesis written in 1959 that laid out the binary math basis for it all in the first place.\
The tension between the hippie beginnings of the communitarian internet, and the later proprietary commercialization of the medium is also profiled, with subthemes like how to lose control of your company, played out in interviews with 3Com's Metcalfe, who also articulated "Metcalfe's law."
These videos stand on their own feet, but also on the shoulders of the book, written by Stephen Segaller, who wrote it, amazingly, for PBS. So look, some good things can come out of PBS after all(!). Segaller's book is, as you might suspect, much more detailed, but only the video takes you to Microsoft's campus, or shows you the inventor of an early wireless internet, Norm Abramson, years later standing on a beach holding a surfboard with his current corporate logo plastered in dead-center. Perhaps another symbol of hippie-goes-Ferrari. The book and the video also touch on the fascinating history of Cisco, and the bitterness of former husband and wife Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack, toward their first V.C.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This video series is an excellent addition to the material available on computer history. It moves at a fast pace and provides interviews with many of the key people in the industry. It does not cover every aspect of computer history, but it does fill in some gaps that other references missed. I encourage anyone interested in computer history to add this video series to their library. Excellent footage, nicely put together. -- Mark Greenia, author of "History of Computing: An Encyclopedia of the People and Machines that Made Computer History" (CDROM).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant December 21, 1998
By PRoy
Format:VHS Tape
Cringely manages to succinctly and incisivly present the origins of the internet in a manner which both informs and entertains.
It should be compulsory viewing for everyone who works in the high tech industry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like Nerds October 2, 2009
By dandi
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
I've been using this series in my Web Design class for three years. The video is packed with good information and is clearly presented. I have not found a better video covering the history on the WWW.

Down side? It looks dated and is a bit cheesy at times. It would be great to see an updated version.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High motivation and Detail December 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This is a very exciting video about the origin, history, developments, success and failures of the Internet. It has good detail in the topics and companies that refers, but it does not touch every important(historical level) company in the net. Perhaps less time for "excite" and jokes, and more time to relevant companies and phenomena.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Entertainment and Education January 28, 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Fantastic view of a topic that has changed all of our lives. The video is very entertainig and a good source of information. Would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about the roots of the internet.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I belive this is one of the greatest video on the subject of internet and world wide web. It gives a clear picture of the internet and world wide web. It commends the work of great research scientists who were not recognised for their initial achievements. It gives an idea how the internet emerged and how big companies like 3com, Cisco came into existence. This is great story of all the nerds who worked hard (not for money) to achieve good things in their research. Finally I believe money is nothing and it all comes because of hardwork and luck.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate History Lesson! November 29, 1998
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is a must for everyone in the world to see. Not cause I'm a computer geek, but because it is both informative and entertaining. We are at the age where everyone is on the internet and out of respect for history, people should see how we got here. This should be a part of any US history lesson. Both kids and adults that don't understand computers will understand this! It also shows the ruthlessness of M$ in its beginnings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the most amazing historical account of what went down during...
This video is amazing!! I love it! Seriously because this video shows how the internet came into being, what was going on during those years and how quickly things were changing... Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Swanson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
This is a fascinating, educational history of the ARPANET and the early years of the Internet. The videos are packed with interviews with pioneering engineers who designed and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Graybeard
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Days Of The Web
Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet is a 1998 three hour documentary film that explores the development the internet.It was written and hosted by Robert X. Cringely. Read more
Published 13 months ago by DESERTMAN40
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This, along with the "triumph of the nerds" tape tells how personal computers and the internet got started. Trust me, a very fascinating story.
Published 19 months ago by over65guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of a very successful government project
When it comes to the production of videos that explain technical developments in terms that anyone can understand, Robert X. Cringely is the best. Read more
Published on October 11, 2009 by Charles Ashbacher
5.0 out of 5 stars Nerds 2.0.1
This was a gift for someone who already had the Nerds video, but I ruined it for him. Everything must be OK, since he has made no comments.
Published on July 10, 2009 by Karen M. Evert
5.0 out of 5 stars Trip down memory lane
First, Cringley is great, and makes a great documentary. Howerver, years later, in 2007, this documentary is pretty hilarious. Read more
Published on September 6, 2007 by SuperBK
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