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Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet 0th Edition
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At last, Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators who delve into many interesting details such as the controversy surrounding the adoption of our now beloved "@" sign as the separator of usernames and machine addresses. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past -- and the future -- of the Net specifically, and telecommunications generally. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Well, _Wizards_ does a great job with its subject matter. Pioneering names like Frank Heart, Vint Cerf, and J. C. R. Licklider all come to life. The book does cover some technical ground, but all on a very palatable level. Two things made the book so enjoyable: first, the authors do a good job of describing the brilliance of the Internet's creators. I was amazed that the basic concepts of networking were developed in a day and age when it took entire rooms to house the computing power of today's calculators. Second, the book does a good job not getting bogged down in the details. Instead, Hafner and Lyon concentrate on the people behind the ARPANET's creation, their quirks, collaborations and occasional conflicts; there's a lot of humour captured along the way. This wouldn't be the sole book I'd recommend as a purely technical history of the Internet; however, as a history of the underlying forces that brought the Net into being, such as BBN, the Dept. of Defense, and so many universities, I can't think of another book that's anywhere near as descriptive. Or interesting.
Too regularly do authors of computer history suffer from hero-worship and "religious" dogma - their personal opinions coloring the story, till its credibility is at best strained (if not broken). Hafner does not fall into this trap - if she worships anyone or holds any personal religious leanings, none of it shows in the account. The writing is clear and technical without being unreadable by a layperson. Overall, there is a lot to recommend this book.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, I found the story to be dry and frequently bogged down. Hafner may actually have overdone the evenhandedness of the account - I felt little passion for the subject, and consequently was not drawn into the text. At the end, I felt more knowledgable about the subject, but not any more interested. A good historical account, but a less-than-enjoyable read.
Readers of this book are spared excessive technical jargon and are instead are kept amused by the many lighthearted moments in the midst of perfectionism and high pressure to produce. This book gave me the context for understanding the hard work behind and rationale for distributed networks, packet-switching, and TCP/IP. I was intrigued by the "accidental" start of E-mail, which is one networking function I cannot do without. I was also inspired by the teamwork, passion and work ethic displayed by those involved, particularly because their intense focus often flew in the face of many detractors and disinterested parties who failed to appreciate the possibilities and usefulness of a distributed network.
The authors also describe the open culture that resulted from the collaborative work, which we see today. In contrast, the reluctance of BBN to release the source codes of the Interface Message Processors (IMP) was a harbinger of the intellectual property issues that would emerge in decades to follow.
So many players were involved in the creation of the Internet, that I found myself needing to back track to keep each person and his (all were men) contribution straight. Not a problem, though. The information in this book was fascinating. I found myself wanting to take my time to absorb as many of the details as possible.
There are some very interesting aspects of the development that are related. I was very interested in the origins of BBN, their background in acoustics, and the zeal with which they pursued the original DARPA contract. Of equal interest was the method in which the teams were managed, and the way that the development was not pursued with large teams and brute force, but rather with smaller teams that were headed by the best possible people and given all of the resources that they needed. The creation of the internet is an awe-inspiring event, and the text offers several subtle management lessons that are too important to be overlooked. The book also does a splendid job of showing some of the theory that was used in the development of the necessary software and how the developers did such a good job of bridging theory and practical engineering development. In this light the book does a much better job discussing theory than two other recent books on the history of the Computer, "Engines of the Mind" by Shurkin and "Computer" by Campbell-Kelly and Aspray. These are just some of the interesting stories told, the whole text is packed cover to cover with similar stories.
I highly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had no idea what the Internet really was until I read this book. Fascinating.Published 2 months ago by Marc E. DiPaolo
Nice book, read easy, every nerd should read. Networking and hardware creation. Recomended. #GeekLife #Internet #Histoy #Internet #Routers #Ideas #DreamsPublished 2 months ago by Juan C. Pelaez
Great to read about how the Internet came to be, and to confirm, once again, Walter Isaacson theory that collaboration makes it possible. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Corrada
I read this book in high school 20 years ago. I'm a programmer and have stayed up late many times making things happen. And I like what I do. Read morePublished 3 months ago by hans
If you work in IT you should read this book. Not because of learning, but for understanding. I wish somebody had given me this book fresh out of college.Published 4 months ago by arielsanchezmora
Really great history of how the Internet came to be. If you are interested in computers and anything historically related to them, I would recommend this book. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cozzster
Fantastic behind the scenes details of one of the most important advancements in communication since we started drawing on cave walls!Published 6 months ago by Steve
A good book about the start of the internet and ethernet but I guess I was expecting thrills and chills,,,,, just some great nerds doing what they needed done. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Captain Steve
It's a story how hackers changed the whole wide world. How Computer Industry begun to the micro computers which are now called as PC's. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Eetu Laankoski