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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on the history of the internet
This was an excellent account of how the internet was created and how both ARPA and distributed networking has shaped what we use now everyday.. This book provided an excellent account of what the founders of the internet had to deal with in order to design what we have today..
This is a great read and provides a great reference for all who use and depend on the...
Published on June 7 2004 by Will Rodriguez

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, but decent
It's an OK book, but the bureaucratic jostling should have been left out and I wish they'd have included more about the early culture of the internet, as Steven Levy did in "Hackers" (though on a different subject). When they did, I found it quite interesting. Levy's work was also much more readable; this book reads like it was overedited. That said, it's not bad, per se,...
Published on July 16 2002 by Joseph S. Grossberg


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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on the history of the internet, June 7 2004
By 
This was an excellent account of how the internet was created and how both ARPA and distributed networking has shaped what we use now everyday.. This book provided an excellent account of what the founders of the internet had to deal with in order to design what we have today..
This is a great read and provides a great reference for all who use and depend on the internet...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great intro. to the Internet,, Aug. 4 2003
By 
Hugh Claffey (Co. Kildare Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I'm reading a series of technology-history books at the moment, this one, 'The Triumph of Ethernet' and 'how the Web was born'. This is definitely the place to start - a clear, fast paced tale of the various characters behind networked computers in late 1960's and 70's. Essentially this book describes the origin of human computer interfacing which became networking theory in the North East United States in the late 1950's and '60s.
The first computer network was called ARPANET, an outcome of inspired technology-development policy from ARPA -the Advanced Research Projects Agency, a part of the Defense Dept. The story is laid out chronologically without too much techspeak, and brings up a number of questions.
One question that seemed clearer to me at the end of the book was that ARPANET was the first mover towards internetworked computers, but from the story it is clear that it was a series of hardware computers which acted as 'routers' of information and that the heartbeat of the internet, as we have come to know it, is the communications protocol [called TCP/IP, specified by Vint Cerf, among others] which allowed the various messages to be interpreted by the different computers. TCP/IP and Cerf are almost incidental to this book, which is a pity.
Other topics covered are the initiation and development of E-mail and how the non-hierarchical, informal communications process among academics came to be the spirit of communications in the internet as a whole - something which is not altogether obvious from its origins in the Defense Dept. For me, the other big revelation was the speed of the adoption of the internet (even in days before the World Wide Web) and how the originators of the ARPANET were happy to allow it to be made obsolete by technological development. No one mentioned in this book seemed to want to (or know how to) commericialize the technology which they were working so feverishly to implement.
For those of a technical persuasion there are plenty of references to the various papers which moved the various technologies forward. This book is a great first taste for those who want to dip into the subject, gives a realistic description of the 'wizards' who had the weird and wacky ideas which we now rely on , and the text includes enough 'beef' to indicate how to dig deeper into the detail.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MOST EXCELLENT FOR NON-WONKS, Aug. 1 2003
By 
G. L. Rowsey (benicia, ca United States) - See all my reviews
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Lots of information is conveyed with excellent editing making this book a very fast read. But AT&T's 6-year opposition to distributed processing is as appropriately treated -- without comment -- as the telegram sent by Senator Edward Kennedy's office to Boston-based BBN Corportation when the latter landed ARPA's contract for the Interface Message Processor: "Congratulations on your contract to build the Interfaith Message Processor."
This book's a beauty.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Histories and Myths, July 3 2003
By 
Robert Cannon "Cybertelecom" (Arlington, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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A superb history of the Internet, dispelling many a myth, such as "The Internet was designed in order to survive nuclear war." As a policy wonk pondering Internet policy, this book is must read material. It is difficult to truly understand today's policy conflicts, such as the DNS wars, unless one has adequate reference to the origins of the Net and the history of US Government support. This is not something that magically emerged from the ether but rather was a deliberate USG project dating back decades. An excellent history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, Sept. 21 2002
By 
Erika Mitchell (E. Calais, VT USA) - See all my reviews
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This book provides excellent documentation about the origins of the Internet. The authors conducted hundreds of interviews, which they combined with facts gleamed from thousands of pages of archived materials dating back to the very beginnings of the Net. I've been teaching courses about the Internet for several years, and so I was already familiar with the general timeline of who did what and when. What was fascinating to me about this book was that the authors made it possible to get to know the personalities behind the names and faces. They discussed the motivations of these leaders, the challenges they faced, and the tremendous amount of cooperation that they engaged in. The early part of the book was especially engaging, when the authors discuss the early motivations for setting up ARPANET through the construction of the first 2 nodes. As the Net begins to grow, adding more nodes monthly, Hafner and Lyon must cut back on the level of detail they provide about the main players because so much happens so fast. At that point, my eyes glazed over a little, but overall, I found the book incredibly exciting, and a very important contribution to the history of the Net.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, but decent, July 16 2002
By 
Joseph S. Grossberg (Arlington, VA) - See all my reviews
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It's an OK book, but the bureaucratic jostling should have been left out and I wish they'd have included more about the early culture of the internet, as Steven Levy did in "Hackers" (though on a different subject). When they did, I found it quite interesting. Levy's work was also much more readable; this book reads like it was overedited. That said, it's not bad, per se, and is the most informative read I've had so far on the pre-WWW internet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars �Wizardry� is an apt term, Jan. 13 2002
By 
"Wizardry" is an apt term to describe the work of the many who laid the foundation for what we now know as the Internet. Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon weave together the talents, personalities, idiosyncrasies, obstacles, and triumphs into a compelling and -- given the complexity of the Internet's development -- intelligible history. Hafner and Lyon tell of the work of engineers and researchers of Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), a Cambridge-based computer company backed by the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), which ultimately connected computers across the country.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book., Oct. 23 2001
By A Customer
I'm a software engineer who has recently become interested in the history of computing. I thought this book was well written. The personalities of the primary players in the invention of the computer network are brought to life. It's interesting to see how little has changed with programmer personalities since the early days. The development of the ARPAnet is covered in good detail. The chapters dealing with the subsequent evolution of the ARPAnet into the Internet and the growth of the Internet are less detailed but still interesting. It had the right blend of technical detail and human detail to make me happy, but I suspect less technical people might find parts of it boring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Non-Tech of Tech, Oct. 22 2001
By 
Joshua Jacobs (Kailua, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This book is a welcome respite from the technologically-oriented books on technology. The authors do a nice job of telling the story behind what has become the Internet. It is not a technical manual of how stuff works in the computer network. It is a glimpse into how stuff works in the human network. A historical perspective is more than just the facts; it is an interpretation of those facts, to help frame our present in some context. This book gives us some perspective of how the ARPAnet came into being. For anyone involved in the field of computer networking, this book is a "must-read".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good history of early days, Aug. 16 2001
By 
Ronald Brown "rboffp" (Florham Park, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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This book is a good history of the early days of the Internet. I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the history of the net before it really took off. Unfortunately the history of the internet is lacking in compelling personalities that would make the history more interesting. This is especially true compared to the history of the PC with the likes Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The men who built the internet were a bright bunch of men, but lacking in ego that made for the battles of the PC era. The lack of personalities is not the book's fault, but just makes the story a little less interesting than some other technology history books.
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