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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars made it through my filters....won against my best algos.....
Firstly, this is a lot of fun to read, especially if you where "there, then", which mostly I was...The lessons to be gleaned from the Shadow History of the Internet are many - some can be read between the lines

Primarily, the three chapters chart the evolution of the community and later, communities, that make up the net. Chapter 1 covers pre-internet (BBSes,...
Published 20 months ago by Jon A. Crowcroft

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but mostly for specialists
The main problem with this book is the way it's been marketed. The description on Amazon's product page, for example, while not strictly inaccurate, doesn't convey the extent to which this book is a technical and academic study the focus of which goes far beyond what the averge person primarily thinks of as "spam" -- unsolicited commercial email and texts.

The...
Published 19 months ago by Jon Corelis


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars made it through my filters....won against my best algos....., 14 Jun. 2013
By 
Jon A. Crowcroft "mindyourpsandqa" (cambridge, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures) (Hardcover)
Firstly, this is a lot of fun to read, especially if you where "there, then", which mostly I was...The lessons to be gleaned from the Shadow History of the Internet are many - some can be read between the lines

Primarily, the three chapters chart the evolution of the community and later, communities, that make up the net. Chapter 1 covers pre-internet (BBSes, and Usenet) and the pre-commercial (DiY or government freebie or beg, borrowed, etc and the ethos of the types of people that made up the various groupings between 1981 and 1994- the dates are well picke (based on various watershed points - some of the extreme reactions to early bboard/list abuse are captured through a section on Charivari, ritual shaming and vigilantism and so on...Chapter 2 covers the core period when spam-classic was best defined - the business of grey area marketing, and the regulation of the business, and the sad, sad truth behind the ancient scam that is a 419er...up to and including the emergence of "Search Optimisation" as a new form. Chapter 3 bring up to date with the post-modern linguistic algorithmic wars between bayesian inferencers, and the David Bowie (Hunky Dory era) cut&paste creative botnet agents that try to sneak by our AI defenses.

Full of rich detail of history, pre-historical anecdote, social science depth and the tragi-comedy of the whole waste of human time and ingenuity for a passing buck, this is a really good piece of work - while some readers may find the style a little dense (long sections read like early discussions between technorati on various lists with cut and past excerpts from scripts and auto-generated messages, diagnostic output, technology shorthands, and the rest), I found this spot on - for a semi-popular technical book about a subject that has been part of my every day life since 1976 (I have all emails to me, from me and cc:d me since then still), I was really pleased to note almost zero technical errors in any of the history, or technology - I am not qualified to comment on the underlying social science (some of the discussion of metaphors was fascinating - e.g. malware as weeds rather than viruses) -- but I found it all highly informative and it made me think a lot about other domains where we risk unintended consequences and emergent behaviours - for example the looming Internet of Things while be full of abominable virtual snowmen, no doubt!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but mostly for specialists, 3 Aug. 2013
By 
Jon Corelis (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures) (Hardcover)
The main problem with this book is the way it's been marketed. The description on Amazon's product page, for example, while not strictly inaccurate, doesn't convey the extent to which this book is a technical and academic study the focus of which goes far beyond what the averge person primarily thinks of as "spam" -- unsolicited commercial email and texts.

The book basically traces the social, legal, and technical development of unethical and illegal, unscrupulous commercial exploitation of internet communications that began with the first massive email and Usenet group spamming of the 1990s, but also explores in great technical detail associated and subsequent related developments like botnets, lit spam (the nonsensical texts you keep getting among your Google results), and worms.

I'm frankly not qualified to judge this book as a technical and academic study: I suspect that as such it will be an important one, and if you are yourself an academic studying these issues, you may well want to consider this a four or five star book. But the average internet user will find it only intermittently interesting, with long sections of it being impenetrably technical. Hence my three star rating. The publishers should have resisted the temptation to downplay in their promotional material the specialist nature of this book: many general readers are going to be disappointed to find out what it's like once they start reading it.

One final footnote to the above: despite the technical nature of the book, if you were around the internet during the old Usenet days, you may find the sections of this book on Usenet very interesting, and that they bring back memories.
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Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures)
Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet (Infrastructures) by Finn Brunton (Hardcover - 3 May 2013)
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