Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet Paperback – 20 Jun 1998
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Considering that the history of the Internet is perhaps better documented internally than any other technological construct, it is remarkable how shadowy its origins have been to most people, including die-hard Net-denizens!
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.
With the incredible growth of the Internet in the 1990s and revolutions occurring almost daily, it is easy to overlook the origins of this cultural phenomenon. Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon have captured the history of the Internet in this solid account. They explain the system's genesis as a device to link computer resources around the country--not to prepare communications for nuclear war strikes as is often thought--and how, as with many of us, e-mail was the application of choice for many users. It also tells of the story of the buttoned-up engineers who invented the Internet- -in contrast to the late-night hackers who pushed its evolution. In all, an interesting history about a medium that has fostered an aversion to the past.
"San Jose Mercury News"
The book, almost certainly destined to be the definitive work on the birth and early years of the Internet, is sweeping in scope....Whoever chooses to write the next chapter in the saga...has a tough act to follow.
"Los Angeles Times"
"The Texas Observer"
In all the dreck and dross of Internet books, here is a brilliant gem...remarkably well written.
"The Washington Post"
Excellent...makes for crackling entertainment...reawakens a sense of wonder in readers jaded by too much Internet hype.
"The New York Times Book Review"
If you always wanted to know who put the 'at' sign in your E-mail address, then "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" is the book for you.
See all Product Description
Mark Baechtel "The Washington Post" Excellent...makes for crackling entertainment...reawakens a sense of wonder in readers jaded by too much Internet hype.
Lars Eighner "The Texas Observer" In all the dreck and dross of Internet books, here is a brilliant gem...remarkably well written.
Daniel Akst "Los Angeles Times" Important...meticulous...admirably straightforward.
David Plotnikoff "San Jose Mercury News" The book, almost certainly destined to be the definitive work on the birth and early years of the Internet, is sweeping in scope....Whoever chooses to write the next chapter in the saga...has a tough act to follow.
Richard Bernstein "The New York Times Book Review" If you always wanted to know who put the 'at' sign in your E-mail address, then "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" is the book for you.
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Top Customer Reviews
In a clear and highly readable style, Hafner and Lyon have covered the history of the packet switching networks with encyclopedic breadth. You'll learn both about the early theoretical fathers of packet switching, like Paul Baran and Donald Davies; you have the people in the DoD's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) like Joseph Licklider, Bob Taylor or Larry Roberts, who not only had a grand view of computer networking or obtained the necessary governmental funding, but were also able to specify their wishes precisely enough that the engineers were able to build the network based on their plans. And finally, there is Frank Heart's team at BBN, guys who actually built the darn thing.
The subtitle - The origins of the internet - is well chosen. Most of the book focuses on the years 1968-1972, from Roberts' draft proposal, to the 1972 international conference on computer communication. Other development, either earlier or later, is covered only fragmentary. There are other interesting stories, like the origins of USENET, internet news exchange service, but they are not the scope of this book.
The book leaves a pleasant impression that the authors actually understand the necessary technical background of the topic they are writing about.Read more ›
The book is factual in that important dates places and people are well documented.
Progression towards the present day Internet as we know it is presented in structured chunks of easy to read text, with the characters coming to life at all times. Reading this book makes one realise how much hard work went on before a solution to communication between computers was finalised.
The problem is that once you start reading it you want to carry on to the end!
Once you've reached the end you want to start again.
An important book for students who are serious about their studies. As a lecturer in computing and IT I find it invaluable.
That said, they do tell you a LOT about the history of the internet in very easy to read terms. As others have mentioned there are some ommisions - and it is a bit to US-centred (the inventor of packet switching only gets brief mention for example) - but it is still a very worthwhile read for anyone wanting to learn more about the roots of the internet.
The last gripe I have is the writing style is a bit disjointed. For a while the book reads in a chronological pattern, then it keeps jumping back and forward. A few comments are made at the end of a chapeter then repeated in full on the start of the next chapter (next page) - I think they may have been trying to write a website not a paper book....
Overall, a very, very good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Too much terminology. A technical abbreviation on almost every page.Published 8 months ago by Sin Bad
History-geeks must-read. I love the fact that the author has had many interviews with the people who actually were there in the beginning.Published on 16 Oct. 2013 by Amazon Customer
I have the original paperback and absolutely love this book. Being a computer geek myself I find it very interesting and entertaining read. Read morePublished on 8 Oct. 2013 by Chris Smith
What a great book about the history of the internet! Get this book if (like me) you remember the old days of Arpa Net and 'no proper networks!'Published on 2 May 2013 by Mr. M. Halliday
The subject matter, the origins of the Internet, is fascinating and the book does an acceptable job of covering it.
However, the delivery feels dull. Read more
This should be read as the second of two books. Start by reading Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace. Read morePublished on 24 Jan. 2011 by Independent Reviewer
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