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on 10 October 2000
John Naughton writes about the Internet with the same enthusiasm Nick Hornby displays when writing about Arsenal FC or rock music. From his early childhood days in rural Ireland to his current role as journalist and academic, Naughton describes his continuing sense of wonder at the development of communications technologies, and their implications for the future of our society. "A Brief History of the Future" conveys the author's passionate interest in the medium, while describing the development of the technology in terms that even the most technophobic reader can understand. If you've ever stopped to wonder how the @ sign got into your email address, or exactly what TCP/IP protocols are, then this book is for you. Packed with fascinating anecdotes about the team who transformed the pioneering ARPANET into the Internet we know today, it is an engrossing read and highly recommended.
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on 29 February 2004
One of if not the most significant change in lifestyle over the past 50 years has been the development of technology, and how it has affected all our lives. At the very centre of this is the Internet which rather than being simply a technical innovation is the combination of a number of innovations to provide something usable by everyone.
In this book, Naughton provides a detailed history of each of the characters who could be considered the forefathers of the Internet. Starting with its background in academia and military research, the author knits a number of separate threads together providing a rich narrative of the Internet which has after all developed very quickly. It is superbly written and unlike other books on this subject is written in a way that a non-technical person would appreciate it. I cannot recommend this book enough if you are interested in finding out the history of how so-called geeks have had such a huge impact on our daily lives.
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on 30 December 2003
When you have read this book a lot of the pieces fall into place, as to why the world of computers runs the way it does. From the reason it all came about to the way it looks and is managed today, Naughton tells a fluent and largely unbiased story. He brings to life the grand scale of the internet's development in terms of both time and effort. A thoroughly deserved five stars. I would highly reccommend this book to anyone studying in computers or enthusiasts wishing to know more about the internet's history. Lastly I would like to congratulate the author on an excellent book.
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on 2 July 2004
A superbly written book, with facts, anecdotes and a writing style that makes the history of how the Internet developed not so much interesting as exciteing. I found myself remembering what I was up to when certain significant events took place, events that have led to the globalisation of information like almost no one imagined.
The writing itself was free flowing and the book laid out well. If I can critisise anything it's what I determine to be a slight inconsistency in how he writes quotes from other people, sometimes in the "traditional" way and at others by presenting the quote as a seperate block of text. I like the style, but there were a few points when I thought "why didn't he block the text here like before"....A very very minor quibble!
This book should be a required text for all students studying anything, but especially IT related subjects.
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on 25 November 2004
Going from the origins of computing (those that would later impact on the Web), through to the Microsoft v Netscape battle of the mid-late '90s, Naughton tells the story very well. Given the potential for the subject to be dry and "techy", Naughton kept the attention of this reader (interested non-techy).
I knocked off a star as I felt the glossary was not full enough. Around the middle of the book I was drowning in acronyms which were explained once in the text, but not in the glossary. However, the author's enthusiasm for the subject carried me through.
May be due for updating soon?
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on 5 September 2001
A totally brilliant book based on the history of the internet and how it developed. I bought it for my studies towards a BSc Degree (first year) on the internet and I have been studying a module written by Mr Naughton. It has helped me understand and make sense of the history of the net without being boring. I enjoyed reading it and have recommended it to all my friends. Easy to read with good explanations. This book is a must for all!
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on 5 July 2001
This is a very well written, well researched history of the internet. It is not a dry technical account, but an exciting narrative of the key steps which have led to the Internet of today and the world wide web. A must for anyone who is interested in how it all came to be.
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on 24 January 2003
Fascinating and interesting account of the origins of the internet. You would probably need a pretty keen interest in the subject before you start reading it, but it always remains accessible and never delves too deeply into dry theory. It tells the human story of the internet - who was where, what they were working on, and the series of chance events that led to Arpanet and eventually to the Internet we know today.
Did you know that if NASA had not been created we might not have the internet now - and not because NASA had anything to do with it? You will after reading this...
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on 2 July 2011
An excellent, well written, easy to read description of how the internet was developed. With so many contributors the book could not possibly name them all but in my opinion not enough recognition was given to the contribution made by Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre scientists who collectively were responsible for much of the underlying technology. Xerox had a full inter-company intranet working in its W.W international offices in the late 1970's using the STAR program hardware. Xerox also pioneered a page description language called "Interpress" The software group who did this work subsequently broke away from Xerox and wrote Postscript. Microsoft and Apple were given free accesss to PARC and both companies capitalised on the window/icon/mouse and bit-mapped screen concepts seen at PARC. The Apple Lisa programme being a near clone of the Star GUI. Most credit for the vision of the whole web must however go to Berners-Lee who made it all hang together.
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on 12 May 2014
This could sound like a "techy" book, but is surprisingly interesting about how the internet was created and is written in a very accessible style even for people who are not computer scientists!
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