Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The origins of the internet (Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon)

Computing History, 5/10 – Summer&Autumn 2005

I felt like reading an educational book on a subject which I’m interested in. I’m interested in the Internet because it is THE invention of my lifetime, one which has and is changing the world in a hugely significant matter. Ok so it was invented in the 70’s and I was born in 1980 but my generation was the first to start emailing each other to meet at the pub after lectures, doing Christmas shopping on Amazon or getting rid of junk on ebay. I can’t imagine how people coped without the internet.

The title of the book is brilliant: What do wizards do? Magic. Being able to send a digital photo to my brother at school is a kind of magic. The book is the story of the small group of researchers and engineers whose invention became the foundation for the Internet. It concentrates on the early ARPANET development and protocols and ends pretty much when the ARPANET is shutdown in 1990. It’s very much a history book though. It stopped as it got to Routers, way before websites and browsers. It was as interesting as history books come (which isn’t very). I guess I find now and the future more interesting but understand that history is important.

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