Found in 11 comments
by chrisvogt
I read Levy's "Hackers..." in 2015 and also strongly recommend it. I also recommend "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet" [1], which ties in to a lot of the same stories.


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by lancefisher
If you're not too familiar with the story, Where Wizards Stay Up Late is a good history of the beginning of the internet.
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by wpietri
You're definitely wrong about phones. In 2002-5, Palm was shipping a variety of Treos, which even at the time were clear early-adopter smartphones. Plenty of other companies were investigating the market and shipping early experiments.

The IBM quote has no apparent basis in fact:

And you're entirely wrong about 1990. Plenty of people thought there would be a global network. The WELL started in 1985, and plenty in that community had good notions about the future. The initial work on the Internet goes back to the 1970s, and many there too understood where it was going:

So if you're going to use the past to predict the future, please at least use some actual past, rather than one you make up to justify your notions.

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by late2part
No, it wasn't. That's a myth, disturbed in many sources, including [1]. Also in [2]:

Many people have heard that the Internet began with some military computers in the Pentagon called Arpanet in 1969. The theory goes on to suggest that the network was designed to survive a nuclear attack. However, whichever definition of what the Internet is we use, neither the Pentagon nor 1969 hold up as the time and place the Internet was invented. A project which began in the Pentagon that year, called Arpanet, gave birth to the Internet protocols sometime later (during the 1970's), but 1969 was not the Internet's beginnings. Surviving a nuclear attack was not Arpanet's motivation, nor was building a global communications network.

Bob Taylor, the Pentagon official who was in charge of the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (or Arpanet) program, insists that the purpose was not military, but scientific. The nuclear attack theory was never part of the design. Nor was an Internet in the sense we know it part of the Pentagon's 1969 thinking. Larry Roberts, who was employed by Bob Taylor to build the Arpanet network, states that Arpanet was never intended to link people or be a communications and information facility.



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by bch
"Where Wizards Stay Up Late"[0] is a fascinating account of the invention of the internet (Licklider a major player). I found it to be _much_ more interesting than I expected from the subject material. Highly recommended.


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by wpietri
You should go read about the history of the Internet. AT&T was a major barrier to early efforts in creating the Internet. See, e.g., In my view, the breakup of the Bell System laid the groundwork for the Internet to thrive.

For that matter, read about the origins of antitrust law. Monopolies and oligopolies neutralize the market's usual power to straighten things out. Giant companies aren't generally interested in innovation; they're interested in dominance. (See The Innovator's Dilemma for more on the economics of why.)

If it makes you feel any better, it's not like the FCC's going to go around kicking down telco doors and inspecting routers. Proof of net neutrality failures will come from us, the nerds. As individuals, measuring our own networks, and as the techies at innovative companies, going public when telcos try to discriminate against them.

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by tjgq
If you are interested in the early history of the Internet, and would like a lot more detail than provided by this paper, I cannot recommend the following book enough: "Where Wizards Stay Up Late - The Origins Of The Internet":
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by nkassis
For those wanting to learn the history check out:

Where the wizards stay up late,

Also, check out this, a true gem on google video:

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by nkassis
Al gore invented the Web Site.

In all seriousness, Where the wizards stay up late ( gives a good account of the beginning of the net. For the web there is How the web was born (

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by anamax

Also, long hair and drugs doesn't make you "cool". (If it did, meth heads would be cool.)

Original thread

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