By John Naughton

An intimate, gloriously written examine the communications revolution and the way it has unfolded the world.The web is the main impressive factor people have equipped because the pyramids. A millennium from now, historians will glance again at it and wonder humans built with such clumsy instruments succeeded in developing this type of leviathan.Yet at the same time the internet pervades our lives, we commence to take it without any consideration. now we have misplaced our capability for ask yourself. such a lot people don't know the place the net got here from, the way it works, or who created it and why. or even fewer have any concept of what it potential for society and the future.John Naughton has written a hot and passionate ebook that seeks to rescue the net from the condescension of posterity, to have fun the engineers and scientists who carried out their goals in and software program, and to give an explanation for the values and concepts that drove them. even if its topic turns out technical, the booklet in truth is own. John Naughton writes concerning the internet like Nick Hornby writes approximately football. a quick background of the long run is an intimate get together of imaginative and prescient and altruism, ingenuity and resolution, and exceptionally the ability of principles to alter the world.". . . a desirable and hugely available historical past of the web filled with exciting anecdotes and stimulating insights." --David Puttnam"At final the net will get the heritage publication it deserves." --The Bookseller

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The most famous is the WELL, a San Francisco-based online group founded in the 1980s by a number of ageing hippy entrepreneurs and visionaries originally centred on the Whole Earth Catalog, the 1968 handbook by Stewart Brand which became the unofficial bible of the counter-culture movement. The Catalog was a best seller and Brand ploughed some of his resulting earnings into starting the WELL. The name was derived - tortuously - from 'Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link'. 42 Wonderment Marc Smith, a sociologist who has studied it, maintains that the social 'glue' which binds the WELL into a genuine community is a complex blend of participants' social skills, their amazing collective fund of expert knowledge (these are mainly Bay Area professionals, remember) and their willingness to support community members when they are in trouble.

The Net is really a system which links together a vast number of computers and the people who use them. And it's the people who make it really interesting. They use it for lots of things that human beings like to do (including, increasingly, shopping) but mostly they use it to communicate. It's the phenomenon of hundreds of millions of people freely communicating via such an efficient and uncensored medium that gives the Net its special character, and its extraordinary power. In global terms, the wired population, though sizeable, is only a subculture, and a peculiar one at that.

Ten years ago, I would have denounced it as baloney. Today, it still seems far-fetched. Tomorrow - who knows? And anyway, you don't need to resort to theories about the 40 Wonderment mechanics of digital replication to explain why the Net is different from anything we've seen before. For the conventional definition describing it as a global network of computer networks contains an elementary schoolboy mistake. It makes no mention of people. The Net is really a system which links together a vast number of computers and the people who use them.

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