Read Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet by KatieHafner Matthew Lyon Online


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 creatorsConsidering 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....

Title : Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780743468374
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 307 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet Reviews

  • Dale
    2019-03-22 16:24

    If you dislike publications such as People Magazine, you will not like this book.If you believe that a history book should be well organized along either thematic or chronological lines, you will not like this book.If you think that a book about the history of technology should include details about the evolution of that technology, you will not like this book.If you believe that every non-fiction book deserves a good copy editor who will eliminate pointless discursions, you will not like this book.Otherwise, there is an excellent chance that you will enjoy this book, as a nightly sedative, if nothing else.

  • Brad Wheeler
    2019-04-06 18:32

    This book had one major problem to overcome going in: the story of the internet's origins just isn't all that interesting. It was kind of cool to see the origins of some of the networking protocols that I deal with on a day-to-day basis, and it filled in some gaps in my knowledge of computer history, but that was kind of it. There weren't many interesting personalities like in Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell, and the chronology got weird at points. It was easy to forget who did what.It wasn't horrible, for all that. It just wasn't particularly great either. My advice is, steer clear and buy a better book on the subject.Another note: I don't think this book suffered much for being written in the early nineties. So, kudos to the authors for making it timeless.

  • Tommy /|\
    2019-04-11 14:13

    The story of the various interlocking aspects of the internet isn't readily understood by the average user of its technologies. In fact, it would probably be safe to assume that most users believe that the origins of the internet came about in the late 1990s. Even with the often misrepresented quote from then-Presidential candidate Al Gore, the underlying technologies that comprise the internet remain a solid mystery to the typical internet denizen. "Where Wizards Stay Up Late" provides a wide-arching overview of where the technologies of packet-switching and TCP/IP came from, as well as that of the collaborative mainstay of business today - Electronic Mail. Furthermore, the book chronicles how the Internet of today evolved from a collaborative research tool (ARPANET) under the control of a small office in the Pentagon (ARPA, and then DARPA) into the commercial entity it has become today. Stripped of a lot of the technical concepts, Hafner and Lyon bring the compelling story of the pioneers of this wonderful collaborative communications tool that has come to be so fully integrated into our daily lives today. The last two chapters -- "Email" and "A Rocket on Our Hands" -- as well as the final Epilogue make the effort of reading the entire storyline worthwhile. I gladly set this book next to "Fire in the Valley" and "What the Dormouse Said" as excellent historical treatises on the developments during the pioneering phases of today's technological revolution. Very well worth the read.

  • Christopher Wilson
    2019-04-19 17:35

    This book was written from the perspective of the late (early?) 90s. It culminates with a party held by BBN to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first ARPA net node being switched on. Even then, there was a lot of disagreement about how and when things happened. There was jockeying for who got what credit. And particularly relevant today, to what extent was the internet a government project?As with most things, the actual history is more complex and nuanced than any soundbite can capture. What I do think is clear though is the extent to which the internet was built on a culture of openness. The early process for establishing internet standards, RFCs (Request For Comments), speaks to the collaborative spirit of the people involved. Standards and technologies that had been tried on the actual internet often prevailed over more top-down, bureaucratic approaches; take TCP/IP vs. the OSI model as an example.I'm colored by the time we're living in of course, but the rhetoric around net neutrality strikes me as somewhat ironic. Repealing net neutrality policies are being spun as "deregulation," and this is true in twisted way. It's like a scuba diver lobbying to be freed from the strictures of his shark cage so he can enjoy unobstructed views of the sharks.The status quo of the internet, from its inception and on, has been "deregulated" in a deep technological sense; the sense that matters most online. The fact that we had to have legal restraint to permit that technological freedom to exist, is a good thing.

  • Michael Pryor
    2019-04-01 18:17

    Thorough, comprehensive, important

  • Sara Watson
    2019-04-12 21:09

    The book does a great job of detailing the impetus for connecting up the country’s major university computing centers together at a time when computing resources were scarce and machines were enormous. It also follows an interesting narrative thread as different stages of connectivity were reached, as hardware configuration problems continued, and as the need for standards emerged. I especially liked the discussion about the moment when TCP/IP split to cover the packets and the routing information separately to become the core protocol of the internet stack. I appreciated also details about just how much traffic was accounted for by email communication in the early days of the ARPANET for research communications. The book also does a good job of capturing the ideology and vision of “Lick’s priesthood,” exploring the frontier of human interaction with computers. And you get a good sense for the materiality of the early connections in sentences like this: “Armed with an oscilloscope, a wire-wrap gun, and an unwrap tool, Barker worked alone on the machine sixteen hours a day.”Being at the Berkman Center, I’ve heard parts of this early internet history story recounted many times, in many different ways. This version gave me a better sense of the characters involved and the conditions for getting them together to work on solving this initial resource connection challenge. And yet, it was difficult to follow each of the characters through the chapters and steps the development.I appreciated the description of the engineers’ approach to solving problems, but I was distracted by sentences like these: “Looking down into the bits, lesser engineers with larger egos might attempt to show off, to infuse the mechanism with art, to create some wonder of engineering, a gold inlaid, filigreed marvel of complexity. The inner strength of Heart’s team was its restraint, its maturity. This was no place for signature craftsmanship.”The book still did not manage to disavow me of my sense of the importance of the early internet's defense ties, even as the authors sought to debunk the myth of ARPANET’s role in the face of nuclear attack. Though the authors are careful to describe the anti-war sensibilities of the researchers involved (and the geeky Ω resistance pins they wore), I still can't help but see the complicity in the military industrial complex, and I would have liked to see more on this fraught relationship between defense research budgets and scientific research broadly in the US.

  • Adam
    2019-03-23 16:19

    More like 3.5 stars, but I rounded generously. I found the beginning chapters quite exciting, but I eventually experienced information overload. There were so many people and places involved in the story, that I found it difficult to recall the importance of certain individuals and organizations. Some people, such as Paul Baran and Donald Davies (who independently discovered packet-switching), were fleshed out in sufficient detail for them and their accomplishments to be more memorable. But many others simply seemed (at least to me) to be generic eccentric computer geniuses. Same goes for collectives, such as the IPTO and NWG.I was generous with the rating because I think the book was very ambitious. It sought to give a history of not only the technical side of the Internet's development, but also the human side. For that, it has my respect.

  • Nick Black
    2019-04-21 16:34

    Read first in 2003, as supplementary material to CS3251 (Networking I). Three stars worth of harmless, chipper history, and an extra star for a great title. Much better than Hafner's other well-known book, "Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier," which is to be avoided. Really good material about BBN, the IMP's (I remember quoting this book in 2008 regarding the original 56kbps AT&T leased lines between the Honeywell DDP-316s, and impressing the hell out of an older coworker), Baran's work on packet switching, and the emergence of the IETF.

  • Vladyslav
    2019-03-28 16:23

    This book is Holly Grail for any computer history archaeologist. Katie Hafner provides extensive overview of the birth of the Internet: from the research chronology of the ARPA group, development journal of the government contractor -- BBN -- who basically build the ARPANET, maintenance and further usage, national and international expansion, E-mail, Request For Comments, DNS, TCP/IP vs OSI, to the sunset of ARPANET and the dawn of the NSFNET, and this is not nearly all what is covered in this brilliant book.I believe this is my number one computer history book from now one.

  • Kyryl
    2019-03-26 18:19

    Nice book describing the origins of the Internet in the true sense - what initially started as a scientific experiment, turned into the wave that changed all the modern society. For such a small book it covers many points in that story (and provides a lot of references for further reading). My favorite snippet was about the first RFC document.

  • Dave
    2019-03-29 14:28

    3.7* rounded up

  • Artur Coelho
    2019-04-01 20:07

    Uma intrigante visão dos primórdios da internet, contada em ritmo jornalístico. Foca-se pouco nos detalhes técnicos, preferindo olhar para o trabalho desenvolvido pelas personalidades que marcaram o desenvolvimento da internet. Começa na ARPA, mostrando com a visão de computação interconectada levou o seu primeiro impulso lá, desmontando o mito de ser um método de comunicação pensado para sobreviver a uma guerra nuclear. A visão que veio dar origem à internet foi, desde o princípio, de interconectar instituições e cientistas. São contados os primeiros passos da rede, desde as propostas de Licklider na ARPA aos primeiros nós criados e programados a partir de computadores Honeywell pelos engenheiros da Bolt Beranek Newman, os Interface Message Processors, que implementaram as redes de packet switching e, pela primeira vez, interligaram computadores em diferentes localizações geográficas, criando a primeira rede informática. O resto é uma história de crescimento exponencial, que desmonta outros mitos de criação da internet. Desde o início que a cooperação internacional marcou a nascente internet, com o trabalho do inglês Paul Davies na universidade de Londres e o projeto francês Cyclades, outros pioneiros das redes de computador, a integrar as propostas técnicas que fizeram evoluir a internet. Detalha também a consolidação de diferentes propostas técnicas no uso do TCP-IP e ethernet, mostrando como o espírito de propor, testar e construir esteve presente na rede desde os seus primórdios, sublinhado especialmente no triunfo do TCP-IP sobre a imposição da norma OSI, imposta pela ISO. A evolução orgânica, aberta à multiplicidade de propostas e discussão de ideias, está presente na rede desde os primeirissimos tempos da Arpanet.Há detalhes muito curiosos, como a descrição da primeira grande demonstração pública da ARPANET num congresso de telecomunicações e computação, que fascinou os seus participantes por, por exemplo, poderem conversar uns com os outros em janelas de terminais de computador; a imposição do email como aplicação que fez verdadeiramente vingar a internet, pensada mais como forma de interligar sistemas em interfaces mais formais, mas foi o poder da comunicação informal que a fez vingar. De tal forma que já nos anos 70 se colocavam problemas como excesso de emails.O livro termina com o desligar da ARPANET e sua incorporação nas míriades de redes que lhe sucederam, numa interligação progressiva que gerou a internet que conhecemos hoje. Uma rede cujos potenciais e impactos sociais não passaram despercebidos desde os seus primórdios por aqueles que a construíram. Mais do que ligar computadores, pretendiam ligar comunidades de cientistas.

  • Jay
    2019-04-02 22:34

    Not quite what I was looking for. I want to understand 'what is the internet', 'how does it work', 'who maintains this', etc. So I thought I'd start with a book about the earliest and simplest incarnation of the internet, which ought to explain the most essential components of the network to me.This book isn't about that. This book is about the people. It has anecdotes about how someone met their wife or how they kept their office, but little detail about the computers. Did give me a gross overview about what the internet is.Short and clearly written and entertaining; recommended if a story that works without the technical details is in fact what you were looking for.

  • Tasos Nikitakis
    2019-03-23 14:34

    This is a truly must read or anyone interested in how the internet revolution came to be. The writers did an excellent job conveying the spirit of the era while managing to keep exciting a book containing the terms (and difficult abstract concepts) packet switching, network protocls, TCP/IP, routers, IMPs..etc.

  • Larry
    2019-03-22 21:06

    A very good history of how the Internet (with a capital 'i') came to be. While some of the terminology may go over some heads, this book is written in a way that gives non-technical readers a great story and history. Definitely pick this book up if you were ever curious as to how you're able to read this review on your computer or phone!

  • Cheeze
    2019-04-08 15:28

    For its huge impact, the history of the internet/arpanet sounds interesting. It sure has interesting enough bits to make it an acceptable read, but the anecdotes are rarely spectacular and it's hard to keep track of the names and relations of all the people involved. All in all is just a bit dull.

  • Adam DeConinck
    2019-03-30 15:14

    Really excellent, readable history of the development of ARPANET and its evolution into (part of) the Internet. Highly recommended if you’re in the computing field and interested in its history, or if you enjoy science/engineering histories.

  • Ilana
    2019-04-12 21:13

    I wanted to like this book. I like tech history. But felt like it was just another retelling of the same old story. It didn't add any meaning or really made the book about anything except a telling of facts and places not ideas. A little surprising since ARPAnet was so much about ideas.

  • Marcin Cylke
    2019-04-02 20:07

    Entertaining read, however consists too much politics, names and facts around US gov. agencies. This doesn't seem to me as profound as all the anecdotes and interesting technical facts about the network itself being built.

  • Stijn
    2019-03-29 18:15

    I felt connected to history!

  • Stanley Costkow
    2019-04-11 18:21

    An interesting history.

  • Andrius
    2019-03-26 14:21

    Little details. Expected to get a little bit more info about core technologies.

  • Jos
    2019-04-20 21:35

    long time ago read. good insights how darpa was a katalyst for something that changed the world.

  • gargamelscat
    2019-04-18 17:34

    Manages to be novelistic without sacrificing technical rigour, a pleasure to read.

  • Tim Black
    2019-04-20 22:27

    I was introduced to this book after thoroughly enjoying The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Timothy Wu, who surveyed the origins of modern communication technologies. After reading Wu's praise for a system that works so well despite being highly decentralized, my interest was piqued and I decided to dive in deeper to this particular history.It was surprising to see how the messy process by which the internet was invented. As as is the case with many of these technological breakthroughs, many of the initial contributors did not realize the ultimate potential of their project. In fact, there were plenty of computer science professors who were skeptical that there would be any benefit of connecting computers! In another example, people dismissed the potential of email, which is why it wasn't until much later that a protocol for that type of communication was developed. There was no "grand plan" for internet; instead, a bunch of really smart people left to their own devices were making it up as they went along. As some have mentioned, the book can be a bit dry at times. However, if you want a concise history of how the internet was developed, look no further than this book.

  • Marko
    2019-03-23 14:19

    Where Wizards Stay Up Late covers an important part of history and does it very well. Internet has already had a huge impact on our lives, much bigger than most people realise. Along with the computer itself it has caused an explosion on technological and scientific advance. Computers allow researchers to do things that are impossible by hand and the Internet has allowed the same researchers to share knowledge and resources. Both of them are catalysts and by having these two together has had an impact we can’t even truly measure yet.Hafner and Lyon start right at the beginning and have some interesting insights that change the perception of how, when, why and where the origins of the Internet are. The accepted truth is that ARPAnet was built to withstand a nuclear war and that’s why it is decentralized. But this myth is revealed to be just that, a myth even though ARPA itself was founded because Soviet Union launched the first Sputnik satellite and this sparked a fear that they were technologically ahead of USA. No, ARPAnet was created to connect different research facilities together because before that you needed separated computers to connect to each location and this was very awkward.The process wasn’t easy. It took time and a lot of effort from some very smart people. The book is very thorough mapping the people and events that led to the creation of ARPAnet but somewhat more vague explaining how the Internet was then created. ARPAnet implemented most of the principal ideas that would be the backbone of Internet but there were also some major developments needed to piece together networks from other countries and inside USA. Some, like TCP/IP is covered well and it was interesting to read about the struggle between it and the OSI model. I went to university in the early 90’s and remember how we were taught the OSI model. I couldn’t understand it then as back then the only network I had experience with were bulletin board systems. Of course I started using Internet straight away, before WWW became a thing but I lacked context. I didn’t actually realise it was competing with TCP/IP until now as it lost so spectacularly that by the time I understood networking it had all but disappeared.Telling the history of ARPAnet is important, though. It shines a light on the people who made it, and Internet possible. Most people have never heard of them even though their impact has been enormous. Not many have heard of a company called Bolt Baranek & Newman either even though it played a central role in the creation of ARPAnet.This story was worth telling and thankfully the authors did a very good job at doing that. As a software engineer who knows a thing or two about the technical side I probably got more out of this than most but the reader is not required to know the technical side, anything he needs to understand is explained. I’m pretty sure there is no better book that explains how and why the Internet turned out the way it did. And considering how much more important it has become since this book was written it’s even more current than it was 20 years ago. I wish they could update it with a bit more about the inception of the Internet up to around 1995 when the thing really took off. Then we would have an excellent book about this important part of history.I would suggest Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution as the perfect compendium to this book.

  • Doran Barton
    2019-04-19 19:35

    I actually read Where Wizards Stay Up Late several years ago, shortly after it was published, but decided to re-read it as I remembered it being very good but had forgotten many details. For the time it was published (1996), Hafner and Lyon did a remarkable job of including great swaths of computing and networking history into a readable and manageable volume that chronicles an era from the 1960s until the mid-1990s during which time the ARPANET was created and later spawned other networks which would comprehensively become what we know today as the Internet.For the less-technical reader, some more interesting points in the book include the history of e-mail, why the '@' symbol became a critical piece of e-mail addresses, and the history of free speech on the early ARPANET. For more technical readers, understanding the hurdles the men involved with the ARPANET project (there were absolutely no women involved) had to overcome. Even the idea of connecting computers together for the purpose of communication and resource sharing was not contemplated in the early to mid-1960s, but men like J.C.R. Licklider could see a future where people using computers could benefit immensely by being able to access other computers through an electronic network. Making the argument to funding bureaucrats wasn't that difficult either because if computer users could access and use another computer located at a remote site to do their work then money would not have to be spent purchasing an identical computer for them to use locally. Bob Metcalfe, Vint Cerf, and Bob Kahn are three of the men involved in ARPANET's history that went on to positions of fame. Metcalfe worked at Xerox PARC where he created Ethernet networking and later founded the company 3Com which sold networking hardware. Vint Cerf was the face of Internet networking and did more than anyone else to publicize the merits of TCP/IP networking. Bob Kahn worked alongside Cerf in the early days of the propagation of the ARPANET and came up with foundational concepts for TCP. He has continued to be involved in computing research. There were dozens of other individuals involved, of course, and this book doesn't leave them all out. Will Crowther, for example, worked on the early ARPANET software at BBN and later wrote a spelunking computer game called Adventure that gained cult-notoriety on the early Internet. Young Ben Barker was the hardware engineer employed by BBN to assemble the Internet Message Processors (IMPs) from Honeywell computers for ARPANET sites. Honeywell didn't deliver hardware to BBN's specifications for the first few sites and Barker had to personally fix everything, debugging and re-wire-wrapping things correctly.I had my first exposure to Internet networking in 1990 when I was enrolled at a local university. There, I was able to make use of services on the NSFNET, WESTNET, BITNET, and DECNET, separate networks discussed in this book. Eventually, these all gave way to the Internet.

  • Erhardt Graeff
    2019-03-30 15:15

    This was a fun and detailed look through the early history of the Internet. I revisited key figures like JCR Licklider, Vint Cerf, and Jon Postel, who I first learned about during my freshman year of information technology education at RIT. And I learned the inane origins of the inane debate between TCP/IP and OSI that added mind-numbing tedium to my computer networking courses in high school.The majority of the book though focuses on the relationship between the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and Cambridge, MA-based Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) that won the contract to construct the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. I didn't appreciate the impressive feat of engineering undertaken to connect the first mainframe computers together. Over the course of months, programmers, engineers, and computer scientists, largely coming from MIT / Lincoln Laboratory and inspired by a few crude experiments, some mathematical theory, and the visionary scientists cum policymakers at ARPA, willed computer networking into existence.At least that's how it seems from the dramatic retelling offered by Hafner and Lyon in this book. For a nonfiction examination of technical protocol creation, this is a pretty decent page-turner. They don't spare too many technical details either, which I absolutely drank up—probably because I was familiar with the basic concepts already and so could simply enjoy the backfill of context and sweat. I definitely recommend this to folks interested in getting a better sense of how we came to have the "series of tubes" we call the internet, and in appreciating the openness, pragmatism, and genius that built it. I also think the book helps us appreciate the fragility of what we have come to take for granted, and the rarity of the moment in history where federal funding and a willingness to experiment allowed the ARPANET to happen. Finally, I want to recognize the grad students. While the core hardware of ARPANET was a perfect example of government contracting with a determined company, the success of the internet as a broader experiment was built on the free time and inquisitiveness of graduate students who wanted to play and push the system further: creating an ad hoc system of protocols and proposals (RFPs) that led to the internet transforming how we live our lives. Those early pioneers deserve all our thanks for their late nights.

  • Michael
    2019-03-31 21:14

    I got turned onto this book because I read an article rebutting the central premise of a Wall Street Journal article about how private enterprise rather than government investment in basic research brought around the Internet. This book was cited as a definitive book about the beginnings of the Internet, so I gave it a spin.The first thing to understand is that this book is about the very basics of the creation of the Internet, the connections across networks. It only describes the initial connections of ARPANET in great detail and then some about the development of TCP/IP and Ethernet. The World Wide Web, domain names, and browsers get exactly 1 mention in the epilogue.Of that part, the book does a decent job of describing the creators and the technological difficulties and obstacles in creating the Internet. There are some flow problems and I had difficulty keeping in my head the important dates of the Internet. The first part of the book deals with the growth of ARPANET, then it transitions to a part about email (which covers over some of the same period), then TCP/IP and Ethernet (which again covers over the same time). The early 1970's was an explosion in the Internet technology and a lot was happening concurrently so it's difficult to keep the dates and what was going on all in my mind. A timeline would have greatly helped or a better breakdown of the subject material.The book was written in 1995 on the 25th anniversary of the beginnings of ARPANET, so it's not informed about how much the Internet has spread. Imagine an Internet when Facebook, Youtube, and Google didn't exist and that's the environment that this book was written in. Additionally, the subject isn't particularly exciting and the book itself is pretty dry. However, for people interested in the beginnings of the Internet, this is good read.FAQ: The Government funded the beginning and encouraged the growth of the Internet. And no, it was not for maintaining communications during a nuclear war.

  • Rachel
    2019-03-28 16:33

    I picked this book up because I love reading about how things I take for granted come to be. Books like Tears of Mermaids or The Facebook Effect, or anything that tells the story behind the story. Where Wizards Stay Up Late did not disappoint. The book follows the lives and discoveries of the small group of men (sadly, no women were involved!) who created what we know now as the internet.Of course, they didn’t realize that’s exactly what they were doing. In the 50s and 60s, government-funded computer research was focused on things like feeding facts to a computer (it’s raining in Moscow but Wednesday will be sunny) and hoping it would accurately predict whether the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons. A few people were able to see that computers were not a form of intelligence themselves, but enabled thinking humans to take advantage of the country’s wealth of research by connecting universities to one another over a network of computers talking to each other.And ARPANET was born. The section of the book that describes the beginnings of ARPANET, the first computers to be connected, and how the entire process worked was like reading a fast-paced thriller. Things kept going wrong at the last moment, but they came together well enough in the end to prove the worth of the experiment. And in very short order, people were using the early network for what we use it for now – discussion, discourse, and flame-outs. (No kidding!)The writing isn’t very technical – I still can’t tell you how a computer works, and I wouldn’t be able to recreate the internet if society collapsed. But I know a lot more history than I did before I read the book, and I appreciate the internet all the more for it. The edition of the book that I read was published in 1996, so the internet has completely revolutionized itself and the rest of the world at least once since publication. I think, however, that the rest of the story is far less interesting than the beginning.