Reading: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

So I’m currently reading “Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet” by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon.

It’s the story of how an ARPA project known as the ARPANet became the Internet we all know and love today. I’m sort of familiar with much of the story as my I.T. career sort of started with the birth of the Internet and moved on from there.

But the one thing that jumps out in this book, it’s Bolt Beranek and Newman or BBN. I’ve been head hunted by them in the past and refused the offer. I was gainfully employed elsewhere at the time.

But the names that surface in this book, many of the same people key to Xerox PARC too. Which begat the graphical OS and all that good stuff.

The history is fascinating. The characters I share some personal traits with – such is the case of my casual dress mode vis a vis a really good salary. Or the fact that you can put me in a room and I’ll code up something worthwhile.

I’m only about a third the way through the book now but one thing stands out. AT&T of the time had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the project. Kind of funny when you consider that now the phone companies and ISP’s are all digital. It has to do with the noise on the line and error detection and correction algorithms developed back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

And I really dig knowing the history of what we take for granted today. Like I said, it’s fun discovering how many common traits I share with  the geniuses who gave us the Internet.

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