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« Right here, right now | Main | All aboard »

Jun 04, 2008


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Ian McDowell

It definitely underestimated the effect of porn, and I say that as someone who's never (yes, really) looked at any online, at least not for long (as to whether I was ever seen browsing the skin mags at the long defunct downtown newsstand on Market Street, I plead the fifth).


Gambling, too.


I remember using Mosaic for the first time in late 1994, for some freshman class, I think on a unix box. The killer app then was as a massive reference library - access to literally millions of journal articles, instantly. I also remember spending almost as much or more time on the monochrome instant messaging system on campus, at least through '95.


Since the entire populace (minus one) knows the Dem's primary season is over, I'd just like to go on record as saying that the economic boom of the Nineties had a lot more to do wih Netscape, Windows 95, and internet access via your cable provider than with Bill Clinton.

And... here's my net war story: I remember using a 9-inch B&W Mac, an account on the dialup network that later became AOL, and a Gopher client, to take a look at the CERN web site created by Berners-Lee.

I also used a network -- not the Internet but a part of its government predecessor -- to send email and play Lunar Lander using a teletype keyboard with the game's moves printed out on paper. No monitor on that baby, just a big roll of paper. This was sometime while Nixon was in office.

Paul Jones

Bob Metcalfe gets the last word which as inventor of ethernet he is due, but Vanity Fair gets his name wrong. The audio is credited to Larry Metcalfe (the picture and the voice sure sound like Bob to me).

[copyediting from the back to the front of the article and got one right off!]


The history side is important, especially when people want to see 'another internet' come along to spur another economic growth. The seeds of the internet were sown well before the 90's and rode the fundamental application of communications. For something in the 2010 decade to take off like the internet, there is already work being done now. Bell Labs/AT&T get nailed on the reluctance towards packet switching, but they did build the initial transistors - fairly important to getting the internet to work.

Vinod Khosla[founder of SUN micro]: The media people essentially did not think the Internet would be important or disruptive. In 1996, I got together the C.E.O.’s of 9 of the 10 major newspaper companies in America in a single room to propose something called the New Century Network. It was the C.E.O.’s of The Washington Post and The New York Times and Gannett and Times Mirror and Tribune and I forget who else. They couldn’t convince themselves that a Google, a Yahoo, or an eBay would be important, or that eBay could ever replace classified advertising.
Ed Cone

PJ, good catch -- already fixed at the VF site.

Paul Jones

They only fixed part of their mistake with Bob/Larry. is the final audio file. Not to be picky but I'm picky about names of the folks who VF is honoring


Wher is Al Gore in this piece?

Ed Cone

He's mentioned in a quote from web-browser developer Marc Andreessen: "I was also a staff member at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, which is basically a federally funded research institute. When Al Gore says that he created the Internet, he means that he funded these four national supercomputing centers. Federal funding was critical. I tease my libertarian friends—they all think the Internet is the greatest thing. And I’m like, Yeah, thanks to government funding."

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