Interview with Myles Dungan (RTE): Documents from the Net’s history

Today I am doing an interview with Myles Dungan of RTE Radio for his new history program. He asked me to select a few items that can guide our discussion of my book A history of the Internet and the digital future. Here are some of the items that we will discuss. 

Nuclear context: Memorandum to President Kennedy in 1963, outlining the chronology of a nuclear exchange between United States and Soviet Union
U.S. National Security Council, Net Evaluation Subcommittee, “The Management and Termination of War With the Soviet Union,” 15 November 1963

This document shows the need for resilient, nuclear-proof communications – the context in which Paul Baran developed the concept of a decentralised computer network

Centrifugal concept: Paul Baran, “Introduction to distributed communication networks”, RAND memoranda series, 1962-64. (observe this diagram, on page 1

Bottom-up innovation:

15 March 1975, First Newsletter of the Homebrew Computer Club

The homebrew club was a gathering of amateur enthusiast thinkerers who gathered at garages and lecture halls to show each other their experiments with the new personal computing technology. Apple’s first computer, among many others, made its debut at the homebrew club.

Reaction: Bill Gates, Open Letter to hobbyists, 7 February 1976

A young Bill gates shows his frustration with the Homebrew Community, which on the one hand are a dynamo of innovation, and on the other are prolific sharers of copyright software.

Dot-crash: Warren Buffet letter to shareholders

Buffet, who had shied away from the dot-com bubble, says I told you so.

Centrifugal politics: Joe Trippi’s “perfect storm” blog post to Howard Dean campaign supporters

Trippi took the lessons on Linux and applied them to politics.

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