On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders / Edition 1

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On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders is an absorbing chronicle of the inventive, individualistic, and often cantankerous individuals who set the Internet free. Michael A. Banks describes how the online population created a new culture and turned a new frontier into their vision of the future.

This book will introduce you to the innovators who laid the foundation for the Internet and the World Wide Web, the man who invented online chat, and the people who invented the products all of us use online every day. Learn where, when, how and why the Internet came into being, and exactly what hundreds of thousands of people were doing online before the Web. See who was behind it all, and what inspired them.

What you’ll learn

You’ll find these stories of people and events on the way to the Web:
  • CIA agents in search of military hardware for sale online
  • The first online privacy scandal, three decades ago
  • The first instance of online censorship in 1979
  • How in 1980 the FBI demanded the ID of a CompuServe user who tried to sell 3,000 M16 rifles online
  • Early con artists
  • Online romance scams
  • Identify theft
  • Who really created AOL (Hint: it wasn’t Steve Case)
  • The wireless Internet that was built in 1978
  • Why the @ sign is used in email addresses

Who this book is for

On the Way to the Web is a book that will appeal to all readers, but one that computer enthusiasts will find especially interesting. Most readers will have played a part in the story it tells, and anyone who uses the Internet and Web on a day–to–day basis will find this book an absorbing read.

Table of Contents

  1. Looking Back: Where Did It All Begin?
  2. In the Money
  3. Making Contact with CompuServe
  4. The Source
  5. Dis-Content and Conflict
  6. Evolution
  7. Online Experiments
  8. Trials and Errors
  9. The Second Wave
  10. AOL Gestation
  11. The Third Wave
  12. In with the New, Out with the Old
  13. AOL Evolves: Expansion, Integration, and Success
  14. Prodigy: The Flat-Rate Pioneer Who Just Didn't Get It
  15. Moving to the Net

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781430208693
  • Publisher: Apress
  • Publication date: 7/25/2008
  • Edition description: 2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,545,500
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael A. Banks is the author of more than 40 books, among them several titles that deal with Internet topics, including The eBay Survival Guide; Web Psychos, Stalkers, and Pranksters; The Modem Reference; PC Confidential; and Welcome to CompuServe. He is coauthor of CROSLEY: The Story of Two Brothers and the Business Empire that Transformed the Nation (Clerisy, 2006), the biography of twentieth-century industrialist/entrepreneur and communications magnate Powel Crosley, Jr. (This book made the New York Times extended bestseller list, the Wall Street Journal hardcover business book bestseller list, and the Business Week bestseller list. Having sold 45,000 copies during its first three months of existence, it received a full-page writeup in the February 12, 2007, issue of Publishers Weekly.) He has written hundreds of magazine articles and served as a contributing editor and columnist for Computer Shopper, Windows, and other magazines.

Banks has been online since 1979, when he caught his first glimpse of CompuServe. During the 1980s, he was involved in a number of Internet firsts, including online book promotion. He has helped maintain bulletin board systems, was a special interest group (SIG) manager on DELPHI for a number of years, and worked in a consulting capacity for CompuServe and The Source. He wrote one of the first guides to online services, The Modem Reference (Brady/Simon & Schuster), which introduced hundreds of thousands of users to modems and the online world. Because of his reputation as a modem and telecommunications expert, GEnie and BIX (Byte Information Exchange) created special online forums for Banks early blogs. He has also advised a number of businesses in the area of online marketing.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Looking Back: Where Did It All Begin? 1

Ch. 2 In the Money 7

Ch. 3 Making Contact With Compuserve 15

Ch. 4 The Source 25

Ch. 5 Dis-Content and Conflict 39

Ch. 6 Evolution 49

Ch. 7 Online Experiments 61

Ch. 8 Trials and Errors 67

Ch. 9 The Second Wave 79

Ch. 10 Aol Gestation 95

Ch. 11 The Third Wave 103

Ch. 12 In With the New Out With the Old 115

Ch. 13 Aol Evolves: Expansion, Integration, and Success 127

Ch. 14 Prodigy: The Flat-Rate Pioneer Who Just Didn't Get It 139

Ch. 15 Moving to the Net 157

Afterword: Omissions. Additions, and Corrections 177

App. A Online Timeline 179

App. B Bibliography 197

App. C Founders 199

Index 205

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2008

    Very Well Researched

    On The Way To The Web is one book which I highly recommend to anyone who wants a definitive history on the internet. The amount of research and time which was obviously spent on compiling and organizing the short but colourful history of this wonder known as the Web is very worthy of recognition. For those of us who remember the coming of the internet, On The Way To The Web is a journey back in time, revisiting many events, products and ideas which seemed so futuristic and impossible twenty years ago which have now become common place or fallen by the wayside. I personally had forgotten all about ventures such as GameLine - the innovative download service for Atari 2600 games and game updates. While I'm sure that many of today's gamers think that XBLA, Wii Shop and PlayStation Network were all 21st century inventions, GameLine was here first. Reading about GameLine again, I have to wonder where our games industry would be today if Atari hadn't experienced the downslide it did right at the time of GameLine's launch. Like spelunkers finding their way through a deep dark cave, technology innovators such as Bill Louden, William Von Meister and others lead the way forward from the days of ARPANET, primitive BBS systems and proprietary communication software to the birth of ISPs, TCP/IP, global email, portals and that entity we all love to hate, AOL. On The Way To The Web presents a comprehensive time line of where we started and the complicated path we took to get to where we are today in our global internet community. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how we became such an inter-connected society, the wonders and miracles of communication technology.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    A book that really tells the whole story: ARPAnet, CompuServe, Dialog, Internet, AOL, BIX, DELPHI, Prestel, Viatel and more, worldwide

    This book is a real page-turner, which is to say you can't stop reading once you get into it. Part of the reason for this is that the author is telling true stories of the people who designed and built the networks and online services that are the foundation for today's Web. It is the story of what happened "on the way to the Web" (which is why it stops in 1994, when the Web made its debut).<BR/><BR/>Most readers will be surprised to find that AOL is a real latercomer, and that computer networks existed before ARPAnet. They'll also find it interesting learn where AOL really came from, how ARPAnet technology was transferred to the commercial level, which consumer online service was the first (CompuServe or The Source), how Prodigy messed up a perfectly good opporunity--and how certain goverment contractors took computer expertise and databases for which the government paid and turned them commercial products.<BR/><BR/>And that's just a tiny part of what's in this book. Learn about online services and Videotex in Europe, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere, and what exactly people were doing online before the Web. (Activities in the early 1980s included having virtual sex and getting busted by spouses, getting married, stealing, stalking, and lots of other things that people think didn't exist before the Web.) There is a great story about the world's very first online service -- and a lot of other great stories, with details on the people and sometimes con artists who built the Internet.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    Fascinating story behind the history of the internet

    As a young web professional I've never really questioned the story I was told behind the internet until I recently stumbled upon this book. This book provides a wonderful, content-rich history behind the creation of the internet as we know it today. I enjoyed learning about the innovators and failed entrepreneurs who helped pioneer the formation of this global network. A couple times I felt overwhelmed with facts and found myself having to stop and think about many of the facts that I just read about. However, at the end of the book there is a concise appendix of "Online Events" which provides a well rounded summary of the chain of events that occurred between 1984 and 1996. You will find that you will learn about the early history behind some familiar names such as: CompuServe, The Source, IBM, AOL, SDC, Altair and Delphi to name a few. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the in-depth history behind the internet and the story behind many of it's pioneers.

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  • Posted November 6, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    The Full Story, from ARPANET through CompuServe, AOL, and the Web

    As another reviewer said, this book is well researched. It corrects facts that other books got wrong, supplies information that isn't available anywhere else, and pulls everything together in an engaging manner. The writing style flows easily, and the reader is almost literally drawn from one page to the next.<BR/><BR/>On the Way to the Web opens with the story of ARPAnet and the Internet, seguing into the foundinig of the first commercial databases and the earliest online content. (Yep, there was online content before Web 2.0!) Then it's on to the early online services for personal computer owners: CompuServe and The Source. You also learn about Dow Jones News/Retrieval, Dialog and similar business and research databases.<BR/><BR/>BAck to consumer services, it's interesting to trace the convoluted origins of AOL in this book. Surprisingly AOL has has General Electric, Apple, and gaming consoles in its blood! Playnet (one of AOL's ancestors), Q-Link, Prodigy (a blundering, self-destructive service), DELPHI, The Source, The WELL, and every other online service is here. So is Videotex (California's Gateway, Viewtron in Florida).<BR/><BR/>Unlike many other histories, On the Way to the Web steps outside the United States to cover Internet and other online developments in Canada, Europe, and Japan, which have never been covered. You'll find TELIDON, NABU, Prestel, MINITEL, Bildshirmtext, Nifty-SERVE, CIX, Oracle, Prestel, to name a rew. USENET, the first bulletin boards (BBSs), and many other developments are depicted in detail.<BR/><BR/>The book winds up with a year-by-year timeline of online events, from Vannevar Bush's early concepts in 1945 and the founding of ARPA in 1957, and thence through all sorts of networking and online service developments, through 1994, when the Web made its debut. Recommended for anyone who wants to know where the Internet came from and how it evolved. Informative and entertaining.

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