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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.
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 daytoday basis will find this book an absorbing read.
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
Posted October 2, 2008
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.
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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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 26, 2008
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.