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Subject: Can we uninvent the Internet? rss

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Michael Tan
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I was a freshman engineering student at Cal Berkeley in 1990, and one of the earlier users of e-mail and what we now call the Internet. I'm guessing I was somewhere between user number 10,000 and 100,000. Pre 1993, we used "the net" on green screen monitors for homework assignments, MUDs (text based multi user dungeons), and debating on Usenet forums whether Kirk or Picard was the better Starfleet captain. It was invented by nerds for nerds, and used almost exclusively by nerds. Over the next two decades, the Internet revolution propelled thousands of those nerds to personal fortune. The newest member of the billionaire boy's club was the Silicon Valley techie. The media dubbed it the "Revenge of the Nerds". I myself benefited greatly, though not as much as some of my peers. I remember my first inklings of resentment began in the mid 90's because I felt corporate America had hijacked "our" Internet and taken it away from "us". Some geeks recognized the money making opportunities and help fast track making "the web" available to the masses. We blamed "them" for inventing spam and junk mail. I still remember us .edu domain holders snickering at anyone with an AOL or Compuserve e-mail address. In truth, other than the occasional gripe, we knew the benefits of a user friendly Internet far outweighed keeping it an exclusive club for those of us who knew how to use a command line. But buying a book from Amazon.com was just the tip of the Iceberg. Next came instant messaging, Internet porn (which destroyed Usenet), online dating, smart phones, then text messaging usurped e-mail, then My Space, Facebook, crowd sourcing, and now Instagram and Twitter. Never ending. Somewhere along the way though, the idiots took over completely.

Like a cliche or trope from a Twilight Zone episode, the very instrument that the nerd used to propel himself to the top, has now been completely hijacked and turned against him to exact revenge. Just in the last 24-hours I've read about how hate crimes are nearing an all time high in this country, the anti-vaccer movement has led to a measles epidemic despite it being declared extinct in 2000, and the Idiot in Chief and his climate change deniers are now trying expedite the extinction of the human race.

Now how is the Internet to blame for this? For the same reason I am able to find an opponent for an obscure board game. It brings people together. No matter how whacked your idea is, it's guaranteed if you look hard enough, that you will find someone else who thinks exactly like you do. It used to be when you knew nothing about science, or were just to lazy to learn, you got an F from your high school science teacher. Then when he told you to shut up, you did. But now millions of people who got F's can find people who think just like they do. And there is strength in numbers. It emboldens them. If enough people say the same stupid thing in an echo chamber, they all become convinced they are right. This is what has given the anti-vaccer movement its legs. Or climate change denial. Or fake news.

This world is really starting to feel like a dystopian sci-fi nightmare. Science doesn't matter any more. Facts don't matter any more. If I had a time machine, I'd go back to 1989 and try to convince Tim Berners-Lee not to invent the World Wide Web (I'm kidding)...
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Christopher Dearlove
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I'm incidentally by global standards an early user, but I don't think of myself that way because I know some really early users. (I've met and am working on the same project as - but not with - a real pioneer, an attendee at IETF 1.)

But you finish by wanting to stop Tim BL from inventing the WWW. Wouldn't matter, because if he hadn't, someone else would have, because the infrastructure, the Internet, was there.

But even if we ignore that, the web didn't exist, the tools that were already available, such as email, FTP and gopher, would have been enough to get quite a way, especially if developed further. If we remove even those, the developments from the telecoms industry, rather than the computer industry, such as text messaging, could be adopted and developed further. None of these are as good as the WWW on the Internet, but I expect we'd still have had issues if the sort you mention.
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Derry Salewski
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Said everyone about all technology ever.
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Michael Tan
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I fully recognize that if he hadn't developed HTTP somebody else would have. It was meant facetiously. I am not very political but I am deeply troubled by recent events because I feel like knowledge and science are under assault from every direction...
 
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m3tan wrote:
...Kirk or Picard...


You lost me here, as all I could think about was what sort of crazy person votes for Picard? That's like Rainbows vs. decapitation or peanut butter cups vs. heat death of the universe.

You're a handsome woman, Penny.
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J J
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Right, so yet another person blaming basic human behaviour on everything but the people behaving, and seeking a technological fix. Why does that seem so typically, I dunno, geek to me...?

People have always been, and the world has always been, thus - all the Internet has done is increase your ability to see it.
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mistermarino wrote:
m3tan wrote:
...Kirk or Picard...


You lost me here, as all I could think about was what sort of crazy person votes for Picard? That's like Rainbows vs. decapitation or peanut butter cups vs. heat death of the universe.

You're a handsome woman, Penny.


Picard, hands down.

Hanging around Kirk increased your chance of death with a slight uptick in the amount of sex you may experience. Seemed like a high risk/medium reward situation.

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When I read Neuromancer in the mid 80's, all I could think was, man that future is going to be cool. I thought for sure I would be a street samurai, fighting rogue sentient AI's with my Rastafarian sidekick melding into sub sentient consciousness and reaching for the stars.

But the future ended up being much dumber than I had envisioned.
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Once humans invented nuclear weapons we guaranteed extinction. We're stupid violent primates. Long live cockroaches!!!
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darthhugo wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
m3tan wrote:
...Kirk or Picard...


You lost me here, as all I could think about was what sort of crazy person votes for Picard? That's like Rainbows vs. decapitation or peanut butter cups vs. heat death of the universe.

You're a handsome woman, Penny.


Picard, hands down.

Hanging around Kirk increased your chance of death with a slight uptick in the amount of sex you may experience. Seemed like a high risk/medium reward situation.


The sad thing is I remember this very talking point... It depends on whether you are a crew member or a citizen of the Federation at large. Also which crew member. If you're a red shirt you're dead. If you're in the command division, you'll not only survive but might score his sloppy seconds.

Since TNG was still first run at the time, the Picard fans far outnumbered the Kirk fans. Though us TOS fans considered them all johnny-come-latelys...
 
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This recent book Michael covers some of what you said. Especially the bits about "hey, I just googled and saw something about the Hapbsburgs and now I'm an expert on the Austro-Hungarian Empire" phenomenon. (That example is merely annoying; the anti-vaccers, etc are actually damaging.)


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m3tan wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
m3tan wrote:
...Kirk or Picard...


You lost me here, as all I could think about was what sort of crazy person votes for Picard? That's like Rainbows vs. decapitation or peanut butter cups vs. heat death of the universe.

You're a handsome woman, Penny.


Picard, hands down.

Hanging around Kirk increased your chance of death with a slight uptick in the amount of sex you may experience. Seemed like a high risk/medium reward situation.


The sad thing is I remember this very talking point... It depends on whether you are a crew member or a citizen of the Federation at large. Also which crew member. If you're a red shirt you're dead. If you're in the command division, you'll not only survive but might score his sloppy seconds.

Since TNG was still first run at the time, the Picard fans far outnumbered the Kirk fans. Though us TOS fans considered them all johnny-come-latelys...


Star Trek is Johnny come lately compared to Doctor Who. Meanwhile the Quatermass fans who've just read that are coughing gently. And ...
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einsteinidahosu wrote:
Once humans invented nuclear weapons we guaranteed extinction. We're stupid violent primates. Long live cockroaches!!!
The reason I log my plays is so a cockroach anthropologist in the year 3500 will have some data for a paper.
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Dearlove wrote:
m3tan wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
mistermarino wrote:
m3tan wrote:
...Kirk or Picard...


You lost me here, as all I could think about was what sort of crazy person votes for Picard? That's like Rainbows vs. decapitation or peanut butter cups vs. heat death of the universe.

You're a handsome woman, Penny.


Picard, hands down.

Hanging around Kirk increased your chance of death with a slight uptick in the amount of sex you may experience. Seemed like a high risk/medium reward situation.


The sad thing is I remember this very talking point... It depends on whether you are a crew member or a citizen of the Federation at large. Also which crew member. If you're a red shirt you're dead. If you're in the command division, you'll not only survive but might score his sloppy seconds.

Since TNG was still first run at the time, the Picard fans far outnumbered the Kirk fans. Though us TOS fans considered them all johnny-come-latelys...


Star Trek is Johnny come lately compared to Doctor Who. Meanwhile the Quatermass fans who've just read that are coughing gently. And ...


Too bad the BBC derezzed many of the earliest eps.

And yes, the US needs to defer to the UK on sci-fi support and trailblazing. Quartermass was the Star Wars for the UK.
 
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Sounds like what happened to Christianity actually.
 
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The internet went to shit when Americans reacted as they always do - there must be some way to monetarise this thing and bilk it for every dollar possible.
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Mike Stiles
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The internet is great >< So much information and entertainment at your fingertips all the time.

And seriously you think people weren't dangerously misinformed before?
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m3tan wrote:
I was a freshman engineering student at Cal Berkeley in 1990, and one of the earlier users of e-mail and what we now call the Internet. I'm guessing I was somewhere between user number 10,000 and 100,000. Pre 1993, we used "the net" on green screen monitors for homework assignments, MUDs (text based multi user dungeons), and debating on Usenet forums whether Kirk or Picard was the better Starfleet captain. It was invented by nerds for nerds, and used almost exclusively by nerds. Over the next two decades, the Internet revolution propelled thousands of those nerds to personal fortune. The newest member of the billionaire boy's club was the Silicon Valley techie. The media dubbed it the "Revenge of the Nerds". I myself benefited greatly, though not as much as some of my peers. I remember my first inklings of resentment began in the mid 90's because I felt corporate America had hijacked "our" Internet and taken it away from "us". Some geeks recognized the money making opportunities and help fast track making "the web" available to the masses. We blamed "them" for inventing spam and junk mail. I still remember us .edu domain holders snickering at anyone with an AOL or Compuserve e-mail address. In truth, other than the occasional gripe, we knew the benefits of a user friendly Internet far outweighed keeping it an exclusive club for those of us who knew how to use a command line. But buying a book from Amazon.com was just the tip of the Iceberg. Next came instant messaging, Internet porn (which destroyed Usenet), online dating, smart phones, then text messaging usurped e-mail, then My Space, Facebook, crowd sourcing, and now Instagram and Twitter. Never ending. Somewhere along the way though, the idiots took over completely.

Like a cliche or trope from a Twilight Zone episode, the very instrument that the nerd used to propel himself to the top, has now been completely hijacked and turned against him to exact revenge. Just in the last 24-hours I've read about how hate crimes are nearing an all time high in this country, the anti-vaccer movement has led to a measles epidemic despite it being declared extinct in 2000, and the Idiot in Chief and his climate change deniers are now trying expedite the extinction of the human race.

Now how is the Internet to blame for this? For the same reason I am able to find an opponent for an obscure board game. It brings people together. No matter how whacked your idea is, it's guaranteed if you look hard enough, that you will find someone else who thinks exactly like you do. It used to be when you knew nothing about science, or were just to lazy to learn, you got an F from your high school science teacher. Then when he told you to shut up, you did. But now millions of people who got F's can find people who think just like they do. And there is strength in numbers. It emboldens them. If enough people say the same stupid thing in an echo chamber, they all become convinced they are right. This is what has given the anti-vaccer movement its legs. Or climate change denial. Or fake news.

This world is really starting to feel like a dystopian sci-fi nightmare. Science doesn't matter any more. Facts don't matter any more. If I had a time machine, I'd go back to 1989 and try to convince Tim Berners-Lee not to invent the World Wide Web (I'm kidding)...

whistle
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m3tan wrote:
I was a freshman engineering student at Cal Berkeley in 1990, and one of the earlier users of e-mail and what we now call the Internet. I'm guessing I was somewhere between user number 10,000 and 100,000.


You are out by at least an order of magnitude.

I first used* the internet in 1985. I don't think I am as low as 100,000. By that time there was over 1000 separate newsgroups.

Some estimates I've seen show 3,000,000+ current users in 1990.

* I remember using gopher, archie and veronica as well as usenet and ftp. I also remember having to use a bang-path to send mail.
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andyl wrote:
m3tan wrote:
I was a freshman engineering student at Cal Berkeley in 1990, and one of the earlier users of e-mail and what we now call the Internet. I'm guessing I was somewhere between user number 10,000 and 100,000.


You are out by at least an order of magnitude.

I first used* the internet in 1985. I don't think I am as low as 100,000. By that time there was over 1000 separate newsgroups.

Some estimates I've seen show 3,000,000+ current users in 1990.

* I remember using gopher, archie and veronica as well as usenet and ftp. I also remember having to use a bang-path to send mail.

Nope. Those were all precursors to the Internet. The world wide web was invented in late 1989. If you want to go all the way back, in 1982 I used to load programs from cassette tape that made screeching noises, and connected to BBS's on my 1200 baud modem. So even by your standard I was probably user 10,000-100,000.
 
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Mike Stiles
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This thread has taken a very hipster turn.
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m3tan wrote:
andyl wrote:
m3tan wrote:
I was a freshman engineering student at Cal Berkeley in 1990, and one of the earlier users of e-mail and what we now call the Internet. I'm guessing I was somewhere between user number 10,000 and 100,000.


You are out by at least an order of magnitude.

I first used* the internet in 1985. I don't think I am as low as 100,000. By that time there was over 1000 separate newsgroups.

Some estimates I've seen show 3,000,000+ current users in 1990.

* I remember using gopher, archie and veronica as well as usenet and ftp. I also remember having to use a bang-path to send mail.

Nope. Those were all precursors to the Internet. The world wide web was invented in late 1989.


Not arguing about that but the Internet predates the web. At the time we all used internet. Most people have the opinion that the internet proper dates to when ARPANET adopted TCP/IP in 1983,

Quote:
If you want to go all the way back, in 1982 I used to load programs from cassette tape that made screeching noises, and connected to BBS's on my 1200 baud modem. So even by your standard I was probably user 10,000-100,000.


I doubt your BBS host was a connected host at that time, or even exchanged mail and usenet. That started in around '86.
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Theresa, shouldn't you be concentrating on the election rather than posting on BGG?
 
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