Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Internet

PCWeek on the Influence of the PC and the Internet 156

tmlrv writes " PCWeek has a series of articles on how the PC and the Internet have affected modern computing. Noting the source, its not really surprising the articles are PC centric (PC, as in IBM/compatible Personal Computer) and gives way too much credit to the PC for the spread of the Internet. But what I found interesting was that the part UNIX played and its importance is not even mentioned with the implication that the Internet was a totally PC driven phenomena. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

PCWeek on the Influence of the PC and the Internet

Comments Filter:
  • without the pc, e-commerce would not exist as we know it, nor would the 'net
  • Most people also believe that the WWW is the internet. Most have no idea, nor care what goes on behind the scenes.

  • Revisionism is alive and well, but this is always equal parts evil conspirators and the gullible public who are willing, nay, eager to believe. Netscape invented the World Wide Web and the Web browser itself -- everybody knows that! Seems it's all just a little bit of history repeating.
  • Wait! Netscape didn't invent the internet! Al Gore did!

    Geez - here we go with another "let's spin history to suit our point of view" article. I would give my left arm for a totally objective point of view.

  • The PC is what started it all. In fact, I subscribe to PC Week, and in the December 20/27, 1999, issue, they have a timeline of computing since the 11th century, and one thing it shows is the huge part that the PC has took in the forming of the information age.
  • I would have to agree, PC access to the internet is what has made it what it is today. There is little use in having an all-powerful, all-expansive network if no one is using it.

    Like it or not, The most influential things which made the internet what it is today are (in this order) .....

    1. Trumpet Winsock. 2. Netscape 3. Internet In A Box 4. Windows 95 5. Al Gore (only kidding)

    I hate windows, I never liked it, not ever. I went from DR DOS to Linux but I must admit, windows users are what made the internet what it is today.


    You are a threat to free speach and must be SILENCED!
  • That's sure news to me... so tell me what exactally was Mosaic then?

    But I still do agree with your point, in fact this kind of proves it.
  • You obviously don't understand what was said in the article. The article said, basically, that they were exagerating how important the PC was to the Internet. Why couldn't just exagerate this timeline of computing too?

    "No, he never lies, he told me so himself."
    Unles, of course, you were joking ;)

  • It is easy to give credit to things like PC's or Unix as being a major factor in the creation of the Internet, but lets not forget people. I think it has allot to do with the way society is moving towards a more open mindset, and the Internet is a natural progression in the sharing of ideas. In the beginning of DARPANet scientists used it for a multitude of things but it all came down to people communicating. I think it would have happened not matter what platform it worked on.
    A real human desire for freedom of information, and expression of ideas, thats what made the Internet.
  • ...I must admit, windows users are what made the internet what it is today.

    <HUMOR>Well, that would explain it then.</HUMOR>

    Seriously, if you're going to make that list, you would have to include America Online (AOL). The internet is not today what it once was, mostly because of the influx of non-technical people (like the prototypical AOL-ite who does not know proper netiquette, and may never even have heard of USENET, let alone ever religiously read it once upon a time). For all of the hassle the constant influx of newbies have caused, the upside is that there is more effort on infrastructure (cable modems, DSL, etc.) and on a variety of content because of it.

    Whether or not this is a good thing overall is a matter of personal opinion.

    --

  • for some reason I doubt that zdnet has too much to fear from the slashdot effect, rendering a directed use of the slashdot effect "on an article that doesn't speak the party line" useless.
  • Slashdot is not supposed to have an agenda. That's how you report news, report all of it, no matter how mundane.
  • I have to speak out, and agree 100% with this comment... These kinds of articles are very abundant on the common-user's "web," and it's these kinds of articles that make me go to slashdot to AVOID.

    Moderate FascDot Killed My Pr's comment up. =)

    I speak out, because I only feel it's in the best interest for the slashdot community. -Saxton


    _________
  • by apsmith ( 17989 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @08:53AM (#1441318) Homepage
    What I thought was most interesting was the page wondering What if the PC had never happened? [zdnet.com] -- a quote:


    With the earlier emergence of "just turn it on" devices, such as the
    Palm PDA from 3Com Corp.'s Palm Computing Division or Sun
    Microsystems Inc.'s SunRay thin client, we might have avoided vast
    investments in training users to administer PC operating systems.
    Entire software subindustries-such as multitasking shells and system
    management utilities-might never have come to pass. Enterprise IT
    managers would have been able to concentrate on business process
    improvement instead of being bogged down in end-user
    handholding.


    and they attribute the reason this didn't happen to AT&T's not taking packet switching seriously enough. An interesting thought. T1 circuits have worked over regular copper for a long time now - on the other hand, I don't think routers and switches were up to the capacity demands that would have been needed to do anything close to an adequate job 20 years ago. But it's definitely an interesting thought.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The purpose of the posting is to prepare us to refute the ridiculous focus of the PC Week article when it is brought up by ill-informed friends/acquaintances/collegues/whatever.

    It helps to know when misinformation is being promulgated.

  • I love Larry Roberts' quote:

    "The Internet is largely the reason that communism died."

    I can see his point to an extent, that the open flow of information makes it hard for dictators to keep a clamp on information, but it just isn't wholy true. The Internet didn't begin to come into prominence until the mid-90's, by which time most of the old Iron Curtain had fallen. It hasn't killed off Castro in Cuba, or Kim Il-Sung in North Korea. The Internet hasn't gotten Saddam Hussein out of Iraq, or Milosevic out of Bosnia either. It is still very easy for a government to restrict what information sources are available to their citizens. Iran, for instance, still heavily restricts what TV stations are available. And when it comes to the Internet, for most parts, if you control the phone system, you control the Internet access as well.

    But back to the quote at hand. There are way too many other factors in the "death" of communism in Europe, I just can't see the Internet as one of them. Factors such as Reagan's policy of "offense through defense spending," among others, brought about the end of the Cold War, and communism in Europe. Not the Internet. Sorry, Mr. Roberts.
  • If Slashdot is "News for nerds: Stuff that matters" then PCWeek is "News for Newbies: Stuff that will amuse your Pointy Haired Boss".

    Seriously Slashdot gives way to much play to ZDNet articles and PCWeek. Why do we so rarely hear about articles from Information Week (sometimes from InfoWorld Electric [inforworld.com]), Newsbytes [newsbytes.com], First Monday [firstmonday.org], or IEEE Journals [computer.org] (hey, now the IEEE has NEWS FOR NERDS!).

    Newsbytes is pretty pedestrian but the news is usually raw (uncooked, uninterpreted) and more appropriate for discussion.

  • 5. Al Gore (only kidding)

    I don't blame anyone for moderating this down, but it really bugs me when I see as generally intelligent a group as this repeating the stupidest things never done line. (like a while ago when a thread about a law suit spawned allusions to the nigh-legendary mcdonalds coffee lawsuit.)

    So, just to get it out of my system - Al Gore never said that he invented the internet, or anything even vaugly similar. He said that when he was in congress, he supported a spending bill that increased the accessability of the internet from what it was then. You can argue about what that bill actually acomplished, or even try to find the context of the quote and see if he was trying to claim hipness points or responding to a question about his priorities where it was relevant, but for the love of the Taco Bell dog, could people please stop ragging on the man for something he never said!

    Ugh. I mean, if you want, I'll sneak some lexis-nexus time and find you a list of stupid things he actually did say, if you just want to insult Al Gore.

    OK, that's out of my system.

  • >>report all of it, no matter how mundane.




    May I please correct you.




    "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."




    -Saxton


    _________
  • No, the point being was that, of course they didn't. Just like the PC didn't matter as much as the article claims it did. You follow?
  • It seems to me that the articles in question were not focused on windows/unix/mac etc..., but rather on the tremendous change that was affected by giving millions of people access to cheap computing hardware.

    From the writers perspective I would say that the OS in question was irrelevant because of the anonymizing influence of the internet. Can anyone tell what kind of computer, let alone OS, I'm posting this message with?

  • by Kenneth Stephen ( 1950 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:04AM (#1441328) Journal

    I definitely agree that most of the internet runs on UNIX. But the reason for the popularity of the internet, and the equipment used to run it are two different things. Just consider that the internet has been around for nearly three decades. The only people using it then were in the R&D establishments and academia. And this did not constitute much of a user-base and therefore, things like online shopping wouldnt really have clicked (pardon the pun).

    With the advent of the PC and PC-based internet clients, however, the user base changed significantly. The user base of the internet today has become almost synonymous with the user-base of PC's. The huge PC revolution thus is directly responsible for the huge expansion in the popularity of the internet.

  • Here's what really was said, thanks to anxietycenter.com: [anxietycenter.com]

    Gore has claimed during a 1999 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." The preliminary discussions for the creation of the Internet took place in 1967 and, in 1969, the Defense Department commissioned the creation of the "Arpanet." Gore was 2l years old at the time and it would be eight more years before he was elected to the US House of Representatives.

    Gore's an idiot, no matter which way you look at it.
  • I hate windows, I never liked it, not ever. I went from DR DOS to Linux but I must admit, windows users are what made the internet what it is today.

    Well, IMNSHO, I think it's the windows luser^H^H^H^H^Husers who made it possible for internet exploiters like spammers, bloated webpages, screwed up HTML email, and gratituously incompatible IE-specific Web pages to exist. In general, the deteriorating signal-to-noise ratio of the Net is, for the large part, due to the large Windows-user audience. Yes spammers existed before Windozers started to get on the scene, but it's only when you have such a large base of ignorant^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hunaware users who can easily fall prey to them that they have become so widespread. And it's when you have hoards and hoards of people who think it's "cool" to send HTML emails loaded with the latest, cutest, GIF animation that the Net started to harbor all the useless junk and suck up precious bandwidth.

    OT1H they are the reason the Internet became so popular and so influential today. OTOH, they have caused a lot of grief like the plummeting S/N ratio, screwed-up HTML emails, bloated useless-graphics-laden webpages, ... and they are the naive people who say "yes yes this feature will be SOOO neat" to MS when it comes out with the latest crapware oozing with features and security holes, and actually buys these crapware, not knowing the dangers nor the grief they cause the network.

    Well, I don't even know why I'm ranting against Windows users, I've nothing against them personally. But it's just this paradoxical situation of the Net today -- it's very powerful and very influential because of the large numbers of these users. Which is good in a sense: it's because of this that people like us Slashdotters can make an impact just by posting/reading Slashdot. But OTOH there are also loads of crap on the Net nowadays (I'll refrain from repeating it all over again), also because large numbers of users are the audience.

    Seems that every time something becomes this popular, immediately you have the "newbie effect" -- deterioration of quality, increase of noise, etc., alongside the better developments. Sad.

  • Look at all the companies. What do we see on TV when we see a commercial? It is always Windows x. Yes the bulk of the internet is made by Cisco and 3com and fiber and all that but the average computer user now could and would never understand and of the backbone. While we can all think, hey I have been around since pre-windows using my 2400 baud modem thinking I was cooking that is not the commercial internet. That is not going to get Joe Blow's attention.
    Flashy lights and pretty pictures win the masses.
    Windows has lots of that(as do most web pages). Basically Windows is the market place. Windows has the most users therefore a story about that has the biggest audience and the most understanding. Just my two cents as I sit here on my windows PC at work swearing at it because it locked up on me in the middle of this.
  • I think a big problem with the confusion over this story is the definition of a PC. A lot of people think of a PC as your computer you have at home and you mess around with. But as the article pointed out, they were referring to the PC as the IBM compatible (now Intel based) computers. Non mainframes, minicomputers, supercomputers, etc. Just little boxes at max 4 feet tall and a 8" wide or some such. That includes servers, workstations, and desktops/home computers that can run anything from Linux to *BSD* to BeOS to NT to Win9x and more.

    The question is, really, is this a good or bad thing? Is the internet as it is today much better as it was in '90 or '95 or even a year ago? Is it a good thing to have a lot of bandwidth gobbled up by people sending instant messages(of any sort, AOL, MS, Yahoo, etc.), porn, spam, and going to sites that don't enrich anyone's life?

    IMHO, a good internet user is one who uses the internet for some good, be it to further their knowledge, save the environment, upload a patch for an opensource project, etc.

    But this article is something I wouldn't expect to find on Slashdot. This is news for nerds, not propaganda for newbies. Most of us are know what we need to know about this sort of thing. Don't try to start pointless debates on whether or not PC's are the reason the internet is where it is today. Let's get back to posting stuff that actually interests and applies to the reader base.
  • windows users are what made the internet what it is today.

    Thats right.

    And making the internet more and more user-friendly is a good thing, even if most of the users are AOL-ites. Because we don't want the internet to just stay the domain of techie people. We want it to be easily accessible so that it can do its most important job: to spread information.
    Knowledge is power, whether its researching for an essay, or starting a revolution.

  • I'm going to go a little bit out on a limb here and attempt to argue a plausible defense for the posting of this article. Off the record, I would agree with some of what you say, especially that it seems to be written in the fashion of a taunt. However, slashdot, at least as I see it, is a site which is dedicated, for the most part, to presenting information about science and technology from a perspective that is not necessarily in line with the stuff that pops up on cnet, cnn, etc. Therefore, if /. hired a journalism student as you suggest, I think that the effect would be to make /. a more "normal" or regular type of news site. There is no question that a story about the internet, its creation, its usage, and its future falls under the news areas usually covered by slashot. Additionally, the story also relates to how the general Windows PC using public views the internet. I don't doubt that other stories have been posted on slashdot that had similar story lines, but I feel that understanding how the general public views the internet and PCs is a crucial part of understanding how to teach them about the parts of the internet and the IT industry that they don't see. The article is written to cater to the general public, but for those of us who exclude ourselves from that group of users, whether it is because we use Linux, BSD, even Mac or Windows, or whatever (I say that we exclude ourselves because we demonstrate a desire to learn and to understand), the article tells us much about how the internet is perceived. Granted, the article is not particularly intelligent, but it is a useful device for didactic purposes, if nothing else. Well, perhaps I have not expressed myself in the clearest fashion possible, but I think that I successfully conveyed the basic message I wished.
  • I've found PC Magazine to be a very PC-Centric MS-Centric rag in the past. I suspect that many of their writers never worked on anything else. They may not realize that long before the coming of the PC, the UNIX and Mainframe people were enjoying the same benefits of the net (Though in those days it may have been Arpa or Bitnet) that the Linux people are enjoying today, including E-Mail, mailing lists, a much richer netnews than we have today, networked games, etc. If they'd bother to look beyond the web for a few minutes, they'd notice that all those services are still there and many of them have been around since before the PC came on the scene (virus-L, The Internet Oracle, anyone?)

    Most of your PC Magazine writers will probably also claim that Windows was the first usable GUI (The more clued in ones will grudingly admit the Mac had it first.) I was using X on some sun boxes in a lab at RPI long before Billy Borg thought to try to make his non-reentrant program loader multi-task.

  • Automatically. First time I got on was in 1992, using a friends Amiga 500 . Sure, the server at Millsaps was a Vax or something, and we downloaded C64 software from Europe with no problem. But, how many people had actually heard of this "internet" thingy?
    PC's are easy to use, had have become the platform of choice to log on. Why? Simple, Unix wasn't around for Personal Computer Use in 1980, and CPM got outmarketed. Now we are hoping Linux will catch up. Given history, it should.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:16AM (#1441337) Homepage Journal
    Yep, another list. :)
    1. I remember accessing the Internet on my trusty BBC model B. If anyone here knows of a PC of comparable age, speak now or forever hold your peace.
    2. Unix has done more for the Internet than merely work in the background (although it's done a lot of that). Without Unix connecting college and University kids, where do you think the programmers would have come from? Coders don't grow on trees.
    3. What's the betting look like that Bill Gates did NOT invent the ARPAnet, or sell any OS' to operate on it?
    4. e-Commerce existed before the PC. People used to buy/sell off Bulletin Boards, or over the International Packet Switch-Stream system all the time.
    5. If the Internet is the WWW, then the Internet is Unix. (CERN and NCSA didn't exactly run on Windows 3.11!)
    6. Name the TCP/IP driver that was supplied with Windows 3.11.
    7. Yes, a PC magazine writing about the PC influence might be forgiven for focussing on PC's, but not if they don't either -state- that they're only talking about the part PC's played, OR give some kind of summary of the other systems involved. Emphasis is one thing. Negligence and misleading or false information are something else altogether. And it ain't bagels with cream cheese.
    8. FIDO did as much as the entire early e-mail system did, if not more.
    9. TBBS was a lot more powerful than the entire Internet Service system that comes with NT 4.0. It was also a lot faster, cheaper and more flexible.
    10. Essex MUD (MUD-1) did more for the Internet revolution than any single web-site (bar Slashdot and Freshmeat). And it didn't exactly run on a PC, either. (Unless DEC-10's count.)
  • I saw in a talk back post on zdnet a while back a woman who didnt understand why UNIX was still getting media attention. She thought that UNIX was dead and NT was running the show. I think she was a lost cause.
  • AOL does not belong in my list. AOL was a johnny-come-lately in the Internet exodus. Granted, their user base is impressive but the exodus would have happened without them. Windows 95 also does not completely belong in the list because they are also johnny-come-latelys but it was the first windows version to have an internal TCP/IP stack as part of the operating system's included networking.

    The true heros in bringing the Internet to what it is today are the companies which forged the path in bringing users online. The companies who forced the likes of AOL, Prodigy (who I believe beat AOL online) and Microsoft to "get on the bus" As I said in my original post. The Internet is nothing without people who use it.

    Reflecting back on the days when USENET was comprised primarily of college studets who (for the most part) had useful discussions on whatnot bears little on why the Intenernet is what it is today. Those kids left school to live life in a world which did not have access to the Internet. Sure they could go back to the school campus and use their computers as alumni but this is not what made the internet popular among the masses.

    To say that the Inertnet is not what it once was due to an influx of newbies is really overly stating obvious. The Internet was once a place where only the elite tekkies could possibly ever go to and enjoy themselves where it is now a place where ANYONE can go and enjoy themselves

    even if all they have to say is "ME TOO!"




    You are a threat to free speach and must be SILENCED!
  • by nojomofo ( 123944 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:19AM (#1441340) Homepage

    With the earlier emergence of "just turn it on" devices, such as the Palm PDA from 3Com Corp.'s Palm Computing Division or Sun Microsystems Inc.'s SunRay thin client, we might have avoided vast investments in training users to administer PC operating systems

    Uhhhh.... It's pretty silly to think that these devices might have been created without 20+ years of r+d put into developing PCs. Really, does anybody think that hardware companies were going to put 20 years of effort into developing these things without producing a product and without a specific goal???? It's like saying "Gee, we could have saved a lot of resources if we had just created electric cars to begin with at the beginning of the century", isn't it?

  • Granted, but Unix did play an enormous role in the development of the Internet as we know it today. Some here do seem to be a little Unix-centric, seeming to think that the Internet could never have existed without Unix.

    The fact is, neither the PC or Unix is solely responsible for the current state of the Internet: but it is still a severe ommission by PCWeek to omit the role Unix played in the Internet's growth.

    After all, credit where credit is due...
    -- Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups

  • On several points (5, 6) you seem to be implying that PC means Windows ... last I checked PCs have run and continue to run on a lot of other OSes, which I'm hoping I don't actually need to name for you ...
  • The net's going to be _really_ driven in the near future with devices much smaller than PCs. First Palm VIIish PDAs, Cell phones, then down to wristwatches.

    There are alot of plans to put things like traffic signs and door knobs on the internet (the latter with a secure protocol, of course :-), with wireless connectivity all the way. THAT's when the net's going to really grow. When the net becomes its own little ecosystem surrounding the planet ... `/usr/bin/perl jon-katz.pl`

    The PC, much like magazines like PCWeek, are dead and don't know it yet. I'm waiting for them to die and go away. That little head mounted dohicky the dude in the IBM commercial was wearing while sitting on a bench in the middle of a shitload of pigeons was much cooler :-)


    --
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?
    Tell him the next version of Windows will be faster, more reliable, and easier to use!

  • Most people also believe that the WWW is the internet.

    This is a larger problem than it might seem: try explaining to someone why they can't send e-mail or read news while the company Internet connection is down.

    I tend to blame companies in the AOL/Prodigy genre for this ignorance: their "Internet Access" buttons take you straight to a browser. The amount of time it takes me to train customers that the WWW is a part of the Internet costs quite a lot...
    -- Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups

  • "Unix? Linux? Nyet, vee heard never of those...want see 2000-(19)95 year plan, yes?"

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • If you read every mention of "PC" in that article as "personal computer," rather than "Wintel," it's actually a pretty fair article. They never say once that "If PC's running Windows didn't exist, we wouldn't have an Internet." Nor do they imply it.

    IMO, anyways.

    They just tell us that having cheap, powerful hardware at home is a driving force behind the explosion of the Internet. They talk about the hardware far more than they do the software. If all our computers were still the size of entire buildings, I sure as hell wouldn't have been able to order my Sluggy shirt online one month ago.

    Which seems like such an obvious point, it makes one wonder why they felt a need to write about it.
  • I would give my left arm for a totally objective point of view.

    The Internet grew from an ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Administration), later DARPA (Defense ARPA) project to create an indestructible "network of networks" wherein the total network would be intact until ALL possible routes of communication were destroyed. Let's call it the "they'll never get them all" mentality -- typical US gov't spending policy: why have one when you can have two at twice the price? But I digress.

    Various protocols were experimented with, with TCP/IP finally chosen (and the Berkley implementation became the standard, IIRC) for it's routing capabilities.

    The founder of Netscape, along with several collegues (who then were researchers at a university) created Mosaic and it's underlying principles, thus laying the framework for the WWW.

    This was, of course, not before various government and educational institutions had created protocols for SMTP, POP, Gopher, NNTP, etc.

    So you can credit the US Gov't for the creation of the Internet, and you can {credit|blame} Netscape for popularizing the WWW. So there. :) In lieu of your left arm, I would prefer a new Apple G4 system. :P
    -- Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups

  • The internet GREW because of PCs and their users (When I say PC i mean any computer you can put on your desk that costs less than a late model car). If it was limited to unix users of any type (be it Linux if it was ever to be invented, or *BSD) it wouldn't have the consumer appeal it does now. It would be purely information (which is not a bad thing, perhaps in the future there will be more of an InfoNet instead of a CommercialNet). I do, however, think without unix of any type the internet would not exist, nor would anything like it (maybe fidonet and the other BBS networks, noting those are not realtime exchanges however). TCP/IP, and hell even Banyan Vines were developed for the unix popuplation to begin with - people with [vision|need] to port it to DOS or Windows* made consumer use possible. The InterNet is InterRelated. Unix and PC and Mac and Amiga and C64 and whatever else you can stick a networking adapter in of some sort to make it work. Now is this about the Creation of the Internet (ala Al Gore), or the Boom of the Internet (ala Borg Gates, with the huge PC marketshare), or the refinement of the internet (ala Netscape et al, making it look pretty)?
  • Just a note, Internet is not widely available in communist countries. In Cuba for example, first your average citizen cannot afford a dozen eggs never mind a computer. Second, Name 1 Cuban ISP not owned by the government with access handed out on a person-by-need basis.


    You are a threat to free speach and must be SILENCED!
  • The internet GREW because of PCs and their users (When I say PC i mean any computer you can put on your desk that costs less than a late model car). If it was limited to unix users of any type (be it Linux if it was ever to be invented, or *BSD) it wouldn't have the consumer appeal it does now. It would be purely information (which is not a bad thing, perhaps in the future there will be more of an InfoNet instead of a CommercialNet).

    I do, however, think without unix of any type the internet would not exist, nor would anything like it (maybe fidonet and the other BBS networks, noting those are not realtime exchanges however).
    TCP/IP, and hell even Banyan Vines were developed for the unix popuplation to begin with - people with [vision|need] to port it to DOS or Windows* made consumer use possible.

    The InterNet is InterRelated. Unix and PC and Mac and Amiga and C64 and whatever else you can stick a networking adapter in of some sort to make it work.

    Now is this about the Creation of the Internet (ala Al Gore), or the Boom of the Internet (ala Borg Gates, with the huge PC marketshare), or the refinement of the internet (ala Netscape et al, making it look pretty)?
  • That was the point I was trying to make. Sorry if it didn't come across clearly. Frazzled brains suck.
  • Don't forget that forces are aligned to make it like television with immediate response to advertisements. (Both purchases and profiling.)

    At least we still have xxx.lanl.gov
  • It hasn't killed off Castro in Cuba, or Kim Il-Sung in North Korea. The Internet hasn't gotten Saddam Hussein out of Iraq, or Milosevic out of Bosnia either.

    not to mention those pesky Chinese...




  • A homebrew workstation made from the following:
    A motherboard made from a board...of pine
    Jumper cables that actually are cables soldered on
    RAM made from Coke cans and mercury
    OS written in assembly language
    Command shell BASH
    Running X and M15

    Sure, it's as big as a house, but it's great for tinkering. What, need to add a modem? It's off to the junkyard for alternators.


    Real hackers make their own motherboards.


  • If you look at the rate of growth by year, the internet grew fastest from 1986-1989, as it spread out from the computer-science departments into academia in general. The net grew by more than 500% in 1987, and rarely topped 200% in the years after 1991. Truthfully, it was during 1986-1989 that the net formed its culture and became a truly global phenomenom. By the time Microsoft and the PC users got into the game, the net was well- and long-established. To claim that the PC users were somehow responsible for the creation of the internet is about the same as claiming that the spectators at a River-Dance concert are responsible for the evolution of Celtic dance.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'll add a couple to the list of things that made the internet popular:
    Good Guys
    Circuit City
    Best Buy
    It was when these guys started selling cheap PCs in 94/95 that everyone jumped on the bandwagon. A lot of people were running Windows 3.1, not even 95 yet. Most of these guys went with AOL because of those damn disks. (I had Compuserve and the Well, and it really opened my eyes.)


    >But both technologies have shaken IT managers and their businesses fundamentally. The PC revolution--much of which took place outside the control of the central IS organization--would shake the foundation of IT, break the glass houses of mainframe-based computing and move information from the hands of the few into every cubicle across the enterprise, bringing with it the joys of lower hardware and software costs, ease of use, and rapid application development.

    Total self-indulgent PC-centric bullshit. I was in the IT department 20 years ago, and the only difference is now we run around fixing people's PC on their desktops instead of fixing applications on the mainframe through terminals.

    A PC is twice as expensive as a terminal, and a site license for MS Word is tons more than an X-User EDT license. This is why Network Computers get so much attention. People don't pull stuff off the mainframe, they look for IT guys to do it for them.

    John
  • ehem.

    An Al Gore hate site hardly strikes me as an objective place to go for the real story on what he said. It includes one quote with none of the followup comments to it and no context. But anyway...

    On the original topic of PCs and the internet, my college unix account was always accessed from terminals in the computer lab. A few times when the lab was really full, I had to use the PCs to log in instead. It always took longer and was less user friendly. It took me a while to think of the internet as something you would ever want to do from a PC.

  • the definition of a PC

    I'll give you a rough PC definition: a PC is a computer that is:

    (1) single-user, or at least designed as such
    (2) affordable enough for individuals to buy it

    The original definition of a PC was that of an Intel-based box, as opposed to Apples, Macs, Commodores, Ataris, etc. The term gradually mutated to mean any and all personal computers.

    Is the internet as it is today much better as it was in '90 or '95 or even a year ago?

    The answer, of course, depends on your value system, but for me and, probably, 99.9% of everybody, it is YES.

    Is it a good thing to have a lot of bandwidth gobbled up by people sending instant messages(of any sort, AOL, MS, Yahoo, etc.), porn, spam, and going to sites that don't enrich anyone's life?

    Again, yes. This is called freedom. I haven't seen any evidence of backbone bandwidth scarcity recently, so why should you care? And who is going to judge what enriches other people's life? Or do you want to enforce on the 'net your or somebody else's idea of what enriches a life and what doesn't?

    IMHO, a good internet user is one who uses the internet for some good

    First, this presupposes an agreement on what "good" is. Second, I believe that freedom is about being able to make choices, in particular without being restricted by what the society thinks is "good" or "bad". You, basically, want to make the 'net non-free and for what? To save bandwidth??

    Kaa
  • by Zico ( 14255 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @09:55AM (#1441365)

    What you're attributing to him is his explanation after everyone started to ridicule him. His original quote was, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet." What you're saying was his equivalent of "Well, of course I never meant that I invented the internet, this is what I really meant," followed by the appropriate amount of weaselly BS. The funny thing was listening to his aides originally standing by his original quote until the laughter got too loud and they switched to the "that's not what he meant" tack.

    Just curious, not a flame, but why were you so adamant about your explanation? If you were aware of his subsequent explanation (because you did get that part right), I'm surprised that you didn't know what he originally said.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • A magazine is like a consultant, or a prostitute, they feel around looking for the thing that makes you feel best... ooh yeah lower lower, yeah YEAH! that's IT BABY! So it is hardly surprising that according to PC Magazine, the PC made the internet. Ask supporters of Al Gore, and they'll tell you he was behind it, since he promoted the potential of the "information superhighway" (yeah right). Ask the fans of Ted Nelson (I treasure his computer dreams/computer lib book) and we'll say he created the DNA right there. The designers of Plato need to be remembered as well, and what about all those BBS authors? Without unix and university networks, we'd all be still be loading software on CDROMs and grappling in our living room with some horrible video-on-demand home-shopping-network monster dreamt up and forced down our throats by the same people now making money off selling PCs, but without PCs and AOLamers and spam, we'd probably be poking away at message boards, reading netnews, and using a slightly less buggy version of netscape 2 to look at research papers. It all has to come together exactly the way it did to make the internet. I can imagine in a thousand years, people (if deprived of historical records for some reason), look at the 'net and declare it as an argument for God, rather as biologists like to look at an eyeball and say it is too fabulous to have evolved by chance - Maybe a future William Gates XIIII might grab that opportunity (I created the net!) to attempt to deify himself and further increase shareholder return. www.microsoft.com is taking baby steps in that direction already.

    PC Mag is not going to be the place to look for a "Charles Darwin" of net evolution theory, that is just silly.
  • Everyone laughs, me too, when they hear or repeat that bit about "I, Albert Gore, invented the Internet." But a while back I was rereading (for nostalgia's sake) an old book on telecommunications by John Dvorak, from back in the BBS days, when the 9600 baud modem was "wowie zowie, but way too expensive for home users" technology. I bought that book way back when in the hope it would tell me how to make my 2400 baud modem work.

    To my surprise, in his short history of the Internet, Dvorak mentioned Al Gore as the one politician who really pushed for funding the development and expansion of the Internet. I'm pretty sure he was the only politician mentioned by name in the book. So maybe Al Gore's claim to Internet fame isn't so off-the-wall as you might think!

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • Seems to me if you like lignux and are trolling for trash on PC simpleton's flagship trade rag you will eventually find reason to be outraged. /. posts get worse all the time.
  • Actually, in the days when the WWW was just starting off and CERN & NCSA were the only two web servers anyone (who was anyone) ever used, Operating Systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, BeOS, QNX, V2OS, ExoPC, HURD, etc, were little more than twinkles in their respective creator's eyes, if that.

    (IIRC, at that stage, if Linux had even been released, it didn't have a TCP/IP stack of any kind yet.)

  • 1. I think you are using percentages in a misleading way. A change from 1 to 6 users is a 500% gain. But is it really as significant as a gain from 10000 to 30000 (200% gain) users? The gain quoted in the second case might be sufficient to make the difference between a red bottomline and a black one. The first gain, probably wont make a difference.

    2. I never said that the PC was responsible for creating the net. Read my comment again : it talks about the explosion in the user-base of the internet.

  • Well, perhaps it is freedom. But it still kind of pisses me off that I can't get more than 100KBps throughput downloading a big file even though we have a T-1. and it's partially due to the fact that out customer service people are more often IM'ing each other than answering calls. I guess all I'm saying is that I wish the big companies such as MS and AOL didn't try to push net access so much, so that kind of thing would be kept to a minimum. Not restricting anyone from using the 'net to do whatever they want, but not advertising it as a place for that kind of stuff. I mean, chatting within AOL is one thing, but does Timmy have to suffer on his little ISP with mostly people sending Yahoo pager messages to each other?

    I'm just bitter, I suppose, because I can't utilize this bandwidth the way I want to. :)

    This message is opinion only, and should not be taken as fact. Thank you.
  • Name the TCP/IP driver that was supplied with Windows 3.11

    Are you trying to suggest that there wasn't a TCP/IP driver included in Win 3.11? (There was, although it didn't appear until 1993-ish, and it didn't support PPP. Check a NT 3.5 CD or MS's FTP site and you'll find it. I've heard it's BSD-based.)
    --
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 27, 1999 @10:17AM (#1441377)

    From http://www.yip.org/hacking.html [yip.org]:

    Internet®: (1) A network of computers established by the US military at the beginning of the Cold War, with the hope that in the event of nuclear war, members of the military could continue to view porn, play Quake and trade tips on how to make money quickly. (2) That icon on Windows 95 that takes you to the Dilbert page.

    Microsoft: The company that invented the Internet in 1995.

    Netscape: The company that invented the Internet in 1992.

    I hope that clears everything up for everyone.

  • yep. i remember surfing gopherspace with my telnet account into an IRIX machine around that time.
  • Anecdotally speaking, it's amusing to note that PC Week is laid out, DPPed and so forth entirely on Macintoshes. The only part that happens on their beloved Wintel machines is the original composition.

    (source: the PC Week humor and Q&A columnist, about a month ago)

  • "The question is, really, is this a good or bad thing? Is the internet as it is today much better as it was in '90 or '95 or even a year ago?"

    The Internet is MUCH better than it was back in the early '90s. However, I think we've sacrificed some things in favor of progression. Here's a scenario..... In the early '90s, the Internet was still a new and untamed place. If you wanted information, you had to know how to get it, and where to get it from. Everything wasn't exactly user-friendly. But, information was relevant. Expansions to the Internet made things new and even exciting. HTML? World Wide Web? Internet Relay Chat? Usenet? Cool! Everyone on the Internet knew how to use it. From 1995 on, the Internet had expanded into the hyper-compu-global-meganet (as Homer Simpson would put it) that we know today. Information can be had at the click of a mouse. But how relevant is the information? Hell, you type in "sex" into a search engine, and 99% of the results are for porn sites. Things like the WWW, IRC, and Usenet are not what they used to be. Usenet is now mainly flames (wasn't it always :)), and stupid AOLers and script kiddies trying to be "3L33T d00dZ!!11!!!," thanks to AOL letting the brain-dead masses flood Usenet. IRC has transformed from something that was once utilized by news services and businesses into another playground for the lamers and script kiddies. The WWW still has relevant information out there for the taking, but it's getting harder to find it underneath the tons of glitzy hoopla and META tag spamming that's out there.

    There's no denying that the Internet is continually changing, and I for one welcome it with cautiously opened arms. Maybe I'm just getting philosophical (ugh, philosophy!), but I think the Internet of yesterday was more "user-friendly" than today's Internet.

    Just my two cents.
  • Well, only a moron would post using the Anonymous Coward login.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The founder of Netscape, along with several collegues (who then were researchers at a university) created Mosaic and it's underlying principles, thus laying the framework for the WWW.

    Mmmm... Tim Berners-Lee when he worked at CERN usually gets the credit for the WWW. Marc Andreesen & Co. were at NCSA when they created Mosaic.

    No G4 for you until you score 100% on the pop quizzes! :-)

    Anyone still remember gopher?

  • I think a big problem with the confusion over this story is the definition of a PC.

    Yes, PC week has an interesting definition of the PC, one that's directly aimed at the perspective of their reader base of IT managers and LAN administrators (and of course their advertisers).
    They aren't really considering the PC as a specific thing, but instead a social phenomena.

    What they consider the "PC revolution" is the growth of commodity hardware and software and decentralized IT management structures as opposed to the traditional "glass house" approach of (UNIX et al) minis and mainframes. For them, it's really a social revolution in terms of how most corporate computer systems are managed and controlled more so that the fact that "IBM Compatible" hardware has ruled the day.

    It's shameless, but they are playing up to their reader and advertiser base. These are people who by-in-large came up the ranks with the PC revolution (hacking on Lotus 1-2-3 and DBase, managing departmental Novell networks, and now finally running mission critical systems on 8-way Xeon Compaqs and managing worldwide PC networks.) The old MS slogan "a (personal) computer on every desk and in every home" has pretty much been achieved, and this article is (personal) vindication for the readers and companies that made it happen.

    Who they are not talking to is the old time academic and glasshouse mini users that have moved 'down' to the PC. (Example [slashdot.org]) The fact that UNIX has always been the core of the Internet best left by them to publications like "ComputerWorld". What they are interested in is the fact that their readership and their advertisers (errm, Microsoft) are now right in the middle of the most profitable and exciting 'revolution' going on.
    --
  • He overstated it, but the Internet was a factor. For example, when Boris Yeltsin and his staff were barricaded in the Moscow town hall they were able to communicate with the rest of the world via modem, and these messages were propagated by BBS and Internet.

    PC technology in general was also important, enabling many more people to produce samizdat newsletters, either printed out using a PC, faxed using PC software or send to the outside world on BBS and Internet.

    The Soviet authorities were used to cutting phone lines and suppressing the transfer of news, but they didn't appreciate just how good the new technology was at propagating information so they didn't clamp down on it.

    Knowledge *is* power, and when the citizens of the Soviet countries were kept informed of what was really happening they were able to act together and the whole establishment came crashing down.

    Yes there were other factors, but the PC and the internet were crucial enablers. Without them the fall of Soviet communism would have been delayed years - possibly until after WW3.
  • was on an Atari ST - running a multitasking extension called 'mint' (multiple windows running ksh & gnu utils, kewl! (but sloooow!)) and a friend from the local U came over with something called 'unix windows' I /think/ it was (a mind is a horrible thing to lose) someting like slirp that I could use to ftp to atari.archive.umich.edu, yessssssss!!!

    Sadly, I had to give in and a 486/50 soon replaced the aging ST.

    Boojum
  • Windows had nothing to do with it. Pick any OS, and replace the name Windows, with that OS, and you'd have the same effect.

    I'll put my money that if Linux takes off and becomes as widely used as Windows is today, that you are going to see at least these two things:

    1) People who use Linux now, will find another alternative OS, proclaiming that Linux sucks.

    2) People will put down Linux users for being ignorant/stupid/losers.

    I understand loyalty, but it's just a piece of software!

    Commodore Atari
    Commodore Apple
    Apple PC
    Windows Linux
    KDE Gnome

    Rather than just saying, "That's not for me", people fight until there's death.

    Any psychologists out there want to explain why computer users have such loyalty to their machines?
  • Sure the Palm isn't likely to have come out much earlier than it did, but I think something like the SunRay could have been a very early contender if there had been adequate bandwidth available to the desktop. But people thought 4800 baud was a pretty fast connection back then, so the mind-set just wasn't there. I think the technology (in the case of something like a SunRay) could have been developed pretty quickly even 20 years ago, if the networking bandwidth had been there.
  • Yeah, well, if they don't mention Clarkson (now Crynwr) packet drivers, they should have their heads shrunk and stuffed into an ARCNET packet.
    -russ
  • How big is your customer service department that a few simple IM's every once in awhile is slowing down your T-1?

    IRC has been around a lot longer than AIM or MSNM.

  • None the less, ZiffDavis publications are but one arm of Microsofts PR division. Slinging is shit to IT managers or Home users is still slinging shit. IMO
  • When I was a grad student at Caltech in the 80's, we used MOSIS (www.mosis.edu) as a silicon broker to fab IC chips. It was all done via the Internet, we sent CIF design files via email, and automatic responders sent update messages tracking the chips progress. Three months later, a Fedex box would show up with the test chips, and a goverment grant (and before the 80's ended, a VISA card of a company or individual) got billed. So, I'd say Internet shopping worked quite well pre-PC, as long as you were buying IC fab services :-).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe this is off topic, but I think pr0n is one of the major factors for the initial spread of the internet (even though most people don't want to admit to it). It was true for the adoption of Beta/VHS machines in the 80s, CD-ROMs in the early 90s, and IMHO the WWW in the late 90s.
  • Well you're a double moron!
  • The PC is irrelevant. If someone had nuked Boca Raton, we would all be using some other cheap, microprocessor based computer. Whether it used a Pentium, PPC or SPARC.

    I would make the same argument about Windows. Microsoft did not invent the GUI and there are plenty of operating systems that could have replaced it.

    BSD Unix is the true starting point of the Internet as it exists today. The Unix part is not important, what matters is the BSD networking software. That was the base that enabled TCP/IP to spread across the computing world, either by emulation or by porting the code to other systems. The BSD code was the basis for the networking stacks of a wide variety of operating systems.

  • by jedrek ( 79264 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @11:56AM (#1441406) Homepage
    As a Pole who grew up in America and returned just for the '89 elections I can certianly testify to this. The internet and digital communication (mostly modems) had no effect on the fall of communisim if only because they DID NOT EXIST in those countries. Poland had a handful of internet access points before '89, the onlything digital comming out of here was Donosy, an underground 'newspaper' for Poles in America.

    Underground nformation was passed on during those times by small printing presses, articles were carbon copied on typewriters, there was no information age to speak of, no modems to send files! Maybe one in fifty people had a phone line, not to mention that most of those phone lines couldn't hold a 150baud connection.

    The information age hit Poland hard. Tens of thousands of companies had to be computerized, the state telephony put millions of dollars into the telecomm infrastructure (which is still underinvested). At this moment there is an information boom in Poland similar to that of the boom in the US at the begining of the nineties, but back in '89 there was nothing.

    jay
  • I remember accessing the Internet on my trusty BBC model B. If anyone here knows of a PC of comparable age, speak now or forever hold your peace.

    I'm not familiar with that machine, but I was using an Apple IIe to dial into shell accounts for Internet access as far back as 1989. Started with a Zoom 300-bps internal that I borrowed from a friend, then got an Applied Engineering DataLink 2400 that Christmas for some real speed. :-)

    Nowadays there's an actual TCP/IP stack for the IIGS. It'll do SL/IP and PPP over serial connections. I think some kind of TCP/IP-over-AppleTalk support was in the works...don't know if it was completed or not. Client support is kinda thin at this point, though there's a telnet client, a text-only web browser, and (someone's priorities must've been mixed up) an AIM client. I've used it to connect to my Linux box via PPP, more for sh*ts and grins than anything else. Firing up ProTERM and getting a shell prompt is more useful.

    e-Commerce existed before the PC. People used to buy/sell off Bulletin Boards, or over the International Packet Switch-Stream system all the time.

    The old online services used to do this stuff, too...I bought/sold/swapped more than a few things through GEnie.

    FIDO did as much as the entire early e-mail system did, if not more.

    Fun stuff...the local net even had an email/news gateway to the Internet. Some of us (well, me anyway) were even crazy enough to get Linux boxen communicating with Fidonet. I mapped Usenet groups back to their original names and mapped Fidonet echo names to something Usenettish, and all email addresses (whether Fidonet or Internet) were in Internet format...something like "joeblow@f263.n209.z1.fidonet.org," if I remember right, would map to joeblow @ 1:209/263 (which was my BBS up until late '94).

    Nothing like a trip down memory lane...:-)

  • Unix didn't make the internet, neither did the PC. To answer the question, you really have to define what the internet is. If you count that comparitively pitiful little network they had even 10 years ago as the internet, then yes, the PC probably had little to do with it and unix deserves more credit. If you think of the internet as what it has become -- a information revolution of sorts for society as a whole, then the PC deserves more of the credit, as it allowed the masses onto the network.

    But I say neither deserves the credit. The bulk of the credit for making this thing happen was the decision to deregulate it and let anybody onto it. The political decision to let the average joe end-user onto the network is what really made it take off and become what it is.
  • by BagMan2 ( 112243 ) on Monday December 27, 1999 @12:08PM (#1441410)
    Giving PC's or Unix credit for the internet is silly. Why don't we just give electricity credit for it, after all, without electricity there would be no internet. The point is, that the what the internet has become is far more than the sum of it's hardware. It would be like giving the television-tube credit for Jerry Seinfeld episodes.
  • The growth in 1987 wasn't a first-year effect. The internet was six-seven years old by then. The 500% annualized gain was from 5089 in Oct 86 to 28174 domains in Nov 87. This was the year the net became ubiquitous. Growth before (1981-1986) was at 90-150% per year, growth after (1987-1999) was 60-90% per year. As for explosion in user-base, well, it seems to me that this is like measuring a library in terms of how many borrowers there are, instead of how many books there are. It's not an unimportant number, but it isn't a very good indicator of how useful the library would be to someone who needed to find some information. The net existed before the user explosion in 1994, as it had to have. The user explosion validated the work that had been done before, proving that the net community had built something of real value. But the user explosion had nothing much to do with building it in the first place.
  • His original quote was, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    Just curious, not a flame, but why were you so adamant about your explanation? If you were aware of his subsequent explanation (because you did get that part right), I'm surprised that you didn't know what he originally said.

    My chronology of knowing what he said was something like this. Bunch of people start joking about how "Al Gore said he invented the internet" No actual quote associated, no context. (And no flaming here either, but I find it hard to believe that he just spontaneously remarked "By the way, I took initiative in creating the internet." Without seeing the interview, I don't know what was said before or after or if he was given a chance to expand after.) After it got bounced around and blown out of proportion to the point you would have thought he held a "creator of the internet" press conference, I read a letter to the editor (from a regular Joe, unless Gore has stealth spinners) which, if I remember correctly was along the line of "actually what he said was this and it is largely accurate."

    Now, if I don't remember correctly, its possible that what the letter said was "this is what he did and it was important to the internet of today." I don't think so, but I don't have an edict memory, and won't pretend I do.

    So, pending an actual look at the transcript of the interview (and since I don't even know what network it was on, I'm not gonna do the search.) my assessment is that

    1) Al Gore said something unconsidered and easy to make fun of.

    2) There are plenty of people willing to run with and exagerate something embarrassing Al Gore says.

    3) Al Gore has a yuppie user's veiw of the internet (e-commerce and banner ads) rather than a geek's (the original system).

    4) Some people have attempted to spin his statement into a considered lie by only mentioning the original starting point and not what his work in congress may have accomplished.

    Random side note, his original quote says "creating" while the common joke is that he said he "invented" it. The former is dramatic but mostly apropriate when you're talking about funding infrastructure, while the latter make it sound like he was claiming to be a techno-genius. Just a thought from someone who pays a lot of attention to word choice, especially in the media.

    OK, this was way off topic. Bad Kahuna, no Karma.

  • T1 circuits have worked over regular copper for a long time now....
    I should hope so! A T1 is, after all, defined as a DS1 circuit running over copper....

    cjs

  • There is a very appropriate joke about propaganda.

    A book about elephants was published in India, as a single volume. When translated and published in other countries, various forewords and additions by local biologists were included, more or less departing from the subject. In Russia the book consisted of two volumes: "Marxism-Leninism about elephants" and "Russia, the home of the elephants".

    While it's, of course, exaggerration (have to say that, or American patriots will take it for the face value), it explains pretty well, what should be expected from sources of informartion that mix huge amount of propaganda into everything.

  • "Please, dude, if it wasn't someone using AIM or MSNM, it would be some unix dweeb using ytalk or irc. Your bias is showing."

    Now your bias is showing. You automatically assume that if I'm not using AIM or MSN Messenger, then I'd be some Unix dweeb using ytalk or IRC (IRC clients also come in Windows flavors as well).

    Now for blazer1024...if your customer service department spends more time IMing people than fielding calls, then it looks like management should crack down.

  • Yes, I'm speaking of Windows For Workgroups (that was Win 3.11, wasn't it?) It was not a completely different animal than normal Windows 3.1, it was just Win 3.1 plus protected mode networking support. Nor was it "Win95 with the old interface", although Win95's networking was based on WfW's.

    I can't recall a MS supplied PPP dialer tho, the WfW RAS system supported NetBEUI only.

    (And, even so, most home systems didn't ship with WfW even after it was introduced, so home users still ususally used Trumpet or whoever.)
    --
  • Why should the user need to know that?

    Just as I don't know the intricate details of how my stereo works, Joe Smith in Nowhere, Idaho doesn't need to know anything more than 'Netscape is the internet'. All he cares about is being able to click on a button to find out the going rate for 1000 pounds of potatoes.

    And, when my stereo breaks down, I don't expect to know what's wrong. I just take it to a repair shop and say 'fix it'. In the same way, when the company's internet connection is down, well.. fuck it, don't explain, just say 'Sorry, it's down, it'll be a little while'.

    You shouldn't blame AOL/Prodigy for making things easier for laypeople. It's a good marketing strategy, and a great way to do things. (That said, I very much dislike AOL...)

    I mean, if someone honestly wants to learn how the internet works (ie, they aren't just screaming 'what the fuck is wrong, why can't I send e-mail'), then it's not that difficult. But no one should be -forced- to learn the intricacies of the TCP/IP protocol just because some programmer decided 'if they don't know it, they don't deserve to use the internet'.

    I'm a programmer, and it just astonishes me how little thought some coders put into usability. That should be the -single- most important aspect of a program (unless it's specifically aimed at a very technical market).
  • I'm one of the few people who has been on "the net" for 10+ years now, before the WWW existed. I remember the first spam post on Usenet. I remember when Robert McElwaine earned our wrath through his moronic posting of his moronic writings on multiple, unassociated newsgroups. We had no idea what was to come.

    Many usenet groups are dead due to the spam volume, and people have moved on to websites to perform the same function (and I would argue that most do a better job of it, anyway). There's no doubt that the WWW brought a pretty face to the Internet and made it as popular as it is. Companies like AOL further exacerbated the problem. The WWW brought in a larger crop of people whom I can describe only as "perpetual newbies", people who will never get a clue about this stuff.

    When I started with it, you had to be a Unix user to really, truly be on the net. Internet email was mostly Unix-based, newsreaders like rn and later trn were Unix-only, ftp clients, etc. All command-line, which helped separate the wheat from the chaff.

    I hardly recognize this new Internet, centered around commerce and hype. The old Internet, centered around communities and people, was a much friendlier place, but we'll never get it back.
  • The original definition of a PC was that of an Intel-based box, as opposed to Apples, Macs, Commodores, Ataris, etc. The term gradually mutated to mean any and all personal computers.

    You have that backwards. The term 'PC' originally referred to any personal computer. It later muted to mean an IBM-compatable computer. The term was 'PC', personal computer, was in use before IBM introduced the IBM-PC.

  • and they attribute the reason this didn't happen to AT&T's not taking packet switching seriously enough.

    Indeed? The part that discusses packet switching was

    There were proven centralized systems before the first toylike PCs came along. What often made the PC compelling, despite its high costs of acquisition and training, was consistent response compared with centralized systems that often had sluggish and unreliable connections.

    Suppose that AT&T Corp., instead of rejecting the early Internet's radical notion of packet-switched networks, had embraced this more flexible and efficient approach. If we had wired the nation correctly the first time, instead of making massive investments in circuit-switched infrastructure, we might have had high-bandwidth networks much sooner. Both business and entertainment applications would have been collaborative from the beginning, and an isolated PC would have seemed at best a hobbyist device.

    which didn't seem connected to his speculation that getting "chip compilers" sooner would have gotten us "information appliances" sooner, that speculation being what the quote you gave is from.

    I.e., I think the speculation on chip compilers and information appliances, and the speculation on better packet-switched networks, were unrelated, unless he's (implicitly) saying that information appliances would've made more sense if we had high-bandwidth long-haul networks sooner.

    I'm not sure I see how "methods for generating chip designs from functional descriptions" being available earlier would necessarily have gotten us to "information appliances" sooner, though, so I'm a tad skeptical of Coffee's speculation there.

  • Which is somewhat amusing, as (perhaps aided and abetted by the Obligatory X10 Babe Ad on the PC Week pages) I misread "first ARPAnet node" in one of the paragraphs as "first ARPAnet nude".

    So what was the first ARPAnet nude? And how soon after the first ARPAnet node appeared did the first ARPAnet nude appear?

    (And, yes, I suspect you're right. Rather a lot of bits stored on, and cached by, Network Appliance boxes are probably Naughty Bits, so I probably owe some of my net worth to the human sex drive....)



  • Overwhelming credit for the Internet should go to Al Gore, who (as everyone knows) is UNIX-based.


  • by Zico ( 14255 )

    Well, just for the complete, off-topic record, below is the quote in context, when, during a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, he was asked what things he brings to the table that Bill Bradley can't match. From
    h ttp://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/03/09/p resident.2000/transcript.gore/ [cnn.com]:

    Well, I will be offering -- I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.

    But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system. [...]

    He didn't precisely say that he invented the internet, but what he said was just as false, and it's kinda difficult to make a snappy joke about claiming to have "taken the initiative in creating" the internet -- I'd write the discrepancy off as jokester's license.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Of course, if this text were posted on Slashdot, someone would need to assert that elephants run better on Linux, and at least three people would express hopes that the new generation of low-cost elephants would be useful in Beowulf clusters. :^)
  • SunRay isn't very impressive.

    Envision a stripped down pc that won't run anything but VNC no matter how hard you try. Then hook it up to an amazingly expensive UltraEnterprise server.

    Boom, SunRay.

  • I have to disagree with the statement the PC is "directly resonsible for the huge expansion in the popularity of the Internet".

    At least, its not nearly so simple as that. True, most of the people that have been getting on the Net have PC's. However, how many of these people would have PCs if not for the Internet? In other words, huge numbers of people are getting computers today because they feel (rightly or wrongly) they have to be on the Net to keep up or for whatever reason. The numbers are debatable of course, but many of these people would not otherwise be getting a computer. Now if someone gets a computer to access the Net, the situation today is such that, the computer will most likely be a PC.

    So, IMO , its equally valid to say the PC is an Internet driven phenomena!
  • Microsoft: The company that invented the Internet in 1995.

    Netscape: The company that invented the Internet in 1992.

    You forgot:
    Gore: The man who invented the Internet in 1999.

  • Hmmm... seems to me that you have the cart before the horse. The Internet is the "killer app" that has spawned the PC revolution. I would wager that the majority of the people wh bought PCs the past couple of years did so to get on the "Net".

    If you want to look at what has made the internet then you need to look at the standards which made it easily accessable, like TCP/IP, HTTP, etc. The OS that is connecting up to it really doesn't matter. But... the OS that was running those servers (until recently those were almost all Unix) that we dial into does matter. Bill Gates would not be the wealthy man he is today without the technology that drove the net.

    IMHO the home computer revolution would not have happened without the Internet(and the online services before that) to drive it. Giving credit to Windows, Windows users, etc... is just silly to me. MS came in after the fact and simply used what had already been put in place.

"I've finally learned what `upward compatible' means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes." -- Dennie van Tassel

Working...