Computer Networks – The Heralds Of Resource Sharing (Arpanet, 1972)

While writing my last post about today’s discussion in the Internet Course, I stumbled upon this 1972 gem of a documentary by Steven King (not that Steven King) about the formation of ARPANET. It’s 30 minutes long and features many of the minds behind the internet, including J.C.R. Licklider, Donald Davies, Larry Roberts, Fernando J. Corbatò, and several more. This is an awesome discovery, and given its on the Internet Archvie it’s most likely in the public domain and feely distributed and re-used. Yay!!! This might prove to be a nice resource for next week when we focus on the History of the Internet more intently as we build out a resource around it.

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10 Responses to Computer Networks – The Heralds Of Resource Sharing (Arpanet, 1972)

  1. Jim, you made my night. That was like discovering an old home movie because even though I never knew those people personally I knew all their names. Their vision to see what was coming (especially Licklider – he was 25 years ahead of everyone) is just astonishing. Thank you thank you for finding this!

    • Reverend says:

      I loving hearing Licklider talk abotu this stuff, especially after we discussed his impact on the development of the Internet earleir that day. It’s like his ideas come that much mroe to life. Serendipity is the most beautiful part of the web.

  2. Michael Berman says:

    So I decided to poke around the Internet Archive – here’s one a found – https://archive.org/details/AlanKeyD1987 Alan Kay walks you through the early history of the user interface including great demos of Sketchpad and the Xerox Parc Alto.

    • Reverend says:

      I can;t wait to watch this, these early “home videos” of computer pioneers could be its very own genre 🙂

      • Michael Berman says:

        OK Jim, I’m now spending too much time combing the Internet Archives and I found this – a 30 minute TV piece on the Internet made in 1993, and featuring an interview with… oh, don’t let me spoil it for you, but someone you know appears about 20 minutes in… https://archive.org/details/episode_1134 – this is right at the dawn of the Web (there’s a brief mention of Mosaic) and the beginnings of Internet video conferencing and podcasting (referred to as “Internet Radio”)

  3. This is not Internet specifically, but it’s from 1972, it’s very related, and contains these excellent lines:

    Until computers come to the people we will have no real idea of their most natural functions. Up to the present their cost and size has kept them in the province of rich and powerful institutions, who, understandably, have developed them primarily as bookkeeping, sorting and control devices. The computers have been a priceless aid in keeping the lid on top-down organization. They are splendidly impressive as oracles of (programmable) Truth, the lofty voice of unchangeable authority.

    In fact, computers don’t know shit. Their special talent in the direction of intelligence is the ability to make elabrate models and fiddle with them, to answer in detail questions that begin “What if ..?” In this they parallel (and can help) the acquiring of intelligence by children. But the basic fact of computer use is “Garbage In, Garbage Out” – if you feed the computer nonsense, it will dutifully convert your mistake into insanity-cubed and feed it back to you. Children are different – “Garbage In, Food Out” is common with them. Again, the benefits of variant parallel systems. Computer function is mostly one-track-mind, in which inconsistency is intolerable. The human mind functions on multiple tracks (not all of them accessible); it can tolerate and even thrive on inconsistency.

    I suggest that the parallel holds for the overall picture of computer use. Where a few brilliantly stupid computers can wreak havoc, a host of modest computers (and some brilliant ones) serving innumerable individual purposes can be healthful, can repair havoc, feed life. (Likewise, 20 crummy speakers at once will give better sound fidelity than one excellent speaker – try it.)

    http://www.wheels.org/spacewar/stone/rolling_stone.html

  4. Michael Berman says:

    OK Jim, I’m now spending too much time combing the Internet Archives and I found this – a 30 minute TV piece on the Internet made in 1993, and featuring an interview with… oh, don’t let me spoil it for you, but someone you know appears about 20 minutes in… https://archive.org/details/episode_1134 – this is right at the dawn of the Web (there’s a brief mention of Mosaic) and the beginnings of Internet video conferencing and podcasting (referred to as “Internet Radio”)

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