Category Archives: Where the Wizards Stay Up Late

Where the Wizards Stay up Late Chapter 6

Chapter 6 starts off with the Vietnam war and that as soon as that came along ARPA was kicked out of the pentagon which I thought was surprising in the fact that they could have used them but instead thought technology would be no use in this war. Well at least that is what I would think as I was kicked out of the pentagon. I also looked through all of the photos and the one that caught my eye was the one with the BBN image with all of the telephones that were used for time sharing. Then there was the virtual conversationalists PERRY and the Doctor. That whole conversation was so surreal as they just watched everything unfold in front of them. I think it proved many people who were skeptical of all of these technical advances and now you see this conversation and think this is all real and it’s happening right now. All of these topics had brought up a point that there is no end to technology and there were always be new ideas out there waiting to be revealed on to the digital world.

Where the Wizards Stay up Late Chapters 5

In chapter 5 there was various topics that stuck out at me the first one being Queueing theory. This is the study of people and how long they will wait in line, how long the lines get, and how the design of the setting effects the reduce time of waiting. I always was fascinated with this in general and had no idea that it was actually a theory. It is crazy in america how we how long we will wait in line because we believe in fairness. It seems like a natural instinct and the fact that people will wait for DAYS just to get a new product (mainly technology) blows me away. This theory was studied by Kleinrock. One thing that was brought up was the creation of the RFC which was referred to as the basic handshake between two computers. This creation was seen as a way to open up a way of expressing in the networking community and adopting new technical ideals. I also thought was fascinating is that NWG was the group that pretty much adopted the term “protocol”. Last thing that I want to talk about for chapter 5 is the word login and how it was used as a command and now look at it on the internet. Everywhere you go like blogging you have to login to access your editing. This is one example of millions of ways login has now come a part of most lives of people around the world.

Head Down in the Bits

I can’t even fathom this chapter.

I have taken some low level comp Sci courses and I hate them.

I appreciate the “IMP Guys” and engineers like them who put the grunt work behind things we use today.

While the Bits interest me, I like to code at a much higher level.

It’s amazing that the government bought the 4 IMPs for just over a million.

While that seems like a lot, they are willing to shell out a lot more money now a days for things that seem even less important.

The IMPs got the foundations of the network off the ground. Now a days the government spends that much to work on something a thousandth the scale of the IMPs.

The Third University

I found this chapter eye opening.

I learned about funding during my internship, however it was not this bad.

Now-a-days the the government is a bit more cautious with its money. While it still does research,  and spends a lot, there are cuts.

During this Era it would appear there were not cuts. They just kept spending money on what the few smart computer scientists at the time wanted.
The individuals in ARPA used the government’s  budgets to buy expensive toys to lure the big guys.

We also see a huge leap in contractors in this section. It seems BBN was contracted to create the IMPs. This is one of the government’s  initiatives to try and create a better environment for development.

A Block Here, Some Stones There

This chapter really intrigued me.

I find it funny that in the past, all the government wanted was a network. They needed to connect machines across the country.

When I was at my internship, our network was completely detached from the Web. We were using classified data. We were also pioneering somethings that couldn’t really become common knowledge.

The chapter was interesting because the things we take for granted, back then were only dreams.

I mean we learn network structures as if they were child’s play, but for them to invent the best structure, it took them years of research.

It’s also amusing how we take collaboration across the Web for granted. They didn’t know two individuals were working on the same IMP-based network.

Nowadays if you do any research, if goes out  to the the World Wide Web (or at least an email or two).

All they needed was an easy collaboration tool, to collaborate about how to better collaborate.

We see a meta situation where the thing they are developing, solves their own problem.

The Fastest Million Dollars

This chapter was so interesting an eye opening for me.

Over the summer I took an internship with a DOD contractor.

The legacy of Dr. Licklider still apply.

I was on GUI design for a project. We needed to get information to a user in an efficient organized manor so they could make a quick decision.

I sort of wish that I could get to the same point at “Lick” or Taylor within my career.

They radically reshaped computing, invented and developed the internet, and their legacy is lasting. The DOD is still wrong on refining or creating newer and better ways to communicate, make descisions, and display data through the use of computer.

Wizards

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizards_(film)

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizards_(film)

I saw this movie when I was a kid. I don’t remember anything about it, so it may not even be relevant, but the title fits. So there.

There were a few passages from Where the Wizards Stay Up Late that stuck out to me. One was this part about an early online game.

Adventure demonstrated the appeal of an open networking culture. And the emphasis on openness grew with time. There were few closed doors on the network, and a free spirit prevailed in people’s attitudes about who could come and go through them, and for what purposes. Anyone trying to restrict the graduate student population from freely using the network would have grossly misunderstood the mind-set of the computer science community. The ARPANET was official federal government property, but network mail was being used for all manner of communication. (p. 208)

It was the openness that allowed the Internet to happen. It’s part of what makes it work, in more ways than one. I think that’s something to be kept in mind, because openness has it’s enemies. It’s easier to profit from a toll booth than an open road, and it’s easier to do devious things under the cover of darkness than out in the light.

In 1972 public outcry erupted over the Army’s information gathering, and the order went out for the files to be destroyed immediately. But three years later, allegations surfaced that Army intelligence officers had instead used the ARPANET to move the files to a new location. When the story broke, the fact that something like ARPANET existed was news to most Americans. That the story was reported in the most draconian, cloak-and-dagger terms only added to the stormy reaction. The result was a Senate investigation in which DARPA was called upon to explain how it was using the ARPANET. (p. 231)

History repeats itself. Except this time around we don’t have a Watergate to make the government sensitive to people’s suspicions. Back then there were concerns about unrest and protestors so the government engaged in a domestic spying program. Except back then that was illegal. Somewhere along the line we changed our minds about that.

Standards should be discovered, not decreed. (p 254).

We talked about “command and control” vs “processing techniques” earlier as a semantic shift that represented a change in ethos. The powers that be had pushed OSI as a standard, but the people who had to make the internet work used TCP/IP instead. Today’s powers that be are a lot more powerful than those of the 70s though. It makes me think of the current debate about net neutrality. One side sees net neutrality as part of how the web works and part of what’s made it so successful, while the other side sees it as an attempt by the government to expand its control and regulatory power.