Chapter #6: Where Wizards Stay up Late

Source: Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet

Authors: Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon

Chapter #6: pages 160 – 186.

On page 180, Katie discusses a big conference that was being set up for a show and tell of the network for a group of VIPS, “a Washington coterie of congressmen, pentagon officials and others”.  Just before the presentation was about to start the network monitoring tool started showing a major increase of dropped packets. McKenzie put together quickly that it was likely a troubled line that was in repair. He called Cambridge and told them “Get it out! Get it out!”.  Cambridge pulled the bad line and was able to restore the smooth network operation within 30 seconds.

This remote-management technology can be viewed as the forefather to the almost religious dedication to coding or building in safeguards to the infrastructure and software. However, I find it amusing that we haven’t really improved in this area. Apple just recently released the iPhone 6 in a big-todo conference, which included world-wide live streaming to the internet. It was plagued with problems: Here we have a company that is releasing an updated version of it’s flagship product. They have basically unlimited resources to make sure its a successful launch and yet they fail. On the other hand, the poor guys down at ARPA are working with pennies on Apple’s dollars and where able to solve their problems before anybody new they existed.

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