JANET ABBATE INVENTING THE INTERNET PDF

James W. Cortada, Janet Abbate. Inventing the Internet. Inside Technology.

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Access options available:. Technology and Culture Janet Abbate's succinct but ambitious history of the origins of the Internet tracks this "protean technology" p. This technology, she argues, repeatedly moved in directions unanticipated and unintended by its developers. Nonetheless, it can be seen in retrospect to have been socially constructed by the values of those developers, as well as by its users.

It also created a layered network in which nodes connected the communications grid to host computers. These hosts bore the major responsibilities for preparing and receiving their own messages, a scheme that allowed network managers to isolate their computers from "inquisitive graduate students" who might otherwise have hacked into them.

Thus, claims Abbate, the chosen architecture allowed the designers to "manage social relations as well as to reduce technical complexity" p. Along the way, users and other developers took computer networking in directions that ARPA had never intended. Users quickly made e-mail the most successful network application. Other countries challenged the internet model with different protocols and different applications.

As new applications and pressures for commercialization arose, the United States government moved toward privatization of the Internet in the s. This development, along with the spread of personal computers, helped build a conducive atmosphere for the introduction of the hypertext system and web browsers. The world wide web became accessible even to novices. Abbate argues successfully that the origins of the internet "favored military values, such as survivability, flexibility, and high performance, over commercial goals, such as low cost, simplicity, or consumer appeal" p.

On the positive side, these characteristics gave computer networks their robust versatility, their hardy responsiveness to unanticipated user demands. On the negative side, suggests Abbate, they may also have made the system resistant to some kinds of commercialization, for ARPA never envisioned charging individual hosts to use the system the way the phone company charges individual telephones.

The difficulties now being encountered in establishing revenue flows on the internet may well stem from this characteristic. If so, then Abbate has explicated a phenomenon that other scholars, such as Paul Forman and Paul Edwards, have only asserted: the power of military origins to permanently inhabit technologies later spun off for commercial applications.

Based on thorough research in primary documents and extensive communication with many of the principals in the story, Abbate's history provides the most thorough and illuminating account yet available on this [End Page ] topic.

She succeeds in showing that this evolving technology was socially constructed by both its developers and its users. And she also demonstrates that it had the capacity to become deterministic as it matured. Roland is professor of history at Duke University, where he teaches military history and the history of technology. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.

Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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Janet Abbate's Inventing the Internet

This work is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please contact mpub-help umich. Given the growing number of recent books that explore the Internet as a religious and spiritual terrain, such as Erik Davis' Techgnosis , it should not be surprising that the rhetoric surrounding digital technologies has begun transforming into mythology. Even generally measured business publications like The Economist can be caught recounting the activities and ventures of scientists, technologists, and digital entrepreneurs in biblical, epic, and heroic terms.

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Inventing the Internet

Janet Abbate recounts the key players and technologies that allowed the Internet to develop; but her main focus is always on the social and cultural factors that influenced the Internet's design and use. Since the late s the Internet has grown from a single experimental network serving a dozen sites in the United States to a network of networks linking millions of computers worldwide. In Inventing the Internet , Janet Abbate recounts the key players and technologies that allowed the Internet to develop; but her main focus is always on the social and cultural factors that influenced the Internets design and use. The story she unfolds is an often twisting tale of collaboration and conflict among a remarkable variety of players, including government and military agencies, computer scientists in academia and industry, graduate students, telecommunications companies, standards organizations, and network users.

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From Inside Technology. Janet Abbate recounts the key players and technologies that allowed the Internet to develop; but her main focus is always on the social and cultural factors that influenced the Internet's design and use. Since the late s the Internet has grown from a single experimental network serving a dozen sites in the United States to a network of networks linking millions of computers worldwide. In Inventing the Internet , Janet Abbate recounts the key players and technologies that allowed the Internet to develop; but her main focus is always on the social and cultural factors that influenced the Internets design and use. The story she unfolds is an often twisting tale of collaboration and conflict among a remarkable variety of players, including government and military agencies, computer scientists in academia and industry, graduate students, telecommunications companies, standards organizations, and network users. It ends with the emergence of the Internet and its rapid and seemingly chaotic growth. Abbate looks at how academic and military influences and attitudes shaped both networks; how the usual lines between producer and user of a technology were crossed with interesting and unique results; and how later users invented their own very successful applications, such as electronic mail and the World Wide Web.

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