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By John Naughton

The net is the main notable factor people have outfitted because the Pyramids. John Naughton's ebook intersperses really good own tales with an authoritative account of the place the web really got here from, who invented it and why, and the place it'd be taking us. such a lot people do not know of the way the net works or who created it. Even fewer have any suggestion of what it ability for society and the long run. In a cynical age, John Naughton has no longer misplaced his capability for ask yourself. He examines the character of his personal enthusiasm for expertise and lines its roots in his lonely adolescence and in his dating along with his father. a quick historical past of the long run is an intensely own occasion of imaginative and prescient and altruism, ingenuity and backbone and in particular, of the facility of rules, passionately felt, to alter the realm.

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Put it together with the protocol for addressing individual computers and you have TCP/IP. The conception of TCP/IP was one of the great technological breakthroughs of the twentieth century because, without it, the Net The digital beanstalk 21 as we know it would not have been possible. You could say that TCP/IP is to the wired world what DNA is to the biological one. The Internet is thus one enormous game of pass-the-packet played by hundreds of thousands of computers, all of them speaking TCP/IP unto one another.

What this means is that the phrase 'Site of the month' is a 18 Wonderment pointer or a 'link' to another site, and if I click on it I will immediately be linked to the site in question. Now here's the strange thing. That destination site could be a file in another directory on my hard disk, or on that of my ISP, or it could be a file on a computer in Tashkent or Santa Monica or a million other locations. To the browser they're all the same: it will start fetching the page from wherever it's held the moment I issue the command - which I can do simply by clicking on the link.

Anyone can hook a computer to the Internet, provided they can pay for the physical connection and run the standard software. Indeed, that is precisely the way it grows at such a fantastic rate. The thing is incredibly complex - and yet it works astonishingly well, passing enormous volumes of data every day with remarkable reliability. It is an example of a self-organising system, of something where there is order without control. The computer graphics expert Loren Carpenter once invented a game which gives a flavour of this.

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Brief History of the Future by John Naughton

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