Help me write a kids book that explains the digital age

- So, I’m working on a new project. And I’d like your help with it. A few years ago I wrote a fairly detailed history of the Internet’s development, from the earliest days of networking to the present. That book had hundreds of footnotes, involved reading hundreds of technical documents, and gave me an excuse … Continue reading Help me write a kids book that explains the digital age

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Interview with internet pioneer Steve Crocker

In a bathroom, at three in the morning in April 1969, a graduate student named Steve Crocker started to write one of the most important documents of the last century. Though drafted in humble circumstances Crocker’s document would set the open, inclusive tone of the next half century of Internet engineering culture, and initiate the process of defining the rules that govern virtually all data exchange on the planet.

5 rules: the smallest element of participation is now the individual node.

Speaking in Oslo in 2011

Video of a talk I gave in Oslo at the Norwegian Annual Communications/PR Forum "5 rules for PR in the digital era".

Interview on the history + future of the Net

Jerry Brito, a tech thinker and writer for Time Magazine interviewed me about my recent book, A history of the Internet and the digital future as part of his 'Surprisingly Free' podcast series with techies. Jerry has an interesting background: he's an academic, but he has also lead some interesting projects - see below - … Continue reading Interview on the history + future of the Net

Frederick Taylor, DEC, and Zynga: how does “idea fuel” filter to the top of perpetual beta organisations?

I broke bread with the speakers after the Dublin Web Summit on Friday (see my coverage of the Summit for Wired UK), and sat opposite Marcus Segal, Zynga's Chief Operating Officer for Games. Segal is faced with a hell of a problem: Zynga is growing like a super nova, and the model it uses relies … Continue reading Frederick Taylor, DEC, and Zynga: how does “idea fuel” filter to the top of perpetual beta organisations?

Q&A about the history of the Internet with the Epoch Times

The Epoch Times published a Q&A here with me about the book. We covered the idea behind the book and politics. Text below... The Internet has integrated itself into nearly every aspect of modern life, following users on the cell phone, at work, and at home. While the Web grows, however, its history and future … Continue reading Q&A about the history of the Internet with the Epoch Times

Cory Doctorow / BoingBoing plugged my book

Cory Doctorow was kind enough to put a plug of the book on BoingBoing yesterday. Said he: an engrossing, well-written account of the Internet's founding and the backstory of the underlying protocols and plumbing, which draws on that rich history to make predictions about the net's future. Good man! (see the full piece below,  or … Continue reading Cory Doctorow / BoingBoing plugged my book

2nd extract of my book in Ars Technica — The essence of the ‘Net

Chapter 3 of my book A History of the Internet and the Digital Future has just been published by Ars Technica. This is one of the 3 chapters (of the 13 in the book) that are being published for free. Here it is, or read at Ars. Johnny Ryan's A History of the Internet and … Continue reading 2nd extract of my book in Ars Technica — The essence of the ‘Net

I CAN HAS INTERNET?

I just published the first chapter of my book for free via Ars Technica. Full text over at Ars Johnny Ryan's A History of the Internet and the Digital Future has just been released and is already drawing rave reviews. Ars Technica is proud to present three chapters from the book, condensed and adapted for … Continue reading I CAN HAS INTERNET?

Speaking notes on the digital future

This afternoon I was doing a prerecord for Drivetime, a popular show on RTE (Ireland's national radio station). I took a few minutes and wrote down some points I wanted to cover. We were due to discuss my new book A history of the Internet and the digital future so they cover the big picture … Continue reading Speaking notes on the digital future

Another 5 star review from an Amazon top 10 reviewer!

Five star review on Amazon from top 10 Amazon reviewer (Rebecca Johnson) Rebecca Johnson does not generally review communications or Internet books, so a 5 star review from her shows that A history of the Internet and the digital future is  assessable to a general audience. Full text of her review is below, but this … Continue reading Another 5 star review from an Amazon top 10 reviewer!

The Toronto Star publishes feature interview with me about A history of the Internet and the digital future

How the Internet was born By Jennifer Hunter Columnist Al Gore was ridiculed during the 2000 U.S. presidential election for supposedly claiming he had created the Internet. But digital technology expert Johnny Ryan says Gore’s comments to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer were misinterpreted. According to transcripts of the interview, says Ryan, Gore was taking credit merely … Continue reading The Toronto Star publishes feature interview with me about A history of the Internet and the digital future

Top 10 Amazon reviewer gives 5 star review

Amazon has many reviewers and the top 10 is a contested place. Reviews by people in the top 10, top 50, top 100 are a major asset to sales. One such reviewer (top 10) just gave A history of the Internet and the digital future a 5 star review. At Last! A Comprehensive and Comprehensible … Continue reading Top 10 Amazon reviewer gives 5 star review

Interview with Myles Dungan (RTE): Documents from the Net’s history

Today I am doing an interview with Myles Dungan of RTE Radio for his new history program. He asked me to select a few items that can guide our discussion of my book A history of the Internet and the digital future. Here are some of the items that we will discuss.  Nuclear context: Memorandum … Continue reading Interview with Myles Dungan (RTE): Documents from the Net’s history

Call to bloggers: receive free copy and review my book!

Based on a tip from publishing guru Eoin Purcell, and following the clever example of Joe Konrath, I am soliciting reviews of A History of the Internet and the Digital Future from bloggers of all hues. A free copy of the book will be posted to you in return for a review (of more than … Continue reading Call to bloggers: receive free copy and review my book!

Contents of ‘A History of the Internet and the Digital Future’

Contents of A History of the Internet and the Digital Future ____________________ PHASE I: DISTRIBUTED NETWORK, CENTRIFUGAL IDEAS Chapter 1. A CONCEPT BORN IN THE SHADOW OF THE NUKE Chapter 2. THE MILITARY EXPERIMENT Chapter 3. THE ESSENCE OF THE INTERNET Chapter 4. COMPUTERS BECOME CHEAP, FAST, AND COMMON PHASE II: EXPANSION Chapter 5. THE … Continue reading Contents of ‘A History of the Internet and the Digital Future’

Endorsements from for the book from Tim Wu, Marc Benioff, Jonathan Zittrain, and more…

In advance of publication in September, I've received some great endorsements for The History of the Internet and the Digital Future "Both an enormously useful work and great read.  Read it and understand what has made the Internet different." --Professor Tim Wu, Columbia Law School "Thanks to the proliferation of cloud services, ubiquitous, low-cost bandwidth, … Continue reading Endorsements from for the book from Tim Wu, Marc Benioff, Jonathan Zittrain, and more…

update – a final (final) title for the new book…

UPDATE: After speaking with Reaktion Books about the title the final wording is A HISTORY OF THE INTERNET AND THE DIGITAL FUTURE hitting the shelves of all good bookstores in the UK and US (and presumably Ireland too...) in SEPTEMBER 2010! Previous post... The new book is now almost out of the copy editing stage, and … Continue reading update – a final (final) title for the new book…

New site for the Book

New site and address for the book on the history of the Internet and its lessons for the future of business, politics, and society: http://www.thehistoryoftheinternet.net/

ICANN becomes Independent!

Yesterday's announcement from ICANN ends a lingering point of controversy surrounding the governance of the Internet: the United States’ continued control of the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). ICANN's announcement of 30 September 2009 ends that controversy. A relevant snippet from the forthcoming book gives the background to ICANN, the controversy, and the importance of … Continue reading ICANN becomes Independent!

World of Warcraft, WTF?

For the forthcoming book it was inevitable that I would look at World of Warcraft. ‘World of Warcraft’ is by any standard is the most popular computer game of all time. Since its release in 2005 it has built a steadily increasing following of loyal subscribers. 11.5 million people across the globe were paid subscribers … Continue reading World of Warcraft, WTF?

Al Gore and the Internet

With the forthcoming book almost complete, there are one or two matters that I had to get to the bottom of. Foremost among them, Al Gore's involvement in the development of the Internet, and the controversy that surrounded this question in the 2000 presidential election... For a brief moment during the 2000 presidential election in … Continue reading Al Gore and the Internet

The origins of “smart casual”?

Short teaser from the forthcoming book... The tailored suit has a long history. The coat, waistcoat, and breeches gradually became the gentleman’s mainstay from the English Restoration in the 1660s onward, when the elaborate dress common at European courts fell out of favor. Embroidery and silk died out from the middle of the 18th century … Continue reading The origins of “smart casual”?

The bubble… (eBay, Amazon, Netscape, Webvan, Pets.com…)

Continuing from the earlier snippet about the Dot Com Collapse... this is a continuing piece from the forthcoming book. (feedback welcome) The collapse had been foreseen by a shrewd few. In early December 1996, Alan Greenspan, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, attended a dinner in his honor at the American Enterprise Institute. After … Continue reading The bubble… (eBay, Amazon, Netscape, Webvan, Pets.com…)

Short note on the virulent growth of WWW + Internet, 1988-1997

Some data from the book. On 25 July 1994, the front cover of Time Magazine announced ‘the strange new world of the Internet’. The Internet was of course only new to those who had not known of it previously. What was new was the WWW, which put a user friendly face on the network. Also … Continue reading Short note on the virulent growth of WWW + Internet, 1988-1997

Communities beyond geography: Phone phreakers

More for the book... In 1957, a blind, five year old boy named Joe Engressia first realized that he could control the phone system and make long distance phone calls at no cost by whistling a specific pitch down the phone line. The AT&T phone network used twelve combinations of six audio tones as control … Continue reading Communities beyond geography: Phone phreakers

1840s – Ada Lovelace (Byron’s daughter!) becomes world’s first programmer

This appears in my book A history of the Internet and the digital future - see kind words from Cory Doctorow, Marc Benioff, and others here. On 12 February 1812, Lord Byron, perhaps the most outrageous and disreputable of the English poets, took the floor at the House of Lords to begin his maiden speech. … Continue reading 1840s – Ada Lovelace (Byron’s daughter!) becomes world’s first programmer

Quick note on ‘Openness’

The word 'Openness' is attractive as the keystone of the book's title. And yet it is controversial. It may even be inaccurate. The 'Open' word as I am using it first came to me when I read interviews with Paul Baran in which he talked about two startling things: first, how RAND published his secret research because they believed … Continue reading Quick note on ‘Openness’

Silicon Valley Landmark: Zott’s and the packet radio test

San Francisco features disproportionately in the history of the digital age. Yet despite the historical coverage it receives, little attention has been given to one of its landmarks, a small wood paneled tavern known as “Zott's” – officially named “The Alpine Inn” since the mid 1950s. Its first owner was a Mexican who moved from … Continue reading Silicon Valley Landmark: Zott’s and the packet radio test

Internet growth before WWW

Some figures on Internet growth from 1981 to 1993. This is growth in the Internet before WWW. Date----Hosts 08/81---213 10/85---1,961 10/89---159,000 10/93----2,056,000 data originally hosted at <NIC.MERIT.EDU> /nsfnet/statistics/history.hosts 3 February 1994 (no longer online)

The tulip, NASDAQ, and the dot-com crash

I'm studying the dot-com crash for the book... (the image is the Pets.com sock puppet) From 1634-1637 a wave of enthusiasm and investment swept the Dutch Republic, the object of which was the tulip. At home, the tulip was becoming an important element of Turkish court culture, to the extent that the Sultan of the … Continue reading The tulip, NASDAQ, and the dot-com crash

Innovation in the shadow of the Nuke

Researching my forthcoming book on the history of the 'Net, I'm investigating the nuclear context. By the mid 1960s the Air Force had upgraded its early nuclear missiles to use solid-state propellants. The new solid-state weapons brought the launch time down from eight hours to a matter of minutes. Yet while US missiles were becoming … Continue reading Innovation in the shadow of the Nuke

The MP3, its origins, and its impact

Continuing on the music theme for my forthcoming book, and the disruption caused by the Internet to established industries... In 1996, the song ‘Until it sleeps’ by Metallica became the first track to be illegally copied from CD, encoded as an MP3, and made available on the Internet by a user operating under the nickname … Continue reading The MP3, its origins, and its impact

Kleinrock on ARPANET chatter

Researching my book on the history of the Internet,  I asked Len Kleinrock three key questions yesterday. I asked him at what point it was clear that the early ARPANET - the forerunner to the Internet - became dominated by informal chatter between researchers. The answer was interesting. The point at which it became abundantly … Continue reading Kleinrock on ARPANET chatter

Update on next book – on the history of the Net

This is among the most interesting things I have done yet. In September 2009, I am due to submit a manuscript for a book on the history of the Internet to Reaktion Press, London. Background research has taken me on a path through some of the most interesting events and documents of the last century. … Continue reading Update on next book – on the history of the Net

Choose a book title

With my submission date to Reaktion Press still 13 months away, I have to choose a book title that I can work to. I'm pretty new to this side of things, so some points to keep in mind. First, the title of my first book was fifteen words long, to my thinking, that's three times … Continue reading Choose a book title