Saturday, 23 August 2008

Angelina Jolie and the Oral History of the Internet

What!... I hear you say, Angelina Jolie and the Oral History of the Internet?!? What has Angela Jolie got to do with the Web other than the amount of Internet traffic she generates? Well, US magazines are expensive in Australia so Bibliothekia waits for the surface mail edition of Vanity Fair rather than pay the ridicules amount of money you have to fork out for the air freight edition. This means I have only now had a chance to read the excellent article in the July 2008 edition of Vanity Fair (the one with Ms Jolie on the cover) about the history of the Internet. In this very engaging, and very readable article it seems like everyone is interviewed. For example:

Paul Baran: instrumental in conceiving pack switching,
Leonard Klienrock: first director of ARPA's computer science division,
Bob Kahn & Vint Cleft: who helped devise TCP IP network protocols,
Robert Metcalfe: instrumental in developing Ethernet,
Jeff Bezos: who brought us,
Robert Cailliau: who with Tim Berners-Lee was instrumental in developing hypertext structures,
Lou Montulli: creator of the early Internet browser Lynx,
Thomas Reardon: Microsoft programme Manager for Internet Explorer,

The section on the browser war between Microsoft and Netspace is facinating

Chris DeWolfe & Tom Anderson: founders of MySpace,
Craig Newmark: creator of Craigslist,
Larry Page: who with Sergey Brin created of Google,
Jimmy Wales: from Wikipedia, and
Mark Zuckerberg: from Facebook,

... to name but a few. The section dealing with the impact of September 11 on the internet is also of interest. With writers such as Christopher Hitchens, Dominick Dunne, and James Wolcott to name but a few, Vanity Fair is one of the magazines that reminds us how smart, intelligent, and engaging America can be once you get beyond the Hollywood and Washington DC stereotypes. And if you really want to scare yourself witless read Janine Di Giovanni's excellent but disturbing article on the the resurgent Taliban in Pakistan. The photos in this article, like the child amputee who was a victim of a suicide bomber (see following), are heart wrenching.

A young boy, wounded in a suicide attack near the border of the Tribal Areas, lies in a Peshawar hospital, recovering from the amputation of his left arm.

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