Post 2: Where Wizards Stay Up Late Chapter 5-7

Blog post 2 coming in a little late here, but better late than never, right.

This weeks discussion was about the second reading from Where Wizards Stay Up Late, which dealt mostly with the software that was designed for the internet. I thought that the most interesting part of the entire process was the community that was developed over the ARPANET throughout the course of its own refinement. Even though it was the first online community, a lot of the trends that have continued into the world of social media were already getting under way. It was nice to see friendships built over the internet. One passage identifies several friendships that were cemented through online discussions and continued for years before the friends actually met in real life. On the other hand, many of the negative elements of internet communication started to develop in the ARPANET community as well. The concept of flaming, which would never actually happen in real life, was born on the ARPANET, and many of the users spoke to each other in ways that would be considered extremely rude in real life. There is something about speaking through a screen that lacks the same kind of respect and connection necessitated by face to face conversation. The users of the ARPANET were the first to discover this unfortunate truth.

Another part of the readings that I found interesting but that did not come up in class was how the people at BBN dealt with the failures of Honeywell to produce proper computers for the IMP’s. When Honeywell produced the first several subpar machines despite repeated instructions from BBN, the IMP team simply accepted the machines and fixed them up themselves with seemingly no complaint. This kind of behavior was ironically very pre-internet of them. Today when a product arrives that is unsatisfactory, we generally ship it back and order a new one, especially from online services like amazon prime. The internet gives us variety and options, and makes it easy for us to browse and find exactly what we are looking for. Our specifications and demands are therefore very particular, and we have little tolerance for any mistakes. The BBN team’s persistance was very admirable though. When Honeywell gave them lemons, they put their heads down and got to work making lemonade. When Severo Ornstein finally did reject the poorly made Honeywell computer, I was a little relieved though. It was frustrating to see such hard workers continually supplied with products that were assembled with laziness and sloppy work. It was definitely the right decision to reject the delivery, and Honeywell reacted by stepping up its product.

2 Comments »

  1. Mike Smith

    September 18, 2016 @ 6:01 PM

    1

    I like your comparison between Honeywell’s product shipments and today’s product shipments through distributors like Amazon. In addition to what you’ve said, I think that the BBN folk felt that they could fix the problems and probably thought that they could do it better and faster than through Honeywell. I continue to see this attitude today in areas where the product is the first of a kind, i.e., typically not what you get through Amazon. However, you can do something close to this through Amazon Vine. See

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/vine/help

  2. school of applied science

    November 10, 2016 @ 8:16 PM

    2

    So many trends that are built in social media. Social media there are used to blaspheme or insult, it is unfortunate acts like this. Most fact now have a life of virtual worlds have many friends but in fact the real world do not socialize and have no friends

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