Post 3: Where Wizards Stay Up Late Chapter 8 and Epilogue

This week we finished our discussions of Where Wizards Stay Up Late and talked about the end to end argument which greatly influenced the way that networks were designed over the past few decades. In the same way that most things happen on the Internet these days, the evolution of the Internet grew faster and faster as more and more people got involved. What began as a small experiment involving only a few computer scientists with an esoteric dream quickly became a widely used phenomena with endless possibilities for all. Interestingly enough, despite beginning as a government initiative that would be expected to be very regimented and controlled in its growth, the Internet ultimately drew its greatest strength from its identity as a patchwork of multiple ideas and experiments, the best of which won out and were adopted by majorities of users in an intellectual free market of sorts. It was an excellent space of innovation.

I enjoyed reading Where Wizards Stay Up Late, and one of the reasons that it was a good read for me was because it wasn’t just the story and history of the Internet, but also of the people who created it. In the process of creating something that forever altered human intimacy and interaction, the founders of the Internet created for themselves a strong community full of camaraderie, challenge and friendship that is certainly deserving of admiration. The epilogue to the book served as the culmination of this thread of community, and there was something pleasing about reading it, almost like the end of a children’s story: with a future of boundless possibilities ahead, the suddenly aging protagonists gathered to recall the glory days that started it all, their excitement, their discoveries, and their youth.

Indeed, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, sparks a nostalgia for the early days of networking when machines were new, exciting, and far more primitive than the overwhelming supply of computers we have today. The possibilities were limitless and unknown, the times were simpler, and there was a fresh excitement in the air. It was the frontier of the digital age, and the men who dared adventure into the unknown were pioneers, dreamers and heroes. Indeed, they were wizards. They performed the impossible. They paid no regard to their limitations.  They stayed up late into the the night, reminding us of our youth, our excitement, our passions.

When these wizards came together for their final hoorah, for their reunion, for the anniversary of their creation, the birthday of their now fully grown child, they came full circle to unite with us in our nostalgia, our wonder at their achievements, and our excitement for what is to come. They passed on the torch-or more accurately the wand-to all of the people they had inspired. Their dreams had become real, and new dreams were quickly coming to life.

2 Comments »

  1. Mike Smith

    September 25, 2016 @ 9:12 AM

    1

    I was intrigued by what you said in your penultimate paragraph. It is true that there is an overwhelming supply of networked devices today and this makes the world less simple. But has the excitement diminished? Is the application work being done today with networks less magical? What exactly was thought impossible then compared to what is thought impossible today, if anything? I’m interested in what you think.

  2. school of applied science

    November 10, 2016 @ 8:17 PM

    2

    Very useful your discussion about “Where Wizards Stay Up Late”. I look forward to updates for other valuable topics. Thanks

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