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Casting the Net:
While brief histories of the Internet exist in many places, Peter Salus attempts to pull together the entire story. Beginning with George Stibnitz's demonstration of Bell Labs' complex calculator by remote terminal in September of 1940, Salus shows how this dauntingly complex technological achievement came into existence step by step, with thousands of small innovations in both hardware and software. It's unavoidable that the book is largely about technology, and there are several technical details and charts for those interested in the nuts and bolts of Internet construction. But even the technologically challenged will be able to follow the tale since it's largely about the people who made it all happen. Salus has gone back to the original documents and correspondence among the Net's creators and has interviewed such key players as Vinton Cerf, Bob Kahn, John Quartermain, Ray Tomlinson and many more. The picture that emerges encompasses the energy and thrill that went into the technical achievements--as well as many of the laughs and weirdness. Salus includes a number of the so-called Requests For Comments (RFCs) that were primarily used to spread technical developments but were occasional carriers of stress-relieving humor. RFC 527, "Arpawocky," is a terrific take-off on the "Jabberwocky," while RFC 1149, "A Standard for the Transmission of IP Diagrams on Avian Carriers," is an April 1st proposal to send messages by carrier pigeon. [via]