A 1972 documentary on ARPANET

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Streck, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. Streck

    Streck <B><FONT COLOR="#FF0000">QED</B></FONT> Veteran

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    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7426343190324622223

    Found this linked from boingboing.net. It's a 1972 documentary on ARPANET called "Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing." For anyone with even a casual interest in the history of the Internet, it's a great primary source on what the mindset was of the pioneers at the time. Some of my favorite moments:


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    "A simple way to interconnect computers to form such a network is to place wide-band, leased circuits - in the case of the ARPANET, 50 kilobit-per-second circuits - between each of the computers, and then to interconnect each of the computers to each other, to form a fully connected network. As more sites come onto the network, the requirement is then to connect that site to every other one, which means that the extension of the network is just not a graceful thing. And so this naturally leads to the concept of a store-and-forward technique, in order to cut down on the expense of building such a network. Let's erase these lines over here, to leave ourselves for the moment with a loop network which can be extended. In this type of network, this computer, for example, would talk to this computer, not by sending it a message directly, since there is no circuit, but sending a message first to this computer, which would then store it and forward it on to this computer, thereby acting as a relay."

    - Robert E. Kahn (Bolt Beranek and Newman), co-inventor of TCP/IP


    [​IMG]

    "The thing that makes the computer communication network special is that it puts the workers, the team members who are geographically distributed, in touch not only with one another, but with the information base with which they work all the time. So that when they get to developing plans, the blueprints, as it were, don't have to be copied and sent all around the country. The blueprints come out of the database, and appear on everybody's scopes, and the correlation, the coordination of the activity is essentially right there in the computer network. This is obviously going to make a tremendous difference in how we plan, organize, and execute almost everything of any intellectual consequence."

    - J.C.R. Licklider (MIT), co-developer of timesharing


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    "The ARPA network has been criticized as not being typical of what's required for a real commercial network. Well, let's look at what present-day commercial networks do. First of all, they're only built by very big companies who can afford the expense of the design, and the long lines and so forth. And secondly, they're built around special applications. This scheme of private, purpose-built networks is, in my view, a completely false idea of what the future of data communication will be. It seems to me that data communication for a company must evolve in the same way that the company evolves. Organizations change, they merge, they introduce new services. So, in principle, every terminal on the network, every computer in the company, and the computers of different companies, all have to be able to interconnect. This means that the subscribers of the network are a great variety of different terminals, quite unlike the telephone network. And, to my mind, this implies the packet switching principle. It requires that the terminals interconnect at the level of messages, and not at particular speeds."

    - Donald W. Davies (National Physical Laboratory, U.K.), co-inventor of packet switching


    Today, of course, we have plenty of modern documentaries on the history of computers and the Internet and whatnot. I've seen many of them, and too often they either ignore important details or are downright inaccurate. Firsthand material like this is just great for getting an authentic picture of exactly what was going on and what the attitudes were back when X.25 networks were cutting edge.

    (Yeah, I'm treading pretty far out into into geek territory. Fuck you, it's awesome.)
     
  2. Seth Buzzard

    Seth Buzzard R.I.P. Buzzbeak Content Contributor

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    That was interesting.
     
  3. Frognal

    Frognal Prodigal Son Returned

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    Those phone modems are awesome.
     
  4. TheIncredibleHulk

    TheIncredibleHulk Find Gary Busey!

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    Yeah, I want a phone modem, just because I think it looks cool.
     
  5. Drake

    Drake Smooth Is Smooth Baby

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    Looks a Dharma film from lost. :lol 
     
  6. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Villain

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    It's sad I knew what this thread was about just by reading the title.
     
  7. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Screw all this bs, Im getting an X.25
    Keep it real.
     
  8. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Sorcerer

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    I thought the same thing at first glance.
     
  9. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I reread this paragraph about 3-4 times before I really got an idea of what they're saying here. However, it's really neat that this is the basis for the computer networking concept. It's cool to see it actually written up as a concept/theory (as opposed to reading about an actual network configuration, which is mostly technical and ends up confusing the hell out of me -at least at this point in my education.)

    I bolded the part which I found most interesting. What started as a method of making programming and development plans available to the networked "team" has blossomed into the ability for thousands of networked users to...share porn easier!
     
  10. Streck

    Streck <B><FONT COLOR="#FF0000">QED</B></FONT> Veteran

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    That's what I liked most about the documentary - these basic ideas such as packet routing and remote resource sharing, which we take for granted, are laid out in a step-by-step fashion. And it's all the more exciting to watch because we know where those ideas ultimately lead. When Davies asserted that computers must "interconnect at the level of messages, and not at particular speeds," I was like, goddamn, he's talking about TCP/IP and he doesn't even know it!
     

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