Monday, March 19, 2012

A Brief History of the Internet, by Michael Hart - Full Text

A Brief History of the Internet The Bright Side: The Dark Side by Michael Hart with Max Fuller
(C)1995, Released on March 8th, 1995

Chapter 00 Preface

The Internet Conquers Space, Time, and Mass Production…
Michael Hart called it NeoMass Production [TM] in 1971…and published the U.S. Declaration of Independence on the and no one was listening…or were they? ???careful!!!! If the governments, universities or colleges of the world wanted people to be educated, they certainly could have a copy of things like the Declaration of Independence where everyone could get an electronic copy. After all, it has been over 25 years since the Internet began as government funded projects among our universities, and only 24 years since the Declaration was posted, followed by the Bill of Rights, Constitution, the Bible, Shakespeare, etc.
Why do more people get their electronic books from others than these institutions when they spend a TRILLION DOLLAR BUDGET EVERY YEAR pretending their goal is some universal form of education.
This is the story of the Bright Side and Dark Side of the Internet. . .Bright Side first.
The Facts:
The Internet is a primitive version of the "Star Trek Communicator," the "Star Trek Transporter," and, also a primitive version of the "Star Trek Replicator."
The Internet "let's" you talk to anyone on the Earth, as long as they, too, are on the Internet.
The Internet "let's" you transport anything you would be able to get into your computer to any Netter.
The Internet "let's" you replicate anything anyone is able to get into their computer, from "The Mona Lisa" to "The Klein Bottle" if you use the right "printer," and the library never closes, the books are always on the shelves, never checked out, lost, in for binding, and there is never an overdue fine because you never, ever, have to take them back.
The Bright Side and the Dark Side
For the first time in the entire history of the Earth, we have the ability for EVERYONE to get copies of EVERYTHING as long as it can be digitized and communicated to all of the people on the Earth, via computers [and the devices a person might need to make a PHYSICAL, rather than VIRTUAL copy of whatever it might be. . .
Think about what you have just read for a moment, please,
as long as the Information Superhighway is not taken over by the INFORMATION RICH and denied access to others other than for a fee they may not be able to pay, and shouldn't have to pay. . .since the INFORMATION RICH have had rides for free for the first 25 years of the Internet.]
From 1969 to 1994, most of the traffic on the Information Superhighway was generated by individuals who did not pay tolls to get on the ramps to the Information Superhighway . . .in fact, ALL of the early users were paid to get on, except one. . .they were paid. . .BY YOU!
Michael Hart may have been the first person who got on as a private individual, not paid by any of the 23 nodes, or the Internet/ARPANet system, for his work; but who at the time of this publication might have given away 25 billion worth of Etexts in return for his free network access.
[i.e. Mr. Hart was the first "normal" person to have this access to the Internet, a first non-computer-professional for social responsibility; "We should provide information to all persons, without delay. . .simply because WE CAN!" Just like climbing Mount Everest or going into space, and this is so much cheaper and less dangerous.
[For those of you considering asking that his accesses be revoked, he has received permission from CCSO management, previously CSO as indicated in his email address, for the posting of this document and has also received permission from several other colleges and/or universities, at which he has computer accounts and/or is affiliated.]
In the beginning, all the messages on the Net were either hardware or software crash messages, people looking for a helping hand in keeping their mainframes up and running—and that was about it for the first 10-15 years of cyber-space. . .cyber-space. . .mostly just space. . .there was nothing really in it for anyone, but mainframe operators, programmers, and a few computer consultants who worked in multi-state regions because there weren't enough computer installations in any single state, not even California or Illinois, to keep a computer consultant in business.
The Bright Side
Mr. Hart had a vision in 1971 that the greatest purpose a computer network would ever provide would be the storage, transmission, and copying of the library of information a whole planet of human beings would generate. These ideas were remarkably ahead of their time, as attested to by an Independent Plans of Study Degree in the subject of Human Machine Interfaces from the University of Illinois, 1973. This degree, and the publications of the first few Etexts [Electronic Texts] on the Internet, began the process the Internet now knows as Project Gutenberg, which has caught fire and spread to all areas of the Internet, and spawned several generations of "Information Providers," as we now have come to call them.
It is hard to log in to the Internet without finding many references to Project Gutenberg and Information Providers these days, but you might be surprised just how much of a plethora of information stored on the Internet is only on line for LIMITED DISTRIBUTION even though the information is actually in the PUBLIC DOMAIN and has been paid for in money paid by your taxes, and by grants, which supposedly are given for the betterments of the human race, not just a favored few at the very top 1% of the INFORMATION RICH.
Many of you have seen the publicity announcements of such grants in the news media, and an information professional sees them all the time.
You may have seen grants totalling ONE BILLION DOLLARS to create "Electronic Libraries;" what you haven't seen is a single "Electronic Book" released into the Public Domain, in any form for you to use, from any one of these.
The Dark Side
Why don't you see huge electronic libraries available for download from the Internet?
Why are the most famous universities in the world working on electronic libraries and you can't read the books?
If it costs $1,000 to create an electronic book through a government or foundation grant, then $1,000,000,000 funds for electronic libraries should easily create a 1,000,000 volume electronic library in no time at all.
After all, if someone paid YOU $1,000 to type, scan or to otherwise get a public domain book onto the Internet, you could do that in no time at all, and so could one million other people, and they could probably do it in a week, if they tried really hard, maybe in a month if they only did it in their spare time. For $1,000 per book, I am sure a few people would be turning out a book a week for as long as it took to get all million books into electronic text.
There has been perhaps ONE BILLION DOLLARS granted for an electronic library in a variety of places, manners, types and all other diversities; IF THE COST IS ONE THOUSAND OF THOSE DOLLARS TO CREATE A SINGLE ELECTRONIC BOOK, THEN WE SHOULD HAVE ONE MILLION BOOKS ONLINE FOR EVERYONE TO USE.

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