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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-five years ago, it didn't exist. Today, 20 million people worldwide are surfing the Net. Where Wizards Stay Up Late is the exciting story of the pioneers responsible for creating the most talked about, most influential, and most far-reaching communications breakthrough since the invention of the telephone.

In the 1960s, when computers where regarded as mere giant calculators, J.C.R. Licklider at MIT saw them as the ultimate communications devices. With Defense Department funds, he and a band of visionary computer whizzes began work on a nationwide, interlocking network of computers. Taking listeners behind the scenes, Where Wizards Stay Up Late captures the hard work, genius, and happy accidents of their daring, stunningly successful venture.

©1996 Katie Hafner (P)2012 Katie Hafner

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

the kind of book well suited to the medium

A sound and likeable description of the early days of networking computers. It does lack the innate tension of books like Soul of a New Machine. But that's just the reality of the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elsa Braun
  • 01-10-2016

Absolutely fascinating and we'll researched

Not only a gripping read, but beautifully researched, and organized. Having lived through most of the advances covered in this book, I still learned a lot. I don't see this often enough where the authors covered the why of each advance and the missteps, rather than simply reporting the technical milestones. I've listened to this book three times so far.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan Collins
  • 12-07-2017

Love From a Techie

This book will appeal to technically versed people who are interested not only in the history of the internet but also in the inner-workings of networks and how the various protocols of the internet (TCP, TCP/IP, FTP, SMTP, etc) came into existence.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brad Gillespie
  • 09-02-2015

Hardcore, old school, geek

Get your geek on with this deep look at the origins of what is now the Internet. If you what to examine networking history, is a great audiobook. Loved it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Steve P. Tsuida
  • 19-04-2016

Soundtrack to a coma.

Compared to a few other computer-history books I've bought recently, Especially Hackers by Steven Levy, and When Computing Got Personal by Matthew Nicholson, this book reads like an extended Wikipedia page. Extraordinarily lifeless and flat.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Invisibled
  • 21-06-2013

Requred reading, shouldn't be read by MDN

Would you consider the audio edition of Where Wizards Stay Up Late to be better than the print version?

Not with this narrator

What did you like best about this story?

The history of one of the most important technologies of the last 60 years

How did the narrator detract from the book?

He has a monotone voice and almost no vocal range. It's like listening to my accountant uncle read a book I really want to read for myself.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Auron
  • 10-07-2017

Good luck

I work in the computer field and I stuggled with this book. It's like a long memo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Al
  • 29-12-2016

exceptional !!

If you like history and technology, this is an awesome book. I want more like this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Vogt Jr.
  • 02-11-2016

excellent

a great telling of the history of the Internet and the background of packet switching, TCP/IP, telnet, ftp, and the fantastic vision that created a world changing technology.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David S. Mathew
  • 29-07-2016

Internet Online

If you ever wanted to learn about the founding fathers of the internet and where there ideas actually came from this is as good as it gets. The authors also do a remarkable job of explaining the technical details in a way very easy for layman like myself to understand. Nelson's narration is overall great too. Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AJ
  • 14-07-2018

Decent general history

As someone working in IT, and who was trained in networking, I was hoping for more. Unfortunately, this book is the kind of general history targeted towards persons not overly familiar with technology or who don't care about technical details. It's a book more about the actors then what they made. Enjoyable enough, for what it is.

The worst section was a transcript from an interaction between 2 early AIs over the net. I found it to be boring and stupid, much in the way early AIs would be, but I'm sure others will enjoy it.

A worthwhile listen to fill in some blanks.

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  • Vernon
  • 28-05-2016

interesting

Knowing about the origins of computing and the internet is something that hasn't been made that we'll known, even to people with an interest in technology.

I found the story fascinating, and often listened to bits of the story a couple times just to get the facts right.

Loved it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ash
  • 25-05-2016

Absolutely fascinating.

The book mixes social, personal and technical aspects of the early days of computer networking - the people and the personalities behind it all really shine out. Whilst the subject is matter is technical the book should be accessible to non technical readers as it doesn't go too heavily into the technical aspects, a basic understanding of networking would help you get more out of the book though.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fishamatician
  • 17-02-2015

Fantastic

A great look at how it all got started, it's hard to believe how basic the Internet was in its earlier years.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate
  • 11-07-2014

Interesting and informative

What did you like most about Where Wizards Stay Up Late?

The depth of the information.

What did you like best about this story?

The long and interesting history of packet switching and the origins of today's Internet.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended for anyone wanting an in-depth and very detailed history of the origins of modern communication technology (e.g. packet switching) from which the Internet came to be. However, if you just want a light history of the Internet, this is probably a bit too detailed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful