OLLI Course: Internet History and Issues

OLLI Course: Internet History and Issues webadmin Tue, 09/03/2013 - 13:41

Course Description

  • internet evolution? 2019 (50th anniv. of ARPAnet); Ask Steve to offer this again (I'd need to update, reorganize)
    previously offered: 2014 Winter: Ashland; [Evolution of the Internet]: 2011 Winter: Medford; 2010 Fall: Ashland. [Internet Issues Lecture]: 2011 Fall: Ashland)
  • Sessions: 5
  • Course URL: http://communicrossings.com/olli-course-internet-history-and-issues
  • Are you interested in how the Internet developed, and how it and other technologies are affecting us? This course will highlight milestones in the 45+ year history of the Internet -- 20+ years for the World Wide Web, and delve into selected issues, trends and technologies. The course will include lectures and web sites, along with Q&A. Student Internet access is required for course materials. More about course topics below.

About the Instructor


Course Topics

  • course menuOver five sessions, this course will highlight milestones in the 45-year history of the Internet (20+ years for the World Wide Web), and delve into selected issues, trends and technologies. It replaces my earlier OLLI course (Evolution of the Internet: History, Technology, Issues), which had been both too broad and too technical.
  • This course is neither a basic introduction to using your web browser or email program, nor a guide to buying or troubleshooting a computer, mobile device, or network. Of course, practical questions, suggestions, tips and tricks regarding specific needs, applications & systems will naturally arise, but please realize that I may defer questions like these to breaks or after class. I also provide links to various how-tos that you can browse on your own.
  • The overall pace of course and actual division of of topics among sessions will depend on your questions, interests and discussion; initial division of topic is listed below. More course details via the OLLI course menu links at the top, or via the table of contents links at the bottom of this page.
  1. Introduction. Past - 1950s
  2. 1950s - 1970s
  3. 1970s - 1990s
  4. 1990s - 2000s
  5. 2000s - Future

Course Materials

Internet: Introduction

Internet: Introduction webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 13:17

copied everything


  • "I have an almost religious zeal - not for technology per se, but for the Internet which is for me, the nervous system of mother Earth, which I see as a living creature, linking up." ~Dan Millman
  • "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." ~Carl Sagan
  • magic"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur Clarke's 3rd 'law'
  • "The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting." ~Dave Barry
  • "Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road." ~Stewart Brand
  • "Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other." ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971
  • "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila." ~Mitch Radcliffe
  • Why the Internet Is More Curse Than Blessing cartoon list of pros/cons; 8/27/2012; Murphy's Laws

what is internet

What is the Internet?


What's Next?

  • "If we examine technologies honestly, each one has its faults as well as its virtues. There are no technologies without vices and none that are neutral. The consequences of a technology expand with its disruptive nature. Powerful technologies will be powerful in both directions -- for good and bad." ~Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants
  • "Unforeseen consequences stand in the way of all those who think they see clearly the direction in which a new technology will take us. A new technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything." ~Neil Postman, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology
  • "The Web site you seek
    Cannot be located, but
    Countless more exist."
    ~Haiku Error Messages
  • "Stay the patient course.
    Of little worth is your ire.
    The network is down."
  • "You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here."
  • Disruption: e-commerce; communication; learning; health care; ...
    the status quo or "the good old days"
  • Expanding access to Networks: more ubiquitous, inexpensive, speedier;
    Limiting access: digital divide; monopolies; network non-neutrality;...
  • Expanding access to Information: richer content (media, interactivity); deeper (smart search); broader (collaboration); spying; malware; piracy; ...
    Limiting access: multiple standards/formats; censorship; copyright; paywalls; privacy; ...
  • Individuals vs. Corporations / Governments

Internet: History

Internet: History webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 13:48

internet history


  • Many versions/sources -- just try searching for "Internet History"
  • Major events and trends are still unfolding.
  • Historians interpret differently:
    • what is important or relevant
    • when/where something was imagined, patented, named, developed, or commercialized
    • who was responsible
  • This version of history reflects my own personal background and filters.
  • The Internet intersects many areas: computers, technology, communication, society, ...
  • The presentation will be mostly linear, but with some foreshadowing, retrospectives, flashforwards and flashbacks.
  • There may be too much detail for some of you on some topics, not enough for others? How much practical detail?

Internet: Past-1800s

Internet: Past-1800s webadmin Thu, 02/13/2014 - 05:45

Internet: 1900-1930s

Internet: 1900-1930s webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 14:10
  • triode1906: Vacuum tube: triode
  • next 100 yrs1912: What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years The Ladies' Home Journal;
    What the Future Looked Like 100 Years Ago -- and 5 Predictions That Came True; 2/24/2012
    "Telephones around the world..."
  • wynne crossword1913: Crossword; "FUN's Word-Cross Puzzle"; OLLI Course: Crosswords: History
  • 1920s: Television How Television Works
  • 1931: NY Times Views 2011 From 1931: "Technological progress, with its exponential law of increase, holds the key to the future. ... Humanity?s most versatile servant will be the electron tube. The communication and transportation inventions will smooth out regional differences and level us in some respects to uniformity....Communication by printed and spoken word and television [should become] much more common than at present, so that the whole earth will be one great neighborhood."
  • future tv1933: This Was the TV of the Future in 1933 12/13/2013
  • 1934: Communications Act of 1934 established US' Federal regulation of electronic communications; precedent for later Internet laws/proposals
  • 1938: World Brain [ebook version] by H. G. Wells. "Without a World Encyclopaedia to hold men's minds together in something like a common interpretation of reality, there is no hope whatever of anything but an accidental and transitory alleviation of any of our world troubles...The time is close at hand, when any student, in any part of the world, will be able to sit with his projector in his own study at his or her convenience to examine any book, any document, in an exact replica."
  • The Decades That Invented the Future: Part 1: 1900-1910 Theory of Relativity; Toaster Heating Element; Football's Forward Pass; Tanks; Vacuum Tube; Gas-Powered Mercedes; Nintendo (playing cards); A Trip to the Moon; Bakelite; Radio; FBI; Kodak Brownie; 10/8/2012
  • Part 2: 1910s Flip-Flop Circuit; Panama Canal; Golf in US; Fighter Planes; Prohibition; Erector Set; First Crossword Puzzle; Electric Household Refrigerator; Modern Assembly Line; Superconductivity; Nikon; Snap-On Wrench; 10/25/2012
  • Part 3: 1920s R.U.R. (robots); IBM 80-Column Punch Card; Amphibious Warfare; Art Deco; Babe Ruth; Tri-motor Airplane; Leica I and the 35mm Standard; Polygraph; Scopes Monkey Trial; McKinsey and Company; Traffic Light; Mickey Mouse; 11/2/2012
  • Part 4: 1930s Radar; Works Progress Administration; Schrödinger's Cat; Pop Culture Characters; Nylon; Z1 computer by Zuse; Ballpoint Pen; Kodachrome; Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias; War of the Worlds; Electric Pinball; Volkswagen Beetle; 11/9/2012
  • Computing Timelines: 1900-1939
  • Paleofuture: 1900s; 1910s; 1920s; 1930s
  • Popular Mechanics releases a gorgeously-illustrated guide to retro futurism (gallery: 1903-1969)

Internet: 1940s

Internet: 1940s webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 14:30

Internet: 1950s

Internet: 1950s webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 14:40

Internet: 1960s

Internet: 1960s webadmin Wed, 09/04/2013 - 16:03

Internet: 1970s

Internet: 1970s webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 06:35

Internet: 1980s

Internet: 1980s webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 10:04

Internet: 1990s

Internet: 1990s webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 15:33

Internet: 2000s

Internet: 2000s webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 15:56

Internet: 2010-Future

Internet: 2010-Future webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 16:27

Internet: Additional References

Internet: Additional References webadmin Thu, 09/05/2013 - 17:35

Histories: Internet, Web, Computers

Terminology, Acronyms, Jargon, Quotes