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Here we go. The History of the Internet [] is a 7 minute animated infographics documentary explaining the inventions from timesharing to filesharing and from Arpanet to the Internet. The Internet history is told with the visual support of PICOL icons (short for Pictorial Communication Language), an ongoing research project that aims to determine a standard and reduced sign system for electronic communication.

You can watch the movie below.

Via Made in Mundo.


Welcome back, Andrew!

Wed 07 Jan 2009 at 2:31 PM

Have you ever noticed how many network diagrams represent the internet using a cloud with the word 'internet' in it? And yet 'the cloud' is such a recent term for the set of applications and services that live solely on the internet.

Wed 07 Jan 2009 at 7:25 PM

Tee Hee.. This post just happened to be the last in my gReader list, so after watching this movie, i clicked "Next>>" and got to "The End of the Internet" which struck me as particularly amusing :)

Wed 07 Jan 2009 at 9:14 PM

Now you made me curious: what "Next>>" do you mean?

Wed 07 Jan 2009 at 9:28 PM

Really nice and informative!
Can't wait for the following:

1. History of the Web
2. How the Web has become a queryable and searchable Web of Linked Documents and Granular structured data entities (or objects).


Thu 08 Jan 2009 at 6:12 AM

The visuals look great but the commentary needs a bit of work, for example ... 'before 1957 computers only worked on one task at a time, this is called batch processing, of course this was quite ineffective' - this simplified definition of batch processing linking it with inefficiency is innacurate - I stopped listening after that, perhaps if the commentary were updated this might be useful as the idea's great.

Thu 08 Jan 2009 at 3:14 PM

Nicole: I completely agree. I listened to the commentary a bit longer, but there were more and more oversimplified and subjective phrases, so I stopped the playback eventually.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 6:29 AM

Tim, the cloud has been the representation for the Internet as long as I've worked with it (16 years and counting). It's only recently that people have referred to apps as living "in the cloud" but if you look at any network diagram going back at least as far as the mid-90s, the familiar "cloud" is there.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 8:41 AM

I presented at Xerox on Ethernet and other networks in the early 80's with the cloud representing the network. It goes way back.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 9:08 AM

I found it funny that the description of the state of computing in the late 1950's is just like today! Developers still pull their hair out and servers are still kept in air-conditioned rooms. As for batch processing being ineffective - a friend works with a company whose databases are stored on an IBM Shark storage system - and it bogs down when they do the monthly payroll. Maybe they should go back to mainframes and Cobol.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 9:14 AM
Josh Rubin

I was there - UCLA in 1968 with my office down the hall from IMP #1, SDC (spin-off from RAND), etc.

This film is too simplistic; it elides much of what was important.

And it makes mistakes - for instance I was amused by the implication that IMPs came about before, and apart from, the net.

There were many sources of inspiration for what became the internet, not the few mentioned here. And there was a lot of cross-linkage. There were also major differences - the biggest being the argument between packet switching and circuit switching.

The elevation of the OSI model into a new work that created "standardization" is silly. The concept of layering was well established long before OSI, and we had standardized end-to-end protocols (for example, IP, UDP, TCP) long before then.

The history of the internet would fill a thick book, not a video with an ethereal (pun intended) musical overlay.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 9:21 AM

Perhaps this is just intended to illustrate your animation technique, but the wildly inaccurate history and technology destroys your credibility. My favorite part was your notion that "radio" waves would not work in the case of an atomic attack, so they switched to short range "direct waves."

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 9:57 AM
Larry Press

...for instance I was amused by the implication that IMPs came about before, and apart from, the net.

Weren't they called "telegraphers", and made of meat? But you're right, they were still part of "the net", just not the ARPAnet.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 12:40 PM

For a variety of reasons, I rarely read fiction. Occasionally, I go to the movies. That's about as much fiction as I can handle.

Here I am at the movies - watching fiction.

And, no Bill. Karl is correct, and you are in error.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 1:37 PM
A. Sceptic

Shamefully inaccurate and oversimplified. A sign of the times.

Sat 10 Jan 2009 at 5:37 PM
severo ornstein

This is absolutely fantastic! I will definitely be showing this to my media arts and sciences class to illustrate the point that a piece can exhibit excellent production values even when it is predicated on utter nonsense.

Sun 11 Jan 2009 at 3:26 AM
Tux Interior

Too many factual errors, too many conceptual errors to count. Please withdraw this.

Sun 11 Jan 2009 at 7:21 AM
Gene Gaines

Hum. Well, there are a lot of good collections of Internet History. One is at Cybertelecom:

And by the way, IMP stands for "Interfaith Message Processor" and was part of an ecumenical movement (not making this up - read the telegram from a US Senator at the time - if the Senator said so - it must be true :-).

Thu 22 Jan 2009 at 11:32 AM

Don't know if the content of the video is true or false, but it would be very good for use in schools. At least I don't remember anything from the books, and to learn this amount of info you would have to read about 20 pages...

Tue 24 Feb 2009 at 8:27 PM
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