NetWorld! What People Are Really Doing on the Internet and What It Means to You
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DAVID H. ROTHMAN
“A considerable achievement.”—William F. Buckley, Jr.
“A considerable achievement. You findyourself wanting to read NetWorld!even if you have no thought of baptisminto the great new scene.” —William F. Buckley, Jr.
“David H. Rothman has done the best job yet of illustratingexactly how and why the Internet will change the texture ofdaily life. Most discussion of the information age is full of airygeneralizations. NetWorld! is full of specific, amusing, oftenracy illustrations of how people around the world have alreadyput the Net’s possibilities to work. This is a very useful andentertaining book.” —James Fallows Washington editor of the Atlantic Monthly
Exploring Life on the Net
Praised by the New York Times For his entertaining style, David H.Rothman has written a lively, revealing, and sharp-eyed account of lifeon the Net. Read how a handsome young librarian in Adelaide, Australia,got engaged to a Kansas City woman he’d never met—except online.Discover why net.censors and other interlopers could eventually costAmerica billions of dollars. Learn how an Anglican priest uses theInternet to “hear” confessions and help keep in touch with his flock.From electronic libraries to the digitized cadaver of an executed killer,NetWorld! covers everything that’s happening on the Net.
Whether you surf nightly or knowthe Net only secondhand, NetWorld!will shed new light on the culturalphenomenon that is engrossingmillions around the world.
David H. Rothman
© 1996 by David H. Rothman
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|A Note to Visitors (and Natives)||v|
|2||Business on the Net:|
|From White Rabbit Toys to “Intel Inside”||27|
|3||EntertaiNet: A Few Musings on Net.Rock,|
|Leonardo da Vinci and Bill Gates,|
|Bianca’s Smut Shack, and David Letterman|
|4||Pulped Wood versus Electrons:|
|Can the Print World Learn to Love the Net?||105|
|When They Let a Murderer Loose on the Internet||172|
|6||Governments and the Net:|
|Making Sure Orwell Was Wrong||208|
|7||The Electronic Matchmaker||291|
A Note to Visitors
Everyone in NetWorld! is real, even me. Chapter 1 tellshow to reach some good people who let their electronicaddresses go on the Web site for this book.
In a few cases—most notably “Sue” and “Greg” inChapter 7—I’ve guarded my subjects’ privacy with aliasesand changes of identifying details. Asterisks show up afterthe first occurrences of their revised names.
Please note, too, that I’ve smoothed out people’s informalonline prose to accommodate the printed page. A“smiley” on the Net is a good quick way to show a smile orfrown; but I couldn’t think of anything uglier in print thana series of symbols such as :-). So even in quotes, I’ve usedthem sparingly.
I wish Mark Twain were alive and cruising theInternet at 28.8 kilobits per second; I’d love to see howhe’d have handled net.dialect.
Alison, step to the front! Alison Andrukow, a graduatestudent at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario,served as my chief researcher on this project—discoveringa number of goodies ranging from Bianca’sSmut Shack to arcane, Net-related policy studies.
Jennifer Basye Sander, my editor at Prima Publishing,working with associate acquisitions editor Alice Andersonand the project editor, Steven Martin, provided many suggestions,as did the publisher, Ben Dominitz. The latterpromoted this book, so to speak, from Digital America toDigital World, and in time the title NetWorld! also camefrom Ben. Surprise, you guys! You thought you were gettinga general book on computer technology, but wiselyyou let me get caught up in the Net. Thanks!
Bill Adler and Lisa Swayne of Adler and Robin Books,joined by Nick Anis, agented this book. Nancy DaisywheelBreckenridge was the transcriptionist.
Finally, I want to thank the many people who gavetheir time by way of e-mail or otherwise. Lest I forgetsome important ones here, I won’t list any names. But byway of the references in the book itself, readers will learnthe identities of many.
A color photo lights up my computer screen when I hitthe return key, and, in big, bold Times Roman letters,I see the latest from the Internet:
Sitting atop a pile of books, a most ungeekish modellooks flawlessly nubile, as if part of a virtual realitytableau conjured up for Hugh Hefner himself. Playboy’smessage is clear: What counts isn’t mastery of Telnet,Gopher, Lynx, or other Net voodoo. Candidates shouldmail or e-mail “a recent full-length body photo in a two-piecebathing suit or less and a clear face shot.”
The same day a famous hacker named Cliff Stoll goeson a Washington radio station to promote his book SiliconSnake Oil, which says the Internet steals too much timefrom true learning and life.
2For better or worse—mostly better in my opinion,egalitarian that I am—the Internet has Arrived.
A quarter-century ago scientists dreamed up a predecessorof the network to let computers jabber to eachother across the United States, even after a nuclear attack.Fearless