NetWorld! What People Are Really Doing on the Internet and What It Means to You

NetWorld! What People Are Really Doing on the Internet and What It Means to You
Category: Internet
Title: NetWorld! What People Are Really Doing on the Internet and What It Means to You
Release Date: 2017-06-28
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Copyrighted. Read the copyright notice inside this book for details.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Note:

Each chapter heading featured graphical components that are notreadily rendered here. See the note for an example.

Footnotes appeared in a separate section at the end of the text,with the note number restarting for each chapter. In this version,those numbers are retained, but are prefixed with the chapter number,e.g., 1.1, 2.5, 6.7, etc.

There are blocks of text with dotted boundaries, sometime spanningpages, which are inserted into the main text. These have been movedto avoid falling on paragraph breaks, and sometimes joined where pagebreaks occur. They are given here within a dashed border, in orderto call out their separate nature.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Pleasesee the transcriber’s note at the end of this textfor details regarding the handling of any textual issues encounteredduring its preparation.

There are many URLs in the text, given the topic, but it is unlikelythat any are still extant, given the publication date in 1995.

Any corrections are indicated using an underlinehighlight. Placing the cursor over the correction will produce theoriginal text in a small popup.

Any corrections are indicated as hyperlinks, which will navigate thereader to the corresponding entry in the corrections tale in thenote at the end of the text.

what people are
on the
and what
it means
to you


“A considerable achievement.”—William F. Buckley, Jr.

Current Events/Internet

“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.

Prima Publishing


What People
Are Really
Doing on the Internet,
and What It Means to

David H. Rothman


IIWith 88s to Carly,
my dearest company
in life and on the ’Bahn.

© 1996 by David H. Rothman

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmittedin any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system,without written permission from Prima Publishing, except for the inclusionof quotations in a review.

PRIMA PUBLISHING and colophon are trademarks of Prima Communications,Inc.

Cover design by the Dunlavey Studio

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Rothman, David H.
Networld!: what people are really doing on the Internet, and what it
means to you/David H. Rothman.
p. cm.
Includes index.
ISBN O-7615-0013-8
1. Internet (Computer network) I. Title.
TK5105.875.I57R69 1995
95 96 97 98 99 AA 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America

How to Order:

Single copies may be ordered from Prima Publishing, P.O. Box 1260BK,Rocklin, CA 95677; telephone (916) 632-4400. Quantity discounts are alsoavailable. On your letterhead, include information concerning the intendeduse of the books and the number of books you wish to purchase.



A Note to Visitors (and Natives) v
Acknowledgments vii
1 The Terrain 1
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  
  in Cyberspace 80
4 Pulped Wood versus Electrons:  
  Can the Print World Learn to Love the Net? 105
5 Wired Knowledge:  
  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
Notes 327
Index 335

A Note to Visitors
(and Natives)

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.

David Rothman,
Alexandria, Virginia


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.



The Terrain

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:

Playboy Is Traveling the Info Highway
Looking for Women for a Special
“Girls of the Net” Pictorial

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

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