Filed under book | Tags: · arpanet, botnet, captcha, history of technology, internet, malware, spam, technology, usenet
The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand.
This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam’s entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms—spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.
Publisher MIT Press, 2013
ISBN 026201887X, 9780262018876
Download (removed on 2013-5-20 upon request of the publisher)Comment (0)
Filed under book | Tags: · communication technology, computing, engineering, history of communications, history of computing, history of technology, networks, radio, technology, telephone
“High-handed corporate monopoly and high-minded national treasure, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) was a unique project of America’s pragmatism and for decades the envy of the world in extending low-cost local telephone service. At the heart of AT&T was its R&D unit, Bell Laboratories, the world’s greatest entity of its kind, and a giant manufacturing arm, Western Electric.
The Idea Factory is the first study of Bell Labs that puts its history in its full organizational, political, and administrative context. AT&T was a company striving to expand and maintain a privileged empire under a government that saw it alternatively as a trusted military/industrial partner and an anticompetitive threat. This ambiguous embrace, New York Times Magazine writer Jon Gertner suggests, inadvertently encouraged a culture that combined a gifted and diverse workforce with a long-term outlook, creating the foundations of a new information economy, which in turn made radical changes in the charter of the parent company inevitable.
Gertner’s story is the interaction between three leaders of Bell Labs in its critical years—Mervin Kelly, Jim Fisk, and William Oliver Baker—and three of its greatest scientific minds: William Shockley, Claude Shannon, and John Pierce.” (from a review by Edward Tenner)
Publisher The Penguin Press, New York, 2012
ISBN 1594203288, 9781594203282
via Steve McLaughlin
Filed under proceedings | Tags: · art, art history, experimental art, experimental science, history of science, history of technology, science, technology
What is the result of recent studies on the history of experiment? How has our image of science been changed since Ian Hacking’s statement, “experimentation has a life of its own,” turned into a catch phrase for investigations into the history of science? What is the lesson to be drawn from the studies following Steven Shapin’s and Simon Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air Pump (1985) and Peter Galison’s How Experiments End (1987)?
In trying to answer these questions, this conference did not aim at contributing to a more developed philosophy of scientific experimentation, nor did it try to return to the grand narratives on the history of science. Rather, the goal of this conference was to identify characteristic configurations within in the history of experimentalization from 1800 to the present. The guiding question was: what are the typical forms of experiment that emerged in the separated and shared history of science, technology, and the arts?
Conference: The Shape of Experiment, Berlin, 2-5 June 2005
Publisher Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
Preprint series, No. 318
Yongming Zhou: Historicizing Online Politics: Telegraphy, the Internet, and Political Participation in China (2006)
Filed under book | Tags: · anthropology, china, history of technology, internet, politics, technology, telegraphy, web
It is widely recognized that internet technology has had a profound effect on political participation in China, but this new use of technology is not unprecedented in Chinese history. This is a pioneering work that systematically describes and analyzes the manner in which the Chinese used telegraphy during the late Qing, and the internet in the contemporary period, to participate in politics.
Drawing upon insights from the fields of anthropology, history, political science, and media studies, this book historicizes the internet in China and may change the direction of the emergent field of Chinese internet studies. In contrast to previous works, this book is unprecedented in its perspective, in the depth of information and understanding, in the conclusions it reaches, and in its methodology. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book is accessible to a broad audience.
Publisher Stanford University Press, 2006
Asian Studies / Political Science series
ISBN 0804751285, 9780804751285
Filed under book | Tags: · history of technology, labour, morse code, technology, telegraphy, women
The role of the telegraph operator in the mid-nineteenth century was like that of today’s software programmer/analyst, according to independent scholar Tom Jepsen, who notes that in the “cyberspace” of long ago, male operators were often surprised to learn that the “first-class man” on the other end of the wire was a woman.
Like the computer, the telegraph caused a technological revolution. The telegraph soon worked synergistically with the era’s other mass-scale technology, the railroad, to share facilities as well as provide communications to help trains run on time.
The strategic nature of the telegraph in the Civil War opened opportunities for women, but tension arose as men began to return from military service. However, women telegraphers did not affect male employment or wage levels. Women kept their jobs after the war with support from industry—Western Union in particular—and because they defended and justified their role.
“Although women were predominantly employed in lower-paying positions and in rural offices, women who persisted and made a career of the profession could work up to managerial or senior technical positions that, except for wage discrimination, were identical to those of their male counterparts,” writes Jepsen. “Telegraphy as an occupation became gendered, in the sense that we understand today, only after the introduction of the teletype and the creation of a separate role for women teletype operators.”
My Sisters Telegraphic is a fresh introduction to this pivotal communications technology and its unsung women workers, long neglected by labor and social historians.
Publisher Ohio University Press, 2000
ISBN 0821413449, 9780821413449
Tom Standage: The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century’s On-line Pioneers (1998)
Filed under book | Tags: · 1800s, history of technology, networks, technology, telegraph
For thousands of years people had communicated across distances only as quickly as the fastest ship or horse could travel. Generations of innovators tried to develop speedier messaging devices. Then, in the mid-1800s, a few extraordinary pioneers at last succeeded. Their invention–the telegraph–nullified distance and shrank the world quicker and further than ever before, or since. This book tells the story of the telegraph’s creation and remarkable impact, and of the visionaries, oddballs, and eccentrics who pioneered it, from the eighteenth-century French scientist Jean-Antoine Nollet to Samuel F. B. Morse and Thomas Edison. By 1865 telegraph cables spanned continents and oceans, revolutionizing the ways countries dealt with one another, giving rise to creative business practices and new forms of crime. Romances blossomed over the wires. The benefits of the network were hyped by advocates and dismissed by skeptics. Government regulators tried and failed to control the new medium. And attitudes toward everything from news gathering to war had to be completely rethought.
Publisher Walker & Company, New York, 1998
ISBN 0802713424, 9780802713421
Filed under book | Tags: · arpanet, capitalism, computing, history of computing, history of technology, internet, neoliberalism, technology
This book about America’s romance with computer communication looks at the internet, not as harbinger of the future or the next big thing, but as an expression of the times. Streeter demonstrates that our ideas about what connected computers are for have been in constant flux since their invention. In the 1950s they were imagined as the means for fighting nuclear wars, in the 1960s as systems for bringing mathematical certainty to the messy complexity of social life, in the 1970s as countercultural playgrounds, in the 1980s as an icon for what’s good about free markets, in the 1990s as a new frontier to be conquered and, by the late 1990s, as the transcendence of markets in an anarchist open source utopia.
The Net Effect teases out how culture has influenced the construction of the internet and how the structure of the internet has played a role in cultures of social and political thought. It argues that the internet’s real and imagined anarchic qualities are not a product of the technology alone, but of the historical peculiarities of how it emerged and was embraced. Finding several different traditions at work in the development of the internet—most uniquely, romanticism—Streeter demonstrates how the creation of technology is shot through with profoundly cultural forces—with the deep weight of the remembered past, and the pressures of shared passions made articulate.
Outstanding Academic Title from 2011 by Choice Magazine.
Publisher NYU Press, 2011
Critical Cultural Communication series
ISBN 0814741169, 9780814741160
review (Yuenmei Wong, International Journal of Communication)Comment (0)