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Steven King’s 1972 film

[Admit it, you were just about to accuse me of not knowing how to spell his name. But before you do that….]

This post is about a different Steven King, and about a film he produced in 1972, called Computer Networks, the Heralds of Resource Sharing. I’d heard of the film many years ago, in the early 1980s, but for the life of me I couldn’t find anyone who had a copy. And I’d forgotten all about it. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, John Howard (thanks! John) commented very briefly on a post I’d written on information filtering; all he did was leave me with a link to the wikipedia article on Postie. As he would expect me to, I read it again, and the relevance of Postel’s Law (or the Robustness Principle) to the discussion became clear.

And, as happens with these things, I read on. And wandered aimlessly around the article and its environs, in a way that one could not do with the physical construct of the information. And while wandering aimlessly I came across the precise video I’d been looking for, which features Jon Postel very briefly.

Unintended consequences of the blogosphere.

I’ve loaded it on to my VodPod, visible on my sidebar, and also left you a link to the Google video here. If you want to get a contemporaneous idea of what people expected to do with the ARPANET and early internet, it’s definitely worth watching. I found it spellbinding. But then I’m weird that way.

By the way, the video is around 26 minutes long, there appears to be about four minutes of “nothing” at the end. You have been warned.

Posted in Four pillars .


5 Responses

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  1. Steven King says

    The insights of Arpanet founders hold up well even now. In fact, we’re still waiting for a few of their predictions to be realized, which should happen in the not too distant future as network speed and bandwidth continue to improve.

    I am grateful that I was there to capture a few of their thoughts and help document a bit of the early history of the internet.

  2. Nollind Whachell says

    This is an amazing video. There is so much being said on so many levels (i.e. patterns and concepts that relate to relationships and ecosystems) , I had to keep stopping the video to fully absorb and understand what was being said.

    Steven’s also absolutely right in that what’s being said in the video is still relevant today. Actually it’s probably even more relevant. Why? Because today we are “unfortunate” to have an abundance of things (i.e. bandwidth, storage, etc), whereas back then the system was built on the fundamentals of limitations for the time. Yet by being built on limitations, it actually became much more reliable and sustainable because of it. It’s one reason why I think we need to start limiting ourselves and our communications to start seeing the truly important core elements of the system versus the superficial expendable ones.

  3. JP says

    Steven, I’m delighted that you found the time to drop by. Great video, it was a privilege to watch it, we owe you a debt of gratitude.

    Nollind, I agree with you, the video is very relevant to us today. I might even reblog it or tweet it, get it going again.

  4. Briony Clark says

    JP – the BBC would love to contact Steven about his film “computer networks” for a project we are currently working on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/digitalrevolution/
    I am posting this in the vain hope that Steven re-visits or if you can in anyway forward on my details to him I would be eternally grateful.
    Many thanks!
    Briony
    [email protected]

  5. JP says

    Hi Briony, I’ve e-mailed Steven King your contact details, and asked him whether he’s cool with my sharing his details with you. I’ve also e-mailed you about it. Hope it all works out. Regards JP



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