Ethernet won the battle for LAN standardization through a combination of standards body politics and a clever, minimalist—and thus cheap to implement—design. It went on to obliterate the competition by seeking out and assimilating higher bitrate protocols and adding their technological distinctiveness to its own. Decades later, it had become ubiquitous.
If you've ever looked at the network cable protruding from your computer and wondered how Ethernet got started, how it has lasted so long, and how it works, wonder no more: here's the story.
On Saturday I made a horrible mistake and bought a copy of The Times. In it was one of the stupidest articles I have ever read in a major newspaper. Its title? Is the internet making us stupid?. It's thousands of words of utter drivel claiming that:
For the past five centuries, ever since Gutenberg’s printing press made book reading a popular pursuit, the linear, literary mind has been at the centre of art, science and society. As supple as it is subtle, it’s been the imaginative mind of the Renaissance, the rational mind of the Enlightenment, the inventive mind of the Industrial Revolution, even the subversive mind of Modernism. It may soon be yesterday’s mind.
Let me begin with a detailed, thoughtful critique: bollocks. Seriously though, this 'linear mind' (which we apparently got from books) is the source of the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution? Surely, it's a complete lack of linearity, as in lateral thinking, that's given us the world we live in.
But the article is far worse than that simple paragraph. Let's start at the beginning...
Pro Tip: When a headline ends with a question mark, the answer is generally "No."
ANALYSIS — In 2007, when the Android OS was still vaporware, Google made a gutsy $4.6 billion bet on mobile net neutrality. While they never had to pay out the money, that all-in move forced the FCC to license wireless spectrum with binding rules that finally force the wireless carrier that wins a spectrum auction to let Americans use whatever handsets, services and apps they wanted to connect to it.
Verizon, which eventually outbid Google, howled with outrage and filed a lawsuit against those rules, which Google rightly derided as an “attempt to prevent consumers from having any choice of innovative services.”
Fast-forward to 2010.
The world is more addictive than it was 40 years ago. And unless the forms of technological progress that produced these things are subject to different laws than technological progress in general, the world will get more addictive in the next 40 years than it did in the last 40.