A nice peek into the beginnings of the "modern" computer age ... especially if you had no idea that we have the internet and video game consoles thanks to damn dirty hippies.
I like these snippets the best:
Originally posted by Stewart Brand The next (and current) director at ARPA-IPT was Larry Roberts, a brilliant researcher who had developed the first 3-D vision programs. His major project has been getting the ARPA Network up. ("Up" around computers means working, the opposite of "down" or crashed.) The dream for the Net was that researchers at widely separated facilities could share special resources, dip into each other's files, and even work on-line together on design problems too complex to solve alone.
At present some 20 major computer centers are linked on the two-year-old ARPA Net. Traffic on the Net has been very slow, due to delays and difficulties of translation between different computers and divergent projects. Use has recently begun to increase as researchers travel from center to center and want to keep in touch with home base, and as more tantalizing, sharable resources come available. How Net usage will evolve is uncertain. There's a curious mix of theoretical fascination and operational resistance around the scheme. The resistance may have something to do with reluctances about equipping a future Big Brother and his Central Computer. The fascination resides in the thorough rightness of computers as communications instruments, which implies some revolutions.
One popular new feature on the Net is AI's Associated Press service. From anywhere on the Net you can log in and get the news that's coming live over the wire or ask for all the items on a particular subject that have come in during the last 24 hours. Plus a fortune cookie. Project that to household terminals, and so much for newspapers (in present form).
Since huge quantities of information can be computer-digitalized and transmitted, music researchers could, for example, swap records over the Net with "essentially perfect fidelity." So much for record stores (in present form).
In those days of batch processing and passive consumerism (data was something you sent to the manufacturer, like color film), Spaccwar was heresy, uninvited and unwelcome. The hackers made Spacewar, not the planners. When computers become available to everybody, the hackers take over. We are all Computer Bums, all more empowered as individuals and as co-operators. That might enhance things ... like the richness and rigor of spontaneous creation and of human interaction ... of sentient interaction.
I used to build my own, but have just bought the last two outright, largely because you can get ones more than satisfactory for most users cheaply. The only upgrades I've done to my current and previous ones were upping the memory.