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Overconnected: The Promise and Threat of the Internet by William H. Davidow

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The Ghost in Our Midst

Ask people what they think qualifies as the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Internet, and the answers are certain to vary. Some would say it was reached in 1989, when the first commercial services started to emerge. Others would argue that it was the first mass spam, in 1993. Still others would take the question, turn it into something very personal, and say it was without a doubt the first time they saw a “page” on the World Wide Web.

I believe that the most overlooked event in the growth of the network occurred early one autumn evening in 1988, when a brilliant, introverted Cornell University computer science graduate student named Robert Morris typed a few commands into a campus computer, hit ...

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