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Internet, Software, and Computing History

A collection of books and essays about the history of computing and the Internet that we particularly liked.

How the Internet Happened (Brian McCullough, 2018)

  • A survey of a lot of the major historical moments in software over the last 30 years, from the invention of the Internet and the first browsers, to the iPhone and mobile computing.
  • This book is great for getting a sense of the sort of energy and principles that pervaded early Internet culture.

Masters of Doom (David Kushner, 2003)

  • A look at Id Software, one of the most legendary game studios in history. Id Software built Doom and Quake, which are widely credited with accelerating graphics technology by years and opening up entirely new genres in digital gaming.

The Internet is My Religion (Jim Gilliam, 2015)

  • A memoir by the late Jim Gilliam, an early Internet pioneer. Like HTIH, this book does a great job at conveying the energy of the early Internet days.

On Computing Machinery and Intelligence (Alan Turing, 1950)

  • Fairly short and reads like a blog post!
  • A seminal paper by Alan Turing about computation, artificial intelligence, and their implications. Not directly related to crypto, but I think this is a great example of first-principles thinking and far-reaching vision that anyone interested in topics in computer science should read.

True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier (2001)

  • A collection of essays about cypherpunk culture, early virtual spaces, the encryption wars, and more. Focused around a short story (True Names), listed below.

The Infinite Machine (Camila Russo, 2020)

  • A history of Ethereum and many of the colorful characters involved in its founding and initial development.