In 2015, we’re smart enough to realize that the internet was created for the government to scoop up all our personal information 24 x 7 so they and everyone else we’ve entrusted with it could lose it to hackers for us in spectacularly incompetent ways. Sometimes you wonder why they don’t just publish all our medical, financial, and biometric records publicly and get it over with, instead of letting it continue in this current agonizing piecemeal fashion.
But in the ’90s, the internet was a source of hope and optimism. Assuming you were old enough at the time, you no doubt remember Mosaic, Netscape, HotWired, AltaVista, @Home, and other big names of the early webolution. If you’re even older, you remember Prodigy, Compuserve, AOL, bulletin boards, and 300-baud dial up modems. Probably just the mention of some of those names is enough to bring back good memories of what computing and the internet used to be.
Reliving the early days of the internet is as good of a use of your time as any, and Internet History Podcast is an outstanding choice of nostalgic time-traveling companion. This podcast covers a lot of ground. It starts with Mosaic and Netscape and winds up at the doorsteps of eBay and Travelocity, and dumps a ton of information in the process. I remember all the companies and most of the events mentioned in the Internet History Podcast, and I still learn things from it. It’s so enjoyable to listen to that it doesn’t feel at all educational, but it is.
Some of my favorite episodes:
- Chapter 1, Part 1 – Mosaic
- Chapter 1, Part 3 – Netscape, the big bang
- Chapter 2, Part 2 – Bill Gates “gets” the internet
- Chapter 3, Part 1 – CompuServe, Prodigy, AOL, and the early online services
- Chapter 7, Part 1 – E-commerce and the birth of Amazon.com
- Glenn Fleishman returns!
- Chapter 7, Supplemental 3 – Catalog Manager Glenn Fleishman discusses Amazon’s early days
- The brief, remarkable life of Danny Lewin, co-founder of Akamai Technologies
- Chapter 5, Supplemental 8 – Wired Magazine founding editor John Battelle
I could go on and on listing episodes. Maybe I should just scratch that and say they’re all my favorites.
The good news for me is that I’m not even close to getting through the whole back catalog yet. The better news for you if you haven’t started listening to Internet History Podcast yet is that you have many hours of enjoyment and educational listening ahead of you.