Where Wizards Stay Up Late by Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon is the tale of how the internet was built. It gives you an idea of what an achievement it was and how fast we’ve come in the past 20 years.
The book manages to focus beyond the usual suspects name-checked like Vin Cerf and Bob Kahn. The title is a reference to both the magic of the internet and the masculine engineering culture of superhuman efforts as a badge of pride.
It is particularly good at covering the dynamics of the different personalities involved and the genuine sense of wonder that the protagionists had for their creation. I have no idea what always-on generation readers growing up today would make of it between IMing each other and building their flickr album.
Speaking of generation-Y, Josh Weil of New Jersey-based research house Student Monitor got in touch with regards their new Gen Digital blog. It is aimed squarely at marketers and wannabee hep-cats in the spirit of Ypulse. Josh told me that they would like to expand it out to other countries in the future. They’re only starting out so support them with your click.
Wikipedia hack: when searching Wikipedia by going direct from the URL ie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Mondays. Wikipedia recognises spaces and puts in the _ character for you, so you can instead type http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy Mondays. Thanks to my colleague Simon Willison for this gem.
Finally is nothing sacred. This article in The Wall Street Journal (courtsey of YPulse) reminded of the ‘marketers kill yourselves skit’ that Bill Hicks used to do. The punch line was the marketers knew the price of everything but the value of nothing, well Nike and DaimlerChrysler’s tie-up with comic giants Marvel provided empirical evidence to support Hicks’ theory.
Ok, word to the wise, a comic character is a brand in their own right, the ‘older’ fan boy that notices your swoosh will go for The Punisher t-shirt over one emblazoned with ‘Just do it’ every time. And if he has enough money for a Crossfire, he’ll use the money to complete his Spiderman collection instead and visit a few conventions to admire Nathalie Portman from afar…