This book explains the history of telegraphs, which is the Victorian version of internet.
Reading the book is like visiting an old museum about telegraphs. This is a history book, so no doubt that the material and writing style feels a little bit old. The book tried to compare telegraph with modern internet. However, honestly internet is not new anyways, so the book is really comparing something old vs something old.
Nevertheless, this is an interesting book, is easy to read, and contains a lot of informations. It was an enjoyable read....Continua
Tom Standage told a fascinating story of the telegraph. From this book, people could realize that the telegraph was the internet of its age, and helps people to see how did telegraph spread and fade, how it changed and led the world to where we are today.
It was amazing to know that online dating, sigs, crime, so called high-tech workers, all these things had already happened a century and half ago. The world became smaller, markets became more efficient, and crime occurred on wire. The telegraph showed a sudden, massive connection of people thousand of miles away, and the influence of this disruptive invention.
One of the most impressive part in this book was the final tribute to Samual Morse. Even Morse’s invention changed the world, even he was recognized as the father of the telegraph, he did not get much financial support, and many countries used his Morse system did not grant him patents, in his own country, many of the US companies didn’t even honor his patents, so he had to go the court to fight for it.
When Morse was almost 80, a telegraph operator mounted a campaign to erect a statue in New York to honor his hero. Donations came from operators all over the world, and in 1871, a banquet was held to unveil the statue and honor Dr. Morse. He used the occasion to make this farewell to the telegraph operators of the world.
INGS AND THANKS TO THE TELEGRAPH FRATERNITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, ON EARTH PEACE. GOOD WILL TO MEN.
After that, the old Morse, the father of the telegraph, sat down at the table and keyed in his signature.
Also, I almost had tear in my eyes when I knew the little Nokia cell phone I once owned, every time it received a text message, it made three short beeps, two long ones, and three short ones, that’s Morse code for “SMS”, the technical term for text messaging, to honor the father of our father of the telegraph who opened the gate of fast communication for us.
Standage did a remarkable job when paralleling the Victorian internet and the present computerized internet. It seems like all the new ideas and inventions would encounter some blockers from somewhere, and when they start to make roots, usually they can’t convince the governments. But when talking about the benefits, usually these inventors would bring amazing benefits to our society and further change our world.
When DVR first showed up in the market, there were skeptics about the usage and necessity of it, and suggested it’s just a luxuriously machine for rich people. It didn’t spread widely until recent years in the US, but people enjoy it once they have it. There are currently about 15 million DVR-enabled households in the US, and it’s expected that this will cross the 30-40 millions thresholds by 2010. That is going from 10-12% of TV households to over 30% of TV households.
As a writer, Standage wrote “The Victorian Internet” as a writer, not as an scholar or an innovator, the writting style makes people like me can read it without feeling like chewing wax. But since he didn’t use too much technical writting skills when writing this book, I wonder if some of the readers from the industry would think it’s an “outsider’s book for outsiders”. I believe that Standage’s idea was to make regular people understand the phenomenon that telegraph created , and made a comparison of the telegraph time and computerized internet time.
In the afterword, Standage points out that telegram has given the rebirth in the form of text messages sent between mobile phones. Mobile phone could prove to be the most heir to the personal computer, as internet-enabled mobile devices proliferate. It makes internet easier to use and far more widely available.He predicts mobile phones will complete the democratization of telecommunications started by telegraph. I don’t know if we could use the word, “complete”, to describe this circumstance, maybe “continue” would be a better word for this. Meanwhile, I agree with C.K. Prahalad’s saying, ” Emerging markets will be wireless-centric, not PC-centric.” Due to mobile phone’s unique character, it is small and light, it is portable, it is easy to use, and it is more affordable than PC, the chance for Standage’s prediction to become true is highly possible. Since technology industry is like a rolling stone, the wide popularization of mobile phone won’t be the end of the telecommunication history, it will keep writing new chapters.
Thanks to More, Bell, Edison, and all the geeks in the world, to path the road to better and easier life for us and bring all the possibilities to the world....Continua