Vicky's Reviews > Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

Broad Band by Claire L.  Evans
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it was amazing
bookshelves: technology, internet, favorites
Recommended to Vicky by: via the announcement on YACHT's Instagram

I had to take a detour in my mind while reading this book to recall 1998-99—the time when I first connected to the Internet on the boxy Compaq machine that my family had at home, thanks to my older cousin who helped us set up a NetZero account. I remember the year before, when it was my turn to state to my classmates what I wanted to be in the future, I said "computer programmer" without fully knowing what it meant. I was in the middle of the chapter about the Echo community in New York when I got nostalgic about spending my teen years growing up on Delphi Forums, Xanga, and LiveJournal. I also miss the feeling of anonymity, clicking links without hesitation to explore websites I have not visited before, playing chess with strangers on Yahoo, publishing bad websites using Dreamweaver and GeoCities, the notification sounds of AOL Instant Messenger. . .

But I am here at the end of 2018, where I just finished reading "the untold story of the women who made the internet," which was all new information for me and as enjoyable as watching episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess or reading fan fiction that corrects the canonical narrative by adding more back- and side- stories of those who made significant contributions but who were egregiously written out or forgotten in the first place. I also really like Claire Evans's prose style and the seamless way she threads all these moments together. While this book is not going to comprehensively profile everyone ever involved, it was a good introduction for me to meet people like Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, the ENIAC 6, Jake Feinler, Jaime Levy and learn about projects like the Social Services Referral Directory, so that I have more tech role models beyond Jenny Calendar.

I feel more situated with historical context now to understand details like why computers were beige, how whois registration was developed, the origin of COBOL which I have seen appear in PeopleSoft at work, the appearance of "software engineer" as a title, and how much of ourselves we put into the programs we create for the machine (inspired to visit Mammoth Cave National Park now, too).
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Reading Progress

December 25, 2018 – Started Reading
December 25, 2018 – Shelved
December 25, 2018 – Shelved as: technology
December 25, 2018 – Shelved as: internet
December 30, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites
December 30, 2018 – Finished Reading

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