Favorite Internet Writings

I have, for a long time, wanted to compile a list of my favorite Internet writings. Not just favorite links, but long articles that take hours to read. (Mostly. There will also be some small but significant stuff, like the Tim Berners-Lee interview.) Inspired by Joel, I'm finally gonna do it.

The Epic Saga of the Well, Wired, May 1997

For Want of a Printer--Richard Stallman's inspiration to start GNU

In The Beginning Was the Command Line--here's a nice HTML version to make up for the lousy text and MS-Word versions Neal has on his own site.

Also by Neal, here's a piece he wrote for Wired in 1996 about "the longest wire on Earth." (Note: Looooooong story.)

Also, from Wired, this time January 1999: William Gibson: getting hooked on the 'Net thanks to eBay.

More Wired: A tour of Cheyenne Mountain. "The US Air Force, which runs Cheyenne Mountain, invited me here because it wants to show off its new computer system, the result of a $1.8 billion overhaul that may be the most expensive and nightmarish upgrade ever attempted. One general compared the process... to turning a black-and-white TV into a color one without switching the set off."

Wired rules. Here's their March 1997 interview with Tim Berners-Lee. Choice quote:
Do you wish you'd started the Web as a business?
If I'd started "Web Inc." it would have been just another proprietary system. You wouldn't have had this universality. For something like the Web to exist, it has to be based on public, nonproprietary standards.

The 1971 Esquire article on Captain Crunch. (Note that the story is not entirely true.)

The true story of the rocket car (note: may not be true.) True or not, it's a beautiful piece of writing. For example: "My father owned a scrapyard, twenty-two acres of barren desert scrub ideally suited to having junk thrown on it."

Two great pieces by Clay Shirky on why Micropayments will never work. (Where 'micro' is around 1 to 25 cents.) First, second.

Fun story about hacking DirecTV.

Wired on Immortal Code

Hypercritical, John Siracusa on Ars.

To come: joel, phil g.

Philip Greenspun: SQL for the web, Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing