Robert Cringely’s Triumph of the Nerds won legions of computer-skeptical and computer-naive viewers with its mix of minutiae and hip techniques. Going one step further into the digital maze, Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet operates as a sequel of sorts to the surprise docu-hit. Just as its precursor chronicled the rise of empires built on computer software, Nerds 2.0.1 collects interviews from key players in the development of the Internet.
Fashionably hip in its visual feel, the film begins by amassing data on the net’s crowning, collaborative irony: conceived in the Pentagon during the counterculture’s smokiest high point by members–dare it be said–of the military industrial complex, the Net developed on the axis of university research networks and Deadhead (as in the Grateful Dead) electronic bulletin boards.
Much of the rest has become history, but Internet and computer industry pundit Robert X. Cringley makes the narrative a jumping, attractive embrace of being a nerd. Interviews with Bill Gates, Mark Andreesen, and Steve Case make these three hours (three tapes slipcased in a nice box) fly by.
This video series is an excellent addition to the material available on computer history. It moves at a fast pace and provides interviews with many of the key people in the industry. It does not cover every aspect of computer history, but it does fill in some gaps that other references missed. I encourage anyone interested in computer history to add this video series to their library. Excellent footage, nicely put together.
© Roy Johnson 2002
Robert X Cringley, Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet, VHS Video (3 tapes) ASIN: 6305128235