Silicon Snakeoil

Silicon Snakeoil The computer utopia heralded by fans of the Internet is expected to entertain educate and inform by supplying the public with vast amounts of information and in the process turning the fractious wor

  • Title: Silicon Snakeoil
  • Author: Clifford Stoll
  • ISBN: 9780333647875
  • Page: 454
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The computer utopia heralded by fans of the Internet is expected to entertain, educate, and inform by supplying the public with vast amounts of information and in the process turning the fractious world into a global village In this intelligently written book, the bestselling author of The Cuckoo s Egg warns that we should pay attention to the bogus claims and hidden cosThe computer utopia heralded by fans of the Internet is expected to entertain, educate, and inform by supplying the public with vast amounts of information and in the process turning the fractious world into a global village In this intelligently written book, the bestselling author of The Cuckoo s Egg warns that we should pay attention to the bogus claims and hidden costs of t his so called Information Highway.

    One thought on “Silicon Snakeoil”

    1. This book shows its age, but I'm so happy I read it. As growing up in the first generation of young people with the INTERNET, I missed out on the small community on the Usenet. As part of the youtube generation, remembering a time when we had to dial in, and a simple HTML web page took minutes to load, was well worth it. Yes it's easy to criticize his opinions about the Usenet 22 years later, but he still had perspective. Most people would not criticize the highway system but it's true that now [...]

    2. I first came across Clifford Stoll while reading the excellentCuckoo's Egg. It's a griping real life story about how he discoveredand chased down one of the early Internet hackers. This is why when Iwas in a second hand bookstore I picked up a copy of Silicon SnakeOil. The subtitle, "Second Thoughts on the Information Highway" givesan indication about what it's about.The first thing to note is this is a book that really shows it age.Published in 1995 it was when the Internet was moving from a co [...]

    3. I've wanted to read this 1995 book about a wary view of the developing internet for a while. I read Cliff's book "The Cuckoo's egg" about tracking down a hacker. This book is dated. In that I mean this was written pre-explosion of the The internet had grown in a text based, bulletin-board, that was dominated in academia by mainframes running UNIX. The multi-media driven web it is now.The author's aim was to offer an anti-view against the emerging Web as it robs individuals of real and true-life [...]

    4. An old book by Clifford Stoll on the perils of uncritical incorporation of online everything into our daily lives. It's remarkable how well the criticisms in this book hold up. The Internet and online resources have changed a lot since this book was written, but the uncritical way we interact with it -- and with related networks -- remains the same.Of course, Stoll writes in a long skeptical tradition, and he acknowledges it: "Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attenti [...]

    5. A lot of this book is outdated (since it's 15 years old), but there are also some points which are still valid. When he talks about what computers can do, he's normally wrong, e.g. saying that online shops don't display photos of what you're buying. However, when he talks about what computers should do then he's worth listening to.Basically, he's saying that there are only so many hours in the day, and time spent on computers is time that you don't spend doing other things, so computers can get [...]

    6. I agree with many of Clifford Stoll's thoughts, but find that many of his predictions about social networking, etc. have been proven wrong. Not that what he thought social networking would do hasn't been accurate, but the fact that it has taken over as much as it has, unfortunately shows that most people don't have the foresight that he expressed in his early opinions about the internet. The social implications were pretty often spot on. Most people have moved in a direction that shows that they [...]

    7. I was interested in this book because of its commentary on the internet from what is now 20 years in the past. And it was indeed interesting to see the insight the author had about the effect of and problems with the internet. However, some of the problems he mentioned have been resolved, but I agree with him that there are a variety of ways in which computers are less efficient than paper.Overall, the book was seemingly random in its organization, but an easy read, nonetheless. I particularly e [...]

    8. I read this not long after publication, and re-read it a year ago weeding through my books. Between the two, I would have to give it 2-3 stars.The good part is that at the time, he was correct in puncturing or deflating a lot of the most hyperbolic claims about the benefits of computers and the Internet: online shopping did have a ways to go, kids' education was not being improved by computers (and may still not be), etc.The bad part is, he was correct only in the short run. On many claims or pr [...]

    9. This was the first book I ever read that made me think technology is not all this it is cracked up to be. It's a good message for our society. Since then, I've continued to realize how IT represents a double edged sword if we're not careful. Still, I'm uncertain if people will enjoy this book as much as Stoll's first book, The Cookoo's Egg. That's because it's a straight non-fiction about technology. True, so was his previous book. But unlike TCE, we miss all the mystery about nameless hackers t [...]

    10. Written in 1995 - this is Stoll's perspective that the internet is a time-wasting, soul-sucking device that removes a lot of the best parts of Life by tying the user to the keyboard. His lamentable position is nothing new - and has been extolled many times since then in print, tv, and in face-to-face lectures and discussions I have attended as a student. Some of his predictions - such as the one detailing eCommerce as a non-viable commercial entity - are not only laughable but also downright emb [...]

    11. I remember this being too preachy but I still finished it as I had enjoyed his previous book, The Cuckoo's Egg. This book is more like, "See here, I've earned the right to tell you what's what after what I caught that hacker and earned my Ph.D, so listen up! The internet is trouble! Watch yourself!"He got it all wrong. But, at the time, it was a scary new thing for an old IT--er--hacker--er--ASTRONOMY MAJOR, as I recall. After catching the hacker, I think Stoll should have gone back to his obser [...]

    12. Goodness, there's a name out of the blue. I had totally forgotten Clifford Stoll. I read the Cuckoo's Egg years ago and then when this book came out it was requested by all the Luddites on campus (many of them good friends) who were terrified by the Internet and computers. Stoll became their god for a while since here was someone on the inside with doubts. Of course, Stoll was mostly wrong, and that's why we don't hear much from him anymore.

    13. IDK if I've ever given such a low rating before, but this was painful. I had to read it for a school book review or else I probably couldn't finish it. I was tempted to give it one star, but I learned a few things, so it wasn't the absolute worst. After some thought that could change. I won't say much more besides that my book review isn't gonna be that nice. My school books aren't usually this eye-roll inducing

    14. i can't even explain how much i loved reading this book. he is just WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING in such a delightful way. i've never seen such an extraordinary lack of foresight. cliff stoll is a smart guy who just spent a lot of time in the 90s being wrong, wrong, wrong about the future of the internet.

    15. Nowadays, it's funny to go back and read Stoll's description along the lines of "what, they really expect me to buy books and newspaper on the internet? that's nonsense". But at the time I read it (circa 2000) it was an interesting, thought-provoking piece, regardless of whether it was ultimately wrong.

    16. Self professed geek is really an iconoclast. Everything Internet he touts as impossible and absurd has come about - a reverse prophesizer too ignorant and limited in vision to conceive of possible futures."They're [computer] irrelevant to cooking, driving, visiting, negotiating, eating, hiking, dancing, speaking, and gossiping."I wonder what Stoll's doing now.

    17. And then, in this book, Stoll goes from being a funky grad student with a problem to solve to a cranky old man, insisting that the kids stay off his yard. And turn down that racket they call "music". I give the man props for being an important voice in internet safety, but that's really all he knows. You can give this one a miss.

    18. Althought a bit on a soapbox, Stoll excellently refutes some common 'this must be correct' thoughts about what improvements in computer technologies will do for us. A lot like, but a much easier read, the book Data Smog.

    19. I read this as a teenager right when it first was published. I really respect Mr. Stoll but I disagree with pretty much everything he said in this book. I don't remember much about it and would like to re-read it. But I believe time has proven him somewhat wrong in this book.

    20. Stoll explains why the Internet is highly overrated and a waste of much of our time. I liked this as it has that "Luddite" flavor.

    21. I'm a bit mixed on this book. The first time I read it, I thought that Clifford had some good points. The second time I read it I just felt that he might be a little jaded.

    22. information highway. Speeds us up? or just gives us more to do, fills time, vacuum of time. Clifford knows.

    23. Disappointing follow up to The Cuckoo's Egg. Lots of cynical rantings about technology and the internet in this book.

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