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Check out "Download: The True Story of the Internet" on Discovery Channel

There is a lack of documentaries on the technology industry, especially when you consider that there is so much great material for storytelling. The Discovery Channel is making a nice contribution with its new series, "Download: The True Story of the Internet."

I am a self-acknowledged documentary junkie. I love biographies and history. However, I have often lamented the dearth of documentaries on the technology industry, especially since there is so much great material for storytelling.

The new series Download: The True Story of the Internet from the Science Channel / Discovery Channel helps fill the void. I watched it on Discovery HD and was impressed. The host is John Heilemann (right), who reported for Wired during the dot com boom and was a first-hand witness to much of this history.

The series is broken up into four parts. Here are the official Discovery Channel descriptions of the episodes:

  1. Browser Wars - This is the story of an epic battle between America's mightiest corporation and a small group of "computer geeks" who created a revolutionary technology.
  2. Search - In a few short years, a new and unique way of finding information revolutionized the Web. In the process, Google grew into one of the largest companies in the United States.
  3. Bubble - The founders of Amazon and e-Bay, Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar, tell the stories of how their businesses grew from nothing to dominate the global economy. These companies have changed the way Americans live.
  4. People Power - The Internet has changed society and a new breed of entrepreneurs is shaping the digital future. Find out how it all started with Napster, a way of swapping music dreamt up by the teenaged Shawn Fanning.

On Saturday, April 5, you can watch all four episodes concurrently starting at 7:00 PM Eastern on the Science Channel. If you can't watch it at that time, take a look at the Science Channel's schedule for airing the Download series. Since the Science Channel isn't available everywhere, I hope Discovery also releases the series on DVD. The sooner the better.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

16 comments
psmith
psmith

Now what exactly was an 'IMP-11A'?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Nice, thanks for the post. As for tech doumentaries it's not REALLY my bag, neither is Sci-Fi, but it does sound interesting all the same. On a somewhat unrelated note, have you been watching the John Adams miniseries? It's really cool, great costumes and sets. I am wondering if it is the same as the history taught in US schools or if it is sensationalized, a different viewpoint or what? In the series, it is a minority of states (namely Massachusetts) that decides they want to split from British Rule and find only a few in favour to begin with. From what I have seen and heard through the years, the entire focus from day one was to to escape British rule and becoem independant states. However that is not really depicted as such in the series, it comes as a mainly contested idea from a man who stood out as a traitor to the other states, also living under British rule at the time. While it does happen, it is with great reluctance and many very weary states. What's YOUR understanding?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

See Discovery Channel's new series: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=635 What do you think are some of the best documentaries on the technology industry? If you've seen "Download: The True Story of the Internet" do you think it belongs on the list of the top tech documentaries?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Yes, I really want to see the John Adams series. Unfortunately, I don't have HBO - although I considered getting it temporarily to watch the Adams series. Ultimately, I'll just have to wait until it's released on DVD. I'm looking forward it, and I'm glad to hear another positive recommendation for the series. Thanks Oz. As for the version of U.S. history that you mentioned, that's not what is taught in U.S. schools, but it is historically accurate. There were plenty of people in "the colonies" who weren't interested so much in forming a new nation, but simply wanted a fair shake from Mother England and didn't want to be second class citizens. They eventually became reluctant revolutionaries.

DanLM
DanLM

It was just rereleased... I dumped hbo and cinimax because I just never watch them, but I was told about that miniseries so I grabbed the book when I seen it. I'll let you know after I read it. Dan

NE1956
NE1956

I had taped this on Science Channel a couple weeks ago. I saw that only two episodes were there, but it looks like there are four. I do believe it belongs on the list of top tech documentaries. It was about as 'no nosense' as they come; terrifically informative.

tim uk
tim uk

... but I wonder if you can tell me where I can get a "bring back Jay Garman" t-shirt?

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

Especially the bits about Jim Manzi from Lotus. He was an utter farkin preek. Incredibly rich and successful preek, but a preek nonetheless.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

The first three are available as HD downloads from most reputable torrent sites. Here's a link for you that includes both HDTV and standard AVI rips. http://www.newtorrents.info/search/John.Adams I just noticed that part 4 was released this morning, gotta go! I promise I wont' tell on you. :)

DadsPad
DadsPad

I watched one on Ben Franklin. I feel he was one of the most influencial men of his time. The show was very good. I have a DVR (kind of like TIVO) and record and watch at my leisure.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Keep me informed of your opinions, I actually find the series very well made and quite interesting (good actors). I actually cheat, it gets released as a torrent file for download each week. Shhhh. ;)

tmickey
tmickey

WHy does everyone say he invented it? And how can a show on "the history of the internet" not include the ARPANET and the creation of the internet for use by U.S. Military and educational institutions/universities in the late 1960's. Al Gore created the net my butt, what a bunch of crap.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

it is a documentary about Sandra Bullock's movie 'The Net' and how they can in seconds change all your records and even 'delete' you. Of course with some info about 'hackers' and 'do you want to play a game' from Wargames I think it was called? Probably a summation of all the bad results of techno-thrillers. I'm sure they'll mention how Hal 9000 was deranged because of the flaw in the pentium processor. And how the world will finally be destroyed as Skynet forms and the computers become self-aware. (which will be right after the lawnmower guy dials up everyone in the world. which now adays would be by bot-herders connecting everyone :)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Oh, you meant the computer in the movie...

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