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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 book, Follow the Geeks.