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     August 18, 2003


"The free flow of information has a civilizing
 influence on mankind."

 -- Harley Hahn

I Remember: A Personal History of the Internet

My paternal grandfather was born on January 12,
1895, in Brody, an Austrian town near the Russian
border. His life was filled with adventure,
hardship, challenge, romance, and, ultimately,

When my grandfather was still a boy, he was
apprenticed to a barber. During World War I, he
was conscripted into the Austrian army, eventually
being captured by the Russians. As a prisoner of
war, he was sent to Russia to work on a farm,
during which time he met my grandmother.

After the war, came the Russian Revolution. My
grandparents escaped and returned to Brody.
Eventually, they made their way to Canada, where
my father grew up and where I was born.

My grandfather worked for many years, mostly as a
barber and, after retiring, he took the time to
write his autobiography, a book which he called
I Remember.

I Remember was, to me, a wonderful book because
my grandfather was able to look back on a long
life and put the events of his lifetime into

About a year ago, I was working on the 10th
Anniversary Edition of my book Harley Hahn's
Internet Yellow Pages, and I found myself
with an important question: what sort of
introduction should I write? The 10th Edition
of any book is a landmark, and I wanted to do
something special. After considering various
alternatives, I decided to write an essay that,
in spirit, would be similar to my grandfather's

Of course, my life was not nearly as long as my
grandfather's, and I didn't have the same depth
of experience as he did. Still, the idea of a
personal memoir was appealing, so I decided to
look back to the beginning of the Internet, and
tell the story of the Net as I saw it happen.

The result was an essay that, in honor of my late
grandfather, I have called "I Remember" (or, if
you prefer, "I Remember, Too").


"I have been using the Internet since the late
1980s. During that time, I have seen a great deal
of change as the Net has grown from a small
research network into the largest information
system in the history of mankind. As a young
computer scientist and writer, the growth of the
Internet affected me profoundly.

"The following essay is a personal history of the
Internet: the story of how it came to exist, what
made it flourish, and what it meant to me..."


-- Harley Hahn