Internet pioneer Michael Daniels on how the web became commercialized

In its infancy, the internet was simply a way for government agencies, educators and academic professionals to speak to one another. Today, of course, virtually every business in the world is built on or relies on the internet as a form of commerce.

But what if the internet had never turned to commercialization? What if it had remained just for government and academics?

Get your copy of Michael Daniels’s book

Much of the transformation goes back to the early to mid-1990s when the US government awarded a contract to a small company in Northern Virginia called Network Solutions. They were granted the exclusive right to sell the domain names that we all know so well – .com, .org, .net and so forth.

The chairman of Network Solutions was a guy named Michael Daniels and in 2013 he wrote a book about the early history of the commercialization of the web. His book was called Names, Numbers And Network Solutions. And that’s when I had the chance to talk with him.

So here now from 2013. Michael Daniels.

From Drummer to Author: Jacob Slichter’s Rock & Roll Journey/

If you really want to know what it’s like to be a rock star, just ask one. But you are not likely to get a more honest answer then you will from Jacob Slichter, drummer for the band Semisonic.

Slichter’s 2004 book So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star was widely praised for its frank – some would say brutally honest – assessment of the music industry.

Semisonic was formed in 1995, and over the next decade saw the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly of the music business.

Jacob and I talked about his book one fine midsummer day. So here now from 2004 Jacob Slichter.

Jacob Slichter is 62 now. He and Semisonic still perform publicly.


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Darlene Love

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Frank Buttino

Even years after the death of iconic FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the agency continued to discriminate against gay agents.

It wasn’t all that very long ago that the FBI was almost exclusively the domain of straight white men.

That is, until an agent named Frank Buttino came along. The FBI fired him after discovering his sexual orientation, but Buttino filed a discrimination lawsuit.

And as a result, the FBI’s homophobic hiring discrimination ended.

I met him in the summer of 1993, while his lawsuit was still pending. He had written his autobiography, a book called A Special Agent .

So here now, from 1993, Frank Buttino.

Frank Buttino died in 2018. He was 73.


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Candace Gingrich
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Gerry Spence

Photo by Greg Westfall

Imagine practicing law for 60 years, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney- and never losing a single case before a jury.

That was the enviable record racked up by attorney Gerry Spence.

And his record in civil cases was nearly as perfect.

A brilliant legal mind, coupled with a charismatic personality and courtroom demeanor made him one of America’s most effective trial lawyers.

So it was with more than just passing interest that Spence sat in the courtroom every day as a spectator at the trial of the century, the murder trial of OJ Simpson.

Two years after the verdict in that case, Spence wrote a book called OJ: The Last Word. And that was when Spence and I had one of our many conversations.

So here now, from 1997, Gerry Spence.

Gerry Spence is 94 now, and still lives in his native Wyoming.


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Peter Arnett

Photo: John Mathew Smith

Today, a conversation with a man who has spent a lifetime plunging himself into war.

Peter Arnett became a major television personality during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, with his reporting from Iraq for CNN.

But that was by no means where his career started.

Arnett won the Pulitzer prize for his reporting from Vietnam for the associated press.

Over a career spanning several decades, if there was a war going on somewhere in the world, Peter Arnett founded. And covered it .

I I met him in 1994, when we talked about his book Live From the Battlefield.

So here now, from 1994, Peter Arnett.

Peter Arnett is 88 now.

In 2007 Arnett was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to journalism.


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Lani Guinier

In 1993, the term “woke” had not been invented yet. But a prominent law professor nominated for a high position in the US government Saw her nomination done in by what we would now know as “anti-woke” sentiment.

Her name was Lani Guinier. President Bill Clinton nominated her to be assistant attorney general for civil rights.

That’s, of course, when closer scrutiny of her past writings began. And, she says, that’s when the misrepresentations of her writings began.

Guinier was a strong advocate of voting rights, and a strong believer that all minority voices should be heard in a democracy.

Ultimately, her voice was drowned out by her critics’ voices, and President Clinton withdrew her nomination.

I met her the following year, when she was on a book tour. So here now, from 1994, Lani Guinier.

Lani Guinier died last year. She was 71.


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Robert Bork
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Gil Amelio

Given Apple’s dominance in the high-tech world, it’s hard to imagine that it was once a company that had cash flow problems, poor quality products, a bloated workforce, and a total lack of strategy.

But that’s essentially the kind of company that Gill Amelio said he took over as CEO in early 1996.

By his own telling, Amelio cut costs, slashed staff, and tried to put the company back on a strategic course.

But less than a year and a half later, in summer of 1997, Apple was still struggling and Amelio was forced out.

The following spring he wrote a book about his 500 days at Apple, called On the Firing Line. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1998, Gil Amleio.

Gil Amelio is 79 now. He’s been a venture capitalist for the last 24 years.


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Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich was first elected to Congress from George’s sixth district in 1978. By the end of the 1980s, he had risen to a position of leadership in the House GOP.

In 19 for Gingrich was a leader in the Republican wave that took over the house, and Gingrich became the first Republican house speaker in 40 years.

But by 1997 infighting in the party put Gingrich on the defensive.

Gingrich himself help fan the flames of discontent when, in late 1997, he almost single-handedly shut down the federal government. It was a squabble over a continuing resolution to keep the government funded. And Gingrich was upset because he had apparently been snubbed on a flight on Air Force One.

In 1998 Gingrich wrote a book he called Lessons Learned The Hard Way.

So here now from 1998, Newt Gingrich.

Newt g resigned from the house in January 1999. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Gingrich is 78 and remains active in Republican politics. His new book Defeating Big Government Socialism: Saving America’s Future will be published in July.


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Stephen Collins

Photo: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ

For 11 seasons on the TV series 7th Heaven, Stephen Collins played The Rev. Eric Camden, a Protestant minister who headed a family of seven.

But Collins had a long and impressive acting resume before that, including TV shows and movies. He was in the first Star Trek movie in 1979.

But when I met him in 1994, it was to talk about a novel he had written, a thriller called Eye Contact.

And given the legal troubles Collins faced a decade later the subject matter now sounds a little problematic. More on that later.

So here now, from 1994, Stephen Collins.

Stephen Collins is 74 now. His career ended in 2014, after he admitted to “inappropriate sexual conduct” with three underage girls.


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Penn Jillette

Remember those ads in the back of magazines and comic books back in the day, promising to show you how to do tricks that will Amaze your family and friends?

Well, fast forward to the 1990s, when magicians Penn & Teller start revealing a few of the old magician’s tricks. And then, in 1992, they actually wrote a book of their own, called Penn & teller’s how to play with your food.

And that’s when I had the chance to meet the talking half of the duo, Penn Jillette.

And something happened during this interview that has never happened before, and has never happened since. Was it something Penn Jillette put together, as a practical joke?

So here now, from 1992, Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette is 66 now. Penn and Teller remain one of the most popular acts in Las Vegas.