Archive for December, 2011

New kids app reveals who invented the Internet: COOL story tackles bullying and being “different”

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

COOL to be CLEVER app for iPad is available today!

For immediate release
contact: Producer Bruce Batchelor,, 250-380-0998

(Victoria, BC, and San Diego, CA)
Is your child intentionally getting lower grades to avoid being ridiculed as a ‘nerd’ or a ‘geek’? A just-released iPad app provides an inspiring message: “It’s COOL to be CLEVER” — based on the true story of Edson C. Hendricks, the genius who invented the design for the Internet.

When Hendricks was bullied at school as a youngster, he retreated into an imaginary world where he had machine parts, rather than biological organs and emotions. Years later, as a computer scientist working in IBM’s Cambridge Scientific Center in the early 1970s, Hendricks’ unique ability to “think like a machine” led him to invent VNET, the world’s first “connectionless” communications network.

VNET quickly spread to link IBM’s facilities around the world, then spawned other networks using Hendricks’ software, including EARN in Europe, NETNORTH in Canada, BITNET and USENET/UUNET in the USA. In the early 1980s, this connectionless design became the basis of the new inter-networking (“internet” for short) standards.

Developed by Agio Studios (part of Agio Publishing House of Victoria), COOL to be CLEVER is available as of December 1st on Apple’s App Store. The script was written by children’s book author and former teacher Leanne Jones. Now a private investigator, Jones uncovered Hendricks’ role as Internet inventor while interviewing retired US intelligence officers for a novel she’s writing. Hendricks now lives in San Diego, California.

“I wrote the COOL story to inspire and encourage others who may feel they are ‘different’ and may be bullied or stigmatized,” said Jones. “They may have important ideas that will change society like the Internet has.”

The app includes up-to-date bullying prevention tips and research provided by the Canadian Red Cross, The Council for Exceptional Children and the US Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

“For the app, we videotaped twelve interviews with Mr. Hendricks, on how his mind works, true inventions, overcoming bullying, predicting the future, tips for programmers and other topics,” said app producer and director Bruce Batchelor. “His voice was so rich that we then asked him to narrate the story — which he did superbly.”

Internet history junkies will find a treasure trove of ‘backstory’ material in the app: information on the first ever email virus, the 1979 IBM Systems Journal article by Hendricks and Tim Hartmann chronicling the technical development of VNET into a world-wide network years before the Internet was launched, dozens of anecdotes about creating VNET and meetings with Vint Cerf and other scientists, trip reports, internal memos and documents detailing IBM’s bungled opportunity, and a 160k log of pre-Internet emails between scientists debating standards.

The original music score was composed and performed on piano by Leanne Jones. Anna Mah provided the illustrations.

An APP LAUNCH EVENT, with Edson Hendricks as featured guest, will be held on MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011 at SIMPLY COMPUTING, 2639 Quadra Street, Victoria, from 7 PM to 9 PM. Brief presentations will be made by Edson Hendricks, Leanne Jones, producer/director Bruce Batchelor, Jim Roepcke of Roepcke Computing Solutions (developer of the COOL to be CLEVER app for iPad), Adam Blainey of Pterotype Digital (producer of THE UNINVITED horror anthology magazine for iPad) and others. The public is welcome, especially cool, clever kids (and adults) of all ages.

Copies of the illustrated hardcover edition of IT’S COOL TO BE CLEVER will be available for purchase at the event. The COOL to be CLEVER app can be purchased directly from the Apple iPad App Store.