Ahoy-hoy: Notes on the history of human communications

From prehistoric rock-art, the alphabet, strange military experiments, and the internet, this book tells some of the most interesting and humorous stories of how human communications have developed. Find out how communications tools have been used for nefarious means, and the future implications of using these tools.

Available in paperback and kindle formats

Soon will appear on all other good ebook retailers.

Below you can find some extra related photos and videos.
The history of communications.


  • Rockart
  • Alphabet
  • Printing press
  • The Sea
  • The Sky
  • Numbers Stations
  • Theremin's bug
  • Cybernetics
  • Frequency Hopping
  • Encryption
  • Surveillance
  • Dark Web
  • Virtual Currency and the blockchain
  • Quantum communications
  • Broken communications
  • Wu
  • Data Obsolescence
  • Downsides
  • Rockart

    "Carefully exploring the sizeable hole in the ground, Marcel climbed carefully down into the dark where he discovered the hole continued into a large cave. Unable to see clearly, he looked around as much as he safely could, before climbing back out into the fresh air, resolving to return with a source of light. "


    The origins of the modern alphabet and how it took over the world.
    "In the 1970s the complexity of the Chinese languages came to be a problem many though of as an existential threat to China."

    Printing Press

    “The parchment is hairy”
    “Now I've written the whole thing: for Christ's sake give me a drink”

    The Sea

    "Desperate to continue the experiment, Dr Ewing asked a friend who was flying on a military plane to Africa to help out. He gave his friend a case of hand grenades with timers. And asked him to drop one out of the plane every so often. His friend agreed, but quickly realised that it's more difficult to drop grenades out of plane than you might imagine. He ended up flushing them one at a time down the toilet"

    "During these sessions Lilly believed he was being contacted by an alien organisation known as the Earth Coincidence Control Office (ECCO) who were in control of everything happening down on Earth. They were mostly harmless, except when they tried to remove Lilly's private parts."

    The Sky

    "The US military funders were delighted. From a purely technical viewpoint the experiment was a success. Others were not quite so excited.
    A Pravda soviet newspaper article at the time was written with the headline “U.S.A dirties space”."

    Numbers Stations

    "As the door splintered open, Erwin jumped up from a short-wave radio he had been listening to with an earpiece. Nearby was another radio of a different type, capable of transmitting. Erwin was still wearing his pyjamas. He grabbed a kitchen knife from a nearby drawer and turned to face the police. An officer ran forwards and grabbed his arm, before restraining him with the words “Enough! It is over! It is over.”"

    Theremin's bug

    "The bear was fed champagne (by the Austo-Hungarian communist revolutionary and writer, Karl Radek) and became drunk. It then proceeded to stumble around the mansion scaring everyone. The birds escaped and caused further mayhem amongst the guests."


    "One of the walls of the room displayed information for a subset of Cybercyn, called 'Project Cyberfolk', it aimed to measure the near real-time happiness of the whole country's population. The data shown here would be used to analyse the effectiveness and results of decisions made in the room."

    Frequency Hopping

    "Fed up of the dull marriage, Hedwig escaped the only way she could….by disguising herself as a servant, escaping the house, and catching a train to Paris."


    "After coming up with this idea while out in his garden enjoying the sun, he fell into a panic. Worried that he might forget how it would work. He rushed to write it down, before then worrying that the idea might fall into the wrong hands and, tearing up his notes, decided to risk just remembering it instead. "


    "He discovered methane after reading a paper by Benjamin Franklin about “Flammable air”. He did some research, found and managed to isolate the gas bubbling up from a nearby lake. He then spent some time experimenting with the best application he could think of for his discovery: a self-made gun which used methane as the explosive."

    Broken Communications

    “Several old women were nearly frightened to death, thinking it announced the end of the world, and immediately took to saying their prayers. A fat old citizen tremblingly stated that this was the avant courier of a dreadful epidemic like cholera of 1833, whilst a French gentleman pooh-poohed, and gravely assured us that this was the well known sign of a revolution in Paris, requesting us to make a note of the date.” - New Orleans Daily Picayune

    Also discusses the reasoning behind the issues which were also responsible for the recent Facebook outage.


    "In the video, the Wu-Tang Clan are in a club at four am and enter a lift in which they continue to have a heated conversation. Someone hits a button that says 1776, then someone else presses 2921, before finally someone presses the button that says 2,000,000 BC and says something that might be: “Ho, hold it, 2000BC?”."