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21. The History of the Computer (Inventions
22. Computers: An Illustrated History
23. From Whirlwind to MITRE: The R&D
24. Electronic and Computer Music
25. iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon:
26. Out of their Minds: The Lives
27. On the Way to the Web: The Secret
28. Journey to the Moon: The History
29. A History of the Personal Computer:
30. Bit by Bit: An Illustrated History
31. A Science of Operations: Machines,
32. Digital History: A Guide to Gathering,
33. Digital Art History (Intellect
34. The Government Machine: A Revolutionary
35. Moving Targets: Elliott-Automation
36. Makin' Numbers: Howard Aiken and
37. Doing History: Research and Writing
38. Priming the Pump: How TRS-80 Enthusiasts
39. Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer
40. The Analogue Alternative: The

21. The History of the Computer (Inventions That Changed the World)
by Elizabeth Raum
Paperback: 32 Pages (2007-08-15)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1403496552
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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How big were the first computers?What jobs were computers used for in the past?When was the World Wide Web invented?Take a journey through time and discover the amazing history of the computer!

... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not a dull book!
Although the "History of Computers" may sound like a dry and dull subject for children, this book makes the subject very interesting with colorful pages, simple text without appearing patronizing, and very well-chosen photographs.Even the font is well chosen for this age group. There is a Table of Contents in the beginning listing each section.Each double page spread has a subtitle so it feels a little like a "moving-up" book or an early reader. The subtitles, or sections include:Before Computers, Help With Numbers, The First Computers, A Computer as Big as a House, Making Computers Better,Personal Computers, Computer Programs, A Mouse Helps Out, Computers to Take with You, The Internet, The World Wide Web, How Computers Changed Life, Timeline, World Activity Map, Find Out More, Glossary and Index.
The biggest thrill for kids (and adults!) will be to see photographs of what computers looked like in the not-so-distant past.The photos included are so historically interesting and well chosen. The photos in the beginning of this chronological time line are sepia colored and as the book progresses to the current day, the pictures are in full color.
... Read more

22. Computers: An Illustrated History
by Christian Wurster
Hardcover: 480 Pages (2002-02)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$44.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 3822812935
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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The incredible shrinking computer

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"

Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

Remember your first computer? No doubt it now seems like a relic from the Flintstone era. From automated punch-card calculators to the first personal computers such as the Apple II and Commodore 64, to today's Sony Vaios and PowerBook G4s, the computer has undergone an amazing, rapid evolution in its brief history. Can you believe the computer's first input device was a light pen used to select a symbol on the screen? And that computer keyboards were preceded by teletypewriters? The progress we've witnessed in our lifetimes is mind-boggling. The struggle for the best interface, the greatest design, and the fastest processor have resulted in computers of a size, power, capability and use that were unfathomable only a few decades ago.

Discover the fascinating history of computers, interfaces, and computer design in this illustrated guide that includes pictures of nearly every computer ever made, an informative text describing the computer's evolution up to the present day, and an A-Z index of the most influential computer firms.

**special horizontal format, laptop-style ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Who buys a Taschen book for the text anyway?
Nothing but pictures, pictures, pictures.Sure there is a simple historical narrative, but the value of this (out-of-print, expensive) book is the pictorial archive that it is.Hundreds of picures and ads make this invaluable for understanding the past to generations of computing history.This is a high-quality book, like all Taschen books:colorful and sturdy.One caveat though is that the layout is a bit confusng and a bit too overwrought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for collecting
Don't expect much knowledge from this book, but it brilliantly shows the history of computers just through pictures. I love it!

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book....for what it IS.
As with other Taschen books I've seen, this book is more high style photo essay on the rise of the computer age than a hard core "history".When viewed as a photo essay or cultural documentary of a particular subject (computers, in this case), it is very successful...and a bargain.Most other computer history books are mainly text and often lack photographs of early systems, particularly the early mainframes and minis.This book is packed with lavish photos well organized by computer type (mainframes, minicomputers, micros, etc.) While errors are unacceptable in any book, I feel the other negative reviews of this book are way too harsh, and probably result more from expectations being incorrectly set by the book's title.For a highly detailed history of the subject, readers should look elsewhere.But for a beautiful and rare look at the early systems, this book will be a welcome addition to your library.Or, have the best of both worlds....get a thorough history book for the details and facts, and this book to see what things looked like!

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice to read and very well illustrated
The book is easy to read. It has great illustrations. It is not an in-depth reading. If you want more information, you can look at Ceruzzi's (without illustrations), or, even better, Augarten's book. Augarten has done a great research effort. His books is enjoyable, and has lots of photographs. On the other hand, he begins his history from primitive calculators.

Wurster's book has very good hardback binding, and uses high quality gloss paper inside. I would redommend it for the price.

1-0 out of 5 stars So Many Errors I Threw it in the Garbage
There are so many factual errors in this book that I simply threw the book in the garbage. ... Read more

23. From Whirlwind to MITRE: The R&D Story of The SAGE Air Defense Computer (History of Computing)
by Kent C. Redmond, Thomas M. Smith
Hardcover: 547 Pages (2000-10-16)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262182017
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book presents an organizational and social history of one of the foundational projects of the computer era: the development of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system, from its first test at Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1951, to the installation of the first unit of the New York Air Defense Sector of the SAGE system, in 1958. The idea for SAGE grew out of Project Whirlwind, a wartime computer development effort, when the U.S. Department of Defense realized that the Whirlwind computer might anchor a continent-wide advance warning system. Developed by MIT engineers and scientists for the U.S. Air Force, SAGE monitored North American skies for possible attack by manned aircraft and missiles for twenty-five years.Aside from its strategic importance, SAGE set the foundation for mass data-processing systems and foreshadowed many computer developments of the 1960s. The heart of the system, the AN/FSQ-7, was the first computer to have an internal memory composed of "magnetic cores," thousands of tiny ferrite rings that served as reversible electromagnets. SAGE also introduced computer-driven displays, online terminals, time sharing, high-reliability computation, digital signal processing, digital transmission over telephone lines, digital track-while-scan, digital simulation, computer networking, and duplex computing.The book shows how the wartime alliance of engineers, scientists, and the military exemplified by MIT's Radiation Lab helped to transform research and development practice in the United States through the end of the Cold War period. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A collector's item for technology history buffs
I kind of expected this book to be the typical Smithsonian-style broad-stroke history of Whirlwind and the surrounding SAGE project. What I found was an exquisitely detailed account of the system's operation and development, written engagingly and with just the right amount of depth to prove that Redmond and Smith know what they're talking about.

Whirlwind and SAGE were mammoth military-industrial undertakings -- far riskier and more ambitious than anything the U.S. government has tackled in recent times. The pace of the entire project, from the initial design sketches to full-blown deployment in concrete bunkers throughout the U.S., seems fantastic compared to modern contractor boondoggles. The project closely followed its projected timeline, practically scheduling technological breakthroughs enroute to a finished, working system that provided air defense security for decades.

A classic example of the reach of Whirwind's designers was their decision to use magnetic core memory instead of williams tubes, mercury delay lines, or capacitive memory technologies. Immediately after deciding to use core memory, they set about inventing it so that it would be available for the first prototype machine, which was undergoing design in parallel with the memory development effort. As a result, Whirlwind's memory had unprecedented speed and reliability, and as a side effect core memory would dominate all commercial and government computer systems for the next twenty years.

Redmond and Smith provide wonderful insight into the obstacles SAGE developers encountered, with stories that any engineer will find fascinating. For instance, at an early stage of development the streams of radar data being sent to Whirwind for analysis are found to be full of noise and clutter, such as reflections from the ground and migratory flocks of birds. So Whirlwind software developers develop algorithms to filter out this signal trash, only to discover that the Whirlwind processor is far two slow to do both the filtering and its assigned job of sorting, tracking, and designating enemy targets. So SAGE designers push the clutter problem out to the radar signal delivery teams to deal with using analog filtering electronics, almost failing to notice that the science of digital signal processing had just been invented.
Together, Whirwind and SAGE advanced computer science by fifty years in just a handful of months. What drove this intense development? The arms race. Fear is a very good motivator, and in such competitive times, science and society seem to reap mass benefits that often go unnoticed.

As an aside, when my copy of the book arrived (I bought a used edition from an Amazon vendor), the bookseller had included a note apologizing for the scribbling on the inside front cover (the book was advertised in "new" condition). That "scribbling" turned out to be a personal note from author Kent Redmond to co-author Thomas Smith: "Tom, we did it!".

Eat your hearts out! ... Read more

24. Electronic and Computer Music
by Peter Manning
Paperback: 496 Pages (2004-01-29)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$30.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195170857
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This updated and expanded third edition of Peter Manning's classic text, Electronic and Computer Music, deals with the development of the medium from its birth to the 21st century. The first section of the book, which remains essentially unchanged in this edition, covers electroacoustic music from its beginning at the turn of the century to 1945, the development of post-1945 'classical' studios, development of voltage-controlled technology, and its commercial exploitation in tape works, live electronic music, and the early use of electronics in rock and pop music. Section two, Computer Music, is heavily revised and significantly expanded and treats the digital revolution from the early experiments during the late 1950s and early 1960s to the advanced systems of today. Emphasizing the functional characteristics of emerging digital technologies and their influence on the creative development of the medium, Manning covers key developments in both commercial and the non-commercial sectors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Complete and Detailed
This book is a must have in addition with the Chadabe's Electric Sound, and Holmes's Electronic and Experimental Music.Manning gets more specific about the qualities and characteristics of electronic music. A must have for those actively involved in the production, recording, technical, compositional, or performance aspects of computer music.

4-0 out of 5 stars Technical but digestable
This book is a nice overview of electronic and computer music (as one might gather from the title.)It's great to sit near a computer and research some of the composers and pieces discussed, as many of them are on youtube and at least sound clips are available somewhere online.You're not going to learn how to program or compose from this book, but it's great for getting a decent background of what went on from 1890-1990. ... Read more

25. iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It
by Steve Wozniak
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-10-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393330435
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“‘The Woz’ built the first [personalcomputer]—byhand, by himself.”—USATodayBefore slim laptops that fit into briefcases,computers looked like strange vending machines,with cryptic switches and pages of encodedoutput. But in 1977 Steve Wozniak revolutionized the computer industry with his invention of thefirst personal computer. As the sole inventor of the Apple I and II computers, Wozniak has enjoyed wealth, fame, and the most coveted awards anengineer can receive, and he tells his storyhere for the first time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (136)

5-0 out of 5 stars iwozard of oz
I got this book because the history of the PC has always interested me and I got to say this is a great book. the seconded UPS dropped it off I started reading it and I did not let it down until it was yesterday morning reading the final sentence, I'm not going to lie I'm not much of a reader normally so if it's a book I don't put down it's speaking something. In the book at some points the guy is definitely not humble, he kind of has a I'm the best I was first I'm #1 kind of aditutude but he doesn't sound like that mean of a guy. If you have any intreats in the PC or computers or any of that you must read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An awesome book for computer lover
I haven't finished this book, but I love it a lot. I'm like Woz in some perspective. i'm a programmer, I love coding, I love software, a lot.
This book shares a lot of interesting story of making early computers and Apple. I'm sure you'll love this book if you're still reading comments here :)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
Wozniak tells an interesting story, but not as much about Apple as you would think. Maybe he sees other things in his life as more important than Apple, but I thought the "How I invented the personal computer" part would be more detailed. All in all, I would recommend this book to a friend.

2-0 out of 5 stars and I thought it was the other Steve who was the jerk !!
Okay, well he's a nice jerk, but still...

This book typifies Apple the computer and Apple the company to a "T". Style and image and little real substance. In the main, that goes for Apple users as well.

Yes, Woz did some cool stuff, but so did many of the other pioneers of the the mid-70s era. And his stuff was by no means so revolutionary as he claims.

He goes on for several pages extolling his two-chip floppy card. Well, if he'd simply used a real floppy controller chip like the others (such as the Western Digital 17xx series FDCs used in the TRS-80) his drive might have actually worked. Because of his el-cheapo approach, he couldn't use the reliable FM and MFM encoding. Instead he was forced to use Group Code Recording, which is supposedly self-clocking. Yes, it works OK, but ***only when the drive is new***. When the head drifts out of alignment, the clamping mechanism starts slipping, or if the drive speed goes off, his amateurish scheme fails big time. I happen to know because I worked for several years as a disk duplicator for a big-time software publisher, and I saw for myself the people in the customer support department tearing their hair out and climbing the walls taking calls and processing returns from irate customers with their piece-of-**** Apple drives.

His info on the TRS-80 on pages 208 and 209 is completely wrong. It didn't earn the moniker "Trash-80" for nothing (spontaneous reboots, key bounce, lousy cassette, etc), but it was hardly as primitive as he describes.

He gloats because his Apple II can go up to 48K and the "Trash-80" only goes up to 4K. HA! In 1977 the first Model Is were sold with 4K (when many other computers only had 1K or 2K), but all could be later upgraded when 16K chips became available.

Contrary to Woz, the TRS-80 also had a "real" keyboard. Unlike the Apple, you could install a numeric keypad in the main unit. So much for being the greatest ever "business machine" (I must admit though that Tandy skimped on lowercase letters, just to save $1 in hardware)

Yes Woz, the TRS-80 does graphics. Sure, they're block graphics in black and white, but with CPUs as slow as they were back in that day, that's all you can do well. The Apple had sharp color graphics, but all it could do was static displays because the piddling 1 Mhz 6502 could push all those pixels around. The '80 had many wonderful games with objects zooming all over the screen, you should check it out.

He says the Apple could be programmed in machine language or BASIC, and that made it a business machine (Visicalc came later). Not the TRS-80, which is BASIC only. Wrong. Look back into all the articles in 80 Microcomputer having to do with coding in assembler, and moreover, how to interface BASIC with m/c subroutines in protected memory. The Apple has no means of protecting memory, it's all or nothing there, no flexibility.

Speaking of BASIC, only Tandy had the good sense to include Microsoft Basic in their machine. Compare Applesoft vs. TRS-80 Level II feature for feature. No contest, the Woz machine doesn't do complex strings, no double-precision floating point, file handling is a joke. Yes, Apple had Visicalc first, but that was only because Bricklin picked the Apple completely at random as his development target -- it says so in Accidental Empires by Robert Cringely. But Visicalc was not everything, there are hundreds of business apps besides, and in this day they were mostly written in BASIC, and the "Trash-80" was the only computer with a REAL BASIC.
This exemplifies Woz's whole approach to the Apple -- cheap cheap cheap. Cheap CPU, cheap disk drives, cheap software. Typically Apple: cheap in everything but $$$.

Woz completely omits the fact that to buy an Apple you had to buy it through mail-order (at least until later when they got some dealers). Of course he doesn't mention that Radio Shack was the first computer retailer EVER where you could bring it in for servicing or upgrading, buy approved accessories and software, and get training. Apple users had to settle for "user groups" for support. Since we're talking about Apple users here, perhaps I should say "user groupies".

Much is made of the Apple's presence in the educational market. Fact is, the TRS-80 had a greater market penetration here. It's not well known because Tandy was famous for not disclosing its sales figures. Here again Apple propoganda reigns supreme.
Which reminds me, it was Tandy's massive advertising efforts that were the coattails that Apple rode to the market on.

I hope all these specific examples show what this book is about: Woz's self-loving ego. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, and there were some good things to the Apple (color hi-res 80-column screen, sound, slots), but he wasn't all that, child.

If you want to read a really good, even heroic, story of an inventor-genius, read this one: Copies in Seconds by David Owen. How a Lone Inventor and an Unknown Company Created the Biggest Communications Breakthrough since Gutenberg - Chester Carlson and the Birth of the Xerox Machine. And do get the hardcover, after you read this tale you'll be glad to have the deluxe version.

Woz could learn more than a thing or two about writing from this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fun historical view for nerds and humans
The book starts off with an almost offensive ego-centric 'I was the first' type of thing and lacks humility but, when he starts getting technical and juicy about details, it's really fun!I think Steve Woz was right in there with the true innovators.I'd like to read about some other actual inventive people of the time, but his details are amazing, and basic enough to be accessible. If you're just an Apple fanboy or a computer everything lover, this will get you inside the feel of those times...which were pretty darned exciting if you ask me. Wozniak's delight at his and others breakthroughs make this a good and fun book to read. ... Read more

26. Out of their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists
by Dennis Shasha, Cathy Lazere
Paperback: 291 Pages (1998-07-02)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0387982698
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Imagine being able to ask Newton about falling apples orEuclid about his personal vision of geometry. In Out of their Minds,readers will hear the Newtons and Euclids of the computer age as theytalk about their discoveries in information technology that havechanged forever the way we live, work, and think about the world.

Based on interviews by freelance writer Cathy Lazere and the expertiseof computer scientist Dennis Shasha, Out of their Minds introducesreaders to fifteen of the planet's foremost computer scientists,including eight winners of the Turing Award, computing's NobelPrize. The scientists reveal themselves in fascinating anecdotes abouttheir early inspirations and influences, their contributions tocomputer science, and their thoughts on its explosive future.

These are the programmers whose work helps architects walk throughvirtual buldings, engineers manage factories, and cartoonists animatemovie monsters. These are the mathematicians who invented many of theproblem-solving techniques, languages, and architectures that enablethe computer to extend the reaches of human insight.

Some were inventors from their earliest years-designing spitballcatapults, contributing satire to Mad Magazine, and rearranging theperiodic table of chemical compounds. Others were renegades ormusicians. Along the path to adulthood and discovery, these explorersgrappled with bureaucracies, political persecution, and academicdogma. Their lives span the 50-year history of computer science.

To help explain the work of these pioneers, Shasha and Lazere fill inthe historical background and distill the extraordinary discoveries ofthese thinkers into everyday concepts that nonscientists can readilyunderstand. Detailed technical points are set off in boxes for perusalby readers wishing deeper explanations.

In the final chapters Shasha and Lazere explore two intriguingquestions: Is there a set of shared traits or experiences thatcharacterizes the scientists out of whose minds computers came? Howmight the content of this book differ if it were to be writtentwenty-five years from now, in 2020?Amazon.com Review
Over the past fifty years, most of computer science's important inventions have come from innovators who aren't exactly household names. Out of Their Minds describes the lives and discoveries of fifteen unsung computer scientists whose programs have done everything from help engineers manage factories to help cartoonists animate their characters. This well-paced book spans the varied disciplines of computer science and challenges the reader to think about still-unsolved questions: how can we build a computer that works like the human brain, how can we boost the speed of computation, and where all that intelligence and power will take the industry over the next fifty years. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars More Computer History
This is a fast paced fun read.The book covers 15 scientists of the early to middle ages of computers.No list will satisfy everyone (note some of the reviews who were unhappy with this book).There is no section on Alan Turning, John von Neumann or Woz from Apple (sorry Apple PR machine), although the first two are mentioned at various times.

The chapters cover the scientists within four sections: linguists, algorithmists, architects, and sculptors of machine intelligence.Within each chapter is a brief and generally entertaining biography and provide a concise discussion and explanation of some basic concepts that reveal the work that made the individual scientist famous within the field.

The reference section is excellent for further research and enlightenment.It is broken down by chapter and is easy to reference.

It is a fun read which I have allowed myself twice already.

5-0 out of 5 stars good survey of 15 important individuals
Very enjoyable and entertaining book.But I've been working in the computer business for 30 years, a novice would have other opinions.

The subtitle is very descriptive -- "The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Greaat Computer Scientists".

Each is covered in a chapter, mixing together an account of how their life's journey ended up in important work.

I knew some of the stories, but this book filled in lots of others.For example, I just know of Leslie Lamport's LaTeX system, not his other work!

If you have an interest in computer science, this is a good survey of the
individuals behind some of the fundamental discoveries.

4-0 out of 5 stars great history, easy reading
from an insiders point of view, I've been in this environment all working life, this book puts everything in perspective.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Source
I was looking for a good source on the masterminds who shaped the Computer Science field and I found in this book. I think this book delivers a good mixture of personal stories plus technical details about the main contributions of the 15 computer scientists who shaped the field.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read for history buffs
If you're a computer scientist, programmer or what have you, then this book is a must read. The book presents key contributions of 15 computer scientists. While the book does contain some level of computer science speak, those who don't have computer science backgrounds will still find the book easy to read and follow. I first read this book when it was first published, and I occasionally refer back to it so I don't forget about all the great contributions made to computing. ... Read more

27. On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders
by Michael A. Banks
Hardcover: 200 Pages (2008-07-21)
list price: US$22.99 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1430208694
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders is an absorbing chronicle of the inventive, individualistic, and often cantankerous individuals who set the Internet free. Michael A. Banks describes how the online population created a new culture and turned a new frontier into their vision of the future.

This book will introduce you to the innovators who laid the foundation for the Internet and the World Wide Web, the man who invented online chat, and the people who invented the products all of us use online every day. Learn where, when, how and why the Internet came into being, and exactly what hundreds of thousands of people were doing online before the Web. See who was behind it all, and what inspired them.

You’ll also find these stories of people and events on the way to the Web:

  • CIA agents in search of military hardware for sale online.
  • The first online privacy scandal, three decades ago.
  • The first instance of online censorship in 1979
  • How in 1980 the FBI demanded the ID of a CompuServe user who tried to sell 3,000 M16 rifles online
  • Early con artists
  • Online romance scams
  • Identify theft
  • Who really created AOL. (Hint: it wasn’t Steve Case.)
  • The wireless Internet that was built in 1978.
  • Why the @ sign is used in email addresses.

Who is this book for?

On the Way to the Web is a book that will appeal to all readers, but one that computer enthusiasts will find especially interesting. Most readers will have played a part in the story it tells, and anyone who uses the Internet and Web on a day–to–day basis will find this book an absorbing read.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars A BetterAlternative
I have read only the first chapter of this book (available online) and am not impressed. If you're interested in a book that has morein it than (as another reviewer put it) "Some university guys in the 50s started networking military computers, then Compuserve and AOL figured out how to get people dialup, then the internet came." then I would like to highly recommend M Mitchell Waldrop's "The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal".

Waldrop's book, although purportedly about one man, is in fact a brilliantly done, "hard to put down", fascinating explication of the ideas, concepts, social interactions and people that built the world of computing and networking as we know it.Waldrop covers the what, when, where and more importantly, the who of the early days of computing - detailing not only the technologies but the personalities and social networks of those early days. Highly recommended for readers from the hard-core technologist, to the avid social-networker.Get it!

2-0 out of 5 stars Wait for Al Gore's version
Perhaps this is the"secret history of the internet" because the true history of the internet remains mostly a secret to the reader after finishing this book!

Banks spends a few pages sketching in a bare outline of the early technical roots of the internet in the ARPA/DARPA days, and does an OK job of tracking the history of bulletin boards and the early online giants CompuServe and AOL.But the threads start and remain unconnected in the history, so that my one-sentence summary of the book would read like this:

"Some university guys in the 50s started networking military computers, then Compuserve and AOL figured out how to get people dialup, then the internet came."

Interestingly, in a timeline in an appendix Banks does mention in very short list form some of the key integration points between the technology, business, and content that makes up the internet, but he never tells the full story of most of these!

Skip this one and wait for Al Gore's "How I did it" expose.

2-0 out of 5 stars Confusing, disorganized history of part of the Internet
Book Review:On the Way to the Web: The Secret History of the Internet and Its Founders by Michael A. Banks

I remember my first CompuServe experience back in the early 80s.We were living in Ohio and my uncle worked in Columbus for some computer company.He had his own computer, which was absolutely amazing to me.I was in middle school at the time and remember being allowed to use the TRS-80 in the administrative offices.The computers were cool and I was hooked.I could chat with girls who didn't take one look at me and walk away.

"On the Way to the Web" brought back a lot of memories about the early days of the Internet and on-line services. I'm not sure people who weren't involved in on-line computing during the 80s and 90s would have that same nostalgic smile. If hearing the words eWorld or AppleLink doesn't ring any bells then you probably wouldn't enjoy this book.Banks assumes you know these services and their place in online history, and more importantly, how their development was parallel to the development of the greater Internet.Having lived through this dramatic time in history I still found myself confused on the relationship between these services and the Internet.

The first few chapters are amazing, and effectively captured the headiness of those early days during the 1970s when TCP/IP was not preordained to be the preferred way of computers talking to each other.After commercial online services entered the scene, Banks focuses primarily on those services and their lineage.While online services were clearly important to get us where we are today, he tells the history in a dry and matter-of-fact manner without explaining what else was going on at the time. The level of detail he went into about how these services was over the top.The book is hard to follow because the author tells too many stories at once.I constantly had to refer to the appendix to review the timeline.I expected more about the people involved, rather than the competing companies and their online strategies.

Overall the book was an enjoyable trip down memory lane, but fails to explain how we got from the origins of the Internet to where we are today.

Pros:Nice historical overview of the Internet
Cons:Hard to follow

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Insight Into The History Of The Internet!
Michael A. Banks did a great job keeping me interested in reading about the beginning of the internet. The beginnings of the internet were in the government and the universities. When he talks about two universities communicating for the first time cross-country, I could not help but feel it was as monumental as the east railroad line meeting the west railroad line!

It was very interesting to see how some very good ideas failed miserably, while others flourished. The beginnings of community sites like Compuserve were truly the predecessor of many of our social networking sites today.

The in depth coverage of Billy von Meister kept me in suspense with each business venture he conjured up.Billy was truly a pioneering internet entrepreneurial spirit. He was quite an adventurer, and his flamboyant lifestyle went along with his spend, spend, spend business tactics.He was a visionary who knew how to acquire venture capital and how to build a business from ground up. I enjoyed reading about it.

Who doesn't remember getting those AOL floppy disks in their mail?? Although I was never a member, it wasn't hard to see the impact of AOL on my friends and the world at large who were members.While I was busy plunking out COBOL II code on a mainframe at work, my friends were enjoying the ease of use and communities of AOL.

The interactivity available via the internet seemed to take many by surprise in the early days, but not anymore. Today, the best sites provide plenty of engaging interactivity (like this one, letting me give a review that all the world can see!). This book was really engaging to read, I recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Historical Perspective
This book is in the same vein as the Hackers book by Steven Levy (Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution).For a lot of people, this is a peek under the covers during what a few lived through.This peek gives the backgrounds and some of the ins and outs of what happened during the very heady days of "home-based" internet access.

Being an early user of the internet myself (I had a university account in the mid-80's), and a user of CompuServe, Prodigy, and various BBS's, this was quite the trip down memory lane and explains why they did not survive. ... Read more

28. Journey to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Guidance Computer (Library of Flight Series)
by Eldon C. Hall
 Paperback: 196 Pages (1996-09)
list price: US$58.95 -- used & new: US$40.46
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Asin: 156347185X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first of its kind, Journey to the Moon details the history and design of the computer that enabled U.S. astronauts to land on the moon. In describing the evolution of the Apollo Guidance Computer, Mr. Hall contends that the development of the Apollo computer supported and motivated the semiconductor industry during a period of time when integrated circuits were just emerging. This was the period just before the electronics revolution that gave birth to modern computers.

In addition, the book recalls the history of computer technology, both hardware and software, and the applications of digital computing to missile guidance systems and manned spacecraft. The book also offers graphics and photos drawn from the Draper Laboratories' archives that illustrate the technology and related events during the Apollo project.

Written for experts as well as lay persons, Journey to the Moon is the first book of its kind and a must for anyone interested in the history of science and the relevance of computer technology to space exploration. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Story of an Amazing Acheivement
The book presents a close-up look at the challenges of devising new and novel technological solutions from the unique perspective of a person who was there when it was happening. The stories of some of the people behind the innovations provide a rare glimpse into the thinking and personalities of the engineers involved with the development of the AGC, and the descriptions of the interactions between NASA and the engineers at MIT offer some unique insights into the dynamics of how space missions really happen.

Computer technology has changed dramatically since the days of Apollo, and that change is due in large part to the Apollo program. Comparing the photographs of the prototype systems for the AGC to the package that actually flew on the spacecraft gives new meaning to word "amazing". The software that ran on the AGC was also a stunning feat in and of itself. The AGC utilized real-time multi-tasking before it was even a commonly accepted approach in the software industry (and it's now a standard feature of every cell phone and MP3 player).

The text is well-written and easily accessible, with enough details to keep the more technical minded reader interested. As someone who stood on a hill behind his house in Florida as a kid and watched the Saturn V rockets disappear over the horizon, stayed up late to watch Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the moon, and then later ended up working in the aerospace industry, this book has a special meaning for me. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good
Are you kidding with the price of this thing ? I mean are you kidding?

4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is an excellent book full of interesting detail, photos and diagrams. Anyone interested in the Apollo project is likely to enjoy this book.

While not inexpensive, I felt the price was reasonable for a specialty book; in addition to my copy I purchased one as a gift.

Although this book focuses specifically on the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer, as a byproduct it provides a fascinating look at the development of computers at a time when the industry was experiencing rapid growth and development as the integrated circuit - now both ubiquitous and unremarkable - was just making its revolutionary debut as what would become the basis for virtually all modern electronic devices.

My only disappointment with this book is that it deals exclusively with hardware, software and - in general - things. One suspects that there is a parallel story to be told about the people, the personalities, the conflicts and the emotions that went with this project.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for geeks!
As a high-school then college student during the development of the Apollo missions, I found the book very interesting.In 1967, our senior class math teacher took us to Bowling Green State University to learn how to program BGSU's new IBM 360 computer using Fortran and punch cards.I designed a small computer the year before that could count from 0 to 7 as a science fair project, so the details on how they selected components for the Apollo computers was very interesting.During my senior year in high school, using my new knowledge of computers, I designed and built a computer that computed poker odds using just diode arrays, so the construction techniques used to develop the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) was even more interesting.I watched Apollo 11 land on the moon on my 20th birthday on July 20th, 1969, so I have always had an interest in that great program.It depicts admirably what this country can do when challenged.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
A great read. I couldn't put it down. Technical enough to engage the scientifically savvy. Humorous and personal too. A must for those interested in how we became surrounded by computers in our daily lives. ... Read more

29. A History of the Personal Computer: The People and the Technology
by Roy A. Allan
Paperback: 528 Pages (2001-10-03)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$25.92
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Asin: 0968910807
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This book is an exciting history of the personal computer revolution. Early personal computing, the "first" personal computer, invention of the micrprocessor at Intel and the first microcomputer are detailed. It also traces the evolution of the personal computer from the software hacker, to its use as a consumer appliance on the Internet. This is the only book that provides such comprehensive coverage. It not only describes the hardware and software, but also the companies and people who made it happen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars You don't actually want this book.
You want "A History of Modern Computing" by Paul Ceruzzi. THAT is a good book on the same subject. Buy that instead. And "Hackers" by Steven Levy.

This one has the literary quality of a high school assignment. It is even printed in fixed font. Seems to be self-published; I'd bet many publishers rejected this. With good reason.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice summary of a huge field
So short a time. Seems like yesterday when Jobs and Wozniak kicked off Apple Computer in 1977. Or, just two years earlier, when Gates and Allen started Microsoft in New Mexico, before moving it to Seattle. The field has come so far. Now larger than mainframes. And Microsoft and Intel having larger market caps than IBM, who gave them the crucial original contracts for the IBM PC in the early 80s.

All these are discussed in this timely book. Though actually, it also mentions efforts in personal computing that predate Microsoft and Apple. Often ignored in other accounts. Which shows the good level of research done by the author. Of course, other companies, like Compaq and Dell, get a mention. Plus, influential magazines like the late Byte and the ongoing Wired.

You might find this book useful for its sweep and the ability to explain the gist of computing concepts clearly to a layman. It's not really a technical computing book. The emphasis is more on describing the significance of the main events, as would be seen by a historian. ... Read more

30. Bit by Bit: An Illustrated History of Computers
by Stan Augarten
 Paperback: 324 Pages (1984-11)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$79.00
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Asin: 0899193021
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice to read, insightful and greatly illustrated
The book is great. a great part of it is devoted to precomputers. I mean, calculating machines. But nevertheless it is very enjoyable. You'll learn a lot from it. The photographs are very nice. And there are lots of them: there is no single pair of pages without a photograph. The style is careful, and well organized. There are plenty of data and curious facts about the history of computers.

Highly recommended. It is a pity you can find it only in the second hand market.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Excellant Addition
Aside from only briefly mentioning Englands EDSAC (as is the case with most non English accounts), this was a nice and entertaining read. Not only detailing the Computers themselves but the inventers, designers, craftsmen, and engineers of the machines. Technical enough to keep those who want it content, but written understandably for those who may not be so technically inclined.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful look into the history of computers
Without a doubt one of the best books on the history of computers that I've ever read.The author tells not only the story of the machines themselves, but also of the people who built them and why they followed the paths they did.

The photos and illustrations really bring the story to life; now you can actually see what these machines and people looked like!

5-0 out of 5 stars Besides an Illustrated History, an Enjoyable One
A good source of data for those who want to know how the Industry of Computers began. If you want to understand why the Computer Science changed the world, and if you'd like to speak as an expert in all those fantasticwords of the luckiest people on the 50's, 60's, 70's and even the 80's whohad the opportunity to grow and deal with this technology, and feel howthese people had to accept new windows-know-it-all-users with little ornone at all knowledge about programming and other related training andlong-time-consuming-hard-to-learn skills, you must read this book. Then,I'm sure, you'll know what I mean.

5-0 out of 5 stars Besides an Illustrated History, an Enjoyable One
A good source of data for those who want to know how the Industry of Computers began. If you want to understand why the Computer Science changed the world, and if you'd like to speak as an expert in all those fantasticwords of the luckiest people on the 50's, 60's, 70's and even the 80's whohad the opportunity to grow and deal with this technology, and feel howthese people had to accept new windows-know-it-all-users with little ornone at all knowledge about programming and other related training andlong-time-consuming-hard-to-learn skills, you must read this book. Then,I'm sure, you'll know what I mean. ... Read more

31. A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention of Programming (History of Computing)
by Peter Mark Priestley
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2011-04-28)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$85.05
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Asin: 1848825544
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The computer is frequently characterized as a revolutionary device whose widespread adoption has lead to significant changes in many areas of society. In most cases, however, these changes are attributable not solely to computing hardware but also to the software that runs on it, software which defines both the information that is being dealt with and the ways in which it can be processed. These processes are described in programming languages, and the characteristics of programming languages affect the production of software in many ways.

Rather than concentrating on the description of individual languages and the production of taxonomies of languages, A Science of Operations presents a more general account of the development of theoretical ideas about programming and the way in which these ideas became embodied in particular languages. The book draws on this account to offer an explanation of certain well-known features of the history of programming, such as the success of the structured programming movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and the subsequent popularity of the object-oriented approach.

The text places particular emphasis on the relationship between programming languages and mathematical logic, arguing that logic played a significant role in providing a theoretical framework within which programming language development could take place. This is explored further in the historical context of the widespread introduction of mechanization dating from the early days of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century.

The book integrates this concern with long-range historical context with detailed discussion of certain significant technical developments. This dual perspective permits technical innovation to be depicted as a contingent and experimental process, and not simply one in which theoretical results are applied in practice. It also offers the possibility of providing substantive explanations of the fine detail of these innovations.

A Science of Operations will be of interest not only to professional historians but also to computing professionals who wish to gain a broader perspective on the development of programming. It is informed by current approaches to the historiography of computing, but is written in an accessible manner and does not assume familiarity with the existing literature. It could serve as a textbook for a course on the development of programming languages, and also provides an unusual perspective on the early development of the computer.

... Read more

32. Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web
by Daniel Cohen, Roy Rosenzweig
Paperback: 328 Pages (2005-08-30)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$27.72
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Asin: 0812219236
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web provides for the first time a plainspoken and thorough introduction to the web for historians--teachers and students, archivists and museum curators, professors as well as amateur enthusiasts--who wish to produce online historical work or to build upon and improve the projects they have already started in this important new medium.

The book takes the reader step by step through planning a project, understanding the technologies involved and how to choose the appropriate ones, designing a site that is both easy to use and scholarly, digitizing materials in a way that makes them web-friendly while preserving their historical integrity, and reaching and responding to an intended audience effectively. It also explores the repercussions of copyright law and fair use for scholars in a digital age and examines more cutting-edge web techniques involving interactivity, such as sites that use the medium to solicit and collect historical artifacts. Finally, the book provides basic guidance for ensuring that the digital history the reader creates will not disappear in a few years. Throughout, Digital History maintains a realistic sense of the advantages and disadvantages of putting historical documents, interpretations, and discussions online.

The authors write in a tone that makes Digital History accessible to those with little knowledge of computers, while including a host of details that more technically savvy readers will find helpful. And although the book focuses particularly on historians, those working in related fields in the humanities and social sciences will also find this to be a useful introduction. Digital History builds upon more than a decade of experience and expertise in creating pioneering and award-winning work by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Digital history - indispensable, yet a good read

Practical. comprehensive,philosophical guide for any web user.This book is extensively annotated and illustrated - Deft and witty, it isa boon to academics and the restof us in understanding the revolution to the way we think about framing our world, it's past and present and preserving it in digital form accurately efficiently and cheaply.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and amusing
A remarkable mix of history and "xml", presented with a readable and often amusing text. The "screenshot" examples were very helpful. ... Read more

33. Digital Art History (Intellect Books - Computers and the History of Art)
Paperback: 100 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$40.00 -- used & new: US$29.90
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Asin: 1841501166
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This book looks at the transformation that Art and Art history is undergoing through engagement with the digital revolution. Since its initiation in 1985, CHArt (Computers and the History of Art) has set out to promote interaction between the rapidly developing new Information Technology and the study and practice of Art. It has become increasingly clear in recent years that this interaction has led, not just to the provision of new tools for the carrying out of existing practices, but to the evolution of unprecedented activities and modes of thought.

This collection of papers represents the variety, innovation and richness of significant presentations made at the CHArt Conferences of 2001 and 2002. Some show new methods of teaching being employed, making clear in particular the huge advantages that IT can provide for engaging students in learning and interactive discussion. It also shows how much is to be gained from the flexibility of the digital image – or could be gained if the road block of copyright is finally overcome. Others look at the impact on collections and archives, showing exciting ways of using computers to make available information about collections and archives and to provide new accessibility to archives. The way such material can now be accessed via the internet has revolutionized the search methods of scholars, but it has also made information available to all. However the internet is not only about access. Some papers here show how it also offers the opportunity of exploring the structure of images and dealing with the fascinating possibilities offered by digitisation for visual analysis, searching and reconstruction. Another challenging aspect covered here are the possibilities offered by digital media for new art forms. One point that emerges is that digital art is not some discreet practice, separated from other art forms. It is rather an approach that can involve all manner of association with both other art practices and with other forms of presentation and enquiry, demonstrating that we are witnessing a revolution that affects all our activities and not one that simply leads to the establishment of a new discipline to set alongside others.
... Read more

34. The Government Machine: A Revolutionary History of the Computer (History of Computing)
by Jon Agar
Hardcover: 564 Pages (2003-10-01)
list price: US$52.00 -- used & new: US$8.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0262012022
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Government Machine, Jon Agar traces the mechanization of government work in the United Kingdom from the nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. He argues that this transformation has been tied to the rise of "expert movements," groups whose authority has rested on their expertise. The deployment of machines was an attempt to gain control over state action -- a revolutionary move. Agar shows how mechanization followed the popular depiction of government as machine-like, with British civil servants cast as components of a general purpose "government machine"; indeed, he argues that today's general purpose computer is the apotheosis of the civil servant.Over the course of two centuries, government has become the major repository and user of information; the Civil Service itself can be seen as an information-processing entity. Agar argues that the changing capacities of government have depended on the implementation of new technologies, and that the adoption of new technologies has depended on a vision of government and a fundamental model of organization. Thus, to study the history of technology is to study the state, and vice versa. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars government => information processing
Agar takes the computer and more broadly information technology, and uses this as a means of viewing the development of the British government in the last 2 hundred years. Why British? Because Britain started the Industrial Revolution, and hence it has the longest historical involvement with modern technology.

The core theme of the book is to imagine the British government as an evolving information processing entity. Agar takes this viewpoint and derives considerable useful analysis from it. There is perhaps nothing earthshaking in the results. After all, you already know that governments are vast gatherers and processors of information. But the overall picture is still a useful new vantage from which to understand any modern government. ... Read more

35. Moving Targets: Elliott-Automation and the Dawn of the Computer Age in Britain, 194767 (History of Computing)
by Simon Lavington
Hardcover: 300 Pages (2011-03-07)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$79.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848829329
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This book charts the take-up of IT in Britain, as seen through the eyes of one company. It examines how the dawn of the digital computer age in Britain took place for different applications, from early government-sponsored work on secret defence projects, to the growth of the market for Elliott computers for civil applications. Features: charts the establishment of Elliott’s Borehamwood Research Laboratories, and the roles played by John Coales and Leon Bagrit; examines early Elliott digital computers designed for classified military applications and for GCHQ; describes the analogue computers developed by Elliott-Automation; reviews the development of the first commercial Elliot computers and the growth of applications in industrial automation; includes a history of airborne computers by a former director of Elliott Flight Automation; discusses the computer architectures and systems software for Elliott computers; investigates the mergers, takeovers and eventual closure of the Borehamwood laboratories. ... Read more

36. Makin' Numbers: Howard Aiken and the Computer (History of Computing)
Hardcover: 320 Pages (1999-06-04)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$7.34
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Asin: 0262032635
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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with the cooperation of Robert V. D. Campbell

This collection of technical essays and reminiscences is a companionvolume to I. Bernard Cohen's biography, Howard Aiken: Portrait of aComputer Pioneer. After an overview by Cohen, Part I presents thefirst complete publication of Aiken's 1937 proposal for an automaticcalculating machine, which was later realized as the Mark I, as well asrecollections of Aiken's first two machines by the chief engineer incharge of construction of Mark II, Robert Campbell, and the principalprogrammer of Mark I, Richard Bloch. Henry Tropp describes Aiken'shostility to the exclusive use of binary numbers in computationalsystems and his alternative approach.

Part II contains essays on Aiken's administrative and teaching styles byformer students Frederick Brooks and Peter Calingaert and an essay byGregory Welch on the difficulties Aiken faced in establishing a computerscience program at Harvard. Part III contains recollections by peoplewho worked or studied with Aiken, including Richard Bloch, Grace Hopper,Anthony Oettinger, and Maurice Wilkes. Henry Tropp provides excerptsfrom an interview conducted just before Aiken's death. Part IV gathersthe most significant of Aiken's own writings. The appendixes give thespecs of Aiken's machines and list his doctoral students and the topicsof their dissertations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delightful!
This is just a SUPER book! There are great photos of Mks I, II, III, and IV and of their componants, great material on Aiken, and this book imparts a lot of the feeling of the time. You get the feeling that if you werethere, in Aiken's shoes, you'd have done things the same way - there werereasons for the use of relays as basic computing elements for instance.There's a great chapter by Grace Hopper, "Why The Mark I Is MyFavorite Computer" and chapters on construction, programing, and soon. The book makes clear that Aiken was a man who believed in rolling uphis sleeves and building a working machine that could be used, rather than,like Charles Babbage, just dreaming and never getting anything built. Thismade all the difference in the world; keep in mind that Babbage was thelast person to try building a large general purpose calculator, and hisfailure kept the whole field in stasis for close to a hundred years. Aikenhad a score to settle, and he settled it all right. ... Read more

37. Doing History: Research and Writing in the Digital Age
by Michael J. Galgano, J. Chris Arndt, Raymond M. Hyser
Paperback: 208 Pages (2007-05-23)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$21.99
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Asin: 0534619533
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Whether you're starting down the path as a history major, or simply looking for a straightforward and systematic guide to writing a successful paper, you'll find this text to be an indispensable handbook to historical research. This text's "soup to nuts" approach to researching and writing about history addresses every step of the process, from locating your sources and gathering information, to writing clearly and making proper use of various citation styles to avoid plagiarism. You'll also learn how to make the most of every tool available to you-especially the technology that helps you conduct the process efficiently and effectively. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery
I needed this book for a class. It was delivered very quickly and in great condition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Used it for class...
It is very informative. I would recommend reading this for any person that a history major. ... Read more

38. Priming the Pump: How TRS-80 Enthusiasts Helped Spark the PC Revolution
by David Welsh, Theresa Welsh
Paperback: 348 Pages (2007-05-21)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$22.95
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Asin: 0979346800
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Priming the Pump: How TRS-80 Microcomputer Enthusiasts Helped Spark the PC Revolution by David Welsh and Theresa Welsh takes you back to the largely unknown origins of personal computing. Personal computers grew out of a hobbyist movement in the 1970s, as some began experimenting with the new microchips, building their own computers. Kit computers appeared, available from small mail order companies, but the computer that brought a wider audience to personal computing was the TRS-80 Model I, introduced by Tandy Corporation in August 1977. It was the first complete mass market, off-the-shelf microcomputer that anyone could buy for $599.95. And it was available at 3500 Radio Shack stores nationwide.

Introduction of the TRS-80 meant, for the first time, anyone could experiment with software and affordably use word processing, spreadsheets, accounting, database and other applications... except for one thing: there weren't any programs. So, of necessity, new computer owners became programmers, and enterprising individuals working in basements and garages created the software everyone wanted. Many of them had never done any programming before.

The authors were part of a community of entrepreneurs who sold software for the TRS-80. Besides telling their own story, they also collected stories from key innovators from that era, including some who had never been interviewed before about their contributions to computing. The technology that originated with these amazing microcomputer pioneers went on to change life in fundamental ways and their stories are the heart of this book.There were programmers who created fabulous games like Dancing Demon, Microchess, Oregon Trail and the Scott Adams Adventures; there were rivals who created five different Disk Operating Systems for the TRS-80 and one man's fight with Tandy over who owned the code; there were scam artists who offered products that were too good to be true, and brilliant visionaries who were first with software features later "invented" by big companies with more money but not more talent.

The authors relate how Don French, a computer hobbyist who worked for Radio Shack at the time, suggested to his bosses that they capitalize on the latest craze, home-built computers. Radio Shack took a chance and hired young Steve Leininger away from Silicon Valley and told him to build a machine they could sell cheap. Working alone in an old saddle factory in Fort Worth, he built the first TRS-80; its total development costs were less than $150,000.

Author David Welsh was one of those self-taught computer-buyer/programmers. He created a word processor, Lazy Writer, and, working with his wife Theresa, sold copies worldwide to enthusiastic fans who were eager to ditch their typewriters. This was before Microsoft was a household word, when software was new and exciting and everyone was learning. Software generally had only one author, and programmers were proud of their work; some became stars. David and Thesesa Welsh, who lived through it all, have captured the defining moments and excitement of this era, with the untold stories from the microcomputer pioneers whose efforts and love for their "trash-80" helped spark the PC revolution that followed. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read
Having worked for Radio Shack Repair from the late 70s through the 80s and buying my 1st computer (a model III), the book brought back a lot of good memories. Sharing programs/info., learning Basic, writing a few useful programs, learning a little assembly language from my brother-in-law who was a programmer at Data Point.

I enjoyed learning more about what was going on behind the scenes.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this book, polish or not
I enjoyed this book thoroughly, read it cover-to-cover. It would be a shame to focus on whether this book has enough "polish". If you are interested in this topic, I encourage you to check it out. The writing is clean and easy, and I tore through the book with no problem. There are wonderful photographs and reproductions of old TRS-80 ads. The story is really about not only the TRS-80, but the early microcomputer movement, and how it was overtaken by the PC revolution. It's also a personal story of a self-taught programmer and husband-wife entrepreneur team. I am so glad this book was written, because this is an important and entertaining story. I can only hope that someone will do something similar for the TRS-80 Color Computer, which was the machine I grew up on and put myself through college with.

3-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into the world of micro computing from a professional who was there from the begining.
This book offers a first hand account of a family that was involved in Software development for Tandy's TRS-80.The love these users have for the "Trash 80" comes through in these pages.This book painstakingly chronicles the rise and fall of the micro computing industry in the heady days before the PC rose to prominence.

The story is interesting, but I felt this book could have stood a little editing.There were several places where I would skim through a few pages to get past the description of interpersonal turmoil to get back to the "interesting" bits.This book was obviously a labor of love, so I feel bad criticizing it, but I was hoping for more of a straight up "history of the TRS-80" and analysis of the business of micro computing and what I got was more of a story about entrepreneurship.

Still if you are curious about what it was like to develop software for the TRS-80 this book contains a lot of gems.

4-0 out of 5 stars Heady Times & Lost Legends
Oh, the memories. This is a book that you can judge by its cover; doesn't it remind you of something you'd see in the hobby book section of a Radio Shack circa 1980, sandwiched in between the SAMS photofacts books and ham radio antenna guides? "Priming The Pump" is a very personal recollection of early microcomputer history, more along the lines of Stan Veit's "History Of The Personal Computer" than Brian Bagnall's journalistic "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise And Fall Of Commodore" (both great reading.)

Put briefly, David & Theresa Welsh's book is exactly how I remember the glory days of 8-bit microcomputers. For those who weren't there, these "Wonder Years" of personal computing were a hobbyist renaissance of Edisonian proportions, full of wonder and small-community values, laced with inventiveness and packed with more than a bit of 60's idealism. So empowering was the concept of having a privately-owned personal computer, that only a few years after the Big Three (Apple, Commodore & Radio Shack) first hit the shelves, universities in the U.S. experienced an explosion of new computer science majors that has not been equaled since.

"Priming The Pump" picks up where John Markoff's "What The Dormouse Said" leaves off - and if you enjoy this type of history, these two books are ones you should read before moving on to what has since become the Revealed Truth of the Silicon Valley, Robert X. Cringely's "Accidental Empires" (and from there, pretty much every biopic involving Steve Jobs and/or Bill Gates.) This is not that book.

What David and Theresa have done is write the Rest Of The Story viewed through Tandy glasses, and a very personal pair at that - a story of entrepreneurship, early technology and background on most of the major individual contributors from the TRS-80 days whose history has been nothing short of opaque despite being quite possibly the world's most popular home computer up until the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981. Here, for the first time in print, Steve Leininger (The TRS-80's Steve Wozniak) and Randy Cook (its Gary Kildall) get their due. What, you haven't heard of these guys? Chuck Peddle (inventor of the Commodore 64) gets his due in Brian Bagnall's book - and, like Leininger and Cook, the reason these guys aren't household names is because their parent companies were rather faceless as opposed to being cults of personality emerging from a garage. Today, only Apple is left among the original members of this garage cult, and as the sole company remaining we should appreciate that there were once many voices, equally fresh and innovative in their day.

While writing the book was an 8-year labor of love for the authors, reading the book is similar - it's so "you are there" personal that it's akin to reading Bill Bryson's "Thunderbolt Kid" if Bill had become a TRS-80 programmer. But if you weren't there, you're going to be at odds with the lack of journalistic distance with which the book is written. The Welshes are not writing from a Voice Of God 3rd-person perspective here - this is more like Beat journalism, where you are down in the trenches at the West Coast Computer Faire once again, dealing with crappy distribution, Empyrean magazine publishers (Wayne Green!) and larger-than-life mini companies (Adventure International, Micro Systems Software, etc.) along with the nightmare of being new parents trying to make ends meet.

With this in mind, the only information I would have added - LNW Research, where art thou? LNW, the Cadillac of TRS-80 clone makers and kit-builders, is mentioned only in passing despite sharing the stage with Logical Systems (of LDOS and Lobo MAX-80 fame), the only significant 3rd-party hardware companies to orbit Tandy's solar system.

A fantastic, if sentimental, read!

1-0 out of 5 stars Some Good Information, but lacks polish
If you are a die-hard fan of the history of microcomputers, then this book may be worth your time. Personally, I found it to be poorly written, and lacking any polish.

Typos, missing articles, inconsistencies, repetition, and difficult to read passages are the norm.There are some good stories, but they are not well-told.

The authors mention that they did quite a bit of freelance writing to support themselves.You would never know it by looking critically at what they have written.

I finally gave up and moved on to another book in my reading pile. ... Read more

39. Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer (History of Computing)
by Maurice V. Wilkes
Hardcover: 200 Pages (1985-09-04)
list price: US$40.00
Isbn: 0262231220
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Maurice Wilkes was one of the leading scientific explorers in the development of the modern digital computer. He directed the Mathematical Laboratory (later named the Computer Laboratory) at Cambridge University, where he and his team built the EDSAC, the first stored program digital computer to go into service.Wilkes describes in nontechnical detail the growth of EDSAC and its successor, EDSAC 2, his introduction of microprogramming, and the first experiments with time-sharing systems. In the 1950s, when machines were still getting larger rather than smaller, Wilkes was one of the few who foresaw a time when nonspecialists would be using computers almost universally, and he reviews his anticipatory efforts to develop simple programming systems. But his book is more than a history of computing, it also recounts the allied scientific effort when he was one of those scientists and engineers ("boffins" as they were called by the RAF) who were in the thick of it, his electronics skills enlisted in the new and exciting development of radar.In this absorbing autobiography, Wilkes is as concerned with people and places as he is with computer components and programs of development. He deftly sketches his childhood in the English midlands and his student days at Cambridge where he studied mathematical physics, and his boyhood fascination with radio matured. He conveys the excitement of sudden insights and long-sought breakthroughs against life's simpler pleasures and trials. His account brims with assessments and anecdotes of such contemporaries as Turing, Hartree, von Neumann, Aiken, and a dozen others. And with his impressions of America and Germany formed during his scientific journeys.Maurice Wilkes retired from his post at Cambridge University in 1980, when he became a Senior Consulting Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts and Adjunct Professor at MIT.Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer is included in the History of Computing series, edited by I. Bernard Cohen and William Aspray. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars he helped develop radar
Wilkes' biography is interesting not just because he was one of the early computer pioneers. At a time when a computer was a person who used an electromechanical calculator, and not a machine that did computations. He also gives us a view into Britain of the 1930s and 40s.

Above all, of being involved in the development of radar. His experiences as one of the boffins during World War 2 makes good reading. He explains the life and death technical issues involved in developing radar and continually improving it. Until the US entered the war and the MIT Radar Lab took over most of the Allied radar effort, he and others in Britain were the front line of radar engineering.

After the war, we see how he was involved with seminal ideas like microprogramming. These helped him win a Turing Award. ... Read more

40. The Analogue Alternative: The Electronic Analogue Computer in Britain and the USA, 1930-1975 (Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine)
by James S. Small
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2001-11-16)
list price: US$190.00 -- used & new: US$170.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0415271193
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
From the late 1940's to the 1970's, analogue technology was seen as a genuine alternative to the digital computer, and the two competing approaches ran parallel with each other. The Analogue Alternative describes and analyzes the development, commericalization and ultimate decline of the electronic analogue computer in the USA and Britain. ... Read more

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