By Robert X. Cringely
Machine production is--after automobiles, power creation and unlawful drugs--the greatest on the planet, and it is one of many final nice luck tales in American company. unintended Empires is the trenchant, greatly readable background of that undefined, focusing as a lot at the astoundingly strange personalities at its core--Steve Jobs, invoice Gates, Mitch Kapor, and so on. and the hacker tradition they spawned because it does at the extraordinary know-how they created. Cringely unearths the manias and foibles of those males (they are continuously males) with deadpan hilarity and cogently demonstrates how their neuroses have formed the pc company. yet Cringely provides us even more than high-tech voyeurism and insider gossip. From the start of the transistor to the mid-life situation of the pc undefined, he spins a sweeping, uniquely American saga of creativity and ego that's right now uproarious, surprising and encouraging.
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Extra resources for Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date
They wear shorts and sandals in the winter and T-shirts all the time. Nerds are neat little anal-retentive men with penchants for short-sleeved shirts and pocket protectors. Nerds carry calculators; hippies borrow calculators. Nerds use decongestant nasal sprays; hippies snort cocaine. Nerds typically know forty-six different ways to make love but don't know any women. THE TYRANNY OF THE NORMAL DISTRIBUTION Hippies know women. In the actual doing of that voodoo that they do so well, there's a major difference, too, in the way that hippies and nerds write computer programs.
The magnetic tape cassette was invented by Phillips for dictation machines, but we use it to hear music on Sony Walkmans. Telephones went the other direction, since Alexander Graham Bell first envisioned his invention being used to pipe music to remote groups of people. The point is that all these technologies found their greatest success being used in ways other than were originally expected. That's what will happen with personal computers too. Fifteen years from now, we won't be able to function without some sort of machine with a microprocessor andmemory inside.
Hippies tend to do the right things poorly; nerds tend to do the wrong things well. Hippie program mers are very good at getting a sense of the correct shape of a problem and how to solve it, but when it comes to the actual code writing, they can get sloppy and make major errors through pure boredom. For hippie programmers, the problem is solved when they've figured out how to solve it rather than later, when the work is finished and the problem no longer exists. Hippies live in a world of ideas.