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What Just Happened: A Chronicle from the Information Frontier

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  155 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Here's some of what just happened: Millions of ordinary, sensible people came into possession of computers. These machines had wondrous powers, yet made unexpected demands on their owners. Telephones broke free of the chains that had shackled them to bedside tables and office desks. No one was out of touch, or wanted to be out of touch. Instant communication became a birth ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Pantheon (first published 2002)
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Chris Walker
Apr 05, 2013 Chris Walker rated it liked it
If your house is anything like mine it is filled with the detritus of the last couple of decades of evolving technology. What to do with all these cables, power adapters, disks and old handhelds now? Just imagine how much of this stuff sits in landfills. If you've been along for the ride, this book will recall to you long forgotten technologies like Lotus and WordPerfect and the excitement of the transition to Word for Windows. What to do with Powerpoint? Oh well, it was part of the package. How ...more
Sujeet
Sep 07, 2014 Sujeet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Santa: "Check out my latest mobile phone. Samrola MI47. I bought it yesterday."

Banta: "Oh that model is obsolete, now. Samrola has launched MI48 today morning."

Pappu: "Old news again. Samrola has declared bankruptcy 5 minutes ago and stopped the sales and support of MI series phone."

Well, this might sound little exaggerated now. But wait for few more years.

The technology and business world is changing so fast, that even now a year looks a long long time.
Most of the essays that appear in this b
...more
Andrew Martin
apparently i went to college a full year before wi-fi existed? and smartphones were still just a fantasy? wild.

anticipates: big data, internet of things, pervasive mobile computing, mobile payments/digital money

misses: social/facebook/twitter. robotics/mass customization. the cloud/network storage.

somewhere in between: reading essays on the state of technology in '99 made me acutely aware of differential uptake across different parts of the economy. we're way ahead of where he thought we would b
...more
Groot
Feb 01, 2016 Groot rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
One of my favorite authors, Gleick likes the 10,000 ft. view of technology, and describes it from a historical perspective, focusing on the people involved, how they uniquely grokked some aspect, and won over the geekhood. This book details information qua information, demarcated from its semantic component, and not shying away from that demarcation. Another romp through Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems, Shannon's Information Theory, the failure of every one of Hilbert's challenges, and the usual ...more
Craig Vermeer
Oct 26, 2015 Craig Vermeer rated it really liked it
Most of these essays were written in the mid to late 90's, so reading it in 2015 is fun because you can see where he guesses right and where he gets things wrong. Mostly, he guesses correctly.
Jonathan
Mar 19, 2009 Jonathan rated it it was ok
It certainly doesn't present any useful new information, but it's an interesting commentary on how we got here today, how obsessed we as a society are with instant gratification from our technology, and how we need everything NOW!

If anything, it made me reflect and appreciate life a little more in the pre cellphone/text/twitter/blog/internet/next-day-air days. Not a bad thing, but not an entirely compelling read, and nothing I'd go out of my way to read again.
Leslie
Jan 06, 2012 Leslie rated it really liked it
In addition to being very informative, this book, ten years after its publication, is also an unintentionally humorous look at the era when the following were new: Microsoft Word, Windows 95, DSL, amazon one-click, web crawlers, gps navigation, "pocket computers," wifi, and Bluetooth. It is also fun to reminisce back to those "simpler" times.
Stephanie
Apr 18, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
this made me feel a little old, as i still remember the "old days" of the internet, when i needed a little cheat notebook of commands to navigate - it's amazing to realize how long ago that was, and to take a little trip down memory lane. I got this one from the library as i was ordering The Information, which is next on my list :)
Joshua
Jul 23, 2013 Joshua rated it liked it
Shelves: culture
A really interesting an amusingly nostalgic look at how information and communication technology developed so rapidly in the 90s. It's a collection of Gleick's articles written from 1994 to 2001, at each step examining what was going on in that moment and looking forward to what may or may not be right around the corner.
Adih Respati
Gleick wrote his own IT-related experiences and overgeneralized them as shared societal behaviors (30 essays of them). His arguments are weak, and his humors aren't ticklish. His last essay, Inescapably Connected is nevertheless quite entertaining --and true.
Amber
Feb 04, 2012 Amber rated it liked it
Pretty interesting even though it's about ten years out of date. I was too young to pay attention to or understand most of the technologies that were groundbreaking then but that we take for granted now.
Lester
Jul 30, 2011 Lester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of essays from Gleick. He writes well (Chaos is worth a read) and this collection makes one realise just how rapidly the digital age is passing by.
Alan Fricker
Nov 29, 2012 Alan Fricker rated it really liked it
Intereing to look back on these tech journalism pieces from James Gleick. Internet companies are soon gone and things soon change.
CD
Sep 29, 2012 CD added it
Another box of books being sorted, and this one goes back on the shelf!

Needs to be re-read before a rating or review.
Mark
Jun 23, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Enjoyable trip down (recent!) memory lane. Some is remarkably dated for only ten years old...
Steve
Mar 30, 2008 Steve rated it did not like it
Granted I read this book a few years late, but I thought it was horribly dated and irrelevant.
Al Menaster
Nov 18, 2013 Al Menaster rated it it was ok
Good stuff; in the 90s. Lots of interesting stuff from back then, but sadly dated today.
Doug
Mar 10, 2013 Doug rated it liked it
Gleick's a giant among science writers. Not his best work, but interesting.
Nicko Place
Dec 29, 2010 Nicko Place rated it really liked it

A time capsule now, of the dot com bubble. But a fun read.
aldo zirsov
Aug 24, 2009 aldo zirsov rated it liked it
Shelves: science
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James Gleick (born August 1, 1954) is an American author, journalist, and biographer, whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. Three of these books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and they have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Born in New York City, USA, Gleick attended Harvard College, graduating in 1976 with a degree in
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