What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry
Now a few drawbacks: The book is a little hard to follow because there were so many players. I really wanted to know ...more
The author wrote this in the same way in which I often write my essays: I start with a preconceived conclusion and generally try to shoehorn the rest of my essay into it, despite reality differing a little from what I though.
The rise of computers was undoubtedly parallel with the rise of the drug culture and the New Left, and many of the first computer scientists were active participants in these movements; however, it seems that by the author's sporadic intermingling of these separate events,...more
The book attempts to tie together nerdie engineers with counterculture LSD druggies with free love types with antiwar activists with students with hackers and the mix is considerably hard to pull off, even for a writer as accomplished as ...more
The book follows the careers of many individuals who made computing what it is today. Foremost among them is Doug Engelbart, the epitome of the Idealist Engineer, who wanted to make the world a better place. He focused on increasing human potential, and was a significant player in ...more
The book is a history of technology and how the seminal figures of that period interacted with culture, but it didn't show me how society "shaped" the industry, as much as the industry just came together during that time. The central premise was supposed to be how the 60s were integral to the direction of the PC industry, but I didn't get the feeling that the PC industry wouldn't h ...more
Markoff is a great writer and will introduce you to the brilliant and interesting folks. You will learn of the philosophical division of computing improving our lives or replacing us. This and many other threads are still driving us (no pun intended!).
We stand on their shoulders - take the time to learn about them, and in turn about us.
If you have *anything* to do with technology, or want to read this book. Cannot recommend it enough.
it's somehow encouraging to read of the altruist ...more
On the other hand, the writing is chaotic, disorganized and repetitive. The author's thesis that LSD is linked to most of the interesting people is more like noting who wears neckties. (Not really relevant?) People are identified and its noted if they've done LSD... nothing about whether that had positive or negative effects on their lives/work/c ...more
Nonetheless, a healthy number of the early PC iconoclasts were involved in the drug use and free thought that pervaded that era. How this directly impacte ...more
The book was usually but not ...more
The only tough part is that this book covers so many people and jumps around so much that it can feel a bit disjointed at times. You'll be reading and then say "wait, who is this new person?" and realize that they ...more
The multitude of players and stories is somewhat difficult to follow, but overall the narration gives a decent impression of what the Stanford/NorCal scene was like, and who was involved, as computing technology was being developed.
A good bit of the history seems anecdotal, and the connections between counterculture and computer R&D seem strained. I didn't finish this book thinking that PC development was a direct result of any psychedelic experi ...more