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I Sing the Body Electronic: A Year with Microsoft on the Multimedia Frontier

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Fred Moody spent a year shadowing a team of Microsoft developers working on a children's compact disc to be called Explorapedia. What he discovered was that, when the novelty and excitement surrounding the newest generation of software is stripped away, one finds a world not of high-tech efficiency but of simple human muddling.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published 1995)
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Sep 15, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
Some cover blurbs compare this book to Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. This comparison is valid up to a point. The story of the Data General Eclipse is much more technical. Only a bare fraction of the text covers techincal issues, beyond the very legitimate complaints of the developer that he cannot begin work before the specifications are complete, or at least a first draft exists.

On the other hand, this book may be seen as quite technical in a business and management sense. Team
May 18, 2013 JP rated it liked it
A coder or designer could find this book engaging; a normal human would not. While the senior developer on my team found it interesting, I as project manager found it too "close to home." The author chronicles the history of the Sendak project and it's team of intelligent, intense players. Combined with pressure from Bill Gates, a goal of delivering on time, dependency on the SPAM project to provide core tools, and no clear requirements, the team went through months and months of leaps and tange ...more
Feb 19, 2015 grundoon rated it really liked it
Allowing a writer seemingly carte blanche access into the bottom-line-driven, labor-law-flouting, goat-rodeo culture that was 1993 Microsoft was probably not the wisest PR move. But it makes for good reading, an excellent reminder as to why I (twice) left the corporate world, and probably a bit of relief to many trench denizens that at least they weren't in THAT group.
Jul 04, 2016 Zoe rated it really liked it
Our bartender wrote this book and loaned me a copy. It was good! Neat to read about Microsoft in the '90s now that I'm there.
May 14, 2008 Zach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
this book showed me some points that I still refer to now, even after 12-13 years. An example is that designers and programmers have a difficult time understanding each other. Still valid problem today.
Oct 04, 2011 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frustrating read, as the project never seems to get off the ground. But decently written. Overall, much like Dreaming In Code.
Jan 10, 2013 Lysergius rated it liked it
Shelves: computers
Its reassuring to know that Microsoft sucks to work for as much as their products suck to use. Amen.
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