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Computer: A History of the Information Machine

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Second Edition traces the story of the computer, and shows how business and government were the first to explore its unlimited, information-processing potential. Old-fashioned entrepreneurship combined with scientific know-how inspired now famous computer engineers to create the technology that became IBM. Wartime needs drove ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 360 pages
Published August 13th 2004 by Westview Press (first published July 11th 1996)
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3.81  · 
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 ·  158 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Aaron Wolfson
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
A nice overview. The detail on pre-digital computing methods distinguishes this history, as does its impartiality and its focus on business developments. Lots of information on Charles Babbage, punched-card systems, electromechanical and analog systems, and IBM,.

Not very technical. It will explain very precisely how the computer came to be, not so much how it works.

Stops about 1997. The Internet is covered, but it's described as primarily an e-mail system. Obviously things have developed a bit s
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This clear and engaging book traces the history of the computer as far back as its 19th-century conceptual origins. By devoting so much space to the connections between digital computers and related technology, the authors manage to situate the computer within a clearly defined social and scientific context. The book loses some of its focus as it reaches the Internet era, which is probably harder to examine from a historical perspective. But overall, it is an excellent introduction to the subjec ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: technology
This book gives a decent overview of the history of computing. The authors have found room to illustrate important turns in history with amusing anecdotes. It does not deliver on its promises though, skimming over the importance of the early hypertext pioneers (Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart) for personal computing, and omitting the development of open-source software altogether.
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating history of the development of computer technology. The only downside is that it was published in the mid-90s, so the story stops before so many of the amazing technologies of the last 15 years came about.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Decent effort, covers the history of computing up to early 2000s. The political statement at the end of the book should have been avoided, imho, as it's neither properly justified, nor does it fall within the scope of the book.
Jonathan Deschaines
Mar 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I think the book was good and helped me a lot through my senior project. I don't usually read historical books but this was the exception. The book was very informative but not enough to base my whole project on.
Brendan  McAuliffe
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Didn't read much of this , all stuff you've hear before
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
Great book. I feel that I have a much better understanding of the computers.
Rod Zemke
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed as I am very interested in the evolution of the computer.
Sridhar Jammalamadaka
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technology
Brilliantly narrated history of the Computer.
Peter Mcloughlin
Very short history gives a balanced but skeletal history of computers, computing and the internet. None of the juicy stories here just a fairly sober if dry treatment.
Kevin Furr
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Somewhat dry but broad history of computers.
Feb 21, 2016 added it
I'm writing my thesis about software piracy and security so i really need to read a lot of books... A lot... Thanks for sharing those tons of books... Certainly you are helping a tons os people...
Alain van Hoof
A very good overview with facts that add to the understanding of the history of computing.
Mike Kokko
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was probably the first "tech history" book I read - required reading as a freshman engineer at RPI in 2001 - and it got me hooked.
Cameron Sung
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Very informative, but boring at times.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book changes my life and my perception of my subject.
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“By June 1949 people had begun to realize that it was not so easy to get a program right as had at one time appeared. I well remember when this realization first came on me with full force. The EDSAC was on the top floor of the building and the tape-punching and editing equipment one floor below on a gallery that ran round the room in which the differential analyzer was installed. I was trying to get working my first non-trivial program, which was one for the numerical integration of Airy’s differential equation. It was on one of my journeys between the EDSAC room and the punching equipment that “hesitating at the angles of stairs” the realization came over me with full force that a good part of the remainder of my life was going to be spent in finding errors in my own programs.” 0 likes
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