Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution Paperback – 31 Jan 2002
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About the Author
Chief Technology writer at 'Newsweek' and a regular contributer to numerous publications including 'Macworld' and 'Wired'.
Author of CRYPTO.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only gripe that could be aimed at this book is that it is completely US orientated. To read this book without any prior knowledge would leave you with the impression that the computer "revolution" started and remains the sole property of the US.
Whilst in a lot of cases this is true , particularly in the area of hardware , the author did take a rather blinkered view when he covered the subject of computer games which doesn't do justice to the UK gaming companies who were ( and still are ) every bit as important as our US cousins.
The bottom line though is that its a brilliant book , one i would recommend to anyone who is nerdy enough to want to know the history of modern day computing.
The first section of the book describes the rise of the original computer hacker, and the Hacker Ethos that came with it. Software was free to all, and if you make an improvement to someone elses code, you were welcome to do so. But these young people were a priviledged few as hacking was limited to those with access to these college machines.
In the second part of the book, based mainly in the seventies, we see hacking being applied to hardware and the creation of the first home computers. The first was the Altair, which had no keyboard, but spread like wildfire. People spent ages writing programs for it and explored all it's possibilities. It's here that we meet Bill Gates, a young programmer asked to write a BASIC compiler for the machine. The hacker ethos of software being free for all didn't sit well with Mr. Gates and he wrote a letter to a popular computing magazine at the time, explaining that since he wrote the code, wasn't he entitled to some payment. Mr Gates doesn't really appear again, but that small glimpse of him seems so true.Read more ›
It follows various eras of computing the early pioneers in the fifties labs (Cambridge, Boston), the Homebrew era in Northern California and finally home games programming in the 80s. My favourite era is the homebrew one that led to Apple computers.
The writing is consistently entertaining and there's a lot of historical detail. I reread this on my kindle recently and enjoyed it the second time.
Stephen Levy, a gifted author and journalist, leads the reader on a poignant journey through an age where computing still conjured up images of 6 foot computer terminals explored studiously by social outcasts. Levy has vibrantly fleshed out each of these leading characters and probably shined personality into historical figures who otherwise may have forever remained nameless geniuses.
As much a classic as any commentary in the past 40years, assuredly to be on class reading lists in the future... so get it before your Grand-kids do!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm extremely pleased with the book and would definitely use this supplier again.Published 11 months ago by Ron Gerhardt
A classic book, a must read for everyone who is interested in the history of technology.Published on 15 July 2014 by Cristian Consonni
Despite being a bit too American for my taste the author depicts masterfully the stories of the pioneers who invented a way of using computers that changed the world. Read morePublished on 3 Jun. 2014 by Simone Trubian
If you thought the term 'Hackers' had anything to do with computers you were mis-informed - but they invented the entire industry, bootstrapping it from skills learned from people... Read morePublished on 8 Jan. 2014 by la Plume de ma Tante
This product gets 5 stars because it is an absolutely fascinating insight into the history of hacking. A must read for any ICT professional or hobbyist.Published on 3 Jan. 2014 by Steve South Wales
This is a great book for anybody interested in computers, very interesting and eye opening content. I'm an IT consultant and programmer so this book was brilliant for me.Published on 10 Oct. 2013 by Chris Smith
That is a guy "hacking" at a computer and nothing to do with system security infiltration which is an entirely different thing. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2013 by JONAH8208
If you work within the field of computing and have an interest in how and why things have developed the way they have, then this book is one that you really should get. Read morePublished on 9 Jan. 2011 by Mole
Having been working in the IT industry as a programmer for nearly 10 years, I just wish I had read this book 10 years ago.
This is a MUST have book for any IT professional.
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