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on 28 June 2017
Best non fiction story you will buy relating to computers.
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on 20 June 2017
Brilliant.
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on 1 August 2017
Fantastic book. Hard it in paperback but now on kindle. A great read
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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2010
Hackers is a fascinating history of the computer industry from the late 50's through to the late 80s, covering the birth of the personal computer, the internet and the gaming industry.This is the 25th Anniversary Edition though, so has been updated with a 'ten years later' appendix covering the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, and with updates from Gates, Stallman and Woz looking back at what has changed over the last quarter-century.

It's a great read, and if I had one criticism it's the jump between the original ending of the book to the 'ten years later' piece, when the world wide web exploded into everyday use. That said, I lost myself for several hours in the history - it's told in an amiable right-in-the-middle-of-things style which I found enormously enjoyable and interesting.
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on 16 February 2013
That is a guy "hacking" at a computer and nothing to do with system security infiltration which is an entirely different thing.
I think this book is aimed at a few hundred thousand people like me who were around when Milnet was being used - for me it is very well written and interesting, for anybody not aware that Computers existed before Windows XP - forget about it.
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on 16 February 2004
When looking for a fantastic read one does not immediately jump to the computer history section, thank Levy for exceptions.
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!
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on 25 March 2001
If your into computing then this book is a "must read". As much as is possible it turns the rather boring subject of computing history into a good read. It describes all the periods , people and moments from computing history in detail and gives the reasoning ( dare is say - logic ) behind how we ended up with computing as it is today.
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.
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on 1 February 2004
Right from the beginning this book had me completely hooked. It is obvious the amount of research that has gone into this book, and it delivers exactly what it promises.
I had always hated the way the media had mis-used the word hacker, and if your interested in finding out what a true hacker is, then this is a must read.
Stephen Levy describes in detail the people that pioneered computing in the 50's, selling there souls to programming and living the hacker dream, to the hardware hackers, and finally the bedroom programmers writing games.
If your in anyway addicted to computers and want to know where it all started, or if your an open source advocate then this is a MUST read. BUY NOW!!!
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on 21 September 2001
I have to agree with the previous reviewer. This is an absolute brilliant book and once I started reading I literally could not put it down and so far I have not encountered this feeling with any other book. I have also re-read it several times and whilst computer nerds will it enjoy it the most I can recommend it to anyone with even the minimal of interest in computers. PS If you are a nerd buy two! One 'good' copy and one you can just keep reading and lend out to friends.
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VINE VOICEon 29 August 2003
A hack: a neat or smart way of fixing or implementing something. This definition was in use in MIT in the late fifties in the MIT Tech Railroad Club where young engineers would devise ways of controlling their large model layout. Also in MIT were some of the first large computers and these young men (pretty exclusively so) were drawn to these behemoths like bugs to a flame. Hours were spent writing and debugging code. It wasn't easy going at the start as some of these machines had no i/o devices such as monitors, but these young men were bitten by the bug and became devoted to the cause.
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.
At this time a club for computing afficionados, the Homebrew club came into existence and here many of the best and brightest would converse for ages, swapping ideas and experience. Among them was Steve Wozniak, who would create the first Apple and truly bring computing to the masses.
The third section of the book moves back to software, and the companies that sprang up in the eighties to provide games and utilities for the home computer user. In this section, the abandonment of the hacker ethos becomes clear. Companies, such as Sierra, were founded by hackers, but in order to grow and develop, something had to be left behind, and one such thing was the belief in free software.
This is a great book covering three influential sections of computing history. The descriptions of the people involved are highly captivating and it is hard to put this book down. If you remember the first apples, ataris and the apple mac, and how glamorous and liberating they were at the time, this book fills you in on all the details that went into constructing these revolutionary machines, and how they were shaped by the people behind them. If you have any interest at all in computing history, then this is a must read book.
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