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Computer kids by George Sullivan

Computer kids

by George Sullivan

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There's a suspicious similarity to each chapter. I presume that the author asked very similar--and dull--questions when interviewing each of the kids. For example, in several chapters the kids list out some of the computer peripherals they own. Why? I presume they were asked to do exactly that. It's not outside the realm of possibility that they would volunteer that spontaneously when asked to describe what kind of computers they use, but it's a bit too specific. As well, in several of the chapters the kids give an example of simple programming information, describing FOR-NEXT loops, for example, or DATA statements. That's a weird and boring thing to spend a few paragraphs on, repeatedly--exactly what question prompted those responses, I wonder?

The book was marginally interesting, but only just. I had hoped to see if I could trace any future computer-related accomplishments of the kids, perhaps write a little blog post about how things developed, but I think it'll be a bust. I may have traced one of them, another died shortly after the book was published, and the others aren't traceable. Not surprising, since at least a couple of them are just kids who knew how to use a word processor, as far as I can tell, and that was good enough for them to be 'computer kids' to George Sullivan.

Sullivan also did not, in my estimation, try terribly hard when looking for subjects: they are mostly from New York, so I guess that he perhaps called up some local schools and asked if there were any kids nearby he could write a book about. I think that's possibly the most interesting thing about the book: not that it gives some limited biography of a few computer-inclined kids, but that it gives a little picture of how kids in New York first became exposed to computers and learned to use them. Public school programming classes, computer summer camps, user groups, magazines, BBSes... that's the eighties!

The author also manages to get the names of famous authors wrong: he calls Poul Anderson "Paul Anderson" and refers to "Andre Norton" as "Andrea Norton". I can understand that if you'd never heard of them before (how?) you might get their names wrong at first, but wouldn't you double-check before publication?
  Sopoforic | Apr 30, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039608320X, Hardcover)

Introduces eight computer users, ages eleven to sixteen, who discuss their remarkable achievements in the computer field.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:19 -0400)

Introduces eight computer users, ages eleven to sixteen, who discuss their remarkable achievements in the computer field.

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