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Grace Hopper and the Invention of the…
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Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center… (edition 2009)

by Kurt W Beyer (Author)

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869210,696 (3.91)9
Member:SChant
Title:Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series)
Authors:Kurt W Beyer (Author)
Info:MIT Press (2009), Edition: 1, 408 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:history, science, women scientists

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Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age by Kurt W. Beyer

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    The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Both of these books paint a picture of war through the lives of those who participated in the war effort, whether it be on the front lines like in The Longest Day or back at home like in The Invention of the Information Age.
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This one was a little bit of a bait and switch - I learned as much about the people Grace Hopper worked with as I did about her - maybe more. I'm assuming because she worked so much, there wasn't much else to tell, beyond that it drove her to drink! It was interesting to learn about the early women coders that she worked with. Sadly, business machine history can be a little dry. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Grace Hopper's story is incredible, but the book could have done with a bit more editing. Some phrases and sentences are repeated almost verbatim in multiple places in the book, and a whole paragraph appears in nearly the exact same form in the last two - almost as though the book was reorganized in a rush before a deadline. ( )
  bobholt | Dec 3, 2017 |
I really liked this book. There were some dry bits, yes, however the author seemed to really capture the spirit of Admiral Hopper. I had not known how varied and holistic her education was before reading this book. It certainly makes more sense now that she was able to think so innovatively.

I'd really recommend this book to anyone looking for a female role model, a military role model or to find out about how the computer age began. Really interesting reading.

( )
  Clare_M | May 25, 2014 |
This book is not, in any meaningful sense, a biography of Grace Murray Hopper. There's a perfunctory sketch of the first 36 years of her (pre-Navy) life, and some mention of mid-life depression and alcoholic binges, but otherwise the book is fully devoted to describing her career in computing, her impact on the industry, and (to some extent) the development of both hardware and software in places outside her immediate purview. For all practical purposes this book ends with the standardization of COBOL; Hopper's subsequent career is only lightly touched, and her late-in-life celebrity is briefly described in the first chapter but not really discussed.

On the other hand the book covers Hopper's essential achievements extremely well, and is perhaps the best survey of early computing technology (and its associated community) I've seen. Like most early-computing books to date, it's not intended to be a comprehensive survey; within its intended scope, it's truly excellent.

DO NOT buy this book from MIT Press as an e-book (but see my update below). Their e-book definition is limited to online reading; you log into their website and use their software to read the book. This software isn't terrible, but it's quite frustrating: It can't remember your last-page-read, it doesn't remember your font settings, and (at least for this user) doesn't fit well on the computer screen. While it's possible to annotate the book, and to make highlights in the text, the software seems to prevent copy/paste activities, thus unnecessarily complicating note-taking. And then there's the preposterous notion that storing books in many web locations is a reasonable way to manage my library. All in all, a bad experience; I rather wish I'd purchased the book in hardcover. But I'll not do that after investing $20 in the electronic copy, however unsatisfactory I find it.

Update 22dec10: MIT Press, I've discovered, also permits offline reading using a client called iOffline, which was built using Adobe Air and more or less duplicates the online reading experience, including most of the limitations mentioned above. I think this is a slight improvement, but I'm still annoyed with the situation.

This review has also been published on a dabbler's journal. ( )
  joeldinda | Dec 5, 2010 |
I thoroughly enjoyed "Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age" throughout. I expected a standard sort of birth to death biography. Instead, the book focuses on the time period in Grace Hopper's life that is most important to us, the years in which computing began.

Before reading the book, I knew that Hopper had been important to computer science, but I had only a small idea of a much bigger picture. Kurt Beyer's book paints this bigger picture clearly and sharply.

Kurt Beyer presents the events without dramatizing them and without falling in the trap of dry factualism taking over. He offers stories of what happened, most of the time centering on Grace Hopper while including glimpses of other people pivotal in the birth of computing.

Beyer takes care to present both sides when there are conflicting views (usually in the eyes of the participants) of "what really happened". I think he might have a bias towards Grace Hopper or perhaps I'm projecting my own bias on to the book!

A great read, a biographical book that I looked forward to my next opportunity to continue reading. It definitely expanded both my knowledge of Grace Hopper and her impact on Computing as well as giving me a much clearer picture of the technology and its development in those first decades. ( )
  feaelin | Jul 12, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
As one of the inventors of computer programming, Grace Hopper stood with her feet firmly placed on the surfboard of futurity that was riding the new wave of information processing. The book opens in 1944 when, immediately after Pearl Harbor, Hopper volunteered to join the military. A trained mathematician, she found herself in the Navy, looking after a giant, mechanical computer that used electromagnetic contacts to process information.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 026201310X, Hardcover)

A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906--1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper's later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story. In Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age, Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper's greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:49 -0400)

A Hollywood biopic about the life of computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper (1906--1992) would go like this: a young professor abandons the ivy-covered walls of academia to serve her country in the Navy after Pearl Harbor and finds herself on the front lines of the computer revolution. She works hard to succeed in the all-male computer industry, is almost brought down by personal problems but survives them, and ends her career as a celebrated elder stateswoman of computing, a heroine to thousands, hailed as the inventor of computer programming. Throughout Hopper's later years, the popular media told this simplified version of her life story. In Grace Hopper and the Inventionof theInformation Age, Kurt Beyer reveals a more authentic Hopper, a vibrant and complex woman whose career paralleled the meteoric trajectory of the postwar computer industry. Both rebellious and collaborative, Hopper was influential in male-dominated military and business organizations at a time when women were encouraged to devote themselves to housework and childbearing. Hopper's greatest technical achievement was to create the tools that would allow humans to communicate with computers in terms other than ones and zeroes. This advance influenced all future programming and software design and laid the foundation for the development of user-friendly personal computers.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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