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The Soul of A New Machine (1981)
by Tracy Kidder
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Fun to read again after many years. No great insights, but a good story
Terrific look at a piece of computer history written at the time it was actually happening. I'd just read Tracey Kidder's book about writing and as a fan of computer history thought this would be a good read. It was as a team puts together Data Generals first 32 bit minicomputer. I'd recommend this book to anyone that enjoys computer history. Well written and fast paced.
title > content
"The Soul of a New Machine is first of all a good story, but beyond the narrative, or rather woven into it, is the computer itself, described physically, mechanically and conceptually. The descriptive passages will not ''explain'' computers to the average reader (at least they did not significantly increase my own very superficial knowledge), but they give a feeling, a flavor, that adds to one's understanding - as broadly, or even poetically, defined."
this is from a retrospective review of the book, nearly twenty years after its publication.
"More than a simple catalog of events or stale corporate history, Soul lays bare the life of the modern engineer - the egghead toiling and tinkering in the basement, forsaking a social life for a technical one."
Has as a student's study guide
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Wikipedia in English (7)
Tracy Kidder's "riveting" (Washington Post) story of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and has become essential reading for understanding the history of the American tech industry. Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century. "Fascinating...A surprisingly gripping account of people at work." --Wall Street Journal
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)600Technology and Application of Knowledge General Technology --
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Hachette Book Group
An edition of this book was published by Hachette Book Group.
Kidder follows a team of engineers at Data General as they design, build, and debug a new machine for the company. At the time (late 1970s), the biggest deal in computer tech was the mini computer. This was the stepping stone from the large IBM-style mainframes to the Apple and IBM personal computers that came after.
The book profiles Tom West and several members of his team as they compete against not only other computer manufacturers, like DEC and IBM, but also against another team within Data General to build a 32-bit "supermini." It makes for a very compelling story. ( )