All good suggestions.
If I didn't mention The Dream Machine or Crystal Fire before, I certainly
meant to! They're both very, very good.
In Crystal Fire, there are several mentions to Dr. Harold Zahl -- among the
most famous of all Camp Evans scientists. The book doesn't specifically
mention Camp Evans, but Zahl wrote his own story a few years back. He is a
member of the InfoAge "Wall of Honor" in the hotel lobby.
From: jack99rubin [mailto:jack.rubin@...
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 6:09 PM
Subject: [midatlanticretro] Recommended reading, continued
I'm a little slow to respond, but here are some additions to the
lists of readings posted a few weeks back -
Computing in the Middle Ages - Severo Ornstein - 2002: Severo worked
on several seminal projects in the 1950s through the 1980s. He
started out at Lincoln Labs (MIT) with Wes Clark and was deeply
involved with building out the original LINC minicomputers. He then
went to BBN and worked on the IMP "interprocessors" for the
developing Arpanet. After that he moved to Xerox PARC. Easy reading
and lots of interesting stories. This may also be available as a
downloadable pdf - Severo has planned to post it but I don't know if
he has done it yet.
Giant Brains - Edmund C. Berkely - 1949: Logical, electrical and
mechanical descriptions of the state of the art of computing in the
late 1940s, and some pretty amazing projections of how these "giant
brains" will affect the future (i.e. after 1950). This was the book
that got Wes Clark thinking about computers and computing.
The Dream Machine - Mitchell Waldrop - 2001: The subtitle is "J.C.R.
Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal", but it's
really kind of misleading. Licklider provides a thread through the
book's contents but it is much more. Waldrop took 8 years to write
this book - it is an incredibly wide ranging (and well researched)
history of "personal computing" - one person, one machine - that
starts with SAGE and Whirlwind and continuing through minicomputers
to PARC, the emergence of the microprocessor, and on to the internet.
This book really should be required reading for anyone interested in
the history of interactive computing.
A History of Personal Workstations - Goldberg, ed. - 1988: Part of
the ACM History Series, this book is a compilation of papers
presented at a 1986 conference on "personal computing" as well as
several older papers presented as reference documents. Participants
in the conference included Gordon Bell, J.C.R. Licklider, Larry
Roberts, Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, Wes Clark and
Chuck House. More academic but very readable and a great sourcebook.
As a side note, "The Dream Machine" is one of several volumes in the
Sloan Technology Series, any one of which is worth reading just for
general information. Specific titles related to computing
include "Computer: A History of the Information Machine", Campbell- Kelly
and Aspray and "Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information
Age", Riordan and Hoddeson (an entry on someone else's list). Also
worthy of note in this context is "The Invention that Changed The
World", Buderi, which describes the development of radar during WWII.
Much of this work took place at MIT and directly involved key people
who become pioneers in computing immediately after the war.
Hope this is of interest.
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