Download Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make by Robert X. Cringely PDF

By Robert X. Cringely

Desktop production is--after autos, power construction and unlawful drugs--the greatest on the planet, and it truly is one of many final nice luck tales in American company. unintended Empires is the trenchant, tremendously readable historical past of that undefined, focusing as a lot at the astoundingly unusual personalities at its core--Steve Jobs, invoice Gates, Mitch Kapor, and so on. and the hacker tradition they spawned because it does at the notable know-how they created. Cringely unearths the manias and foibles of those males (they are regularly males) with deadpan hilarity and cogently demonstrates how their neuroses have formed the pc company. yet Cringely offers us even more than high-tech voyeurism and insider gossip. From the delivery of the transistor to the mid-life quandary of the pc undefined, he spins a sweeping, uniquely American saga of creativity and ego that's right now uproarious, surprising and encouraging.

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Additional info for Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date

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This was like Perseus giving fire to humans, and as ambitious, though well within the capability of Knuth's largest of all brains. He invented a text formatting language called TeX, which could drive a laser printer to place type images on the page as well as or better than the old linotype, and he invented another language, Metafont, for designing whole families of fonts. Draw a letter "A," and Metafont could generate a matching set of the other twenty-five letters of the alphabet. When he was finished, Don Knuth saw that what he had done was good, and said as much in volume 3 of The Art of Com puter Programming, which was typeset using the new technology.

Hippies tend to do the right things poorly; nerds tend to do the wrong things well. Hippie program mers are very good at getting a sense of the correct shape of a problem and how to solve it, but when it comes to the actual code writing, they can get sloppy and make major errors through pure boredom. For hippie programmers, the problem is solved when they've figured out how to solve it rather than later, when the work is finished and the problem no longer exists. Hippies live in a world of ideas.

Nat Goldhaber, who founded a software company called TOPS, used to man his company's booth at com- piiter trade shows. " "Why, yes," he'd reply, beaming at being recognized as a stinking god among men. The truth is that there are big differences in techie types. The hardware people are radically different from the software people, and on the software side alone, there are at least three subspecies of programmers, two of which we are interested in here. Forget about the first subspecies, the lumpenprogrammers, who typically spend their careers maintaining mainframe com puter code at insurance companies.

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