Thursday, May 26, 2005

Feed Your Head

A new book; "What the Dormouse Said: How the 60's Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry" by John Markoff looks like an interesting read. It adds to the mythology of the early years of what has become such a central part of life in the post-industrial parts of the world.
I quote:

"Based on interviews with all the major surviving players, Markoff vividly captures the lives and times of those who laid the groundwork for the PC revolution, introducing the reader to such colorful characters as Fred Moore, a teenage antiwar protester who went on to ignite the computer industry, and Cap’n Crunch, who wrote the first word processing software for the IBM PC (EZ Writer) in prison, became a millionaire, and ended up homeless." From Amazon

The New York Times review was somewhat more tongue in cheek (or tongue and tab):

"LET'S get this straight: Jerry Garcia invented the Internet while he was tripping on acid. No, actually, it was Ken Kesey, who thought computers were the next thing after drugs - which, according to John Markoff, they really were."

Whatever, I myself am of the belief that material and linguistic metaphors are important to ground scientific and social experiments.

Lowenstein in the NYT review writes:
"Computer technology did turn out to be creative, spirited and even freeing. Most of this was a result of the fabulous advances in the power of the microchip. But perhaps, also, in the tactile clicking of the mouse, you can hear the faint strumming of a guitar."

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