The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal
||Author: M. Mitchell Waldrop|
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Publisher: Penguin USA (Paper) (27 August, 2002)
Sales Rank: 87,789
Average Customer Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Customer ReviewsRating: 5 out of 5
A computer chronology that reads like a novel
If The Dream Machine were a novel, you might conclude the author used every writer's technique to make it a thriller. Even though you know the outcome, you wonder how the many "miracles" and lucky breaks it took for the dream to become reality.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Who really created Windows?
Many books and documentaries have been produced chronicling the emergence of the mouse, windows and the internet. Most focus on familiar personalities: Gates, Wozniak, Jobs, and that crowd. But, that's too simplistic; they're merely the contemporary pioneers of the modern computer age. All of these invetions were propelled by visionaries of an earlier age, and J.C.R. Lickleider was one them. If you're interested in the history of emergent technology, you'll be fascinated by this alternate tale of the computer revolution in which one man became the focal point of technological change. His name is not a familiar one to most, yet without his ability to get university (and later government) financing for what seemed like zany ideas at the time, we might not have seen the development of ARPAnet, the progenitor of the modern internet. Though Lickleider himself probably never had a complete vision of what was to come from his efforts, there can be little doubt that his role was pivotal.
Author Waldrop takes you through Lickleider's life in academia where he struggled to push his vision of "computing for everyone" in which computers really would be used by the common person, not just by the military or major corporations -- a vision which was understandably rejected by most of his peers when computers were still the size of living rooms and cost as much as the GDP of small nations. Readers who are familiar with James Burke's "Connections" series will see a similar pattern to this story in which one person was at the right place at the right time to gather disperate technological threads together. Lickleider was not responsible for tying the final knot of these threads together, but without his influence, it might have taken a lot longer.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Best History of Computer Science
Everyone has heard about the amazing ideas and systems from Xerox PARC, but few realize that this lab was was the culmination of JCR Licklider's vision of personal, interactive computing, not its birthplace. Licklider provided the vision and impetus to form the ARPA-funded core of computer science research, which lead to Douglas Englebart's windows and mice, Xerox PARC's innovations, and the Internet. The next time that you hear someone saying that government can't do anything well, give them a copy of this book.
This book is a fascinating, well-written exposition of Licklider's life and work, and even more interestingly, the birth of computer science in the United States. I've never before seen this story as a continuous whole, as opposed to a collection of independent breakthroughs. It is a fascinating narrative, and this is a great book.
· How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web
· Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer
· Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
· Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web
· Dealers of Lightning : Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age