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Dream Machine Paperback – Aug 27 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Aug. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014200135X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142001356
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,754,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider did tend to make an impression on people. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Format: Paperback
A graduate course in a book! A tour through historical theories, accounts, and events that made up the development of the modern computer and the Net. Far more extensive than just the story of Kicklider, a historical overview of many of the minds at that time and the events that converged to form the new informaton era.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone interested in why computers and the net are the way they are today, this entertaining and well-written account is essential. Using Licklider as the fulcrum, it covers the origins of computer science, interactive computing, and the internetworked PC world we live with today in a very personal way. It provides an insight into how these ideas evolved and how the personalities behind them animated that evolution. It is admittedly a very MIT/ARPA centric history, but given that's where many of these ideas had their genesis, it does a good job of covering a large amount of the territory of modern computing history. The one question the book leaves unanswered is why the field has not evolved further in the last twenty years. After all, as Waldrop demonstrates, the seeds of what we take for granted today were demonstrably in place 20-25 years ago.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the best history of computer science that I know. Unlike many "histories" that merely review the commercial exploitation of computers, this book focuses on the evolution of ideas and the innovators who carried the field forward. It spans my thirty years as a computer science researcher and agrees well with my experience and observations during that time. For anyone interested in obtaining a coherent picture of where the computer revolution came from, this book is a must.
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Format: Hardcover
I read every page as quickly as my reading time permitted. It is excellent and covers the history of the Internet and associated matters, written around Licklider's thoughts and philsophy from start to today. But it is far more than a story about Licklider. It covers sketchs of the contributions of John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, J. Presper Eckert, John Mauchly, Claude Shannon and a dozen others. Then it takes up Licklider's fruitful stay at Bolt Beranek & Newman, Inc., followed by his service for ARPA and how he spread time sharing across the country by government financing. His long story about Project MAC at MIT which grew from ARPA contracts is highly informative. ARPA's moneys helped bring to fame some of the best known names in computer technology today. An ARPA contract led to the building of the ARPANET by BBN (after Lick returned to MIT), which when the ARPANET adopted the TCP/IP protocol, signaled the birth of the Internet. I was intrigued by the history of computer developments at Xerox's PARC Laboratory and how a "blind" management can kill a group's great innovations. The book ends with Licklider becoming an elder brother to Lick's Kids at MIT, his 70th birthday party, and his last days. This book is a must if you are interested in the growth of networking and computer usage as told around the life of a great man.
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