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From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry (History of Computing) Paperback – February 27, 2004


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From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry (History of Computing) + A History of Modern Computing (History of Computing)
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Product Details

  • Series: History of Computing
  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 026253262X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262532624
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a crucial document for anyone interested in understanding the history of software from a business perspective." Case firstmonday.org



"A timely reminder of earlier booms and busts..." Barry Fox New Scientist



"A valuable long view of...the high-visibility Silicon Valley stock-market bubble." Steven Poole The Guardian



"A well-rounded look at the software industry from a business perspective. Highly recommended." Colleen Cuddy Library Journal



"Campbell-Kelly is the first historian to give us a comprehensive overview of this hidden industry..." David Siegfried Booklist



"From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog should command a wide audience..." Slashdot.org



"I strongly recommend this book..." Paul Ceruzzi The Times Higher Education Supplement



"In his incisive, panoramic book... Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers all three: context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times



"In his incisive, panoramic book...Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers...context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times



"A timely reminder of earlier booms and busts." Barry Fox New Scientist



"A valuable long view of what is...the high-visibility Silicon Valley stock-market bubble." Steven Poole The Guardian



"I strongly recommend this book..." Paul Ceruzzi Paul Ceruzzi



"In his incisive, panoramic book...Martin Campbell-Kelly delivers all three: context, insight, even occasional humor." Steve Lohr The New York Times



"...Provides a smooth, very readable ride through the growth of one of the last half century's most important industries." Cal Clinchard PC Today

About the Author

Martin Campbell-Kelly is Reader in Computer Science at the University of Warwick.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kemal Burak Codur on September 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry - by the time of its publication and writing of this comment - is the only book that is solely on history of software industry. As an academician, Mr. Campbell-Kelly builds a historical view using carefully collected data. The scope of the book is mostly software industry in USA and this point is explicitly phrased at the beginning of the book, with plausible reasons. Among with absence of non-USA part of the history, history of military software is also missing (except SAGE). But this should also be an expected result, since it is very hard to collect data about military systems.

Because of the scope issues, the book may not satisfy all expectations (which is the reason for 4 stars), but from the opposite point of view, I believe that a better book can hardly be composed in the same conditions. As Mr. Campbell-Kelly pointed out, there are a lot of data about success stories or the firms that managed to live until today, but a lot more data have been lost to history. In this regard, "From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry" is among the most valuable source about the history of software industry. Everybody, who works in software industry should read this book.

A last note: the book really makes to think about history. The interested reader may also read books about meaning of history, like E. Carr's "What is History".
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Format: Paperback
This book is scholarly, but accessible to the ordinary public, albeit people who are keenly interested in tables of rates of growth. The author describes the sources of his research humorously and in a most interesting manner. I give him very high marks for that, for letting the general public appreciate how hard it is to do research of this kind, sifting through all the junk for the few gems. I thought the author's technical competence was excellent, too, and his insights into such subtleties as operating systems was great.

I have only two complaints. He too often says "The story of ... is well documented elsewhere." A brief recap would have helped for those who don't have time to read the other sources.

Second, there is exactly one picture in the book, and while it is great (a stack of 60,000 punch cards for the SAGE system), I wish there would have been a few more, especially of earlier systems.

But overall a fabulous book, very neatly wedged between business history and computer history!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author has been there and done his research but not found much interesting or insightful to say about this amazing period of time. Dissapointing
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those of born before World War II have lived through the entire history of the software industry, which has grown from just above zero software personnel to about 18,000,000 world wide. Martin Cambell-Kelley has written a solid book about the growth of an important industry. It cites companies, products, and industry statistics.

Many of the younger generation don't realize that without computers and software many of the things we take for granted would not exist: credit cards, medical implants, GPS, I-PADS, smart phones, smart appliances, and hundreds more all depend on transistors, integrated circuits, and software.

This is a solid book if a bit dry due to lots of tables and statistics. Even so it brings back memories of living through the early days of software and seeing mainframes gradually morph into desk tops and then into notebooks and finally into tablets all within less than 50 years.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Conover on December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was surprised to find what appeared to be a "remainder mark" on a $40 book that was sold as new and not even discounted.
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