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Geeks Bearing Gifts Paperback – December 17, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Mindful Press (December 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578004380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578004389
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By b amazon on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ted Nelson does it again. Through his lifelong passion to find ways to express himself he has lead the way to many ideas that became the World Wide Web, and indeed went much further. In fact we are starting to run into the problems with the Web that he was trying to solve decades ago: business models, lack of history of changes, lack of automatic attribution, etc.

In this book he gives us a new way to look at the history of computing that is different from those that feel like a text book of inevitability. Rather this history one shaped by personalities, foibles, and commercial influences. This history is engaging because beyond being accurate, it shows how the next generation can bend these technology to their own personalities, foibles, and commercial influences. In this book, history does not unfold, it is built.

While the book design is not of modern standard, this should be overlooked for the clarity and freshness of message and method.

I recommend this book to anyone trying to ignite the spark of inventiveness in yourself, your students, or a friend.

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rob Szarka on April 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Let me say up front that Ted Nelson has been one of the most original thinkers in the field of computing over the past fifty years, and I respect his attempts to articulate his vision even though he has never been able to put it into practice. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Literary Machines or Computer Lib/Dream Machines. It's a shame that these books are out of print.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's embarrassingly bad. If you had told me that it was put together by a high school student who pasted together scraps from Wikipedia, I'd have believed you. It's not just badly written; it's sloppy.

It's true that some of Nelson's unique perspective colors his account of computing history, but I doubt that the reader unfamiliar with his other work would come away with much of an understanding of why some of us find his ideas exciting. Meanwhile, as history, Geeks Bearing Gifts is virtually useless.

I wish that Nelson had put his energy into a first-hand account of his experiences instead of this shoddy attempt to (re)write history. That would have been an original contribution and probably also quite entertaining. Geeks Bearing Gifts is neither.
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