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36 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that will appeal to nerds and non-nerds alike
As a fellow nerd and tech journalist, my story shares a lot in common with Kevin's. His tale resonates with me, even though we grew up in different eras and in different places. His recall of computer game consoles and PCs of yore is quite vivid and I enjoyed reliving the early 1980s when memory was measured in kilobytes and modems ruled the earth. If you take your...
Published 22 months ago by David Strom

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read the whole thing.
The whole time I was reading this book, I kept asking myself "why am I still reading this?" The book is breezy and nice, but really doesn't have much new to say, unless you're particularly interested in what Kevin Savetz was doing in high school. The various adventures of the author are often kind of interesting, yet I kept expecting something bigger and/or...
Published 11 months ago by Brett W. Coon


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I read the whole thing., November 3, 2013
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
The whole time I was reading this book, I kept asking myself "why am I still reading this?" The book is breezy and nice, but really doesn't have much new to say, unless you're particularly interested in what Kevin Savetz was doing in high school. The various adventures of the author are often kind of interesting, yet I kept expecting something bigger and/or better to happen. It didn't. Maybe the problem is that I bought this book in a fit of nostalgia after finishing "Commodore: Company on the Edge". The Commodore book was the kind of fascinating nostalgia where you sort of know the story, but are shocked and amazed by the details you didn't know. "Terrible Nerd" isn't like that. Here the details are just sort of amusing, but nothing really makes you say, "Wow, I'm really glad I learned this.". Anyway, the fact that I finished it is proof it's not at all a bad read, but overall I cannot recommend it very highly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that will appeal to nerds and non-nerds alike, November 14, 2012
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
As a fellow nerd and tech journalist, my story shares a lot in common with Kevin's. His tale resonates with me, even though we grew up in different eras and in different places. His recall of computer game consoles and PCs of yore is quite vivid and I enjoyed reliving the early 1980s when memory was measured in kilobytes and modems ruled the earth. If you take your broadband Internet for granted and think that your smartphone was always in your pocket, the perspective in this book is well worth reading.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read About The Early Days Of Personal Computing And Beyond, November 8, 2012
By 
Bill L. (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
Full disclosure, I've known Kevin, virtually, for about ten years, having emailed back and forth with him after helping to get the book "Atari Roots" on to one of his web sites years ago.

As for "Terrible Nerd", I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and well-paced. With the book rounding out at about 250 pages, I was able to complete it in a one evening, the day it arrived from Amazon.

The first half of the book covers the author's 1980s pre-college technology shenanigans, including some thievery, pirating and phone phreaking. While the author participated in these activities, it seems more of an experimental phase rather than a full-time criminal enterprise that takes place in other books in this genre. The book also details the logistics of living in a broken home, not in a sad, sappy way, but in a "when will I have access to my beloved Atari 800 again" way.

The author talks about various video game systems such as the Channel-F, the Mattel Intellivision and the Atari 2600. He also talks about the computers he had as a child including the Atari 800, the Texas Instruments 99/4A , the Apple IIc and others. He doesn't go into much detail on the hardware, but discusses the software in general and his favorite games in detail such as M.U.L.E. and Jumpman.

The second half of the book covers the author's college days, career in freelance technical writing and later, web publishing. The section on the author's college days is very interesting. The section on the author's freelance career begins to feel like an "Ego Wall" after a while, though being an autobiographical/memoir work, I guess it is appropriate. Even in this section there are good nuggets of historical and biographical information.

A great aspect of this book is that the author injects snippets of source code, programs screen shots, emails, diary entries, letters and school assignments that he has saved from his childhood. It adds a great personal historical facet to the work.

There are a few places in the narrative where the author jumps ahead or back in time which can be a little confusing. For this review, I read the first edition printed version and I didn't find any mistakes. The editing was first rate.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read and well worth the $15.

On a side note, "An Officer and a Gentleman" was a pretty good movie and places that I have worked, such as Bell Laboratories, did ask for a copy of my college transcripts so that they could see my grades.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for the Retro Enthusiast or Anyone!, November 4, 2012
This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
A Great book about the Author's childhood growing up in the golden age of computers. Great detailed experiences and stories make this a fine read. He goes from his dad's first Atari 800 computer all the way up to modern Mac's. I read the book in about 24hrs, it was that good. I would recommend this to anyone interested in retro computing, or anyone just looking for a good book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin's book relates to so many of us, January 9, 2013
This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
Kevin's book is a joy for anyone who grew up as a teenager in the late 70's and early 80's... the world was changing in many ways, and those of us... the geeks and nerds who embraced technologies and new idea's had this secret world to enjoy... there were videogames, then the home computers, taking apart gadgets to see how they worked, going to Radio Shack when it was actually a REAL electronics store where you could pick up everything you'd need to build any kind of project... Frye's now is the last bastion of what the RS's used to be. The days where your imagination was used in equal portion to playing video games, computer games and Dungeons & Dragons. You had to visualize the worlds you entered and played, this was further expanded with computer games like Zork where it described where you were, but you visualized it all in your head, or draw sketches. The days of Bulletin Board Systems, calling into this "nerd only" known underground world of the pre-internet where we could all go on-line at a blazing 300 baud speed where a whole screen of just text only took about 5 seconds to fill... these were our playgrounds to send messages to one another and to download information and of course all those games not even out in stores yet, but there to download... if you had enough clearance or got friendly with the "SYSOP"... these were great days, technology was clumsy, far from user friendly and certainly not ready for the masses so it was all exclusive to us willing to cope with and enjoy the challenge...

Kevin captures this all and shows what it was like growing up in this amazing and exciting time, so if you want to relate and enjoy seeing that others were just like you, or if you're too young to have been involved in this time, and want to see what it was like in the "Wild West" days of the technology and society, this is a great read, I highly recommend to one and all...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I remember that, January 27, 2014
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Kindle Edition)
Those early days of home computing were interesting times. I think Kevin captured the essence of those early days. I lived those transitional years from tube to transistor, and it's nice to remember what life was like before the cell phone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book for us 80's computer geeks!, January 27, 2014
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
Excellent Book for us 80's computer geeks! Recommend for anybody that grew up with computers in the 80's and early 90's!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, January 26, 2014
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Kindle Edition)
Unbielevable I hope he makes more. This book was so great I had my head in the book for days.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hit home in so many ways, June 3, 2013
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Kindle Edition)
I was about 8 years in front of Kevin in the technology world, but so much of this rings true for anyone whose career was molded by the early video game and home computer world. Good read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are all Kevins!, March 1, 2013
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This review is from: Terrible Nerd (Paperback)
Terrible Nerd is a fun biography from Kevin Savetz on growing up with computers in the 80′s, pioneering on the Internet in the 90′s, and then up to his current day adventures.

So many of Kevin’s experiences were mine back in the day with the Atari obsession and typing pages of BASIC code from magazines.

But while my story stops with having an Atari 400 in the house in the mid-80′s, Kevin shares his path of nerdy fun the whole time through.

Even if you weren't around or didn't get into games and computers back then, it’s a fun peek into Kevin’s coming of age and hearing all of the experiences in his voice that resulted in friendships, hobbies, and a career.

I have known Kevin for years and didn't realize he was AOL’s Internet AnswerMan – I learned HTML from tutorials on AOL and probably asked him a question or two back then.

And I was absolutely fascinated that he once managed to accidentally crash the Internet for all of Europe.
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Terrible Nerd
Terrible Nerd by Kevin Savetz
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