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Terrible Nerd Paperback – November 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Savetz Publishing (November 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939169003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939169006
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,123,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A joyous romp down memory lane for all us nerds who lived through the home computer revolution of the 1980's!" -- David Simmer II, Blogography

"A rich chronicle that deftly mixes details of his beloved technologies with the zeitgeist a particular time and space. An entertaining read for technologists and non-techies alike." -- Tom Gellar, Slashdot

"An interesting and highly entertaining read" -- Greg Barbrick, Blogcritics

"A tale to which all retrocomputing enthusiasts can relate." -- Ken Gagne, Juiced.GS

About the Author

Kevin Savetz maintains an extensive online archive of classic computer and gaming magazines at AtariMagazines.com and AtariArchives.org. He owns the free Internet-based faxing solution FaxZero.com, and is the creator of 85 websites under the FreePrintable.net umbrella.

More About the Author

Kevin Savetz is an online publisher and Atari-loving nerd based in Portland, Oregon. His first modem was 300 bits per second and plugged into the Atari's joystick port. He started using the Internet in 1989 and wrote one of the first books about the 'net in 1994. Kevin has written more than 1,000 articles about computers for a myriad of magazines and newspapers, but today concentrates on creating useful little web sites.

Customer Reviews

Besides that it was just good to read and remember things.
Roberto Costa
If you grew up in the 80s and were into computers, this book is a wonderful stroll down memory lane.
Wave
I have enjoyed reading this book and would gladly have read more, should there have been more.
junkie2

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brett W. Coon on November 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 By David Strom on November 14, 2012
Format: 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 By Bill L. on November 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kd7vdb on November 4, 2012
Format: 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 By C. Vendel on January 9, 2013
Format: 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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