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Triumph of the Nerds

4.7 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It happened more or less by accident; the people who made it happen wereamateurs; and for the most part they still are. From his own Silicon Valley garage, author Bob Cringley puts PC bigshots and nerds on the spot, and tells their incredible true stories. Like the industry itself, the series is informative, funny and brash. Some of the episode participants include: Bill Gates (Chairman of Microsoft, the richest man in the world), Steve Jobs (Hippie co-founder of Apple Computer; CEO of NeXT Computer; and the man who wanted to change the world), and Steve Wozniak (Co-founder of Apple Computer; engineering genius, practical joker).

Written and Presented by: Bob Cringely

All 3 volumes on 1 DVD:

*Impressing Their Friends

*Riding the Bear

*Great Artists Steal

DVD has English Sub-titles that can be turned on or off.

Review

Bob Cringley hosts this terrific three-part video history of the computer industry. More than a pedestrian history of the industry, this compelling program contains animated segments, promotional clips, archival footage, and intriguingly honest interview with wealthy industry nerds (Gates, Wozniak, Jobs, etc.). With computers such a pervasive presence in society, this fascinating set holds wide appeal even for computer illiterates. --Booklist

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Cringely, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates
  • Directors: Paul Sen
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Ambrose Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2002
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FXQO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Triumph of the Nerds" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Triumph of the Nerds is still one of the best public level documentaries about the origins and development of personal computers from their beginnings in the mid-70's on through the IBM/Apple years and into the mid-90's with the launch of Windows 95. It is dated somewhat, especially at the end with the forecasts about the future growth of the internet and what it would mean to PC and Mac development and the world. Nothing was truer then than remains today, predicting the long-term future of the computer and internet industry is simply impossible.

What troubles me with this edition by Ambrose is that they have apparently sacrificed bits and pieces here and there for some unfathomable reason. The main points are all still there, but some of the side stories and flavors have been cut. Examples include Steve Wozniak's description of his early interest in electronics in finding an old AT&T phone company manual to learn to hack into the phone system to call the Pope. It cuts Steve Jobs' description of his early experiences with Bill Gates, saying that the original version of Word was "just terrible but they kept at it...", and someone whose name I can't remember describing the early mainframes and trying to use one as "you were lucky if your entire city had one mainframe, and, if your company had it, there would only be one." These are the ones I noticed right off, I'm sure there are others and they are minor things, but it's troubling that a company buys the rights to a show and edits it for whatever reason rather than simply giving us the whole deal.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I am in agreement with several of the reviews that indicate the DVD version is editted. Sadly, so is the used VHS copy I purchased. Maybe it was once available on VHS uneditted but not anymore. Beyond the scenes already mentioned as missing, additional scenes include more background on the Mac team and Steve Job's recruitment for the team; early discussions at Apple to make the Mac open source; and an extended scene about the "Microserfs". By my count there are 21 edits (large and small) which add an additional 15 to 20 minutes. I see no reason for the edits since they could easily fit on a videotape or stereo DVD. I am guessing Bob thought he improved the pacing of this program by the edits and a few are more "politically correct." But I am still waiting for the full version. In the meantime, I will keep my old broadcast edition.
3 Comments 43 of 45 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
And we have THEM to thank for all of this.
Your humble author can't help but wonder how Bob Cringely got the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Paul Allen and others in front of the cameras for an honest look inside the slightly twisted minds that begat the personal computer.
At 3 hours in length, "Triumph of the Nerds" isn't just a PBS miniseries. On home video, it becomes an epic. And why shouldn't it be? The personal computer has an impact on our lives equal to that of the light bulb and the automobile. But in the case of the PC, most of the people responsible for its creation and worldwide influence are still alive. These are flesh and blood humans, not fading historical sketches like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
"Triumph of the Nerds" was originally produced as a 20-year retrospective on the personal computer. But the PC will be 25 years old in the year 2000. I can't wait to see Bob Cringely's follow up.
2 Comments 44 of 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There seems to be some misinformation going around about the various versions of this show. Many of the reviews give the impression that the VHS release was 100% complete (i.e. everything from the original broadcast,) and that only the DVD version is edited.

That's not the case. The VHS version and DVD version are identical as far as I can tell, almost certainly both cut from the same master. The VHS version was edited and omits all of the same segments listed in F. McSwiggan's review. The only 100% complete version of this show was the original PBS TV broadcast. There's no point in going out of your way to track down the VHS version on eBay... unless you don't own a DVD player or someone is selling a homemade VHS copy of the original broadcast.

All that aside, it's not as if the edited versions are butchered. They aren't missing that much content, relative to the big picture. They're still completely worthwhile. I say this as someone who saw the original broadcast and then bought both the VHS and DVD when they were released, and was initially disappointed to find that bits were missing. I soon got over it. I really, really love this show. At least once every year or two, I'll pop it in and watch one of the three chapters. Somehow it's become sort of like comfort food to me.
2 Comments 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Call it the "E! True Hollywood Story" of the PC industry. Cringely takes a thorough (and thoroughly funny) look at the birth of the PC and the dogged determinism and wild coincidences that ushered in a new technological era. This is Big Business, Big Egos, and VERY Big Money, and the video is as much entertaining as informative. Lots of fun and captivating to watch. Far superior to the Nerds 2.0 follow-up, and immensely superior to the made-for-cable movie "Pirates of Silicon Valley."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


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Email response from Ambrose Video
That's a very amusing, and patently false statement coming from them since even Robert Cringely himself has said it was cut up. The numerous cuts are well-documented here in various reviews and having the original that I taped from PBS when it was first shown I can verify them all.
May 28, 2007 by S. Breazeal |  See all 5 posts
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