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A Few Good Men From Univac (History of Computing)

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262620758
ISBN-10: 0262620758
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Editorial Reviews

Review

We get a fascinating portrait of life in the Stone Age of the computer era when each computer cost millions of dollars and Minneapolis/St. Paul (home to both Univac and CDC) was the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.

(David A. Mindell BYTE)

"Lundstrom's book is both a history of the computer industry and a piece of contemporary myth making" John Lamb New Scientist



"The author's lively anecdotes are fun to read." Paul E. Ceruzzi IEEE Spectrum

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Product Details

  • Series: History of Computing
  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (May 9, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262620758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262620758
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,178,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lots of first person inside information about the early days of commercial mainframe computers. The story covers Univac, Control Data Corporation (CDC) and Cray. The author tells how disenchanted Univac employees founded CDC and then later how Cray was founded when CDC managed to offend their lead designer Seymore Cray, whom they had lured away from Univac. The strange and incestuous relationships of the three companies is covered from an insider's point of view. The author reveals what a hotbed of computer development the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota) was in the '60s and '70s. It also has some absolutely fascinating information about Seymore Cray. Any serious student of computer history should have this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know this was a true story because I was there. Lundstrom was at Univac from 1953 to 1963. I was there from 1960 to 1965. I worked with 3 of the 4 men that David talks about. This book filled in a lot of the history that I had not been told. My time at Univac working with some of the best minds I have ever encountered was a highlight in my working career. The NTDS project rivals Apple's development of the Macintosh. It was significant in the defense of this nation.
Dale Fausett
Technologist
dlfausett@wildblue.net
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
UNIVAC in Saint Paul, Minnesota was the breeding ground for much of the computer industry, especially mainframes after World War II. This book delves into much of that but the real story here is the rise and decline of CDC, Control Data Corporation, in nearby Bloomington, Minnesota.
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Format: Paperback
Spectacular book about early computers and lots of insight into long
running projects, what makes them tick, problems they encounter, etc.

Includes a great case study on the attempts to computerise the airline
industry, even has a picture of a prototype computer readable airline
ticket of the form that was very very briefly current before being replaced
by online tickets.

And my favourite quote from the book:

It is easy to judge when the morale of an engineering group is high. Just
listen to the conversations in the hallways and in the lunchroom. If the
engineers are talking about their projects, morale is high. If they are
talking about fishing or baseball scores, morale is so-so. If they are
talking about company management and organization, look out - morale
is poor.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read a lot of the "history of computers" books, and this one is a standout. It's great fun to read and avoids that POV that the first computer ever was the Apple I.
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