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Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition Paperback – May 30, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I greatly appreciate that this book exists. To be honest, it wasn't always a fun read. That isn't a commentary on the quality of the writing, but rather on the ups and downs of the narrative. There were times when I found myself wishing I was there in the middle of the action and other times when I had difficulty knowing who to root for. There were still other moments when I found myself cringing as I read about events long past, wishing that different decisions had been made or disappointed at the actions and attitudes of geniuses.
I'm not going to spoil the book for anyone interested by giving out specific details. All I'll say here is that the story begins with a bunch of model railroaders who love technology and who fall in love with a computer they discover they may access freely in an out of the way room in a building at MIT in the late 1950s. They took their love of piecing together technological gadgets in imaginative and creative ways (hacks) and applied it to this new tool / toy.Read more ›
Consider: in a closed, self-policed environment, like the computer labs of the 1960s and early 1970s, freely sharing information makes sense. In an open, under-policed environment, like the modern Internet, deviants abuse the Hacker Ethic. Well-intentioned "white hats" may explore the phone system purely to understand its operation, but evil-minded "black hats" abuse the same knowledge to make free long distance calls. Does this mean information should be confined? No -- full disclosure is still the best way to counter black hat activity.
Steven lays the groundwork for these thoughts, and serves up gems from hacker history. His 1970s quote from Popular Electronics editor Les Solomon is the earliest reference I know linking hacking to kung fu: "The computer is...an art form. It's the ultimate martial art." Steven also shares tales of Sierra On-Line, Apple Corp., Homebrew Computer Club, the Altair, and even Bill Gates' 1975 rant against software piracy.
"Hackers" will make you appreciate your unlimited access to the machine on which you're reading this review. Hackers of the 1960s and 1970s would have given their first born child to possess the power and availability of modern PCs; now we take PCs for granted, like indoor plumbing or refrigeration!
Those who lived the early days of PCs will enjoy Steven's trip down memory lane. Those who are younger will discover the true meaning of the word "hacker" -- one who promotes access, freedom, decentralization, meritocracy, art, and joy through computers.
Part 1 - True Hackers - Cambridge - The Fifties and Sixties: The Tech Model Railroad Club; The Hacker Ethic; Spacewar; Greenblatt and Gosper; The Midnight Computer Wiring Society; Winners and Losers; Life
Part 2 - Hardware Hackers - Northern California - The Seventies: Revolt in 2100; Every Man a God; The Homebrew Computer Club; Tiny BASIC; Woz; Secrets
Part 3 - Game Hackers - The Sierras - The Eighties: The Wizard and the Princess; The Brotherhood; The Third Generation; Summer Camp; Frogger; Applefest; Wizard vs. Wizards
Part 4 - The Last of the True Hackers - Cambridge - 1983: The Last of the True Hackers; Afterword - Ten Years Later; Afterword - 2010
Notes; Acknowledgments; About the Author
When you walk into a Best Buy or any other retailer today, you simply pick up the computer you want, head home, plug it in, and away you go. But when you go back to the beginning, you start to understand just how amazing these things are. Levy steps into the inner sanctums of the large mainframe computers, devices that cost millions of dollars and allowed few the privilege of touching them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wow, I really like a lot about this book, but it is a little long winded. It does reveal the personalities of the players that were involved during the start of the computer... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Terry Zechman
Grrat book, but i think many people will have hard time to comprehend this book.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Ok, I admit, I'm old. I actually remember most of the things talked about in this history of the computer age's genesis. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gabriel
Wonderful book about how it all began and what being a hacker represents. Even when missing an update since 2010 I'd still recommend it to youngsters all around the world.Published 8 months ago by Leandro López
Content is dated. Not sure the author understands what a real hacker is.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Suggested read from a friend... awesome book and I can relate to a lot of it when I was in college and took it upon myself to use the technology there beyond that of what a normal... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer